Fling 2014: McMenamins Kennedy School

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An example of how our mood affects how we see things, if ever one was needed.  We'd been to six(?) gardens before McMenamin's Kennedy School by that time of the day, and it was hot, hot, hot, and I was starting to hurt all over.  I would have gone and sat on the bus a while, but the bus was about ten degrees hotter than the outdoors--getting the picture?  Grumpy I was. 
Yucca(?) leaves with curly tips tried to cheer me up:
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My mood was lifted when McMenamin's head gardener arrived and gave us a tour of the plantings.  McMenamins Kennedy School, I discovered, was not a school named after someone with the odd first name of McMenamins.  
I got several shots of the curly-tipped leaves, but it would have been smart to get a photo of the front of the building at least.  I was too tired (and hot!  Did I mention it was hot?) to be smart at that point. 
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 It's a former elementary school, previously known as the Kennedy School, of course, converted into a hotel/bar/entertainment complex by McMenamins, a chain of Portland brewpubs.  It was featured on our tour due to the grounds, which are planted quite a bit beyond the typical commercial style of shrubs, lawn, and annual bedding color.  
Barberry (Berberis) I understand is a vastly-overplanted shrub, somewhat invasive, in many parts of the country.  Not to southern California eyes, where it's not planted and is therefore interesting.  I liked it.  Hopefully this is actually a Berberis.  Uhhh...unless it's a Lophomyrtus? Lophomyrtus 'Red Dragon'?  Even better.
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Our guide was a true plantsman and very informative, but I had a hard time hearing him most of the time, or I was too tired to listen (and hot, really hot).   
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Neat plants and grasses and shrubs.  It was late afternoon and the light was either non-existent or blazing-bright.  
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Neat trees, out of the ordinary trees we do not see in Southern California.
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This tree cast lovely cool shade, if you stood in the right spot.  If you stood in the blazing direct sun, you could hear our guide, or you could not hear him and stand in the lovely cool shade.  I picked the shade.
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Lonicera there in the background?
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Lots of Arctostaphylos.  I think.
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This was some sort of cool thistle-like thingBurkheya purpurea, native to South Africa. (Thanks, Alison!) If I had not been lurking in the shade, I could have heard the name.
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That's either a nice plant, or a weed, or Saliva mexicana 'Limelight' (Thanks, ks!)
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Towards the end of our tour, we came around the side of the property and were met with an amazing show of dramatically back-lit plants.  Unfortunately at that point my photo skills were--well, it was hot, you know?  Most everything I shot was out of focus.
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The Echinops looked so cool back-lit.  I took dozens of shots but they were all out of focus.  These are the couple that were sort of in focus, but not quite.
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Why does the shape always make me think:  "Sputnik"?  I know I am not alone in this.
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This was a weird little plant.  Someone thought Potentilla of some sort.  Out of focus, like my mind at that point.  
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Loved the dark red lilies.
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When you are tired, when everything hurts and it is hot, this is how your blog post turns out. 


  1. Hah! Heat, tiredness and too much sun are the main reasons why I did so few San Francisco Fling posts. I took a lot of crappy pictures that weekend last year. That is a type of Potentilla, and I'm pretty sure the thistle-looking flower is Burkheya purpurea.

    1. Burkheya purpurea it is. Thank you, Alison!

  2. I took so many bad photos on this trip ! These look better than many of mine do...Your nice plant/weed looks to me like Salvia 'Limelight'..it gets huge and blooms very late, thus I don't plant it anymore. One of my favorite Salvias. I like Berberis too, but it has unfortunately become a mow-blow meatball plant up here, along with Loropetalum. And yes, Lonicera nitida.

    That Potentilla was in the Kuzma garden too...I thought I took a photo of the tag , but no luck. I know it was ID'd somewhere in discussions after the fact, maybe the Fling FB page.

    Don't you love those Echinops ? I hope to add some here in fall .

    1. I adore the Echinops. They need a bit of winter chill I think and fail miserably here.

      Oh, those mow-blow meatballs. Saw a Phormium given the treatment the other day...

  3. I think you got some darn fine shots, considering how hot and tired you (we all) were. I'd try and help with ID but now I'm tired and typing on the iPad which is never conducive to name checking with speed.

    1. Thanks. Some of the fatigue was being overwhelmed with all the beautiful gardens, so it wasn't all bad.

  4. Good association with the word Sputnik, the seed heads do look like artificial celestial bodies orbiting away. The planting there is inspiring and so many choice plants! Great photos, I'm glad you persevered and hung on despite the hot weather at the end of that day.

    1. There were many many choice plants that I wouldn't have noticed without the guide and his obvious affection for some of the plants. I'm so glad he was able to take the time to lead us around, even though I didn't hear half of what he said.

  5. So many beautiful plants dear Hoover, I love the look of meadow plants mixed with more formal plantings and the light you have captured is lovely.
    xoxoxo ♡

    1. The light was magic, I wish I could have done it justice!

    2. You did dear Hoover, the light is wonderful.
      xoxoxo ♡

  6. Your post made me laugh because I know EXACTLY how you felt--I felt that way too. All I wanted was to sit in the shade in that beautiful outdoor restaurant and have a very large, very cold drink.

  7. Picking up on Gerhard's comment, all I could think was that you should have shined on the tour and gone to the pub for a cold drink. That kind of heat, especially at the end of a long day, is TOO much. Can you imagine what a Fling here in SoCal would be like in July?

    Armstrong recently had a very pretty variegated red Berberis for sale, a Monterey Bay Nursery selection if memory serves me. I put it into my dry garden in summer and killed it.

    1. I think I was worried I'd miss the bus back. Wasn't thinking straight! A fling in July here....yechh!

      Sorry to hear about the Berberis. It sounds like it was pretty. They are deciduous? So Cal seems to be short on deciduous shrubs--but no wonder...the growing season is 360 days...

  8. You took good pictures even if it was hot!! I was tired too and didn´t hear nor understand anything that the McMenamin's head gardener said...what a shame...but hey...it was very hot and we where all tired.

    1. Glad to hear that--I thought it was just me melting away!


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