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

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Visit to Dragonfly Farms Nursery

Does anyone remember about 25 years ago, there was an attempt to reboot the old TV show The Twilight Zone? It was called the New Twilight Zone, and was made without Rod Serling's creepy introductions because he was...well...dead. One of the very first stories was called "Mr. Wong's Lost and Found Emporium," and began with the voice over:

"There is a place where everything that's ever been lost can be found again. A place where lost hopes, lost dreams, lost chances wait for someone to reclaim them. But before you can find them, first you must become the Twilight Zone."

I bet you're wondering where I'm going with this?

Well....there is a place where every plant you could ever hope to grow in your garden can be found. A place where garden hopes, garden dreams, and garden chances wait for you to claim them. But  before you can find them, you must become Dragonfly Farms.

This past weekend I finally managed to make my way up the Kitsap Peninsula to Dragonfly Farms Nursery, whose motto is "Where abnormality is the normality!"  If you read my post last weekend about my ill-fated nursery tour, you know I failed to make it to Dragonfly then. It was the machinations of Fate. If I had made it last week, I wouldn't have gone this weekend, when Heidi Kaster, the owner of Dragonfly, was hosting her first annual garden art festival. So, not only did I have the gorgeous, never-ending tables of plants to drool over, I also had lots of great garden art to check out and artists to chat with.

Garden Accents by Joyce from The Koi Garden -- Leaf castings and other concrete art

Megan Smith Pottery -- ceramic flowers on stakes

Bryant-Wright Studio -- colorful glass art, flowers made from found objects

Redfern Designs -- mosaic art

North Kitsap Metal Recycling LLC

TecWeld -- plasma cut, powder-coated metal art

Bob Wahr Creations -- Found object art, rusty barbed wire bird's nests

Bob Wahr isn't actually his name, but thats's what he called his company -- after the way his grand-dad used to say "barbed wire."

I visited Dragonfly Farms last year on the Garden Bloggers Fling, and wrote about it here. Over the winter Heidi added an espresso stand, that serves both drinks and food. The new food stand is sweet, it looks like it has always been there!

Isn't the little log cabin food stand cute? It even has a green roof.

The patio outside the stand has lovely little accents inlaid in the concrete.

This trellis is for sale, but also provides some adornment for the espresso stand.

There are great little umbrella-covered tables (where Nigel sat reading and drinking coffee while I shopped)

Heidi's display beds have plenty of garden art in them, lots of it for sale.

A rusty old farm implement adorns this bed. Why can't I get my annual poppies to stand up nice and straight like this?

There are lots Epimediums for sale

Also, lots of ferns!

You can barely take a step in Heidi's garden without finding something new to gasp at, and take a picture of.

We had a much easier time getting there this weekend, we drove up the other side of the Sound through Gig Harbor, instead of taking the ferry. It only took about an hour and a half to get there.

I only bought four plants. It was so hard to restrain myself, but I did it. I wanted to buy lots more, but I am running out of room, and I'm going to have a time of it keeping my current pot ghetto well watered for the summer. My plan is to plant anything I buy now in the fall, just before the rains return.

There was no tag, but Heidi kindly identified this for me as Hardy Begonia. Not Begonia grandis, though.

Roscoea purpurea 'Spice Island'

Arisaema nepenthoides

Cool stripy stems!

Cyrtomium caryotideum/Fishtail holly fern

After my visit to Dragonfly Farms, I had the rest of the day, the whole afternoon in fact, to spend at Heronswood, which was having a Garden Conservancy Open Day. I met up with Debbie Teashon for lunch and for the visit to Heronswood, where we toured the gardens there with her friend Philip, who used to work there. Debbie writes, a website that focuses on gardening in the PNW, and I first met her last year at the Fling. We had a lot of fun, but this post has gone on long enough. More about that next time!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Three Days in Seattle -- Chihuly Garden and Glass

You can read Part One about my vacation time being a tourist in Seattle here.

I actually visited Chihuly Garden and Glass on my own, since Nigel had gone back to work before I got it together enough to visit. But I did meet him for lunch, which was fun.

I started my day out with a trip to Pike Place Market at 9 a.m., when many of the craft vendors were still setting up their booths. Most of the produce, flower, fish and food vendors were already open. Pike Place Market is one of the oldest, continually operating farmer's markets in the U.S.

You can get some really beautiful, locally grown flowers at the Market.

This booth sells dried flowers enclosed in prisms and hung on cords, for wearing as a necklace.

After wandering the Market for an hour or so, I headed back to Seattle Center to view the glass exhibit. Chihuly Garden and Glass is a museum devoted to the work of Dale Chihuly, a world-renowned Tacoma-born glass artist and entrepeneur. This museum replaced an old and quite cheesy little fun-fair, with kiddie rides, probably left over from the 1962 World's Fair. It's a vast improvement.

Glass art is extremely popular here in the PNW. There is a Museum of Glass in Tacoma, which I'd like to visit some day as well.

I loved these slumped baskets inside baskets.

The lighting was really clever. Somehow, there was enough light to see by, plenty actually, and yet all the glass art was also lit very brightly, to the extent that they almost looked like they were floating in a sea of black.

Chihuly went through a period where he did a lot of sea creatures in glass. I loved his octopi!

Chihuly calls these Mille Fiori, which means a thousand flowers in Italian. This huge room was full of the most wonderful flowery shapes and bright colors!

Then there were these two boats, full of floats and swirly glass shapes, which he calls Ikebana.

This boat full of floats and squiggles is sitting on a highly polished platform that reflects the pieces beautifully.

Here you can get some idea of the size of the chandeliers Dale Chihuly creates.

After making my way through the museum, I finally went outside into the garden to explore.

I thought it was cool the way they matched the color of the glass ornaments to the flowers.

Good thing I went on a sunny day, so the blue glass can echo the cloudless sky.

Another amazing color echo!

Love the contrast between the sharp angular glass and the organic, whorled shapes of the tree roots.

These odd balloon-like shapes reminded me of a horde of baby seals. Nigel called them licorice slugs. Kinda like banana slugs, but sweeter.

You can see the Space Needle reflected in this glass globe, which has color echoes of the black mondo grass planted with it. And if you look closely in the center, you can also see me!
You exit through the souvenir shop, where if you have a spare $6,000 or $7,000 lying around, you can buy your very own piece of Chihuly glass art. Very pretty, but I'd be afraid of breaking it!

I hope you enjoyed visiting the glass museum with me. I had a blast!