weddings & banners


Anna chose a pale turquoise for her bridesmaids’ dresses and other accents, so the banners marking entry to the grounds played off that, while the banners near the altar used many variations on white, with only the streamers in turquoise.


Each of those white chairs held a pierced wood fan with a greeting from Gil and Anna. The fans were pressed into service immediately, as it was an unusually hot day (though not into the 100’s as predicted). You can see the banners in the distance, over the heads of the handsome crowd.


First down the aisle was Linda (mother-of-the-bride), setting the bar pretty high in terms of beauty and graciousness.


Whitney, Anna’s sister, was maid of honor. See…it runs in the family.


And here comes the bride…on the arm of her handsome father, Barry.


No gardener will fail to note the floral arrangements throughout this wedding, from the bouquets and boutonnieres to the lavish arch seen here.


The horse arena had been converted to dining hall, complete with hardwood dance floor


While the displaced horses loitered just outside, as if to provide a little extra atmosphere.


Even the cake carried out the theme.


Waving goodbye to sated guests, a last banner marks the exit.

the Quirk & Neill garden

Yesterday was a fine day for a drive in the country. Good thing, too, as I managed to get us thoroughly lost more than once. The garden created by Craig Quirk and Larry Neill was well worth any extra time and gas expended to find it (coming from the opposite direction from the directions can be confusing to the spatially challenged). We feared an extended stay when it took us half an hour to work our way down a short side walkway to the garden proper. There was so much to see…not only spectacular plantings, but artful surprises tucked in here and there and everywhere.


Eventually, we emerged into the Mediterranean garden, where we were greeted by Craig Quirk, who graciously offered to answer any questions we might have. I had to do some self-editing, as everywhere I looked were plants I had never seen before (didn’t want to swamp our poor host right off the bat). In the foreground of the first picture is a yucca just coming into bloom, backed by a stand of Asdenophile with feathery foliage and a plethora of tiny pencil-like buds which open fully towards evening (I liked them like this). I forgot to ask about that spiny character in the lower right corner, but the leaves entering the frame from the lower left are Melianthus major.


And here is the Melianthus in a starring role center stage in a muscular aqua pot with an arrangement of Echeverias and sea glass at its feet. The background blue is not the sky, but a concrete wall backing a pool with a tall column spilling water into it. On the other side is a secret shade garden of which I have no pictures (in respect for its secretiveness).


This grass keeps popping up, and this is the most success I have had capturing the luminous seed heads on long, stiff stems. Stipa gigantea is, I think, the name it goes by.


These guys are not about to be thwarted by lack of color. Once the petals fall, they paint the poppy pods to enhance the carefully plotted color scheme.


This was as close as I could come to an overview of the main garden. It is divided into color quadrants around a grassy center anchored by a tall wind sculpture. The impressive red banana to the right has a fellow sentinel to the left. They reside in giant pots, and are treated as annuals (no room in the greenhouse).


Standing at the back of the blue quadrant, the defining golden cypresses can be glimpsed through a haze of blue salvia.


A whimsical palm tree…can you identify those coconuts?


On the far side of the garden is a shady oasis, where this giant cast concrete Gunnera leaf drips water into a waiting pool.


While nearby a Crinus has formed handsome pods to rival the dramatic flowers that went before, flanked by leaves of glass catching the light.


The tablescape of succulents where we ended our tour also included a platter of to-die-for cookies flavored with exotic spices and lemonade enhanced with basil and mint. We observed that gardeners are invariably excellent cooks, and generous to a fault.

The open gardens feature of HPSO is my favorite of the many perks that come with membership. I urge you to join if you would like to be invited into wonderlands such as this.

july bloom day

This year is a head-scratcher. Some things are early, some are late. Whatever. Plenty in bloom, so come with me:


The day lilies are in full stride. This one came as a reward for volunteering at the HPSO plant sale.


And the plain old orange variety has as much charm as the fancy hybrids.


I took any number of shots of Verbena bonariensis, and this is as close as I got to capturing the see-through quality that makes it welcome as it seeds itself all over the place.


Borage is another prolific self-seeder. It has a cucumber-y flavor and pretty pale blue flowers, so I will just try to keep ahead of it and hope for the best.


The Hydrangeas are coming on. This one is ‘Preziosa’.


This sedum has lovely bronze foliage, now completely obscured by the flush of almost-red blossom. Can you see the eggplant developing on the plant in front?


Another sedum dressed in pink.


Rosa ‘Dortmund’ is finally making her presence known climbing up a fence post. The deer can no longer keep up with her…or maybe they have lost interest.


The Calmagrottis at the pond’s edge captures the light.


Wild field daisies crop up wherever allowed.


I thought Bloom Day might get a little boring, with the same things blooming year after year. Just as if to prove me wrong, this butterfly found the lavender walk irresistible and spent a good part of a morning working it over. To see what is blooming all over the world, go to my blogroll and click on May Dreams Gardens.