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

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Fling Day Three -- Merrifields Garden Center, Tammy's Wildife Garden and Linda Hostetler's Paradise

I spent Day Two of the Fling ensconced in my air-conditioned room, recuperating from Day One's extreme heat and from my cold. By all accounts, the weather had cooled, so I decided to venture out on Day Three, and I'm glad I did. I had sorted out my point-and-shoot camera by then, but I'm not making any promises about the quality of my photos.

We started the day off with a visit to Merrifield's Garden Center, a large nursery in Gainesville, Virginia. They gave us a warm welcome with a big table full of food and drinks, but I had just eaten breakfast. Water is always welcome, of course. There was a huge gift area with lots of photo opportunities, which is where I concentrated my time. They did have a large area outside full of plants, but there didn't seem to be much point in shopping for plants that I would have to cart back home on a 6-hour plane trip. I just wasn't up for packing plants in my suitcase, plus -- honestly? -- we have the best (and probably the most) nurseries in the country right here in the PNW. I didn't think I'd find anything to buy that I couldn't get back home that was worth the trouble of packing, or bringing in my carry-on. (I'm sure I'm going to take heat for that...)


Blogger Andrea, temporarily living in the D.C. area, poses with the heavily laden table o' food

The only item I wanted in this display was probably not for sale -- that retro woman's head

Words I took to heart, considering I was still coughing like an escapee from a tuberculosis ward

Tammy's Garden Casa Mariposa

From Merrifield's we got back on the buses, and headed for the garden of blogger Tammy, who had organized the D.C. are Fling and had opened her garden as well. Tammy writes a blog called Casa Mariposa, which means House of Butterflies, and her garden is designed as a pollinator's paradise. According to the blurb that we received "Her cottage style garden is completely organic and packed with native plants and ornamentals that attract and support wildlife. All annuals that attract pollinators are grown from seed during the winter."

Tammy greeted us at the door -- no, she isn't saluting, but shading her eyes from the sun

Like my own garden, Echinacea is a mainstay

I love how some of the Rudbeckia flowers have a rust red center that coordinates with the red daylily next to it -- a nice combo, whether planned or a happy accident

We were all told to ask Tammy about her "ugly arbor" but everyone seemed to be too intrigued with shooting a good photo of this Clematis bloom hanging just above the gate attached to the arbor. There was actually a waiting line of people, backed up to get a shot.

I took my photo as quickly as possible, which is why the doorknob is in focus and the flower isn't

Tammy's back garden was chock-full of great pollinator plants

Charming back steps

Pots galore

Towards the back, a shady area

Another nice daylily combo

I thought the throat of this daylily coordinated well with the Echinacea

Tammy's garden had lots of nice decorative touches, like this empty picture frame

One perfect Dahlia

Nearby, a grumpy-looking cardinal sat in a tree, probably waiting for all these noisy invaders to vacate his favorite habitat
Linda Hostetler's Garden

Our third stop on Day Three was the garden of landscape designer Linda Hostetler. "Her incredible garden started with poison ivy and three dead cherry trees and has become an exuberant red and blue playground threaded with vignettes created by a collector gone mad. She and her husband dug a 90' stream and a 16X24 foot pond for their resident amphibians."

I loved this garden, it made me glad I got out of bed that morning.

It was hard to get a good shot of the front garden, this is just a small part of it

Loved this face in the bed surrounded by succulents that create the illusion of  hair

Begonia grandis was used extensively

This small pond and stepladder-style waterfall was part of a side garden/patio

This large heavily decorated shed/garden structure was beside the pond

As you continued past the shed, you entered the large back garden, which seemed to go on and on.

The garden was full of those royal blue accents

This plant -- Curcuma -- was the subject of much Googling to see if it might be hardy in the PNW

A stone spiral/labyrinth with a tulip-shaped pot in the center was a prominent feature

There was a second, larger, similar pot further in the garden

More blue accents and enormous planting beds and gravel paths

Some funky garden art

A small portion of the 90' stream, beautifully planted with Hostas and Hakone grass
Another part of the stream

And the pond, where frogs abounded

There have been quite a few posts about the Day Two gardens by bloggers who attended the Fling. If you're interested, here are a few about some of the gardens that seemed interesting.  

Digging: Southern Gothic Garden of Jeff Minnich

Danger Garden: The Garden of Jeff Minnich

Digging: Color-blended garden retreat of designer Barbara Katz

Late to the Garden Party: Barbara Katz's Garden - The backyard of my dreams

Danger Garden: The Garden of Barbara and Howard Katz

I missed some nice gardens, but I really needed that day off.


  1. All three locations were fun to see, but yes, that last garden was wonderful! Thank you for sharing your photos!

  2. I'm so glad you made it out for the last day of the Fling!

  3. You caught quite a few things I missed in all 3 locations, Alison. I saw what was perhaps the very same cardinal while in Tammy's garden but never succeeded in getting a decent photo of it. That was a very full day but well worth the time.

  4. Great to see these gardens through your lens! There was a similar retro woman's head for sale at the Tacoma home and garden show vintage market which I'm still kicking myself for not buying.

  5. Each of the 3 stops that day was worth getting out of bed for. From Merrifields that held so many treasures (I coveted much more then just that antique mannequin), to Casa Mariposa with it's fabulous shade garden (that "sea urchin" fruit was even more interesting then the flower), to the magnificent Hostetler's garden: I LOVE the stone spiral. I wonder how tough it would be to keep it tidy.

  6. Sorry to hear you were sick during Fling. Day three was filled with lots of great garden stuff not to be missed.

  7. well I have to say Lindas garden was extremely challenging to photograph and you made an excellent effort.I'm impressed at how well your photos turned out!

  8. I loved Tammy's garden - she achieved so much in a small space. Linda Hostettler's garden was incredible but very difficult to capture.

  9. I was ill the 2nd day of the SF Fling, so I know how that goes. Too many wonderful things in your post to comment coherently. Yes, the PNW does have the best plant nurseries right now. Enjoy, enjoy, it is a precious wonderful thing. San Diego is still pretty great with all the growers they still have, but that day will pass as the human population takes over.

    The stone spiral in Linda H's garden is so very very well done. I've seen a few of those, and hers is by far the best executed. The ponds and waterfalls as well.

  10. Thanks for such a great write up! Linda's garden is simply stunning. :o) It's like falling through a rabbit hole. It just keeps going and is an absolute wonder.


Gardening is a solitary activity. But blogging about it is a social phenomenon! I don't make money from my blog by advertising, or use it to drive customers to a business. If you liked my post, or my writing or photography, or even just one picture or turn of phrase, I'd love to hear from you. That's how I get paid.