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

Monday, July 25, 2011

Handmade Perfecto Funkadelic Fling

We spent Day Three of Fling at the West Seattle Farmer's Market, then on to two wonderful gardens in West Seattle, an area known for small lots and old houses. In fact, it is Seattle's oldest neighborhood. The original landing point for the Denny Party, the explorers who founded Seattle, is here, on Alki Beach (where Tom Hanks and his son had a picnic in Sleepless in Seattle). The founders who made camp there eventually moved on to the site where downtown Seattle sits today.

Today's private gardens were small, intimate and personal -- truly a reflection of their owners' tastes and sensibilities. The first garden we visited was that of our own intrepid leader, Lorene Edwards Forkner, who greeted us when we arrived like Evita blessing the poor masses.

Don't cry for me-e, Seattle....

Lorene spent a large part of this past year working hard on a new book for Timber Press --  Handmade Garden Projects: Step-by-Step Instructions for Creative Garden Features, Containers, Lighting & More. Most of the projects depicted in the book were built and photographed last summer in her  garden and many of them are in the photographs I took today. Her projects feature the reuse and repurposing of items that often get thrown out. The book should be available on November 15, 2011.

Mosaic ball sitting on a bed of stones and wine corks

Hmmmm....I think Life's a Fling!

Stone-filled gabion topped with a pot of succulents

Recognize the mattress springs?

Wine bottle border edging

Terrarium made of what looks like an old light fixture

What? You want to see some flowers? Oh, alright....

Rusty shovel heads used as ornaments

Mattress spring trellis

Stacked broken concrete border edging

What? That gorgeous poppy wasn't enough? Fine. Here's a cool Clemmie.

Semi-circle of rusty wire fencing holds up a hardy Geranium

Free-form concrete grot

Water feature - wonderful trickley sound

Firepit and gabion seating
Yew and rose intertwined

The piece de resistance -- an old travel trailer often used as the centerpiece of any garden party
Travel trailer interior

I don't know what it is....but I want one!

The second garden on today's tour was that of Kate Farley, a Seattle landscape designer. It was a magical combination of opulent flowers, cool shade and repurposed materials. Like Sleeping Beauty's castle, the house is surrounded by an impenetrable thicket of English laurel, which provides cool shade to the front garden.

There's a house in there somewhere

Although despised by many in the PNW for its overuse and invasive nature, an English laurel hedge has been put to good use here.

An opening into the front shade garden has been pruned into the hedge

Leaf-strewn path

A dead tree remains to provide a structural element above

And texture below at eye level

A wall created of brick, stone and construction rubble hosts plants in its crevices

You emerge from the shade along the side of the house into a riot of color

A sea of Alstromeria

As in Lorene's garden, here repurposed materials are used to good effect.

An old blue rake holds back a variegated dogwood

An empty rusty metal frame sits atop a concrete culvert pipe

An old concrete basket holds pine cones and a saxifrage

The garden shed has a chimney made of mixed materials

Inside the shed, an old wood stove sits

An old shawl or tablecloth covers the window

Drawers too big to be pushed back in hold a variety of materials