Maybe spring is coming to Portland this year. At least my garden, sometimes a topic on bLog-oMotives, seems to finally think so. Still, in the last two weeks we've had snow, hail, frost, thunderstorms and a lot of rain (Above - blooming euphorbia, rosemary and tulips in the snow). A few things are starting to bloom or poke their way out of the soil. Perhaps it is time to "play in the dirt" - my favorite form of therapy and inspiration.
Our garden has taken quite a beating this past winter - especially through the windstorms. However, we got off lucky compared to some neighbors. The back of our North Portland home had been fairly private until one of the November windstorms. With the house shaking, and power flickering off and on, I walked through our kitchen and glanced out the back window. I did a double-take because I could now look directly into our neighbor's kitchen and family room. Three of the trees in our neighbor's yard, which had previously obscured the view, had been snapped off about five feet up from the ground by the wind.
Our neighbors suddenly had a great view directly into our kitchen, bedroom and backyard hot tub as well. We were not sure of the solution, but knew something had to be done - and soon. The situation was discussed with our friend Mike Smith of Joy Creek Nursery and he thought he had a solution. In the stock section of the nursery he had a plant that had been rescued from another client's garden renovation. He took us to see the huge Aucuba japonica 'Picturata'- and Ed and I both agreed the leafy plant with vibrant green variegated foliage would be a great "fix" in our garden.
A Joy Creek crew showed up today with the plant filling the back of the truck. It had taken five people to load the thing into the truck and our crew of two had quite time unloading and getting it into position. We had to lend a hand getting the Aucuba set in place. Of course, installing such a large plant meant a few existing plantings needed to be relocated - a few are still out there needing new homes elsewhere.
The best thing is that we're no longer looking directly at our neighbors and they don't need to see all we are up to either. I'm looking forward to the new garden resident settling in and my other plants growing up around it. It's kind of funny; in doing a little research on the Aucuba I noticed that it is often described as slow growing, with a mature size of 4 feet to 6 feet in height and width. Someone needs to tell this to the plant in our garden - it's over 8 feet high and just about as wide. I suppose there's not need for it to be any different than many of the other over-performers growing in my garden.
The center set of photos show the view from the deck off our bedroom, before and after the arrival of the Acuba. The lower set show the same from our kitchen door. It does look as if I should get out into the garden and get a bit dirty.
Great job Joy Creek!
© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives