We no longer live on SE Main, although southeastmain-the-blog seems to continue. One year ago today we moved further east in Portland, flat-sizing and gaining more community. Today we live just off Burnside, east of 82nd Ave, in a patch of the city that the local newspaper, the Oregonian, claims is, gasp, gentrifying. Our long-time friends, who found us the house and live across the street from the studio, claim they gentrified our new area long ago, and others look at us blankly when we cite the Big O’s startled discovery . Regardless, the area seems quite Portland-normal and totally charming. One of our SE Main St friends who saw us at the Hinson Church Farmer’s Market (down in southeastmain territory) asked us the other day if we were slumming. Ha! None of this makes any sense, but our new digs are splendid. The January blog about the move mostly showed the interior of the house. In this blog, the exterior becomes the star. I want to put “star” in quotes in that last sentence, because this year has been unseemly in its heat; the house was chosen for its openness to the sun, which means our current unseemly heat spell, with oodles of sun, causes the gardens to shrink and cower just our air conditioner inside groans and tries to keep up. But even with the shrinking and cowering we have more gardens to water and coo at than we had imagined when we moved in. Here is the current run-through of the gardens — outside the studio, the deck off the bay window, the burble fountain, and then the modest front, with all its (wannabe less modest) gardens. Our latest purchase (yesterday) was the Mayan bird bath; it had to be cobbled together with various elements at LIttle Baha, and we are hoping it will neither frighten the birds nor the children next door. West of the deck is my studio which has four gardens on three sides; the one pictured below started out as a blank dirt space with no low wall, just concrete steps on one side and a concrete ramp on the other. We added wall, tree, and cowering (from the sun) plants. The strange green bag is the TreeGator, a slow irrigation system for new trees. The photo is only slightly deceptive.
And below are photos of the deck and its surrounds — the yellow building is a short side of the studio:
And here is the front of the house, as it appears today. (If you like, you can go to the previous post and get a sense of just how much has changed outside — not exactly due to the season, either).
The boxes and the stones are Jer’s solution to the parking (which is what we call the space between the sidewalk and the street) When we moved in the parking was full of gravel, impenetrable to the ordinary shovel, and underlain with gumbo-ish clay. The boxes solved all the difficulties, neatly.
Jan’s donated day lilies have been fabulous. They were planted in August of last year and survived the summer’s blasts. Who plants in August? But these 50 or so plants not only seem to be thriving, but gorgeous.
This is perhaps a more realistic photo of the front of the house as it is today. The space (and its owners) have aspirations. The photo is included because, if you closely at line from the bottom-rightish of the photo through to the center, you will see tiny plants which will, god willin’ and the crick don’t rise and the sun goes down at night, turn into glorious chrysanthemums in the fall. These were planted in early June (much too late), and are still doing fine, although they aren’t exactly blockbusters — yet.
Then back to the back, where the hostas are thriving in spite of the slugs. A fine cedar edge marks the property line of our neighbors to the east, who are fantastic gardeners, as well as parents to two tow-headed boys. We’re trying hard not to disgrace them.
And below is the plant that bloomed from November through February, the espaliered camellia, setting itself in readiness for another season. The first photo was taken in January 2015; the second on July 3.
written on July 3, 2015