Monday, March 20, 2023

Gardeners are the best people—Eugene version

My recent three day adventure in Eugene, Oregon, was definitely action packed. I gave two presentations at the local garden show, visited Gossler Farms Nursery, Northwest Garden Nursery, and two private gardens—as well as catching a few hours of sleep.

Today I'm sharing those two private gardens, they belong to Pam of The Walled Garden and her friend Bianca. We'll start at Pam's garden which we toured with a glass of wine in hand—after she kindly hauled me out to NW Garden Nursery and fed me lunch en route...

Pam and I had just finished commiserating over the fact the cold weather zapped the scent from our edgeworthias, when a couple walked by and commented on how lovely the scent was. Turns out maybe all we needed was a sunny day to restart the plant? (my hummingbirds aren't buying it—they're still ignoring mine)

I wish I would have got a better shot of these Iris reticulata, the color was phenomenal.

This interesting fence separated Pam's side garden and the neighbor to the south—I love the planting pockets!

Since Pam and I had just spent a couple hours at Northwest Garden Nursery (hellebore heaven) I was extra aware of the many hellebores in her garden, like this Helleborus argutifolius (Corsican hellebore).

I admit that I laughed out loud when I saw this, an agave wedged into a window well. Turns out it's not a crazy idea though—a little warmth and great drainage, exactly what an agave wants during a PNW winter.

I didn't get a great shot of this genius idea, but I'll share it anyway. This patio off the back of the house includes a dining table. Growing over the table on a hefty pergola is a wisteria—perfection! Unless it rains and your dinner is a wash out. So look at that! A roof built over the pergola, isn't it fabulous?

Pam created this pebble fern crosier, set into a small seating area at the far end of the back garden. I kinda want to steal this design, but I'm not sure where I could do such a thing.

Pinus densiflora 'Oculus Draconis'

Look into the dragon's eyes...

Here's a shot of the dining table under the pergola, under the clear roof—can you imagine how lovely it is when the wisteria is in bloom? And the roof just disappears...

Puya chilensis...

Agave 'Blue Glow'

The next day we visited Pam's friend Bianca's garden—how lucky am I that these ladies invited me into their late winter/early spring gardens? Many people would say the garden wasn't ready for visitors and dismiss the idea. Bonus, Bianca has plants for sale in her driveway!

Hello Yucca gloriosa 'Bright Star' without yuccacne... how does she do it?

More luscious hellebores...

Walking into the back garden, which was looking lovely even in it's slumber.

I shared this photo on Instagram and a commenter called it rocaille, a term I was not familiar with. Rocaille; an 18th-century artistic or architectural style of decoration characterized by elaborate ornamentation with pebbles and shells, typical of grottos and fountains.

As we walked the garden there was a friendly banter between Pam and Bianca about whether or not the containers were level. Bianca doesn't pay much attention and Pam goes around straightening them. I'm with Pam, an angled container drives me crazy. They must be level!

Bianca is a collector of pots, as you've probably figured out.

Turns out she collects hand tools too...

This sweet little pot was in the greenhouse.

An Agave parryi—winter was harsh in Eugene too. Hopefully summer's warmth will bring new growth.

Turns out there is ornamental stonework in every Eugene garden! Well okay, maybe just the ones I visited. Bianca did these herself.

And now we're back at the beginning! 

I did go home with a plant from Bianca's plant sale, my first ever trillium. It was labeled as Trillium grandiflorum but the speckled foliage throws that into question (thanks Linda). We shall see...

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Friday, March 17, 2023

NPA Study Weekend; the McWilliams/Gorz garden

The next garden I visited on last June's NPA Study Weekend belonged to John McWilliams and Tom Gorz. I loved that the house and the garden felt so connected.

From the tour brochure: "Our little garden is comprised of an assortment of distinct immersive spaces connected by meandering stone and gravel pathways. The garden has been created with a focus on overall visual effect and atmosphere and to stoke pleasure. In addition to flowering perennials, annuals, and lots of blue-grey foliage, we have included many compact shrubs and trees to complement larger trees that lean over from neighboring lots."

This pair has mastered the art of growing eremurus...

And arranged them so the grade changes in the garden allow for up close viewing, something difficult with tall flowers.

They've got hardscape skill as well...

More from the brochure: "In recent years, we have begun adapting the garden to be a welcoming haven for local wildlife and have a more naturalistic aesthetic in the borders. The lawn has been eliminated and replaced with PNW native and pollinator plants. We are enjoying the increase in visits from birds, butterflies, other insects and even the occasional opossum. The garden is a Certified Wildlife Habit through the National Wildlife Conservancy."

I fully intend to copy this simple trick. The seedling was started in a paper cup and then planted out with the top of the cup intact—instant seed marker so you don't loose track of the tiny plant!

Severe jealousy over the Willy Guhl planter near their front door.

Shot looking down on the front garden...

And I thought that was it...

Until I discovered the narrow pathway to the back garden, there's more!

Seating tucked into a corner, along with lots of containers.

Looking out from the seating area...

This serene spot was nicely hidden from the rest of the garden.

I immediately fell for the table.

Everything about this area was simple perfection.

You could see the garden beyond, but were completely secluded.

I eventually tore myself away and resumed the tour.

Rhododendron williamsianum, perhaps?

Looking over my shoulder at the entrance to the back garden.

And ahead to the deck off the back of the house.

Stepping off the deck...

The tall poured cylinder stepping stones had fern fronds pressed into their sides, it's all about the details.

Great garden!

My other posts (so far) from the NPA Hardy Plant Study Weekend: 

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All material © 2009-2023 by Loree L Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.