A Deer resistant garden in the Pacific Northwest

There are a surprising number of plants you can grow in the the garden, even when you are occasionally visited by deer.  The deer in my garden tend to leave the following plants alone.  There are a number of plants they will nibble on occasionally but not really harm, such as the summer spireas, golden chain tree, ornamental cherry trees, camellias, red maples, japanese maples, smokebush, mock orange,  and several more.

I have found deer tend to not prefer plants with strong scented foliage or ones with rough foliage.  Herbs do well.  With plenty of natives in the area, they only cruise through my back yard like a trip through the salad bar, picking up a few things that look tasty.  In winter when they are hungry, they are a lot less picky.

For a full sun garden:

For a part sun garden:



The Garden Before the Rain

In the Pacific Northwest, we thrive on rainfall. This afternoon forecasts call for a good soaking rain which is what we really need. My garden needs it. The mountains need the snowfall. We are woefully in need of rain. Lawns shouldn’t be turning brown in early June.

I am preparing myself for the rain in the best way I know how.

Cut the peony and rose blooms and bring them indoors stat! Being forced to enjoy the blooms in a vase on my dining room table is a sacrifice I’ll just have to make. (Sarcasm intended.)

Driving to McMinnville, Oregon

This week my daughter and I took a day trip to go explore McMinnville, Oregon.  We enjoy picking a random town and heading there for no particular reason other than to explore and have lunch.  The drive there is beautiful as we tried to avoid all major highways and took the back roads over the rolling hills between Beaverton and McMinnville.  The hills were filled with orchards of hazelnuts, fields of wheat and mint, and vineyards.

We took Hwy 10 out of Beaverton and headed for Laurelwood. From there to Gaston, on to Carlton, and finally our destination of downtown McMinnville.  McMinnville is the home of Linfield college and the downtown has a bit of an artsy college town feel.  The tree-lined downtown is pretty and there are plenty of shops to visit.  Don’t pass through McMinnville on the main highway thinking it’s just a collection of big box stores and car sales lots.  Get off the main drag and find the older downtown core.  It is worth the stop.  I’d recommend lunch at Sage Restaurant in the mezzanine floor of a nice home goods store called La Bella Casa.  Don’t miss the the chocolates available in the coffee shop downstairs!  I do NOT recommend making this trip on a Tuesday, as we did, just because so many stores are closed Mondays and Tuesdays (as I now realize) in both Carlton and McMinnville.

I didn’t take a lot of photos, but will share a few:

The rolling hills of Washington County
We weren’t really going that fast, but the blurred foreground looks kind of cool
We stopped in the small town of Carlton. The old train station is now a winery.
Old railroad signal
in Carlton, Oregon
Downtown McMinnville

What is Blooming This Week?

The last week of May is bringing new blooms to the garden, and a bit less of a “wow” factor.  Now that the rhododendrons are winding down (we have over 30 different rhododendrons on the property) the foxglove and deutzias are taking over.  Foxglove does exceptionally well here in our clay soil.  I am constantly having to remove it from areas I don’t want it to grow (such as the gravel driveway, the lawn, in the middle of my blueberry bush, etc.) I hate to pull them, as I really love the foxglove flowers and enjoy watching the bees climb inside each flower and try to reverse back out. I just wish they’d seed in the center of a flower bed more frequently, as that is where I want them to be.  Luckily they transplant very easily.

Gardening brings me such joy.  The anticipation of what will bloom this week gives me reason to look forward to each new day.


Deutzia with Choisya Aztec pearl in background
Clematis “Niobe”
Deutzia “Pink-a-Boo”



She Gardens, yeah yeah yeah

A themed garden for those who love the Beatles as much as I do…

If you have a spot with plenty of sun, try creating a flower bed with a kaleidoscope of color in true Beatle fashion.  These are all plants that would do well in my Pacific Northwest garden.   This was kind of fun…  I’ll have to create more themed gardens!

N0903177 140
Astrantia “Abbey Road”
beatlemania carex
Carex “Beatlemania”
Hemerocallis “Eight Days a Week”
Golden Slumbers_600
Hemerocallis “Golden Slumbers”
iris abbey road
Bearded Iris “Abbey Road”
marmalade skies
Rose “Marmalade Skies”
penny lane
Bearded iris “Penny Lane”
ringos starr
Hemerocallis “Ringo’s Starr”
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Rose “McCartney”
weigela dark horse
Weigela “Dark Horse”
Dianthus “Lady Madonna”
Hemerocallis “Strawberry Fields Forever”
Hemerocallis “Twist and Shout”
Hemerocallis “Yellow Submarine”
Penstemon “Blackbird”
Euphorbia “Blackbird”

The Transition in the Garden

The transition has arrived.




It feels as if spring has gone for another year and summer has arrived very suddenly.  Yesterday it was struggling to reach 70 degrees by late afternoon, but today it is 85.  This is life in the Northwest. Every day brings something new.  It can be a bit tough on the garden flowers, though.  The spring blooms don’t like the heat and whither away quickly. It does always seem odd to have roses and rhododendrons blooming at the same time.

Here it is May and I’m already having to water my flower beds.  We are well below normal for rainfall this month already.  Not good!

The stars of the show this week are weigelias – I have several because the deer usually leave them alone.  Plus they are tough as nails.   No need to coddle these shrubs.  Roses are starting, clematis vines are starting up and hopefully will bloom alongside the deutzia in which it is climbing.  Can’t wait for the peonies!



Good companions, a berberis and Snowflake Spirea
Siberian Iris
Rhododendron “Consolini’s Windmill”