Hilda’s Garden

July 24th, 2014

Hilda in her garden

What could be more delightful than having lunch with long-time friends who are also gardeners? It was a grey day, but Hilda’s smile could light up any amount of gloom.

raised beds

This is a food-centric garden. Hilda does the planting and tending, while Bill pitches in by building structures like these raised beds out front,

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and systems like this one for capturing water, tucked away behind a grape vine on a trellis.

espaliered fruit trees

Espaliered fruit trees divide the space.

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Many of the plantings could pass as purely ornamental, but careful thought has gone into attracting bees and other pollinators.

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Colorful Achilleas spill over gravel paths.

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No reason yummy cannot also be beautiful.

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Not that there aren’t a few plants included for their beauty alone.

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Some architectural fragments peek out here and there.

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Ditto bits of whimsy.

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A bench for taking it all in.

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Thanks, Bill and Hilda, for inviting me to spend an afternoon in your urban oasis.

Flinging Foliage

July 18th, 2014

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Lots of brilliant foliage combinations popped up on the bloggers’ Fling, so I thought I’d share some of them with you for Foliage Follow Up this time. The first one was spotted at Chickadee Gardens.

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The Danger Garden was in full spiky form.

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Foliar peek-a-boo in the Ernst Garden.

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Next door, at the Fuller Garden, fine foliage underfoot.

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You can point your camera anywhere in the Old Germantown Gardens and come away with a winner. This happened to be in the greenhouse.

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Those rose hips were enormous, in the demonstration gardens of Joy Creek Nursery.

Pam is the mastermind behind Foliage Follow Up and I can now vouch for the fact that she is every bit as charming in real life as she is online (it’s a Fling thing…you get to hang out with your gardening heroes).

a quickie fave: Allium ‘Hair’

July 17th, 2014

Allium ‘Hair’

It’s not easy to get a photo of this amusing fellow. He tickles my fancy and is also one of the few Alliums that comes back reliably year after year, and even multiplies. That’s why he’s my favorite right now. What do you suppose the favorite is over in the Danger Garden?

gbbd post-fling post

July 15th, 2014

?clematis

I’m only part way through the photos from the Portland Fling, so not all of the gardens will be represented here. There were so many jaw-dropping blooms on the tour that I can’t resist featuring a few of them for this month’s Bloom Day. The Clematis pictured above was seen at Joy Creek on the first day out and about.

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Wouldn’t you know that Danger Garden would greet the big event with something seldom seen but not soon forgotten.

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Scott, of Rhone Street Gardens is our go-to guy for grasses, so a visit to his garden presented the challenge of capturing their elusive beauty: something only Scott is actually capable of doing.

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Scott is also partial to lilies. This happens to be high season for lilies, so we were treated to many of them over the weekend.

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Some were gigantic (note the roofline) and heavily scented, as these in the Old Germantown Gardens.

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And these beauties in the Ernst Garden.

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Day lilies were having their day, here again in Old Germantown Gardens.

lavender at Westwind

At the Westwind Farm Studio, the first thing you see is a sprawling field of lavender

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followed by large blocks of color created by mass plantings.

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McMenamin’s Kennedy School is surrounded by deep borders packed with interesting plants. This Phygelius was catching the afternoon light.

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As was a single, pristine Magnolia blossom.

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In the Fuller Garden, a dainty Fuchsia’s quiet presence in the shade drew me in.

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The garden of JJ DeSousa was all about drama and staging. She used a lot of these flaming red begonias to reinforce her color scheme.

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Crocosmias are coming into their own about now. In the Chickadee Gardens, they add a bright note to the front border.

It was fun to take a break from my own garden to wallow in the beauty wrought by others’ efforts. Thanks for coming along. Many thanks to Carol, of May Dreams Gardens for hosting Boom Day each month.

in a vase (er, pitcher) on Monday

July 7th, 2014

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A bouquet needn’t be huge. In fact, dainty arrangements are often best at the table, where you don’t want to be looking through the greenery to see your dinner companion. This dainty pitcher, made by a local clay artist, is only two and a half inches tall.

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Nor does it need to be floral. This little posy is made up entirely of foliage: a dark Heuchera leaf and another that is H. ‘Marmalade’, two sprigs of Artemisia ‘Silver Brocade’ and three leafy tips from Weigelia ‘Wine and Roses’.

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Put it on a different background and its whole character changes. Of course part of that is the camera adapting to different light readings too.

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But I am partial to the look of the high gloss Alizarin Crimson of our coffee table as a background.

Do check in with Cathy to see what she and others have found to put in a vase this Monday.

hey kids! Means is having a sale!

June 27th, 2014

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And when they have a sale, it’s a doozy.

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Last year, I was skeptical…but then I rationalized that even if they only lasted a season, full sized specimens at what I would normally pay for annuals were still a bargain. Here it is: one year later and every one of those plants is thriving.

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There hasn’t been a lot of exotic stuff this year, but if you’re looking to plant a hedge, or a sweep of grasses, you can do so without breaking the bank.

Rainbow Leucanthoe

For instance, we keep going back for more of this Rainbow Leucanthoe to line a part of the drive.

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At $2.99 each you can hardly go wrong.

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I was charged with going back for three more and look what happened. I asked about the price of that variegated dogwood and was told it was $49.99…but then he said “you want it? you can have it for $25.” Deal!

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While I’m not big on roses, I did like the color of this one, so I’ll tuck it away somewhere and have the stuff of fragrant bouquets.

agaves & yuccas

Come for the sale, but look around the rest of the place while you’re at it. You might be surprised at what you find.

ANLD highlights

June 24th, 2014

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As promised yesterday, I’m going to show you some of the highlights of this Saturday’s ANLD tour from my point of view. One theme that ran through several gardens was the use of cor-10 steel edging to define paths. I especially loved the sinuous one above.

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Fine attention to detail is one of the hallmarks of these installations, as here, where several elements come together and dovetail perfectly.

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This was another path treatment that appealed to me.

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I’m lifting lots of ideas for plant combinations from this tour…loved the purple poppies with the Kniphofia ‘Timothy’.

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Dynamite color combinations needn’t rely on flowers.

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Seating areas offer another opportunity to play with color. I love the way these chairs add a zesty zing to the chartreuse tones of the foliage.

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Taking advantage of a small porch pulls the garden right into this seating area. I failed to photograph another seating area where I sat a while (but Danger Garden captured it perfectly). It took advantage of a driveway with large planter boxes that were on wheels so they could be moved aside when access to the garage was needed: one of many examples of the problem-solving approach taken by these designers.

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Use of materials is another interesting feature of the tour. Here, the material was poured, then carved to resemble stone.

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Nearby, in the same garden, the same material was used simply, as poured, to form raised planter boxes (personally, I preferred this approach).

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Here’s another approach to raised beds.

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A close relative of the raised beds is this formal retaining wall of cast concrete.

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We were served lunch at Garden Fever!, where service is served up with a sweet smile and you can find many of the things you’ve been falling for on the tour.

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Case in point: This charming wall pocket and most of the plants it contains.

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Each Designer is paired with an artist. In this case resulting in a large slumped glass luxury bird bath.

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Everyone fell hard for this garden gate. Other bloggers (links in yesterday’s post) featured close-ups, so I will give you more of a long view of its placement in the garden. This artist also created a new twist on a bottle tree that must be seen to be believed.

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I failed to ascertain if this was the work of an artist or the garden designer. Which goes to show the fine line between the two. At any rate, the carefully placed stones are part of a fountain.

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Many times the placement of ordinary elements like this large, empty pot, could pass as garden art.

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Several of the gardens had structures. This one had an eco-roof.

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The large deck off the back of the house is the result of close collaboration between the designer and the owners. They wanted several large areas for seating and/or staging groupings of potted plants. Most of the owners made a point of the problems that were creatively solved by the designers.

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I was especially taken with the planters designed by owner David P. Best. I love the assymetrical shape, which was not an easy thing to convey to the fabricator. This one, near the basement door, is painted a light color and planted with Rosemary. Another, on the front porch, is equally handsome in a darker color and planted with some sort of rush.

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A longer version.

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Notice how the foliage of the maple exactly matches the color of the door? If this were to happen in my garden, it would surely be a happy accident. I have no doubt it was intentional in this case.

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So…have I managed to pique your interest in spending your Saturday strolling through six enchanting gardens, engaging in stimulating conversation with artists, designers and owners and filing away your own set of inspirations for future projects? You might win two tickets by backtracking to yesterday’s post and leaving a comment. Barring that, you can purchase tickets at Portland Nursery, Cornell Farms, Dennis’ Seven Dees, Garden Fever!, Xera Plants or online at www.anld.com.

ANLD in a vase…and free tickets

June 23rd, 2014

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I’m taking a different approach to Cathy’s In a Vase on Monday meme this week. The six gardens in the Association of Northwest Landscape Designers (ANLD) were all dressed up for the pre-tour, and most sported flower arrangements. Like the gardens themselves, each had a unique personality.

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These gardens are chock full of ideas: plant combos, hardscaping, garden art and structures. The designers, artists and owners will be on hand to answer questions and expound on their concepts and their experiences working together.

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The tour happens Saturday, June 28 10am - 4pm and I have a pair of tickets to give away to some lucky local who leaves a comment here. I will need contact information so that I can get these in the mail to you by Thursday morning.

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Tomorrow, I will share some of the highlights as I saw them. In the meantime, The Mulchmaid did a comprehensive post and The Girl With A Hammer is also giving away tickets. You can purchase tickets at Portland Nursery, Cornell Farms, Dennis’ Seven Dees, Garden Fever!, Xera Plants or online at www.anld.com.

every day is bloom day in june

June 17th, 2014

We all klnow what June is like, so I’ll limit myself by showing you only the photos that turned out pretty good. Which means these are not necessarily the best things blooming now, but, well, you know what I mean.

Astilbe

With its fluffy flowers just barely catching the light and leaves standing out against a background of Creeping Charlie, my only Astilbe made the cut.

Lecesteria formosa

A passalong plant, Lecesteria formosa is just beginning to bloom. These will later turn to dangling pagodas of purple fruit. Later still, it will make sure to keep the chain of passalongs fueled with new starts that I will dig up and share.

Rosa rugosa ‘Buffalo Gals’

The fence line is currently smothered in the blossoms of Rosa rugosa ‘Buffalo Gals’.See those buds? This will keep blooming for a long long time.

Geum

 This little Geum, another passalong, is nearly smothered by its neighbors. As you may have guessed by now, I like the look of a single blossom surrounded by foliage.

Lychnis coronaria

I’m trying to add just a few spots of color to the foliage-centric Delusional Drive. Lychnis coronaria does just that, and the silvery foliage picks up the theme established by Stachys ‘Helen Von Styne’. I tolerate Helen’s bloom stalks elsewhere because the bees love them, but here I will cut them off.

white iris

Nearby, the last iris to bloom is this NOID white one.

bleeding heart

It’s brethren long gone, one last little bleeding heart peeks through foliage (its own and that of Anemone ‘Honorine de Jobert’. Much as I like to use Latin names, “they” have changed so many of late that I’m resorting to the old, highly descriptive ‘Bleeding Heart’.

NOID Verbascum

I’ll leave you with a NOID Verbascum and a suggestion that you visit our host Carol of May Dreams Gardens to join in the fun.

two weeks of ‘in a vase’

June 17th, 2014

pink peonies, etc.

This is a bouquet I put together last week. The pink herbacious peony has finally reached critical mass, and produces enough flowers that I can cut a few without making the garden suffer. I’m not crazy about pink, but paired with deep wine and burgundy it takes on an altogether punchier personality. Here, I’ve used tall stems of Persicaria ‘Red Dragon’ and three big, shiny Heuchera leaves. The red of the Red Dragon stems shows to advantage in the vase. A few airy sprigs of the wildflower Silene complete the picture.

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I thought you might like a closer look at some of the elements.

in the border

The iris growing in front of the peony was pristine white. For the fleeting moments that both were in bloom, I had me a magical combo.

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This was the border that yielded both of the dark elements.

Eremurus ‘Cleopatra’

The peonies lasted less than a week, but everything else was as good as new, so I refreshed it with three stems stolen from my Eremurus patch. This one is ‘Cleopatra’.

I learned of the ‘In A Vase’ meme on Christina’s wonderful blog. The source, and where you can join in the fun of gleaning bouquets from your garden, is Cathy. See you there?