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

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Finally Flowers

As I mentioned in yesterday's post about the Hardy Plant Study Weekend that I recently attended, there were only two gardens in the entire weekend slate of gardens that I would say fully featured flowers. Others had flowers dotted here and there, but nothing draws my attention like a garden full of color that comes from flowers. Maybe I was a bee in a previous life.

The first was the garden of Charlene and Jim Hampton, and when my car pulled  up in front I recognized it. I visited years ago when their garden was on the Woodinville Garden Tour, and I hoped that despite the description in the booklet that we would finally see some beautiful flowers, because that was what I remembered most.

According to the info in the booklet, "The Hampton's country garden includes five partially wooded acres that they share with assorted pets as well as wildlife. The garden is National Wildlife Federation certified. As you stroll through the property, you may be serenaded by wild birds and see the brilliant colors of the resident hummingbird families. Enjoy the rose garden, secret garden, vegetable garden, predator free "kitty courtyard,' chicken coop, and a birdhouse garden."

"The Hamptons built their home 17 years ago and began to create their garden from scratch. Doing all the work themselves, they reused and repurposed items to create their "nearly perfect" garden. Expansive lawns surround perennial beds containing abundant texture and emphasizing the colors of chartreuse and lime green. A plant collector, Charlene has accumulated a number of unusual plants and trees including a row of Royal Empress Paulownia trees along the street fence line, a shade garden featuring hostas, astilbes, and a large Hydrangea aspera on the north side of the house."

"The garden remains in a constant state of experimentation and change. The goal is to transition most of the perennials to more shrubs and evergreens, and to add more garden art. Don't miss the chicken topiary, complete with eggs in the nest."

Despite the bad news that they plan to get rid of the flowering perennials, I was pleased to see they still had flowers.

I wasn't disappointed, but I wish now that I had taken even more photos and stayed longer, not realizing that the weekend would leave me starving for flowers and a color other than green.

The second garden on the tour that was flower-centric was a commercial planting in the center of Edmonds, near the ferry and train station, in the parking lot of the Cascadia Art Museum. It was designed by Charles Price and Glenn Withey of Withey Price Landscape & Design LLC.

From the HPSW booklet "The two of us were asked to enhance the plantings, in the raised beds that flank the building, in 2014. Our intent was to attract the attention of people driving on a very busy thoroughfare. So, subtlety was not our objective."

"There are anchoring/permanent plants, and twice a year we swap out seasonal color. Being in a harsh, windy site, the main focus is summer into autumn. While bulbs and winter flowering pansies are used in the "murky" months, the planter boxes really come to life starting in late May."

"Fragrance and color contrasts (through flower and leaf) are two important design elements for  us. At the same time we have to be careful to not let the exuberance overwhelm the site, since view corridors for signage are important. The other important design factor was to (mostly) select plants that weren't too messy, as decaying flowers aren't terribly pretty to look at."

"Overall, the plantings have worked out well (with the requisite trials and tribulations) and we hope you enjoy them."

Like this bee, I left this florific garden happy and full.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Foliage Combos from The Hardy Plant Study weekend

Last weekend I attended the Hardy Plant Study Weekend, which I mentioned in yesterday's post. It's a weekend-long (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday) conference that took place this year in Bothell, Washington. It rotates every year between four areas here in the Pacific Northwest -- next year it's in Portland, OR.

I know some bloggers like to take detailed photos and do posts about every garden to try to give readers a feel for what it's like to tour the garden, and I love reading those kinds of posts, but I'm rubbish at putting them together myself. So I'm going to share some nice foliage combos that I saw. Gardens in this part of the country excel at cool, leafy gardens, and foliage is trendy (personally I prefer flowers). Flowers and quirk (there was even less of that). I can count on one hand the number of gardens that featured flowers. I'm going to see if I can get through this post without showing you any Hakone grass too, which, believe me, will be a big challenge (God, it was everywhere, and I'm sick of it).

Bonus flower

Bonus flowers

Can I let this stand in for ALL the yellow and red/purple combos I saw all weekend? God, that got repetitive.

Isn't that Loropetalum gorgeous?

Another bonus flower

Oh no, a little Hakone grass snuck in

Ah bugger, there it is again, I couldn't crop it out


Agh, help me

Pry my eyes out with a spoon -- I get it, it looks like water, but come on

I bet you're ready for some flowers now. I sure was, after four days of this. There were really only two gardens in the entire four days that were flower-heavy, and one of those was a commercial planting. Believe me, I latched onto those like a starving baby.