Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Final Fling Day Four -- The Bloedel Reserve and Dragonfly Farms Nursery

On Day Four the group crossed the Sound on the Bainbridge Island ferry and visited The Bloedel Reserve, and then went on to Dragonfly Farms Nursery in Kingston, WA. The day started out overcast and cool, but as we arrived and alighted from our tour buses at Bloedel, the heavens opened, and it began to rain quite hard, precipitating a mad dash into the gift shop to borrow umbrellas.

I have visited Bloedel previously, this past spring for a tour and a marvelous plant sale. You can see photos from that visit and read about it here and here. Their spring woodland ephemerals such as trillium and trout lily were blooming (and it wasn't raining that day).

So this time I decided to try to see and photograph areas that I missed on that previous visit  -- the wilder areas called the Bird Refuge and The Woods, as well as the Japanese Garden, which I strolled through briefly last time but got very few pictures.

While at Bloedel I also attended a short class/workshop on photography given by David Perry, a Pacific Northwest-based photographer. He had given us a "make believe' assignment for the day, to shoot a cover photograph for a magazine known as "Insert Your Blog Name Here," as well as a picture called an establishing shot, that could serve as a two-page spread. He was an entertaining speaker with lots of wonderful advice about f-stops and apertures and many other photography terms that unfortunately went right over my head. Anyway, many of the photos I took at first were all verticals.

Here's my cover shot. Dreadfully trite.

This time I took the road less traveled, at least by me.

This marvelous stump right beside the path was being eaten up by some colony of insects.

A nurse stump with two new trees growing from it.

The woodland path meandered through a wetland area that required raised wooden platforms.

And here's my establishing shot. It's not an overview, but I hope it gives you a sense of place.
This should give you some idea of how much it was raining.

Fungus and moss abound.

They say it's bad luck to cross paths with a black cat, but I've never heard any admonitions about slugs.

The view from the back of the visitor center (formerly the Bloedels' house).

This Japanese maple sits on the bank of the pond in the Japanese Garden.

It has fascinating, mossy, twisted branches.

The path to the teahouse is lined with ferns.

You can get an overview of the pond from the teahouse.

The second half of the afternoon was spent at Dragonfly Farms Nursery in Kingston, WA. Dragonfly is a marvelous nursery with an amazing selection of rare and choice plants. Yes, I bought some.

It also has stunningly beautiful display gardens, with an interesting mix of garden art.



Why is it everyone's poppies stand straight and tall, but not mine?

This gorgeous Abutilon was for sale; one of my fellow Flingers snagged it..

Purple Angelica in the display garden; I hope mine looks this good next year.

Hardy Geranium

Isn't this the coolest rusty metal nest?

I love this bottle border, with the bottles laid on their sides, instead of stuck vertically in the ground.

Well, I am back home now. I had a blast, visiting all the gardens I've shared with you, and meeting other bloggers. It's time to check out my own gardens and see what flowered while I was gone. I'm sorry I am so behind in visiting other blogs, I will try to catch up!


  1. It's easy to get behind visiting blogs this time of year. I love your photographs. So much whimsy and luscious plants. I bet you had a great time.

  2. I so wish I hadn't missed the Fling this year. This garden looks fabulous, and I'm having a major attack of Japanese maple envy. The view from the teahouse is magnificent!

  3. I feel like I've been transported from home, having read your posts on the fling, Alison. Great shots of everything. Sounds like you had a good time on the tours as well as meeting some other bloggers;-)

  4. I was hoping the rain missed you all on Bainbridge. Looks like you still had a great time. I've been wanting to go to that nursery. Looks like a fun place to visit.

  5. Hi Alison, despite the rain, it sounds like you had a great time! I really like the photo you took of the wooden planked walkway. The view from the tea house is gorgeous! are not the only one with wacky poppy stems :)

  6. thanks for sharing your fling experience with us. I like that mossy Japanese maple -- so interesting.

  7. Super shots. It was a fantastic time in Seattle!

  8. Alison, all of your photos would make great magazine covers, gosh, I am in awe. The Japanese garden was amazing...that maple is to die for. I gave up on growing them around here, just too cold. The slug scared me, you guys grow 'em big there, don't you?

    The poppy seed pods look like architectural elements and the angelica is gorgeous, another new one for me. This is the best tour I've ever been on, Alison! So many wonderful ideas, and love their dome-like garden pillar structure, too. Very, very nice!

  9. Some wonderful photographs again, Alison and another lovely day you experienced, despite the rain. The Bloedel Reserve is really beautiful. I could spend many happy hours in a place like that!

    And now, it's back to reality with a bump, I guess, after your exciting, busy 4 day fling! Thank you very much for giving us such a wonderful account of it all.

  10. What a spectacular view from the teahouse at Bloedel Reserve, and I love the display garden at Dragonfly Farms Nursery. So many beautiful flowers and the garden art is so charming.

  11. great shots alison! and lucky you to be able to stop by bloedel and dragonfly nursery as needed... have fun with all your plants! it was so nice to meet you.

  12. How lucky you are to live so close to the Bloedel Reserve. I love your shots of the raindrops on the pond and on the fungus. It was great to meet you.


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