It’s Lavender Time!

The Fields of Helvatia Lavender Farms

It is lavender time in Portland and with it the wondrous scent of lavender. From the lush fields of lavender, to the gardens, to the markets, lavender is in the air. Lloyd and I are fortunate to live in a city that is so close to the agricultural areas of the Willamette Valley. As such, we are privy to an array of fresh fruits, vegetables, nursery stock plants of all kinds, and the best of all – they all end up among other places at the local markets and festivals in the area. We are fortunate also to live blocks from one such local market at Orenco Station, where fresh produce and fresh flowers and nursery plants are sold, among other local artisan goods.

July marks the arrival of lavender with it comes an array of festivals at many of the local lavender farms around Portland.  A short drive for us, and we found our way to  Helvetia Lavender Farms, nestled in the hills overlooking the beautiful Willamette Valley.  Here the farm grows 60 varieties of lavender in their lush gardens and cutting fields. Visitors are welcome to wander through the gardens, and when they are through can enjoy teatime in their new pavilion, and relax amid the scent of lavender. They also distill our own lavender oil and carry a great selection of lavender products available for sale. Their property is amazing and the lavender fields breathtaking. Here we found lavender as far as the eye could see. The moment the door of the car opened the air around was filled with the strong and wondrous scent of fresh lavender. Wonderful. I was amazed by how many varieties of lavender there is. It not only grows in the lavender farms but it is found simply  everywhere around Portland, even in our own backyard garden. Here are some wonderful photos from our local market to the fields and beyond. Enjoy!

For purchase by the ounce…

To delicate sprigs…

To lavender fields…

To the garden plumes…

To that which surrounds a chair…..

To signs warning it’s here…

To the those of which bare ears …

To a bee drawn by its lofty scent….

To the tiny bee….

To Mr. Bumble bee….

The delicate sprigs of Lavender is in the air, indicating summer is finally here.



Summer in the Gardens

Japanese Gardens Portland – Lilith’s Grasp, Japanese Maple

Lloyd and I love Living in Portland. It has so many fabulous amenities all within a short distance from our home; we feel blessed to have chosen such a place to call home.  Because of this, we love to have guests visit from out of town so we can show off why Portland is so special.  This summer has been no exception, we had the pleasure of hosting one of our favorite Aussie cousins, Cathy, who was visiting us on her way to Vegas on business. We had a marvelous time as always. Great laughs, food, and of course Oregon Pinot Noir.  In the three days she was here, there was wine tasting at local wineries (I sat this one out), and a trip to the Japanese Gardens and Rose Gardens. When Cathy arrived she did so with a newly broken toe which didn’t stop her from wanting to see the city a foot cast and all, she hobbled around. We were such a motley crue, one hobbling around in a cast, Lloyd packing around the camera gear while and pushing Deloris with me holding more camera gear. You would think we liked to take pictures or something. It is merely our thing.

Our two favorites gardens is where we headed, both of which are located in Downtown Portland: the Rose Gardens and the Japanese Gardens. Both are nestled within the 5,500 acres of natural preserve land in Portland, thus making it the largest urban park of its kind in the world. Yep another great reason to visit. We are pretty proud to call Portland home. Wow try to say that one fast. We are are lucky to also have the highest rated Japanese Gardens outside of Japan as well and one of the best Rose Gardens in the country, making Portland truly the city of Roses. There are many places to visit within one hour of Portland in every direction making it a great destination for those who are looking for a great long weekend getaway. Click here for a guide of things to see and do. First stop, The Portland Rose Gardens. Enjoy!

Garden Steps and Roses

These lush gardens are planted along a tiered hillside in roughly three levels, with stairs situated in the middle and at either ends and places in between and a long relatively steep paved ramp at one end for those who prefer to avoid the stairs.

Stone Columns

Situated at the base of the gardens.The roses basically are planted in rows, each individually named and planted in some semblance of order, by color.

Row of Roses and Garden Clouds

The thick rows of roses as far as the eye can see. Truly amazing gardens you won’t be disappointed, even if you think it might not be your thing, you will love it. Trust me. The gardens are stunning.  Each of the rows zig-zag gradually down the hillside with a mixture of concrete paths, this being on the main level, and a mixture of small stone and grassy paths which parallel the rows of roses. Portland also hosts a Rose Festival in June with a parade full of roses. It is quite spectacular and draws people from all over the world.

A Rose is Just a Rose as Pink is Merely Pink

Because our city is so wonderful, we jump at the chance to share as many of fun places with our friends and family when they pop in for a visit. While we spend a fair share of our times at these places anyway, it is always great to spread the fun around. Plus they see first hand why we chose to live here. Summer is definitely the best time to visit as the city is a rainbow of color as the flowers are in full bloom in an array of vibrant colors varieties and fragrant bouquets ready to be found in the gardens, and at the many the local markets around the area. Also very cool to visit.

Blood Red

If you have been following our posts you will likely noticed a few of these beauties have been shown as photos/flowers of the day, they are so lovely they deserved a second glance and especially for those who have never seen the beauty of the Rose Gardens.  Okay, I also had to include Mr. Squirrel. He was merely to cute not to post again.

Mr. Squirrel

Orange on Black

Sexy Hot Pink

Please note each of the roses in the garden have their own official names given by the rose society. The names used here are my names; the same holds true of the photos from the Japanese gardens at least for some of the water features.

Light Peach

Yellow Bud on Black

Bright White

Tipped in Pink

Yellow Lemon


One of my favorites. Such a unique color. One doesn’t expect to see.

Orange Marmalade

Candy Cane 

Another one of my favorites reminds me of Christmas in June.

Bright Pink 

Basically, I chose my favorite roses. I literally have hundreds of photos of roses in every color under the sun. I will spare you. I will be posting more on our web site, and Red Bubble site hopefully within the week. If you are interested in seeing more. They are each beautiful in their own way. I found when we were there my endorphins go into overload mode, they were bouncing all over from bush to bush. It was crazy nuts! everywhere I looked was a new and different colored rose. I know I was driving Lloyd crazy directing me to go in five directions at once. Or so he believed. Ha!

Next stop the Japanese Gardens. If you visit this lovely garden, there is a fee or membership options available. The membership option makes it affordable and sensible for locals, as we can bring out of town guests for free. We have a membership. This is also why you will see a “with permission” tag on all of the photos we take from these gardens after our copyrights information. While photos are allowed, professional photographers must receive permission to post their photos for viewing and selling. Primarily if the photos are going to be sold. In case you were wondering.

Mt. Hood from the Japanese Gardens

We saw the gardens at the perfect time in terms of weather, not too hot, not too cold, and not yet raining. When we stepped into the car when the day was done, it rained.  A break for Cathy, ha pun intended, as we made our way through these beautiful gardens. I still think Lloyd had it worse pushing me up the hills. ADA compliant my ass, or his. Ha!

Upper Pond

Magical Tree of Life, Wisdom, and Knowledge

Heavenly Falls

Glowing Falls

One of my favorite photos. Those who follow have seen it before. No you are seeing things. It is true. The following images however are what makes the gardens so special especially in mid-June –  the water iris’ which only bloom for a short time in June, then they are done, leaving a carpet of green rig-zagging along a wooden boardwalk which takes one through the wetlands and over the stream. We were lucky enough to capture many  in bloom. Beautiful. The week before only a couple were in bloom. This iris species is different from the garden varieties as they completely open up exposing brilliant silky petals in shades of brilliant purple to blue, to white and dotted with brilliant yellow. Amazing.

Garden of Purple Passion

White Water Iris

New Life



Stepping Stones of Life

Hidden by the Carex spp. (grass species) which is blooming nearly covering the hidden waterfall and stepping stones inside the stream which trickles along amongst the lush vegetation.

Tree of Knowledge

This tree is one of many similar maples and this particular one is amazing; even during summer the wondrous colors of this tree – stunning.

Into the Fire

So that concludes our trip to the Portland Rose Gardens and the Portland Japanese Gardens. I hope you enjoyed the shots. It was a lot of fun taking the pictures. I look forward to going back soon to see what has evolved since our last visit. Soon.



Photo of the Day – July 1, 2012


Photo of the Day – July 2012

Flow with whatever may happen, and let your mind be free: Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.
― Zhuangzi, Nan-Hua-Ch’en-Ching, or, the Treatise of the transcendent master from Nan-Hua

Purple Iris and the Lantern of Zen” Water Iris, Japanese Gardens, Portland, Oregon (with permission). Copyrights belong to the photographer: Lloyd Edwards.

Flower of the Day – June 25, 2012


Flower of the Day – June 25, 2012

Feeling at peace, however fragilely, made it easy to slip into the visionary end of the dark-sight. The rose shadows said that they loved the sun, but that they also loved the dark, where their roots grew through the lightless mystery of the earth. The roses said: You do not have to choose.
~ Robin McKinley, Sunshine

“Sunshine and Rose Marmalade“, Orange Rose, Portland Rose Gardens, Portland, Oregon

Flower of the Day – June 24, 2012


Flower of the Day – June 24

What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, For all that we love deeply becomes a part of us.”
~ Helen Keller

“Callies of Pink”, Calla Lily, Hillsboro, Oregon

Flower of the Day – June 23, 2012


Flower of the Day – June 23

If you love a flower that lives on a star, it is sweet to look at the sky at night. All the stars are a-bloom with flowers…”
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

“Sparkling in the Night Sky”, Yellow Dahlia, Hillsboro, Oregon

Flower of the Day – June 21, 2012


Flower of the Day – June 21

Just living is not enough,” said the butterfly, “one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.”
~ Hans Christian Anderson, The Complete Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales

Lemon Butter“, Yellow Rose Bud, Portland Rose Gardens, Portland, Oregon

Photo of the Day – June 12, 2012


Photo of the Day – June 12, 2012

You are one corrupt, perfectly white flower, yearning for its own reflection, in the calm waters.
~ Die

Casting Shadows From the Sky, the Lily Emerges to its Pad,” Japanese Gardens, Portland Oregon

(Photo taken with permission of the Japanese Gardens, © Louise Edwards 2012)

Photo of the Day – June 11, 2012


Photo of the Day – June 11, 2012

Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person.”
~ Albert Einstein

Through the Clouds“, Mt. Hood, Japanese Gardens, Portland, Oregon

This image was taken from inside of the Japanese Gardens located in Downtown Portland. On sunny days Mt. Hood is quite visible in all its glory. We lucked out on the day we were at the gardens as the skies were partly cloudy when generally means Mt. Hood would be enveloped in a thick cloud layer. I was thrilled when I saw that the tip was visible through the thick cloud layer. (This image shot with permission from the Japanese Gardens.)

Downunder Potted Plants

This past Sunday our local farmers market (see ‘who brought the money?’), featured the arrival of the Downunder Potted Plants. These unique pots are sold at the markets by a local distributor/vendor Carol James, from C James Nursery in Newberg, Oregon. What made her nursery different among others at the market, are the special terra-cotta pots used for potting plants. While the plants are grown locally from Carol’s nursery in Newberg, the pots are designed and manufactured by a gal named Mia in Australia (copywritten and tradmarked), called  Downunder Potted Plants. These planters are unique as they hold a plant inside the planter from the underside and the planter is hung with the plant growing from the bottom.

Cleverly named, these pots hold a variety of plants. I have listed the types of plants that work best below. When properly planted and cared for, plants will naturally grow toward the major light source, growing upside down, as the plant is essentially forced to grow upward along the sides of the pot toward the sun above.  The photos give an idea of what the planters are like.

The pots come in three sizes and come in a variety of colors including blue, red, green, white, black, and unfinished terracotta. Prices are surprisingly very reasonable ranging in price from 10 to 35 dollars. The plain terracotta planters are a bit less priced from five dollars upwards to 25 depending on the size. Please don’t quote me on the prices, I am merely digging into my memory bank for those details. I could be a bit off. Each pot is unique and no two pots are the same as each is hand-made (in Australia) and comes with a sturdy, attached wire loop for hanging, and coco fiber used at the top of the planter, all of which makes hanging a snap. Lloyd and I decided we needed to have at least one of these pots and were quick to pick out a large fterra-cotta planter.

Terra cotta blends in with our other planters and our house colors. Plus these particular planters were roughly 10 dollars less than the color planters. As I mentioned all are reasonably priced, but the black and terra-cotta ones above, priced less, along with others considered seconds, (those with minor defects). We fell in love with these planters immediately.  Especially since they were hand-made in Australia, my hubbies homeland. Added bonus Carol pots a plant of your choice for an extra five dollars which includs the price of the plant. We chose a Martha Jefferson Geranium. Such as great deal. I love the markets. Great prices for a variety of items.

Potting plants is always tricky and messy. I always get potting soil everywhere except in the pot. Carol has s special trick for keeping the potting soil confined to a rectangular plastic container.  She gave us a demonstration as she planted our plant in our new pot. Firstly, add a generous amount of water to the potting soil and mixing with your hands. She wears latex free gloves which is also a great idea that also keeps hands from looking like a five-year olds who just finished playing in the mud.

Best plants for the Downunder Pots include the following suggestions:
Annuals tend to grow faster, begonias, coleus, dianthus, impatiens and lobelias.
Perennials: Perennials work as well, however note they will take longer to grow. It is worth the wait if your can do so. These plants include fuchsias, geraniums and succulents. Miniature varieties are adaptable as well.
Herbs: Herbs also can be planted in the top once reservoir after the bottom plant has established. Herbs include chives, coriander (cilantro), chives, lavender, mint, parsley, rosemary, and sage.

Carol was a wiz pot planting and we quickly had our plant inside its new home. For those who choose to plant their plants, after adding water to the soil and mixing the soil, the next step is to stuff the coco fibers in the end of the pot which hosts the hook (small end). Plant the seedling or small starter plant into the pot at the larger end. Water and allow to stand for two weeks to allow the roots to grow. When the roots have established invert the pot and like magic the plant remains in its new home to grow like other potted plants.

This potting system will be sure to draw attention from others as it is unique as the pot chosen to hold your new plant.  Before hanging the plant, remove the coco, water and fertilize (if necessary). If water leaks from the lip you have over-watered. Hang pot by wire with plant facing downward.

For more information on this unique planter system you can contact Carol here, or by calling her direct here. Or if you are in the Portland area, Carol can be found at the Orenco Station Markets on Sundays in Hillsboro, throughout the summer; and around the town at various markets during the week. You can look up the various markets by visiting here. We hope you enjoy your new planter as much as we do.