Have You Seen Our Poetry Post?

Since August 2020, the Hoffman Writing Program has featured a monthly poem by a writer with strong connections to the North Oregon Coast on the back side of the Wonder Garden kiosk. The poems are selected from our publications, the North Coast Squid, the Word & Image project, and our most recent, Sheltering, a collection of poems written by the students of our Introduction to Poetry class from earlier this year.  The poems for the post are selected by a committee including Phyllis Mannan, Emily Ransdell, and Shirley West.

Beginning in 2021, we will make monthly announcements of the work that has been selected.

August                  “Writing Poetry in April, 2020,” Vera Wildauer, Manzanita

September           “In a Time of Uncertainty,” Marcia Silver, Manzanita

October                “When This Is Over,” Shirley West, Manzanita

November            “Ode to Scrabble,” Tela Skinner, Neahkahnie

December            “On Watching the Netflix Show, Tidying Up,” Emily Ransdell, Camas, WA and Manzanita

Wonder Garden News

This week in the Hoffman Wonder Garden
May 12, 2020

Halimium lasianthum  ssp. formosum.  wooly rockrose

Don’t miss what’s happening right now where each day plants strut their superb spring plumage and growth spurts.

If you’re in need of a life-affirming experience and are comfortable being out and about, take a wander through the Wonder Garden. The plant life is irrepressible.

This week we feature:

1. Limnanthes douglasii ssp. nivea — Douglas’s meadowfoam

2. Gilia tricolor — Birds’ eyes

3. Silene uniflora ‘Druitt’s Variegated’ — catchfly, sea campion

4. Halimium lasianthum  ssp. formosum — wooly rockrose

5. Aquilegia longissima selection — long-spurred columbine



Tool Shed For The Wonder Garden

Someday is Now!

“Someday, we said, we’d have a tool shed for the Wonder Garden. Backseats were meant for better things. Starting with a generous donation from Chip Greening in 2018 and recent funds from raffling  a stained glass window created and donated by Jo Newhouse for the Manzanita Day – Tool shed money! Then came Lloyd Lindley, who donated his design skills to create a moveable, arts-center worthy structure. Then came the versatile Philip Hammond who assisted Lloyd nail by nail in a collaboration of friendship, art and wonder. A village, in word and in deed! Thank you all.

And the winner of the Wonder Garden raffle is …

We’re delighted to announce the winner of the Wonder Garden Raffle

Congratulations to Larry Paluck, the proud owner of Jo Newhouse’s gorgeous stained glass window created for the Hoffman Center to benefit our Wonder Garden.

Thank you, Jo, for your enormous generosity. And thanks to everyone who bought tickets. The Wonder Garden will be all the more beautiful for your support.

Manzanita Day was a surprising delight in view of the circumstances. Forty plant lovers attended Neil Bell’s online presentation, Manzanita: The Shrub Worthy of A Town. The gathering was quite lively! We were impressed.

Stay tuned for more horticultural how-to’s in the near future. In the meantime, if you’re in need of a life-affirming experience and are comfortable being out and about, take a wander through the Wonder Garden. The plant life is irrepressible.

September 25th Attendance Broke All Records

Attendance broke all records at our most recent Wonder Garden Wednesdays program.
Standing room only!

Plaintively pink flowers, weeding with tweezers and plants that thrive on neglect were among the topics covered by plant curator, Ketzel Levine, who fielded probing participant questions such as, “When is a plant a cultivar, a variety, or a cultivated variety?” Heady stuff.

Our small group walk-throughs are for all lovers of beauty, whether non-gardeners or deranged hortheads. The walk-and-talks are tailored to your own level of curiosity and particular interests, with a focus on unusual plants you CAN try at home.
Pre-registration is appreciated 

Speaking of pink flowers…
The Wonder Garden has declared all-out war on a lovely,
long-blooming and heinously invasive geranium.
Check out our next blog post to find out why.



Wonder Garden Heads into Late September

Life in the WG remains remarkably floriferous, with thanks due to the month’s early downpours. Such delicious sustenance no doubt reassured our weary perennials that life was indeed a venture worthy of setting down roots.

Admittedly, before the rains, it was touch and go for the August-planted specimens we acquired from Dancing Oaks Nursery (Monmouth, OR), but those new additions, including a century-old blue aster and a willow-leaved salvia, are now perking up. Whew.

Right now, despite intense competition from any number of reds, oranges & purples, the WG’s boldest color is the sumptuous yellow of Rudbeckia laciniata, beaming like a searchlight along Division. Though this cutleaf coneflower is capable of 10’ in the best of conditions (stream bank, flood plain, etc), it can still reach 5-6’ in full sun and average water. Also know that this North American native can tolerate some neglect, as discovered in one of our home gardens (not saying whose).

No doubt you’ve been seeing boatloads of black-eyed Susans, a.k.a. rudbeckias, chatting their heads off since early summer. So much percussion! Way too much noise!  This green-eyed cutleaf Susan keeps its own counsel till, drawing itself to full strength, it sings sweet joy.

And The Winner Is…

Meet Gladious murielae, the peacock orchid, star of the late summer border! The first bulb opened at the back of the WG early August and the long blooming season promises to keep us in flower & fragrance well into September.

The pristine, burgundy-kissed blossoms are like white wing-spread origami poised midflight, blooming in succession on arching stems like long-playing daylilies. Oh, but the difference in music between daylilies and peacock orchids! Think brass band vs a capella choir.

Though native to Ethiopia, G. murielae is particularly well-suited to our coast. It asks only full sun and fast drainage. (A Costco membership helps, too. We got ‘em for a song).

But whether African, Australian, Chilean or North American, we at the WG have amassed quite a collection of outstanding coastal plants. It’s time you met them.


Find out about it and sign up here

Earth Laughs In Flowers

Gardeners – at least those who don’t grow dahlias – are typically at their wits’ end by mid-August.  So many plants are past peak bloom and their leafy remains do not go gently; without adequate water, they look like hell.
Well we can’t have that at the WG, showcase that it is. And so our volunteers water, each one caring for her or his own bed, beds they’ve been tending since spring.

If, as Emerson writes, ‘Earth laughs in flowers,’ this is a shout out to the astonishing WG volunteers who continue to keep us laughing:

Guy & Mary Gehling (pictured), Haim Kenig, Mel Luna, Char von Ahlefeld, Jan Layne, Isabella Beaton, Colleen Schwindt, Susan Reinhardt, and the BMOC, Mark Kuestner. Yay team!

Feeling left out of all the fun? Drop us a line, we’ll need you in fall!


A New Look for the Wonder Garden

Yes, it was a bit scary to host heavy equipment in the Wonder Garden, believe you me. But the time had come to upgrade the existing hardscape in order to set the garden off from its coarse gravel surroundings.

All fears were unjustified and not a leaf broken during the dumping, grading and compacting of many, many tons of crushed rock thanks to the expertise of John Longfellow, his crew, plus the undeterrable Lloyd Lindley. The work began at 9am; the facelift was complete by 4pm. True, we did do some damage to the WG budget but, hey, what’s a budget for? Response has been overwhelmingly positive. Hope you agree.

In other easy-on-the-nervous-system news:

Mark your calendars for Wednesday, August 21st at 5pm for the next speaker in our on-going Horticultural Arts series, our own WG plant curator Ketzel Levine. This is your chance to get on a first-name basis with the international cast of characters growing in the garden and to hang out with a doyenne of dirt. The event begins with a talk inside the HCA and ends in the WG with a nosh and a tour. Pre-registration recommended!

Click here for more information.

Bring On The Clouds!


Lest there be anyone bemoaning the absence of SUN & HEAT thus far this summer, we at the Wonder Garden can only say: BRING ON THE CLOUDS!  The cooler overcast days of late June and early July have put the WG over the top, with current flowers lasting longer (check out the English whack job back by the clay columns, Dianthus ‘Chomley Farren’), and high-summer flowers a bit delayed (keep dozing, Lobelia tupa  roast till you’re red!). The overall result is a glorious extension of this year’s hallucinatory color palette, an extension we are grateful for, given that we’re under NO SMALL PRESSURE to have the WG looking absolutely fabulous for the Garden Party Fundraising Event.

And so a shout out to the non-stop blooms of our new, steamy orange Watsonia from South Africa’s Cape floral kingdom and to that dark-eyed show-stopper, Geranium ‘Ann Folkard’, a genus native to Turkey, Armenia & the Caucasus but named after the very English ‘Ann’ after hubby Oliver found this golden-leaved hybrid is his garden.

Well done, Oliver.