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

Friday, July 22, 2011

I Think There's a Bottle (or Two) of Ibuprofen in My Future...

My first day of Garden Bloggers' Fling in Seattle is just about ended and all I can say is...

Holy Moly! Ever wonder what 60+ women sound like when they all talk at once?

I am exhausted. I've been so excited about this upcoming get-together of garden bloggers that I haven't been sleeping well for a week. I got up this morning from my home and drove into Seattle to the hotel where everyone is staying, checked in, had breakfast, picked up my welcome packet, and then went up to the lobby to wait for the tour buses that would take us to the first two private gardens on the agenda.

The lobby slowly started to fill. It got louder and louder. And warmer and warmer. I had to escape to the great outdoors.

Fortunately, for wasn't raining!

The rain stopped just in time for Fling! Just for us.

Anyhoo -- this first garden represents the hard work of Suzette and Jim Birrell. It was a wonderful mix of ornamentals and gigantic edibles. Her Swiss chard was the size of rhubarb. I didn't get a picture of it. But I took plenty of others.

A sea of sea holly

Such a marvelous juxtaposition of ferns

These Arisaema leaves were huge!

A peak behind the foliage

Sarracenia/Pitcher plant

Bell-shaped Clematis

One perfect flower (I'm not a rose grower, but if I were, I would plant two-tone roses like this.)

With the brutally wet and cold spring and summer we've had, do you know how impossible it is to grow Hollyhocks that look this healthy and stand so straight and tall? Must be magic.

I have no clue what plant this is,'s gorgeous! (I reserve the right to reuse this caption over and over again this weekend)

This cute little bubbler was tucked away

I'm not 100% positive, but I think this is Galega officinalis (it wasn't a Lupine)
Aren't these stone steps amazing?

There was a large stand of this ornamental oregano (possibly 'Kent Beauty') draped over the curb

 This second garden represents the hard work of Shelagh Tucker. It was a mix of raised beds and crushed stone paths, with plants popping up right in the middle of the gravel. It's not a look in keeping with my own cottage garden. But many aspects of it appealed to me.

I love the contrast of the soft grass against the hard stone

I don't have a clue what it is, but it's cool! And I want it! (Another caption I will undoubtedly reuse.) Edit: I think it is Lobelia tupa.

Chocolate Cosmos

This garden was full of these lovely little vignettes

The sweetpeas smelled amazing!

I have no clue what this is...but it's cool! And I want one.


Thalictrum of a different sort.

Red Helenium

Cool! Just totally cool!

One perfect poppy

Pineapple guava

It was so very kind and generous of both the Birrells and Shelagh Tucker to open their gardens to this huge bunch of stampeding, chatty folk. Both gardens are obviously a labor of love to their respective owners.

We also visited the Dunn Gardens in North Seattle (where my camera ran out of juice), the Center for Urban Horticulture, the Elisabeth C. Miller Horticultural Library (a library that lends to the public and specializes in gardening books and magazines and other publications). And we got a tour of the Soest Garden outside the library, as well as a trip to Ravenna Gardens, a local boutique garden shop almost next door to the hotel. Where we got an incredible Bag o' Swag.

Incredible Bag o' Swag

Well, my head and heart are both still pounding. I'm having a great time. Can I withstand three more days of this? Time for a handful of Ibuprofen and (hopefully) a good night's sleep.