We had dinner at Cuvée Friday night and spent the night in Carlton. The next day, my friend Susan and I headed even further into the countryside to visit Dancing Oaks Nursery. I had only been there in high summer and Susan had never seen the place. It is far FAR off the beaten path, but well worth the trip through gorgeous countryside. The above scene is the one that greets you as you approach the nursery. Having driven through pounding rain, we were heartened to see the skies clear.
Nothing like a spiky greeting to get things off to a good start.
Where to start? We followed our noses through several hoop houses jam-packed with plant life, and in this case overseen by one of the many cats who rule here (see him stretched out over the door at the far end?).
Most of the plants under cover are well marked, like this Magnolia.
Here is the plant that goes with the label. Isn’t it a beauty?
It was the red leaves that attracted me, but knowing that this is a Tibouchina lets me know that velvety flowers are its real calling card.
Nice to know that it has another season in which to shine.
Can you tell that the people here have a lot of fun doing what they do?
Having combed through the greenhouses, it was time to stroll around the grounds. Still stripped down to winter bones…
sporting their own spare beauty. I neglected to ask about these trees, but I love them.
This is a good time to appreciate the garden art sprinkled about.
This colorful glass fish is nestled in grasses bordering a pond.
Across the pond, grasses and cat tails have been allowed to dry in place.
A little rill feeds the pond and serenades us all.
A rustic fence surrounds the rill, with seating nearby.
Transitioning to the pergola is this rough wooden structure.
Standing sentry at the entrance to the pergola, an Edgeworthia is just beginning to come into flower.
It will become a dark tunnel when things leaf out, but the sun plays peek-a-boo now, as we head down the path through the pergola.
Looking back the way we have come, a large pot catches the light and beckons to us.
A weeping blue Atlas cedar has been trained up one upright and allowed to weep down from above.
Some newer looking berms act as a buffer between the cultivated garden and the natural areas beyond. The star of this berm is this Eucalyptus, while beyond Agaves, Opuntias and Yucca reign.
A few flowering plants have broken dormancy to bejewel the landscape. These Iris r. ‘Pixie’ are joined by Hellebores
and random clumps of snowdrops.
At the pavilion, where goodies were being served, I loved this arrangement of pots, one holding a dramatic Agave, another filled with rocks to receive the runoff captured by the rain chain.
Don’t these willow chairs tempt you to sit a while and bask in those rare rays of sunshine?
As we wandered, refreshed, back towards the sales shack, I couldn’t stop clicking away. Here’s another of many rain chains, this time hanging from a tree branch. Pots are used throughout the garden as containers and as stand-alone sculptural pieces.
An ancient looking magnolia stellata seems to be saying “Come back soon and see me strut my stuff”.
You would be doing yourself a disservice if you hurried away without indulging in some chit chat with the owners of this edenic corner of the world. Here’s the view out over the valley as we reluctantly bid adieu. I know you will want to know what came home with me, but that will come in a later post. I have used restraint at each stop on this spring’s buying spree, but the plants are piling up. I will soon need to deal with them, and then all will be revealed…I promise.