ARTICLE BY: AMY CAMPION
Amy Campion is a HPSO Board Member, freelance writer, editor, and photographer. She blogs about gardening at amycampion.com.
A special Portland garden
I discovered Paul Bonine’s garden entirely by accident one day.
It was March of 2014—less than a year since I’d moved to Portland from Cincinnati—and I was walking around North Portland, taking plant pictures. Paul’s garden stopped me in my tracks.
I was still getting acquainted with our amazing Northwest plant palette, and I was used to being humbled by not knowing some of the plants I encountered, but his garden was full of plants that baffled me. I took photos, and later identified wondrous things like Eucalyptus pauciflora subsp. debeuzevillei, Grevillea australis, Daphne genkwa, and Drimys lanceolata.
The best plants for the Northwest
I eventually got to know Paul through the nursery he co-owns with Greg Shepherd, Xera Plants, and I realized something important about him as a plantsman. Paul doesn’t grow uncommon plants just to grow them. He grows them to determine which ones perform well in our climate with a minimum of fuss. He’s constantly seeking plants that are naturally well adapted to life in the Pacific Northwest.
Gardening in the Pacific Northwest—the book
When Timber Press asked me to help edit Paul’s book, Gardening in the Pacific Northwest: The Complete Homeowner’s Guide, I immediately said yes. Paul is one of the most knowledgeable plantspeople I have ever met, and he’s one of the very best in our region. Helping to make his ideas flow a little better was an honor. I also learned a lot as I worked my way through the book!
Taking the photos was like a botanical treasure hunt, and it gave me a great excuse to see more of our region’s gorgeous public and private gardens. About half of the gardens I photographed for the book were HPSO gardens, so THANK YOU to all who shared their gardens with me! You rock. I love this HPSO group so much.
What’s Trending in PNW Gardens: January 21
Paul and I are hoping to see you all Sunday, January 21 at 1:00 at Hoffman Hall, PSU for the annual HPSO Winter Program. We will be presenting our talk, “Gardening in the Pacific Northwest: What’s Trending.”
We’ll talk about trends such as small gardens, and Paul will show you his little piece of paradise that I discovered that March day. Besides being a master plantsman, he has a pretty good eye for design. The trick, he says, is to plant in multiples, not one of everything (the latter he calls the “pawn shop look”). He’ll introduce you to some of his favorite small garden plants, like the delightfully fragrant Baeckea gunniana and the petite, evergreen Magnolia laevifolia.
I’ll talk about attracting more pollinators to your garden with plants like chaste tree and moon carrot. There will be lots of information and inspiration, and hopefully, some laughs, too.
A gardening book for newcomers and longtime locals
After the talk, we’ll be selling and signing copies of Gardening in the Pacific Northwest. I really wish I had this book five years ago when I first moved to the area; I would have avoided some mistakes and made better plant choices. I think longtime-local gardeners will enjoy this book as well and find real value in it. There are tons of great tips, and the plant palette is quite sophisticated.
Not a member yet?
If you’re not yet a member of HPSO or if you have a friend who’s not a member, note that you can get free admission to the Winter Program if you join by January 19, 2018 (admission is otherwise $10 for members, $20 for non-members): Click Here to Join Now
Hope to see you at the Winter Program!: Click Here to Register for the Winter Program
Gardening in the Pacific Northwest: The Complete Homeowner’s Guide
By Paul Bonine and Amy Campion
A must-have growing guide for home gardeners in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia.
A gardener’s plant choices and garden style are inextricably linked to the place they call home. In order to grow a flourishing garden, every gardener must know the specifics of their region’s climate, soil, and geography. Gardening in the Pacific Northwest, by regional gardening experts Paul Bonine and Amy Campion, is comprehensive, enthusiastic, and accessible to gardeners of all levels. It features information on site and plant selection, soil preparation and maintenance, and basic design principles. Plant profiles highlight the region’s best perennials, shrubs, trees, and vines. Color photographs throughout show wonderful examples of Northwest garden style. Learn more…
Paul Bonine is a garden writer, lecturer, and co-owner of the wholesale and retail specialty plant nursery Xera Plants, in Portland, Oregon. A lifelong plantsman, Paul has worked in the nursery industry for nearly twenty years and has consulted for NPR, the Sunset Western Garden Book, and The Oregonian. (Photo credit: Tom Fischer)
Amy Campion is a freelance writer, editor, and photographer, and writes for an online tree retailer. She worked at a large wholesale/retail nursery for 16 years before moving to Oregon, where she is active in the Hardy Plant Society. Amy blogs about gardening at amycampion.com.