Saturday, June 27, 2009

Friday Finds

It's been a busy week, so not much gleaned. There IS a lot going on in the garden now that the tomatoes are leaping out of the ground, the strawberries are producing, and I see today that the pie cherries are turning. Pictures to come!

A few things I've stumbled across:
  • Have an iPod Touch or an iPhone? Here are 10 garden apps for you to play with, from plant encyclopedias to local eating databases.
  • What do you do when your city is losing population and neighborhoods are turning into ghost towns? Does it make green sense to bulldoze vacant houses, after removing any thing recyclable, and return the land to nature? There are both pros and cons to the plan, of course, but it's interesting to see that "negative growth" doesn't have to be a dirty phrase.
  • Bloggers have an ethical code? Apparently so, according to this study!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Friday Finds (a day late -- so sue me)

It's been a draining weekend so far. A funeral double-header. Seriously. Two funerals in one weekend. I'm doing a good deal of quiet knitting and flower-planting this weekend.

A few interesting finds from the last week or so:

  • Goats instead of lawn mowers? More and more communities are seeing this as a good idea. And corporations, too -- check out the Google Goats.
  • USA Today finally caught on to the concept of Urban Farming.
  • Want to keep locally-owned businesses in business? Join the 3-50 movement. Choose three locally-owned businesses -- actual storefronts that are not franchises -- and spend $50 each month at each of them. The effects can be enormous. Hmm... I think between the garden center, the local pet supply shop, and the new crepe and gelato restaurant, I spent my 3-50 cash for the month and then some.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The Oregon Garden in Spring

On a sunny weekend not long ago -- Memorial Day to be precise -- we decided to get out of the house and do something. The summer-like air called us outdoors and off we skipped to The Oregon Garden in Silverton (which I think was a much better plan than going to a movie, which was the first thought).

The garden owns over 200 acres of land, once a horse ranch, and about 18 acres have been developed. Moonstone Hotels owns a luxurious lodge with conference facilities in the grounds and took over the garden finances not long ago when the garden was having serious financial problems. With their sponsorship and the presence of the hotel, the garden is on track to success once again.

From the highest point on the slope, one can look down at the garden, wild bits and landscaped bits alike, and off across the Willamette Valley to the Coast Range in the distance:

The series of ponds that connect to one another down the hillside are more than just pretty. They also provide wetland habitat, and, believe it or not, filter treated municipal water, which irrigates and provides nutrients for the garden.

We caught the electric tram for a quick tour around the garden to spot things we wanted to see on foot later. For a public garden of its size, it has a lot of variation, innovation, and charming little bits like this green roof on the pumphouse for the water garden:

The children's garden was one of my favorite spots, for all the imaginative features packed into one spot. The garden sports a dragon windvane:

As well as a couple of pot people:

And a Hobbit house for the kids to play in, running through the tunnel or rolling down its slopes:

And even a huge sandbox complete with dinosaur bones to unearth:

Kids can wonder at the vertical garden and peer at all the little succulents growing on its face:

For the smallest visitors, a miniature garden features tiny houses and riddles painted on rocks:

Beyond the edges of the developed gardens is a stretch of native prairie that is slowly being restored. In the midst stands the Heritage Oak, an Oregon White Oak over 400 years old:

Who says public gardens have to be only ornamental? Here the vegetable gardens demonstrate square foot gardening:

I plan to install an espaliered apple fence like this in my own garden:

And of course there were formal gardens, with some pretty amazing fountains and sculptures:

That's only a sampling. You'll have to visit the gardens yourself to see the rest!

Friday, June 05, 2009


We just learned that the mother of a family we know in the neighborhood, whose son is one of my son's buddies, passed away quite suddenly and unexpectedly. She leaves behind a husband, grown son, and two school-age daughters. Must see what we can do for them.