Today we’re in Portland, Oregon, visiting Jim Rondone’s beautiful garden.
While the more widely planted eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis, Zones 5–9) is native to the eastern half of North America, the western redbud (Cercis occidentalis ‘Alba’, Zones 6–9; pictured) is a similar species native to Utah, Arizona, and Nevada.
Camellia ‘Yuletide’ (Zones 7–10) blooms for Jim starting in November and continuing until March. Jim encourages heavy blooming by pruning ruthlessly in April, which encourages new growth in plenty of time to develop new flower buds for the next flower display.
A gorgeous clump of Cyclamen hederifolium (ivy-leaved cyclamen, Zones 4–9). This hardy species grows a little backward, being completely dormant in the summer and then bursting into bloom in the fall. The leaves you can see just beginning to emerge here will look beautiful all winter and into spring before going dormant again.
The flowers of this bottle gentian (Gentiana andrewsii, Zones 3–7) remain closed, which saves the pollen and nectar for the plant’s preferred pollinators, bumblebees, which are strong enough to pull the petals apart to access the nectar inside. This species is native to usually moist areas in the eastern half of North America.
The Pacific Northwest, including Portland, is often thought of as cold and rainy, but that is actually only true seasonally. It is very dry during summer, with the steady rains returning in fall.
Lagerstroemia subcostata var. fauriei ‘Fantasy’ (Zones 6–9) is a beautiful crape myrtle. It has clusters of pretty white flowers in summer, but the real show is this incredible bark, which gets more beautiful with each passing year.
If you are only familiar with the typical large-flowered hybrid clematis, you are missing out on some of the most beautiful flowers in this genus. This is Clematis crispa (Zones 6–9), a vine native to the central and southeastern United States that has these magically shaped flowers. Here it shows off beautifully with a backdrop of the soft pink Ceanothus × pallidus ‘Marie Simon’ (Zones 6–9). This ceanothus is a hybrid of species native to the east and west coasts of North America, giving it extra adaptability and vigor, along with those romantic flowers.
The rear garden in May
The lush green of April in the garden
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