Friday, August 18, 2017

Eucomis comosa

Eucomis comosa is one of the most beautiful perennial bulbs.  It usually blooms in August in Seattle.  The first blossoms open at the bottom of the stalk & slowly proceed to the top.  The dark red seed pods are also quite attractive.  Eucomis comosa is known at the Pineapple Lily because of the tuft of leaves at the top of the flower stalk, which cause it to resemble a pineapple.  This plant is native to South Africa, but hardy in Seattle.  The flower spikes multiply every year.  It comes in colors from white through light pink to deep burgundy.  It is easily available through mail order, the least expensive way to buy it.  You can also get it at nurseries when it is in bloom, but the number of plants available are usually rather few.  Eucomis comosa needs full sun, regular water & rich soil to grow well.  It does not tolerate dryness.  It looks lovely in pots, but does much better in the ground.  I think they look very nice combined with oriental lilies, as shown in the photo above.

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Alphabet District in Portland

These photos were taken in October 2014.

The Alphabet District is my favorite part of Portland OR, a city I have visited often.  It is one of the oldest residential neighborhoods in Portland. Much of the architecture is quite charming, built between 1890 & 1950. It has an impressive retail district, with many shops & restaurants on NW 23rd Avenue, somewhat fewer on NW 21st Avenue & W Burnside Street. The Alphabet District is named for the alphabetical arrangement of streets from Burnside to Wilson across the district. These same streets also run through the Pearl District & Old Town/Chinatown, within walking distance.

John H Couch staked a claim to the square mile directly north of Portland in 1845. When laying out his claim, he used the same 200 x 200 foot blocks as the original plat of Portland. Streets were given numbers & letters in alphabetical order, later named in 1891. He followed the bend of the Willamette River in orienting this grid, creating angled & misaligned streets along W Burnside Street. The original plat went as far as west as 8th Street & north to Glisan Street. Subdivision reached NW 16th Street by 1865. This grid was later extended to most of Northwest Portland.

The Alphabet District is part of the Northwest District & also called Nob Hill. The North South Line of the Portland Streetcar runs through the district on NW Lovejoy & NW Northrup Streets as far as NW 23rd Avenue on its was to & from the Pearl District & Downtown Portland.