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

Friday, March 8, 2019

The Best Is Yet To Come

It's time to time travel. Step into The Time Tunnel (Raise your hand if you remember that old show from the 60s)! Perhaps somewhere on today's whirlwind garden tour we'll run into time travel scientists Doug Phillips (Robert Colbert) and Tony Newman (James Darren, hot off a series of Gidget movies as Moondoggie).

The Time Tunnel Opening Credits

Or maybe we'll run into James Darren's other alter ego Vic Fontaine from Deep Space Nine.

The Best Is Yet To Come -- Vic Fontaine (James Darren) and Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks)
Sorry for the crappy video quality, but the song is fun, and sharp-eyed readers might notice Penny Johnson Jerald, currently starring in The Orville

The Garden of Kathleen and John Neal

Nigel and I arrived very late to this garden, partly due to a late start and partly due to confusion with the GPS instructions. We rocketed up to the house and I hopped out at exactly 4:00 p.m., which is when visiting hours on NPA Open Days end, just as Kathleen and John thought they were saying good-bye to their last guests. They very kindly allowed me the run of the garden for a while, as they went inside the house to decompress after what I'm sure was a long day.

I very much hope they open their garden again this year, because I loved it, even though I only spent maybe 20 minutes there, mostly taking pictures. I didn't really have the time to take it in, but I knew I was seeing a garden with character that really warranted more than my cursory examination from behind the lens of a camera.

Here's their description from the NPA Open Gardens booklet.

The small front garden reveals little of the treasures that hide in the back

This was a nicely planted-up succulent area surrounding a water feature

Kitty and Doggie were garden greeters.

A lovely foliage tapestry in the postage-stamp front garden

A walk out onto the back deck reveals a cluster of bonsai

From the deck you can look down onto the back garden and get a preview of what's to come.

Nicely planted area beside the stairs that lead down into the back

A closer view of the "fireplace"

Well-used potting bench

Porch area underneath the deck

Mossy patio with water feature in the shade leads into a sunny area

A closer look at the moss-covered drippy water feature

Pond with cobalt blue accents -- what a great spot to sit and enjoy the garden!

Another sitting spot behind the pond

View into the garden from the bench

I'm not positive about the ID of this shrub, could it be Styrax? The flowers look too frilly

Goatsbeard (Aruncus) and Sweetshrub (Calycanthus)

Another view of the "fireplace" on the way out

And then, regretfully, I was up the steps and away. Hopefully this garden will be on tour again and I'll have a chance to see it and show it in more detail. It cast a magical spell on me that has stuck.

A different kitty bids us Good-bye

Hope you enjoyed the tour. For us here in the Northern Hemisphere, Spring is coming, which means, as Vic Fontaine sang in the song, "a warm up's underway." It's been remarkably cold here, even though March has arrived.


  1. This house had loads of curve appeal. I like how you phrased it as "postage-stamp front garden". I would have been happy exploring it for a good long time. I love the sedum-planted old wood and defiantly try to make one. The frilly flowering shrub reminds me of mock orange, mostly because of the trunk.

  2. How wonderful they let you wander a bit even though you were late in arriving. I loved that "moss-covered drippy water feature" and after the first photo prayed you'd share a close-up, so thank you! What exactly is the "fireplace"?

    1. The 'fireplace" was a faux fireplace made out of stacked and probably mortared cinder blocks faced with what looked like maybe leftover granite or slate floor tiles.

  3. p.s. I've never heard of The Time Tunnel but could watch those groovy opening credits all day long!

  4. What an incredibly skillful garden, both the plantsmanship and the built aspects.

  5. Oh yes, I know this garden. It is wonderful.

  6. Having previously had a mostly shade garden, I know how challenging they can be but this one was beautifully done. I love the faux fireplace.

  7. What a beautiful detail-rich garden.I hope you get a chance to visit it again.

  8. A great garden that I didn't get to see this year. Hope they open again this summer!

  9. Elegant garden, but also homey and unpretentious.

  10. I love that verdant glade around the water feature.


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