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

Sunday, June 3, 2012

An Outing to Orting

Today I visited four gardens in Orting and Graham, Washington for the Garden Conservancy's Open Days. It was a cloudy but comfortable day -- no rain -- which was good for picture-taking. I'm only going to write about two of them -- Homeranch and the Old Goat Farm.

I also visited the Chase Garden, which I visited last year and wrote about here. The fourth was the Mt. Tahoma Nursery garden, which was interesting and full of little alpine plants, but I didn't really get pictures that can capture it adequately. It is, however, an excellent little boutique nursery, open only by appointment, with a very knowledgeable owner, and I highly recommend it if you're into small, unique rock garden plants.

Homeranch -- Ted Van Velzen and Ruben Corpuz

This first garden I visited was quite a lovely garden, large and spread out, with lots of island beds in a sea of grass, and large trees with shade beds under them.

Quite a few pots were scattered throughout the garden. I loved this one with an orange and red Abutilon.

The lovely house, which is actually much larger than it looks here, is nestled in the middle of the expansive garden, amongst the trees and grass.

These island beds were just to the right of the house.

Loved these tall concrete pillars!

Look at the red veins on that ornamental rhubarb!

Island beds like this one were spaced randomly throughout the grassy garden.

These stacked stones (just stacked and balanced, no glue) were in quite a few beds too.

A gorgeous blooming Clematis.

The garden had several of these decaying stumps nursing a new tree.

One of the many shady beds with a meandering path.

A cute garden shed had its own foundation bed.

The cutting garden contained an abundance of irises, poppies, peonies, and columbines.

I have to find a source of seeds for this light pink poppy.

Old Goat Farm

This demonstration garden is part of the Old Goat Farm nursery, a small nursery open to the public one weekend per month, or by appointment.

One of the first things I saw when I entered the garden was...a gabion!

And another one.

I love the little rock gardens growing in a jumble on top.

Rocks, moss, driftwood, ferns, mini hostas...

Clay chimney flue liners make good planters too. And hey, look over there!

More gabions, very similar to mine. They sell these in their nursery area.

This bench made from a mossy log supported by piles of rocks was pretty cool.

It had some truly beautiful fungi growing on it.

The garden shed was interesting too.

These cool clay faces were hanging on the side of the shed.

The barn and house both were surrounded by gorgeous beds and various items of garden decor.

A pig with Mardi Gras beads, LOL!

I loved this cone full of feathers next to a picture of birds.

The source of the feathers?

Trust me to find the chickens.

And the turkeys.

Peacocks too.

Of course I had to stop in the nursery area and buy a few plants.

What's this? An agave? No, it's not. It's an Eryngium agavifolium. I bought two for the drought-tolerant garden.

I also bought a Trachystemon orientalis for my dry shade bed and a Clematis recta purpurea, just because it was beautiful. I do have a good spot for it.

And I am now kicking myself for not buying this large Agave americana.

Well, they're open to the public next weekend. Hopefully, it will still be there.


  1. Those look like fun gardens to visit! Now that I've been to Orting I can imagine how pretty they must have been.
    The white peacock is really cool!

  2. I've never seen anyone else comment on this so maybe it's just an issue for me, but many times your text and photos don't match up, for instance you mention a nursery area to buy plants and an E. agavafolium but there is another picture of the garden shed. Then you mention an Agave Americana but I see a rooster. Naturally since these are favorite plants of mine I want to see them! Is it just my computer that is messed up?

  3. Oh crap, Loree! That is annoying. So this has happened before? So some of the pictures get repeated?

    I'm sorry I don't know how to fix it. I hope others chime in on whether it has been happening for them too. It looks just fine to me.

  4. what a wonderful serie! love the peacock and the beautiful flowers :)

  5. Wonderful tours, thank you...such creative displays and wowzer! I've never seen a white peacock before.

  6. Wow Alison, you shared a lot!!! Love the house at the first place, cool architecture. The clay faces are fun, love the one with the tongue sticking out. The fern, moss, hosta grouping on top of the gabion is really nice.

  7. Great post...I so enjoyed seeing all of this lovely garden and other interesting sights. Wouldn't you love one of those sheds, I would feel like moving in! xo

  8. What beautiful places. I love them both. That chicken feeder is too cute. Love the fungus too. Great photos.

  9. You always go to such cool places. There were so many interesting things on that little trip. I loved the big cement posts, the ornamental rhubarb, and the barn was excellent. Thank you for taking me a long.


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