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Monday, April 26, 2021

Where the wild things are Part IV/The Gardens of Southern Oregon

 "Some people feel the rain, others just get wet" 

Bob Dylan

I closed up a chapter in life this past week, I'm moving on from being a garden manager at a formal garden conservancy and going back into environmental conservation work. Both of these careers have been work I've been able to feel passionate about through the years,  They have allowed me to feel dedicated and driven to do the best possible job I can do. One was for the reward of creating beautiful art that others could enjoy and the other has been for the reward of trying to keep this planet occupied by humanity (although a lot of times I think we don't deserve to be occupying it with the way we have taken it for granted and mistreated it).

 I went chasing some nature and art this weekend to get a little time to reset and refocus. Southern Oregon was calling with it's promise of wildflowers and wonderful gardens. 

Calochortus tolmiei
This one has such a big range throughout Oregon. We ran into some nice forms of it in Jacksonville Oregon this weekend. 

Fritillaria gentneri
Wikipedia gives us this story about its discovery: 
It was discovered by 18-year-old Laura Gentner in 1942 in rural Jackson County, Oregon. Dr. Helen M. Gilkey, curator of the herbarium at the Oregon State College, published it as a new species with Gentner as its namesake. In her 1951 paper in Madroño in she distinguished it from the similar Fritillaria recurva: "As brilliant in color as F. recurva, the blossom of this new form is consistently of a different shade of red; its flowering period begins two weeks later; the plant is typically more robust

Although I wills say we saw Fritillaria recurva intermixed with it and very much blooming at the same time. I personally think that the common name should be the lava monster Fritillaria as it's just seems to look like molten lava as it brightens the oak, madrone and manzanita woodlands it calls home. 

Fritillaria recurva blooming in the woodlands around Jacksonville

Joleen and I visited Baldassare Mineo's Italio Gardens, the site of the legendary Siskiyou Rare plant nursery. It's and amazing, diverse landscape with a maturity that only comes from decades of growth. Baldasarre was very welcoming and stayed open a bit longer so we could shop through his treasures on the sales table and stroll the gardens for a bit. 

Kathy Allens Rock Garden
For years I've heard of the annual pilgrimage that all the states rock gardeners make to Kathy Allen's legendary garden in Central Point. Her plant sale was the stuff of lore. In the hustle and bustle of the last decade I never managed to make it down that way. Fortunately that all changed this year. I have a bunch of space in my rock garden and thanks to Kathy I now have some solid inspiration and flats of amazing plants to fill it up. Her 

Kathy Allens Rock Garden

The stunning display is absolutely mindblowing with the diversity she has created. 

We hit Kathy's Place at what seemed to be just about the perfect timing for the peak bloom.

Kathy is so welcoming and her sale plants are a fantastic value for the rock garden perfection they offer. We enjoyed a stroll through the trough garden before having our minds blown in her amazing rock garden. The inspiration was huge for me because she occupies a pretty flat site, much like my own rock garden,  but she has done some amazing things give the garden a sense of depth and dimension that is stunning. Her use of trees to separate the garden into rooms is incredible. 

Kathy Allens rock garden in Central Point was a mindblowing display! The dwarf columbine bed looked like a minature fairy land. 

This weekend offered an amazing balance of the wild and untamed of Southern Oregon's woodland wildflowers, and the perfection of art in nature created by gardeners of lore who have mastered their craft. My head is still spinning from all the wonder we took in. It was a fantastic reset and I feel like it launched a booster rocket for me in inspirational creativity for my own garden that I can focus on now. 

Came back to a chilly, windy rainy evening but it looks to moderate into the typical sun/clouds mix that an Oregon Spring is usually filled with. 



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