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

Monday, June 29, 2015

Imitating Cheryl Strayed

"How often have you peed today?"

In the book Wild: From Lost to Found on The Pacific Crest Trail, which chronicles Cheryl Strayed's months-long hike along the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert to the Oregon/Washington border, Cheryl is asked this question by another hiker during a particularly brutally hot day. It surprises her to realize that every molecule of water which has exited her body in the last 24 hours was through sweat.

I know how she felt.

I wasn't on a mountain hike, and I wasn't carrying a monstrously huge backpack, but I just returned from a hellishly hot weekend in Portland (coincidentally, where Chery Strayed lives), where I attended the Hardy Plant Study Weekend, listened to lectures and toured some pretty fabulous gardens. And sweated. A lot. Peed too, but just a little.

I thought I'd share some images from a handful of those gardens.

The Garden of Bob Hyland (owner of Hyland Garden Design and the shop Contained Exuberance in Portland) and Andrew Beckman

I liked this garden, way more than I thought I would.

From the booklet description: "Planted containers cover the front deck, spill out of the greenhouse, and punctuate the gardens."

I thought this Hover Dish container, perfectly color-matched, was just brilliant

"Beds and borders reflect our naturalistic, exuberant, and patterned wild garden style."

"We use ornamental grasses, sedges, and rushes with great abandon to knit together plantings."

It was a hot but breezy day, making the Mexican feather grasses dance and sway

The Garden of Lance and Julie Wright

This is another garden I've only recently become aware of, and I just loved many things about it, but especially the hellstrip.

From the garden description: "My fascination with foliage textures helps determine a constantly evolving planet palette. 'Edgy' and tough performers play together. If they last, it's because they behave, are beautiful, and fit into the overall design."

I've only seen Agaves this big in California, they must be perfectly sited to make it through winter and grow so big

The Garden of Barbara Blossom Ashmun

You all know how partial I am to daylilies, right?

From the booklet description: "On an acre of island beds and mixed borders I do my best to create beautiful vignettes out of the impossible array of plants that I keep falling for."

From Floramagoria, the Garden of Craig Quirk and Larry Neill

From the booklet: "The back garden is where the crazy begins."

"We have a collection of interesting garden art that is on the more playful side and hidden throughout the garden."

Blog followers may remember I attended the Hardy Plant Study Weekend last summer as well, which took place here in Washington, hosted by the Northwest Perennial Alliance, was based in Bellevue and showcased many fabulous local gardens. I blogged about it here.

This year, it took place in Portland, and gave me the chance to see some of the gardens I missed by having to bow out of the Garden Bloggers Fling last summer. The weekend kicked off on Friday morning with various workshops (I didn't sign up for any), followed by garden tours. On Saturday and Sunday, the mornings were taken up by a lineup of speakers, followed by more garden tours. On Saturday, there was a soiree at a local plant wholesaler called Blooming Junction, which I signed up for, but attended for less than an hour. I was hot, tired, hungry and cranky, also hot (did I mention I was hot? It was hot). As a pessimistic introvert, I didn't relish making small talk in the punishing heat with people I didn't know. I was reminded of Nigel's Dad's definition of a party: "Standing when you would rather be sitting, drinking something you don't want, talking to someone you don't know on a subject about which you don't care." Reminded also of one of Nigel's Dad's favorite quotes, from General Montgomery: "Any damn fool can be uncomfortable," I left in my air-conditioned car and headed back to my air-conditioned hotel room, where Nigel was waiting to treat me to dinner in an air-conditioned restaurant.

Summer has barely begun. There is more hot weather ahead.

Keep on peeing.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wednesday Vignette

Here's my Wednesday Vignette -- Hover Dish planters from Pot, Inc., hanging right over my head in the greenhouse at Dig Nursery on Vashon Island. They look like UFOs!

Wednesday Vignette is hosted by my garden blogger friend Anna at Flutter and Hum. Check out her post here.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sunny Summer Solstice Sunday

Of all the various flower forms in my garden, I like the form of lilies best, both true lilies and daylilies (which aren't really lilies, but the flower is a similar form). It's been a favorite for as long as I can remember, since I was a little girl and tried to convince my mother to grow Hemerocallis fulva, the common orange daylily or ditch lily, in our garden. She refused and said it was a weed.

When we lived in Massachusetts true lilies, grown from bulbs, were one of the first things I planted (along with some of those ditch lilies that Mom despised). But the lilies very quickly, within about 3 years, succumbed to a truly disgusting lily leaf beetle infestation. Read about them and their horrible offspring here. I contented myself with daylilies, which come in a wonderful variety of colors and color combinations. I discovered when we moved to Washington that the lily leaf beetle hadn't made it this far west (yet). I was so delighted to plant these big luscious flowers again!

Much to my dismay, I discovered recently that many daylilies here in the PNW are falling prey to a scourge called the gall midge, which infests the flower buds before they open and deforms them so they never open properly. I have several that I've removed every single flower scape from in an attempt to remedy the situation. Some, however, are still completely untouched. Unlike the lily leaf beetle, I don't think the gall midge will eventually kill the entire plant, but they certainly do make them less garden-worthy. But here are the few lucky ones in my garden that so far have escaped unscathed.

Do you have a favorite flower form in your garden?