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

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Portland and Tacoma Invade Seattle!

One of the biggest treats for me last week, during the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, was meeting other bloggers -- Tacoma blogger Peter of The Outlaw Gardener, and two Portland bloggers, Loree of danger garden and Jane of MulchMaid. Jane even brought a bonus -- her sister Sally!

On Wednesday, the first day of the show, after an initial few minutes of confusion over which Subaru display we were supposed to be meeting at, I had lunch and then spent the rest of the afternoon with Jane and Sally, wandering around the show, checking out the vendors, and going to an excellent talk by Rebecca Sweet on creating harmony in the garden. We talked about all sorts of things -- family, jobs, etc. -- but mostly gardening. As they were getting ready to head back to Portland, we roped a kind stranger into taking a picture of us. I was thrilled to meet these two wonderful ladies!

Jane on the left, her sister Sally in the middle and me on the right

I had all of Thursday to wander the show on my own, shopping and gawking and taking more pictures. Then on Friday morning, I met Peter The Outlaw Gardener and we walked the show floor together, again talking about everything under the sun, but especially gardening. Peter had already been to the show on Wednesday as well. You really should read Peter's delightfully hilarious account of his first day in the big city at the flower show here.

The Vintage Market was of particular interest. We both have a penchant for interesting art and repurposed articles in our gardens.

Perhaps hard to see with all the "junque" loaded on it, but this cute little green cart was a temptation!

I love the idea of creating something like this little shed, or an arch or arbor, with old windows. Those old porch posts are cool too, although I wouldn't know what to make with them, I just like them!

Same with these awesome columns!

And these corbels!

At noon we met Loree who writes danger garden and went for a long lunch at the nearby Palomino Restaurant, which involved delicious food and lots of talking and laughing. After returning to the show, we roped another stranger (a different one!) into taking a photo of us together.

Me on the left, Peter in the middle and Loree on the right

It was somehow fitting that I should have meetings scheduled with two Portland bloggers, because just a day or so before the show opened, there was an announcement that next year's Garden Bloggers Fling would be in Portland, Oregon, and both Jane and Loree are on the planning committee, along with Ann of Amateur Bot-ann-ist and Scott of Rhone Street Gardens. Loree asked me at lunch what my favorite part of the Seattle Fling two years ago was, and after an initial temptation to say visiting so many fabulous gardens, I had to be truthful and say meeting other garden bloggers. Although my inclination is to be an introvert, I do crave interaction with others who share this crazy gardening bug.

If you can't make it to the San Francisco Fling this year (WooHoo! I'm going!), try try TRY to make it to Portland in 2014. When we first moved here and I started blogging, I sought out lots of local bloggers who could teach me about this brave new world of wet winters and dry summers, and that included lots of Portland bloggers. I learned all about the great private and public gardens they have and the awesome nurseries. Portland is going to be a real treat!

More great Portland-area bloggers:

Rainy Day Gardener
Gardening with Grace
Lelo in Nopo
Garden of Discovery
Sprig to Twig

Monday, February 25, 2013

I Bought Some Plants at the NWFGS!

It's hard to resist buying plants at the flower and garden show. Maybe next year I'll actually make good on my vow to buy fewer, or none.

A couple of vendors had some really beautiful Hellebores, and even though I have a handful, I felt like I needed more.

Like its display at the Tacoma Home and Garden Show, Bark and Garden had a beautifully laid-out and large display of plants for sale

How can you say no to this 'Peppermint Ice' Hellebore?

Or this? Look at the size of this flower next to my hand!

This large Aeonium 'Sunburst' was $99.99

I love the two-tone foliage of this juniper

Abies nordmaniana 'Golden Spreader' -- gorgeous color, and they had it in several sizes

Agave 'Baccarat' got my attention -- I looked it up on my iPhone and it was more wet-tolerant and hardier than the Agave americana that I recently lost

Abutilon 'Tiger Eyes' appeared in a couple of display gardens

I thought this Begonia luxurians, at a different plant vendor, was striking! Not hardy though, and its foliage reminds me of Syneilesis aconitifolia (Shredded Umbrella Plant), which is hardy

So, here's what I bought.

Helleborus 'Peppermint Ice', Helleborus 'Charlotte' (she of the enormous blooms), Saxifraga 'Early Pink Heart', two Delosperma 'Firespinner' (pink and orange flowers)

Saxifraga 'Early Pink Heart'

Fatsia japonica

Juniperus squamata 'Floriant'

Agave 'Baccarat' and Yucca filamentosa 'Color Guard'

The plant itself was looking just a bit beaten up, but I just love those filaments! I should  have bought two.

 Have you bought any new plants recently?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

More Display Gardens from The Northwest Flower and Garden Show

I hope you're up for viewing more photos of three display gardens from the Northwest Flower and Garden Show that had aspects that impressed me.

This first one is called "Living Amongst the Stars -- The Garden Takes Center Stage." According to  the media handout: "Live like a star, under the stars, in this glamorous 'garden escape.' With its customized stainless steel spa, cabana, and sculpted art, this glamorous garden is a fitting retreat for a busy actor or star-gazer. An intimate garden for two -- perfect for a celebrity couple attempting to escape the prying eyes of the paparazzi. Guided by the cornerstones of good film-making -- plot, script, sound and lighting -- this Northwest garden invites viewers to 'get into character' of their own choosing."

Created by Washington State Nursery & Landscape Association (WSNLA) and Sublime Garden Design LLC (Heidi Skievaski and Kryssie Maybay)

To the left of the pavilion a monkey puzzle tree and two Trachycarpus towered over the spa.

Interesting patio pavers hang out unevenly over a small concrete water feature

The lounge chairs have great style, but don't look comfortable either to sit in or get out of

The spa was surrounded by lights that changed color

Great foliage accent from a Rhododendron sinogrande

Also to the left of the pavilion, a gorgeous flowering Brugmansia!

To the right, a variegated Brugmansia, not flowering, but with leaves like that, are flowers necessary?

Small but well done, the display garden called "A River Runs Through It" also made an impression. From the handout: "The great outdoors comes indoors in this four-season garden. It's a verdant environment that captures our love of gardening and connection with native wildlife. The centerpiece -- a flowing stream -- provides sanctuary for native black bears, cougars, eagles and trout. For them, the brook serves many purposes. For human visitors, it's a refuge where we can enjoy the serene view and take in the soothing sounds. Don't count on a cameo appearance by the sexy male star of this 1992 film. Mother Nature gets top billing here!"

Created by Evergreen Landscaping and Ponds

For me, the most impressive feature of "Renewal: Enchanted April in the Northwest" was the fabulous metal and glass fence and gate. From the handout: "Enchanted April, a film and book originally set in an Italian villa in the 1920s, is the inspiration for a garden that combines function with beauty. This version takes place in a fictional Pacific Northwest resort but the storylines are shared -- gardens offer a place for relaxation, reflection and restoration. The arrival of Spring marks a rebirth for this garden and its visitors. Bulbs bloom and lush foliage appears, and welcoming informal seating offers opportunities for reading, napping and meditation."

Created by Home and Garden Art LLC, with plant selection and consultation from Pamela Richards Garden Design

More decorative than functional, the metal and glass fence won't keep critters out or pets in

Like the beach garden from my previous post, this garden mingled Narcissus with ornamental grasses.

See my previous NWFGS posts: Northwest Flower and Garden Show Sneak PreviewThe NWFGS Small Space Showcase,  and On The Beach at the NWFGS

Next up: I Bought Some Plants! and then, saving the best for last: Tacoma and Portland Invade Seattle!

Friday, February 22, 2013

On The Beach at the NWFGS

Another favorite display garden at this year's Northwest Flower and Garden Show was entitled "A Pacific Northwest Beach Garden: It's Never Too Late to Learn to Dance." It takes its inspiration from the movie Zorba The Greek (which I have never seen). This garden was designed by Susan Calhoun of Plantswoman Design, Inc.

Their handout says "The garden Plantswoman Design has created for you is a small glimpse into the ways we can bring the beach home to everyone whether you live by the water or  not. Our hardscape consists of gravel, reclaimed driftwood, landscape boulders and natural stone pavers that lay the foundation for this beach getaway. Unusual pants can  be found in every nook and cranny from the edges of the rocks and driftwood to the forest edge behind the beach shack. Soft grasses mixed with fragrant blossoms that thrive in sun or shade surround the dancing area. Seasonal color along with foliage texture and contrast adds visual interest."

I liked that this garden was a walk-through design. The audience was invited to walk through the garden, past the beach shack, although not to step onto the grassy area. The garden, unfortunately, did not benefit from being on its own on the show floor. I noticed that other gardens were able to, in some cases, borrow neighboring foliage. The beach shack would have looked much better with more of a foliage screen behind it, separating it from the marketplace that was directly adjacent to it, or perhaps a fence or some other kind of structure. But it had a lot of lovely touches, such as the driftwood and the scattered beach glass, pebbles and shells, as well as two colorful, drippy fountains.

I loved the ornamental grass mixed with Daffodils.

Scattered beach glass, shells and snowdrops tucked in here and there.

The path looked like either packed sand or decomposed granite

Grevillea juniperina 'Lava Cascade'

A Bougainvillea added some lovely peachy color

A column inspired by Little and Lewis dripped moisture onto a bed of river rocks

The beach shack was flanked by a monolithic pot on one side, and on the other by two more dripping columns inspired by the works of Little and Lewis.

More to come, if you're not too bored!