Category Archives: West Coasties

Public Portraits of Xeric Plantings at Riverplace and South Waterfront, part 2

This little tour begins from the traffic circle at the intersection of SW Montgomery St. and River Dr, by the sign to South Waterfront Park and Garden.  It has you walking north along the esplanade in front of the shops and restaurants.  It concludes about 900′ to the north at the Riverplace Hotel.

Rhamnus alaternus 'Variegatus' planted between the Blue Oat Grass and gradually dying out Cornus 'Kelseyii'.  It has been very slow. Understandable given the horrendous fill soil conditions.

Rhamnus alaternus ‘Variegatus’ planted between the Blue Oat Grass and gradually dying out Cornus ‘Kelseyii’. It has been very slow. Understandable given the horrendous fill soil conditions. In the immediate area are also a young Quercus chrysolepis, Arbutus menziesii, Arctostaphylos x ‘Pacific Mist’, Cistus x ‘Blanche’, Philadelphus lewisii, Cotinus coggygria ‘Golden Spirit’ and Holodiscus discolor

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Dispatches from Bend, OR

I’m over here in Bend for the Labor Day weekend doing family stuff, visiting my dad and Julie’s parents…dealing.  I worked my way through the first draft of an article/posting on everyone’s favorite Manzanita, isn’t it, Arctostaphylos patula, with a sustainable landscape spin.  I met two old friends at the 6th Annual Little Woody, a celebration of beers aged in barrels, mostly bourbon or wine, 24 breweries with 40 decisions to make.  Needless to say they got easier as we worked our way around.  If you’re a beer snob and like to wow your friends with talk of original and final gravity, A.B.V. and what the right balance of I.B.U.s might be, this is for you.  It’s still a modest sized crowd that attends.  Don’t expect pints, just good beer, with a twist and extra ooomph!

Today, though I’m between things and went for a walk with plants in mind, Arctostaphylos foremost, and set out to look a little closer at some of Bend’s more public ‘scapes, in their roadways not their Parks.  Bend is known for its ubiquitous and proliferating traffic circles so I checked this one out on SW 14th, on Bend’s westside.  They are all planted from a native palette.  A couple of bronze deer were curious what I was doing.  The light was glaring and my pictures less than I had hoped.

After that I was cutting through some commercial spaces on my way to check out Bend’s newest booze joint, Back Drop Distilling, it’s sharing space with Good Life Brewing, but the sign says they won’t be open until sometime later this fall, when I saw these Rhamnus frangula ‘Asplenifolia’ at a little US Bank branch office.   Continue reading

Drought Tolerant Plantings: A Review of Riverplace and South Waterfront, Summer ‘12 (updated Aug. ’14)

 

Riverplace Esplanade Bank looking south along the Marina toward the Marquam Bridge

Riverplace Esplanade Bank looking south along the Marina toward the Marquam Bridge.  My last big xeriscape experiment.

The following is an evaluation I initially did while still working for Portland Parks and Recreation.  I’ve edited it a bit and added a few things to make it more current.  I think it’s important for people to know what others are doing, what they’ve tried and what were the successes and failures.  While kind of long it is still a brief look at the conditions on a few sites that were under my care and my observations concerning their performance.  As Downtown area Parks these landscapes are very accessible for those curious to see how these plants have done on the ground.  Now, most of you if your gardening is limited to your own backyards will never have to deal with landscapes so large, nor will your growing conditions, specifically your soil, be the same, I thought that it would be interesting to share this anyway, in addition to letting you know where you can come see how these plants can look in a landscape.  All were planted small as they tend to better adapt to their sites when small, but some are beginning to mature and show what they can do.  Anyway, I view our Parks as a public asset.  There are many valuable and important plantings around us, that the public is largely unaware of.  Part of my role here is to change this situation through promotions like this and by continuing to work with horticulturist to create some kind of database of public and private plantings that is accessible for viewing by the general public. Continue reading