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

Friday, June 19, 2015

My Hopping Weekend Part III

It's time to finish up my posts about my nursery hopping weekend, a couple of weeks ago. You can read about my Friday nursery adventures in Part I here and about Saturday in Part II here. On the Sunday, I took the WSDOT ferry to Vashon Island for an outing to the fabulous destination nursery Dig. Nursery owner Sylvia Matlock had arranged for Richie Steffen, the curator of the Elisabeth C. Miller Garden in North Seattle, to give a free class of instruction in creating a fern table. Richie recently co-authored a book called The Plant Lover's Guide to Ferns, which would be for sale at the class for him to sign. I posted last year about my visit to the Elisabeth Miller Garden, where I attended my first class given by Richie. You can read about that visit here.

Waiting for the ferry to start unloading -- I didn't realize it at the time, but my garden blogger friend Peter The Outlaw Gardener was also waiting for the very same ferry

It's a very short ferry crossing, barely 20 minutes. Many years ago, the residents of Vashon had the opportunity to have a bridge built to their island. Read about it here. Apparently the span is short enough and shallow enough for a bridge to be feasible. But the residents rebelled loudly against it, preferring to remain isolated and relatively inaccessible. You can see Vashon just across the narrow span of water in the photo above.

The entire nursery is enclosed with these enormous rock-filled gabions, which are connected with rusty cattle panels

As I was getting out of my car, Peter pulled up in his car, with his partner Tom, and we all exchanged hellos and hugs. Then, as we entered the nursery, we spied someone we didn't actually know, but with whom we were familiar, a local blog reader named Glenda.

Peter and I with blog follower Glenda and her husband Don

We took a few turns around the nursery before the class was set to begin.

Dig is enclosed with a gabion fence and is completely floored with gravel

There are lots of funky containers, like this old concrete culvert

This Sally Holmes rose is climbing up one of the gabions

Look at the texture on those pots! Don't you love them?

Sylvia is a master of putting containers together

I was amused by the little drama going on at the feet of this large empty container -- a wolf hunting amongst the sheep

A stack of rusty file drawers that used to be part of one of Dig's coolest displays of succulents (you can see a picture of it in my previous post about Dig here)

Colorful outdoor rugs

Plants are often left to reseed into the gravel around the nursery

Love this concrete trough with its spotless trio of 'Bright Star' Yucca

Schefflera delavayii -- at $84.95 less expensive than the ones I saw on Friday at West Seattle

I will be most disappointed if the folks at Dig ever dismantle their awesome water feature made out of concrete culverts

Inside the greenhouse was this interesting selection of octopus planters -- Peter later bought a couple

I loved this large, deep turquoise one

Dig Nursery mascot Sophie, a bull terrier

Sylvia laid out a very nice spread of food and drink for her customers

Peter, Tom and I headed up to the house nearby, where Sylvia is in the process of putting in a personal garden.

This gabion has rocks in the bottom layer, but it looks like the plan  is to eventually grow vines up and through it

Smoke tree in full bloom and a large swath of Eryngium agavifolium

Fab pots by the porch

I need to know how she gets this Begonia luxurians to look so luxurious! Mine is piddly.

Wonderful large smoky pink poppy

The flowers look great with the dark leaves of a Ligularia behind

This large Schefflera growing behind the house in a shady spot is impressive

Ferny, mossy rock and nearby Kirengeshoma palmata foliage

Finally, it was time to gather inside the greenhouse for the fern table demo.

Richie chatted with participants while preparing a stump to use in the demo

Richie and nursery owner Sylvia Matlock before the presentation

Almost like magic, the fern table came together, with a couple of upside down stumps, a handful of plants, some rocks and some soil

The finishing touch was to wind some heavy fishing line around it to hold it together, just until the roots of the plants have knitted together

I wish I had some photos of the finished product, a true work of art. After the class, we all shopped for plants.

Dig's checkout counter is inside

After paying for my plants, I headed back home on the ferry.

On a clear day you can see...Mt. Rainier

Here's what I bought!

Clockwise, starting on the far left at the back: Eryngium 'Neptune's Gold', Echium wildpretii, two Papaver ruprifragum 'Double Tangerine Gem,' and an Aloe polyphylla

It's still small, so it hasn't started making a spiral yet

'Double Tangerine Gem' waiting to open

Eryngium 'Neptune's Gold' -- imagine those flowers turning deep blue against the golden foliage

What an exhausting, exhilarating, but fun weekend that was!