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

Friday, June 28, 2019

The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round...

Bright and early Saturday morning, at 8 a.m. to be precise, we were all downstairs at the hotel in Denver ready to get back on the buses for another day of garden touring, this time in and around Boulder, about 30 miles northwest of Denver. If you don't count the rose garden at lunch, there were basically seven gardens on the Garden Bloggers Fling schedule for the second day, so hold on. Like the song "The Wheels on the Bus," it's going to be a long post.

The Wheels on the Bus

But the day started with a breakfast tour of our Fling hosts, seed company Botanical Interests, in Broomfield. One of the co-founders of Botanical Interests, Judy Seaborn, has been a Fling attendee for several years, and she and her co-founder Curtis Jones and their employees pulled out all the stops to welcome us to their warehouse.

They laid out a delicious breakfast

Aisles and aisles of seeds

Bags of bulk seed before it gets put into packets

Curtis leads us on a tour

He's talking about the seed-packing machines behind him

From the warehouse he led us into the art room, where we could see proof sheets of seed packet art

And some of the originals

I've used Botanical Interests seeds, I don't think I've ever had bad luck with them. I love their seed packet art, and the packets also have extensive germination and cultural instructions, as well as historical information. Many of their seeds are for North American natives. You can order seeds directly from their website, or you can buy them at many nurseries. We each received a brown paper bag with several packets of seeds as we were leaving.

Many of us were drawn to this creative raised bed in their parking lot, made from jersey barriers back-filled with soil.

Their veggies are growing well

Our first private garden of the day was a unique treat, a wonderful blend of quirky garden art and wildflowers. Apparently the house is a historic miner's cabin, but honestly, I didn't even notice the house and the plaque on it.

That could be me -- can you read it?  It says "Happily dying of chocolate" -- right next to Berlandiera lyrata, chocolate daisy, which really does smell like chocolate

Stanleya pinnata/Princes' plume again

And more thick carpets of hens and chicks

A hippo made from a tub full of Semps

Blue flax

A rock garden

Another shot of the riotous front garden full of wildflowers

This cracked pot almost looks like a smiling face to me, and that's how Jean's garden left me -- grinning ear to ear

You can read an article about Jean Morgan's garden here in the Colorado Hometown Weekly.

Unfortunately, I didn't get enough photos of the second garden of the day, because I spent too much time standing around talking. I'm sure others will post about it, if you keep track of posts on the Fling website here. Some bloggers, Pam Penick in particular at Digging, are very good about giving each garden a post of its own.

Our third garden, in Boulder, was another wonderful gem.

The house was a mid-century modern with an interesting porch with triangular raised planters.

More Stanleya pinnata

I greatly admired the stacked stone walls that surrounded the front garden, with plants spilling all over, around and through them.

I was intrigued to see Eriogonum blooming. I planted some in my front foundation bed last fall, and I've been curious what it looks like when it flowers.

There was a small crevice garden too.

Looks like some of her Semps are going to bloom! They're still way more thick and lush than mine, and I love how they fill those cracks in the pavers

I also sowed some Echium russicum from seed this spring. I have tiny seedlings that I'm nurturing in hopes of getting big red plumes of flowers like this next year

A bee enjoying a cactus flower

They say if you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas -- what do you get if you lie down with Opuntia?

In the pass-through into the back garden was this fun collection of pots

And a cool, old stove

A nice shade garden

The painted fence was fun!

Hollyhocks about to bloom with a bug hotel

Colorful bird condo and blooming honeysuckle

Lunch was a catered buffet at the Dushanbe Teahouse in Boulder, right next door to a lively Saturday farmer's market. With another hour or so, I would have enjoyed a look around there, but we didn't have time for that. Lunch was delicious, though, and a welcome change from the usual sandwiches, chips, drinks and cookie. We had salad, curry noodles, chickpea kufteh in tomato sauce and teacakes for dessert. And the setting, outside the teahouse under an arbor surrounded by a rose garden, was marvelous.

Dushanbe Teahouse

I only grow one rose, Rosa glauca, but I love looking at them and photographing them in other people's gardens.

That's not a rose with a discolored center

It's a very happy bee!

"What are you lookin' at?"
After that very satisfying lunch it was back on the bus as we headed off to another garden.

As we disembarked from the bus, we could see that most of the house and garden was hidden behind a large berm and wall full of shrubs and perennials

On the other side was...more walls

Lots of stone walls -- as she said in her description, something like 600 tons of stone.

There was an enticing grotto

You went through the grotto...

And came out underneath a waterfall, to a path that split in two directions

I went right and came out to this view of the waterfall

All the way around to the front

More stone walls and a seating area

There was an opulent greenhouse, unfortunately I neglected to get a good photo of the tropical greenery inside

A mural of Ganesha, Hindu remover of obstacles, on the garage door

The back entrance to the house


Viney tracery on the wall

Ganesha putting in another appearance

Further exploring reveals another patio with a simple water feature

Bees were lining up for a drink

Greenery (and purplery) opposite the water feature

More vines along the wall

Above one of the doors, a green roof

Then, back on the bus to the little town of Niwot, about 20 miles from Boulder, to a garden on the edge of a large meadow with a fantastic view of the mountains to the west.

Island bed in front of the house

Of course we all traipsed around the back to see the prairie bed designed by Lauren Springer Ogden.

Meadow full of garden bloggers...and mosquitoes

Fortunately the owners had supplied bug spray, but the bugs were still too much for me. I took a few photos and then spent the rest of the time up on the back porch.

Truly, the big rocks are just never-ending.

The Deemers welcomed us into their home with food and drink, and allowed us to use their bathroom (always a plus).

A fire in the back garden provided warmth...
Right next to the pool, designed to look like a natural swimming hole.

So, of course, bloggers had to immediately paddle their tired feet -- it's a Fling tradition, after all (l. to r.: Heather, Gail and Jean)

Joined soon after by Patricia, no slouch on her first Fling

Oh dear, those darn mosquitoes! My back is so itchy!

It wasn't long before the pool had a full complement

At the edge of the pool, a bog garden -- by the way, see the submerged boulder?

A deep red Japanese iris, which loves boggy soil

Our last garden of the day was the private garden of Botanical Interests co-owner Judy Seaborn. We were free to tour the garden, and the place was set up for an elegant garden party, with wine and hors d'oeuvres.

Judy smiling in an old truck that she has restored

One entire side of the back garden was one long sinuous colorful border

Shed in the veggie garden

Tables set up under the willow tree

The bloggers from Seattle and Portland, who all know each other, got together in our own little corner and had a class portrait taken. Don't we look like a fun bunch?

The Pacific Northwest Crew -- Front, left to right: Alyse, Jane, Patricia and Grace; Back, left to right: me, Heather, Michelle, and Loree

Counting the rose garden at the Dushanbe Teahouse, and the one I skipped writing about because I was too busy talking, we saw eight gardens in one day. Phew! That's a lot of gardens. After food and wine and prizes at Judy Seaborn's, we got back on the buses and traveled from Niwot back to the hotel in Denver.

And then...the PNW crew went out to eat dinner!