Category Archives: My Dream Garden

Cosmos, Gladiolus, and Amaranth Bouquet Paintings

I grew cosmos flowers and amaranth (for filler, although it is also technically an ancient grain that you can eat) from seed. It was pretty easy,  I literally through the seeds on the ground earlier in the year. The gladiolus was also cut from my garden grown from a bulb from a lady in Bethany.

Here’s a painting I did. Still trying as always to balance finished vs overworked:

Cosmos and Amaranth Still Life, 2017, Watermedia on Paper, 12 x 16

This second painting was a bit of a bear. I wanted to explore mixing the pink and green which looked cool in the vase part but the rest of the painting felt like a mess. But I kept going and eventually had fun painting the dots of the amaranth grain seeds. Might be fun to go over with oil pastels.

Cosmos and Amaranth Bouquet, 2017, Acrylic on Paper, 12 x 16

Kitty is ‘advising’ me on my drawing.

I love ikebana. There’s randomly an ikebana shop in Wheeler, Oregon in one of the vintage stores.

Here’s an amaranth and scabiosa flowers ikebana:

Garden vignettes

Winter is coming and as Portland gears towards its rainy, gloomy season…I thought I’d inspire myself with these vignettes from my garden.

The trusty grape leaf will hang on usually until around Thanksgiving to early December. It’s cool to see the frost and icicles form on the fading leaves.


Camellias are one of my favorite trees and bloom around February



Later, the garden comes alive with all of the Fruit trees in blossom. It’s so pretty, and deceptively so (all that beauty brings so, so many apples to pick up).


I planted this dwarf quince because I loved the delicate pink flowers. But what can I make with quince?



Design I Like: Piet Oudulf

I realized that my favorite thing that I saw during my trip to NYC (other than my friends) was the Highline, a public garden built upon an abandoned railroad.


The fact that the gardens were the most inspiring thing made me realize that I do in fact belong in Portland!

Alison told me that the Highline was designed by garden designer, Piet Oudulf.

His work is amazing. He uses lots of native plants, perennials, and grasses and he creates these beautiful landscapes that have amazing color in all seasons.


He uses grasses for color and even the dying seedheads provide textural and color interest in the dead of winter. via Pinterest


Someday I would like to visit the Netherlands and view his private garden. There are so many more beautiful, inspiring garden examples in this pdf I found on the Harvard School of Design course he taught about designing for Mood in the garden:

“Mysticism totally depends on circumstances that are out of your control. Fog, dusk. It makes you feel on your self in a different world.”

“Emotion and mood are vital to the success of a garden…They are qualities, however, that are very difficult to define in hard-and-fast terms. It is always difficult to describe why certain gardens are attractive and not others. It is even more difficult to write prescriptions for creating different moods, for mood is only something that can be planned into a garden to a limited extent.”

Sounds like painting too 😉


Imbrie Hall

Hillsboro near Intel is growing like crazy. I heard that Cornelius Pass used to be this quiet little rural road and now they are doing massive construction on it to handle all of the traffic. Near the powerplants and electrical lines and all of the big box surburban sprawl is a real gem brought to you by McMenamin’s: Imbrie Hall.

The grounds and landscaping are stellar. It would be a great place for an event or wedding.

Super cute wooden sheds.

Look at all of the cool windows inside this rustic barn. I would love a cabin/tiny home like this:

I love this garden, I’m not sure if it’s fennel or Queen Anne’s lace

Cooper Mountain


Cooper Mountain

Southwest Beaverton is growing like crazy, they’re putting up all of these giant mcmansions or starter homes for 450k, and this is deep Beaverton, like I don’t even know if it’s technically Beaverton or Hillsboro or Tigard. I don’t understand what these people do because if any of them have a job to go to in Portland- good luck with that commute. It seems like the traffic and congestion in that part of the suburbs has gotten crazy,like worse than the city traffic.

Cooper Mountain

But it is understandable why so many people are flocking to this area of town when you see these pictures. Southwest Beaverton is elevated above the rest of the valley in Washington County. I guess they’re the Tualatin “mountains” – not really the mountains like the 14er Mount Hood, or the coastal range, but certainly high enough to get great views.

We dog sat for these people who live in this area. And they’re lucky enough to see this everyday in their backyard. With a better camera than my iphone you would be able to see Mt. Hood. Jealous.

And there’s Cooper Mountain. It’s crazy how you’re in a meh, residential area and then all of a sudden you wind up in this awesome area, and it’s like when did I end up in the Shire?

Cooper Mountain

Cooper Mountain


Cooper Mountain

Oh and this is random, but gallairda looks like little sunflowers and is very pretty. I want this in my garden:

Cooper Mountain

I want for the garden

Gross bugs have attacked my kale. Maybe this variety will turn out better:

"Cascade Glaze" collards in full blooming glory. This great variety has been absent from our catalog for a couple years due to consecutive crop failures…a week of single digit temps one winter, a herd of elk another… Very cold hardy and with exceptional flavor, it also has a gene that makes the leaves extremely glossy, more akin to chard leaves than the usual matte texture of the oleraceas. We've heard anecdotal reports that the glossy film makes it less attractive to insects, but haven't observed it in any empirical way to be able to make that claim. We get a lot of requests for this one. Not coincidentally, it has not been available at all in the seed trade for several years as we were the only seed producer supplying the couple other catalogs that sold it. Whenever things like that happen, it really highlights for us the fact that we need more farmers learning the skills of seed work and helping to steward these great varieties. Based on how it looks now, we are optimistic about bringing in a really good crop!

A photo posted by Uprising Seeds (@uprising.seeds) on

Look at the color on this amaranth:

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden

I literally have a Google spreadsheet with a list of places I want to go to in the Pac NW area. We’ve hit several of the places already, and I would love to go back to all of them: Smith Rock, Waldo Lake, Crater Lake, etc.

I kept saying I want to go see the rhodies at the Crystal Spring Rhody Garden. Finally, a few weeks ago we went and they also happened to be hosting a daffodil competition. I kid you not.


Look at all the darling daffodils, they would make for a great pattern or acrylic painting.


Always lovely hellebores in my favorite shade of dark magenta


   So many perfect azaleas 


Sometimes it’s really tough to get back into painting, even if it’s something I love doing.
In the mean time I’m enjoying the beautiful Pac NW spring.

Here’s trillium from the rain garden:
  Does anyone know what this glorious plant is and how I can get it in my garden? 

Love the bronze foliage and pink flowers. I’m thinking of getting a ninebark, which has similar foliage and has the added benefit of being drought tolerant.

Here’s another flower that I really want in my garden:

Renown unique tulips-they look like peonies!