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

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Fling Day Three -- Merrifields Garden Center, Tammy's Wildife Garden and Linda Hostetler's Paradise

I spent Day Two of the Fling ensconced in my air-conditioned room, recuperating from Day One's extreme heat and from my cold. By all accounts, the weather had cooled, so I decided to venture out on Day Three, and I'm glad I did. I had sorted out my point-and-shoot camera by then, but I'm not making any promises about the quality of my photos.

We started the day off with a visit to Merrifield's Garden Center, a large nursery in Gainesville, Virginia. They gave us a warm welcome with a big table full of food and drinks, but I had just eaten breakfast. Water is always welcome, of course. There was a huge gift area with lots of photo opportunities, which is where I concentrated my time. They did have a large area outside full of plants, but there didn't seem to be much point in shopping for plants that I would have to cart back home on a 6-hour plane trip. I just wasn't up for packing plants in my suitcase, plus -- honestly? -- we have the best (and probably the most) nurseries in the country right here in the PNW. I didn't think I'd find anything to buy that I couldn't get back home that was worth the trouble of packing, or bringing in my carry-on. (I'm sure I'm going to take heat for that...)


Blogger Andrea, temporarily living in the D.C. area, poses with the heavily laden table o' food

The only item I wanted in this display was probably not for sale -- that retro woman's head

Words I took to heart, considering I was still coughing like an escapee from a tuberculosis ward

Tammy's Garden Casa Mariposa

From Merrifield's we got back on the buses, and headed for the garden of blogger Tammy, who had organized the D.C. are Fling and had opened her garden as well. Tammy writes a blog called Casa Mariposa, which means House of Butterflies, and her garden is designed as a pollinator's paradise. According to the blurb that we received "Her cottage style garden is completely organic and packed with native plants and ornamentals that attract and support wildlife. All annuals that attract pollinators are grown from seed during the winter."

Tammy greeted us at the door -- no, she isn't saluting, but shading her eyes from the sun

Like my own garden, Echinacea is a mainstay

I love how some of the Rudbeckia flowers have a rust red center that coordinates with the red daylily next to it -- a nice combo, whether planned or a happy accident

We were all told to ask Tammy about her "ugly arbor" but everyone seemed to be too intrigued with shooting a good photo of this Clematis bloom hanging just above the gate attached to the arbor. There was actually a waiting line of people, backed up to get a shot.

I took my photo as quickly as possible, which is why the doorknob is in focus and the flower isn't

Tammy's back garden was chock-full of great pollinator plants

Charming back steps

Pots galore

Towards the back, a shady area

Another nice daylily combo

I thought the throat of this daylily coordinated well with the Echinacea

Tammy's garden had lots of nice decorative touches, like this empty picture frame

One perfect Dahlia

Nearby, a grumpy-looking cardinal sat in a tree, probably waiting for all these noisy invaders to vacate his favorite habitat
Linda Hostetler's Garden

Our third stop on Day Three was the garden of landscape designer Linda Hostetler. "Her incredible garden started with poison ivy and three dead cherry trees and has become an exuberant red and blue playground threaded with vignettes created by a collector gone mad. She and her husband dug a 90' stream and a 16X24 foot pond for their resident amphibians."

I loved this garden, it made me glad I got out of bed that morning.

It was hard to get a good shot of the front garden, this is just a small part of it

Loved this face in the bed surrounded by succulents that create the illusion of  hair

Begonia grandis was used extensively

This small pond and stepladder-style waterfall was part of a side garden/patio

This large heavily decorated shed/garden structure was beside the pond

As you continued past the shed, you entered the large back garden, which seemed to go on and on.

The garden was full of those royal blue accents

This plant -- Curcuma -- was the subject of much Googling to see if it might be hardy in the PNW

A stone spiral/labyrinth with a tulip-shaped pot in the center was a prominent feature

There was a second, larger, similar pot further in the garden

More blue accents and enormous planting beds and gravel paths

Some funky garden art

A small portion of the 90' stream, beautifully planted with Hostas and Hakone grass
Another part of the stream

And the pond, where frogs abounded

There have been quite a few posts about the Day Two gardens by bloggers who attended the Fling. If you're interested, here are a few about some of the gardens that seemed interesting.  

Digging: Southern Gothic Garden of Jeff Minnich

Danger Garden: The Garden of Jeff Minnich

Digging: Color-blended garden retreat of designer Barbara Katz

Late to the Garden Party: Barbara Katz's Garden - The backyard of my dreams

Danger Garden: The Garden of Barbara and Howard Katz

I missed some nice gardens, but I really needed that day off.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Lawless in Tacoma

My friend Peter The Outlaw Gardener opened his garden last weekend as part of the Northwest Perennial Alliance's Open Garden Tours, and I attended, even though I'm not actually an NPA member this year. I've only ever made very quick visits to Peter's garden in the past, usually I'm either meeting him at his house and we're taking off for somewhere, and there isn't time for a tour of anything other than his bathroom. (Always follow Mother's advice, pee when you can, especially before a car trip).

So I jumped at the invitation to get a good, long look at things, and take pictures. Unfortunately, it was a very sunny day in a very shady garden, not optimal conditions for good photos, but you'll have to suck it up and bear with me.

"You are traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. Your next stop -- The Outlaw Garden"

Just behind that handsome fellow was a large Romneya coulteri in glorious bloom.

And just past our Rod Serlingesque host on the right is a small bed at the foot of the stairs to the front door, with a blooming orange daylily and blue Salvia ('Black and Blue'?).

And the only patch of lawn (I believe) in the entire garden, with this combo of Sedum, Yucca and Agave ovatifolia.

And this abundantly flowering smoke tree

Do we dare to proceed further, through the gate?

Inside is a veritable labyrinthine warren of brick paths, full of intriguing leafy combos and dappled shade.

Overhead the sun sparkles through Tetrapanax leaves high above

Whose shape is mirrored in the Fatsia polycarpa 'Needham's Lace' below

Inset into the path at various points are these daisy shapes with stepping stone centers

It's important to look back once in a while to make sure you haven't missed anything.

This monolithic column holds the first of many face planters

A bench to the left of the column

My attempt to take a photo of Peter's pond -- can you even see the water?

This simple combo of golden creeping jenny and black mondo grass which edges the pond is lush and charming

Peter's koi swam lazily about in the deceptively deep pond

You may have noticed the wire in the shot above of the koi. It's part of an electric fence, to deter raccoons from eating the koi. Peter shared a heartwarming story of hearing raccoon screams the night after installing it.

A rose flowers in a rare patch of sun

The path, and a glimpse of royal blue, pull you on through the garden

But first, a distraction:

At your feet, a hand (Snow White?) reaches out from below a pot

An array of glass insulators line the right-hand side of the path

A blue stained glass flower amongst variegated bamboo(?)

A hand holding a heart, another head pot with black mondo grass, and an array of glass crab figures

It's a lovely shady spot. Do we sit?

To the left against the fence is the first of several visual puns -- the Old Man and the C (Sea)

The path continues to the right of the blue table, past a ferny stumpery on the left and a timber bamboo grove on the right -- and ahead, a wall with an illusion-inducing mirror

Broken porcelain crockery mulches the bamboo

The ferny mini-stumpery and another enormous mirror (and me, in the upper right)

An about-face leads you through a series of shady arbors

Watch out for hatching dinosaurs!

A trio of "eggs"

In this one, two fish and Artemisia 'Seafoam'

If I remember correctly, that patch of bright sunlight is the "Danger Gardenette"

But the greenhouse is on the left, and it's calling

There's a surprising number of plants still thriving inside, despite today's heat

Faces stare at you as you examine the plants and props

Outside again, you head to the "Danger Gardenette."

A bubbling fountain, colorful Bromeliads, and an obese mermaid

The pots are as fabulous as the plants growing in them

Of course, I didn't get any photos of the Agaves growing in full sun, getting pics of the most well-lit plants would have been silly.

Along a path, around the corner, you meet another dinosaur, this time, much bigger

Heading back toward the house, it's hard not to miss the color coordination of this glass flower, swath of lilies and the curtain across the back door.

Some of the newest garden art -- flowers made from cutlery

He's got the whole world in his hand

And more visual puns -- a handrail

A bird in the hand
Had enough? Hardly. I could go around again and again. I'll end with some shots of tuberous Begonias.

Sigh. So much beauty and cleverness all at once. Peter's garden is one of a kind.