Friday, August 18, 2017

Garden Bloggers Fling 2017 — The Smithsonian Gardens: The Castle Garden and Enid A. Haupt Garden

Right about here is where the buses dropped us off, in front of the Smithsonian Castle adjacent to the National Mall...

We were told "You will have approximately 2.5 hours to self-tour the 12 Smithsonian gardens along the mall as well as the US Botanic Garden"...it felt a little lot overwhelming. For starters, what the heck is the "Smithsonian Castle"??? Well...(according to their website)... "Completed in 1855, the Castle is our signature building and home to the Smithsonian Visitor Center. As such, it makes a great starting point for your journey" ...a journey they thought might include museums, but no. My journey was all about the plants, of course! It felt like a big welcome that greeting us in front of the castle was a Mahonia...

As we approached I'd spied this planting, so had to back up a bit to start my exploration here. After all Castor Beans and Cotinus? Yes please!

Then you toss in a half-dozen or so Yucca rostrata and, well, I'm pretty much in heaven.

I was never quite sure when I was in the Enid A. Haupt Garden proper, but I assume most of the images I'll be sharing fall withing the boundaries.

So who is Enid? "Enid Annenburg Haupt may have publishing in her blood, but gardens are in her heart. Her father, Moses Annenburg, started with the publication of a small racing form. Her brother expanded the company to include such mainstays of the American household as TV Guide and Seventeen, a magazine, which Mrs. Haupt herself later edited and published. However, it has been her numerous gifts to build, restore and maintain gardens around the country and the world, which has made her the foremost horticultural philanthropist in America...Therefore, it is no surprise that the Secretary of the Smithsonian at the time, S. Dillon Ripley looked to her for assistance when the idea of the garden for the new Quadrangle was being formalized. The only unexpected part was how generous her gift would be...By offering an endowment of over three million dollars, Mrs. Haupt has ensured not only that her garden was created, but that it would flourish and remain a haven for visitors to the Smithsonian Institution and harried urban dwellers in the Washington, D.C. area." (source, edited for length)

Unlabeled Magnolia, with big glossy leaves.

Magnolia sieboldii 'Michiko Renge' (unfortunately not in bloom)

Quisqualis indica 'Flora-Plena'

Cycas circinalis

I've previously shared images of this crazy-business on Instagram.

I'm still in awe...

If I worked nearby this would be my lunchtime walk. The umbrellas on the left, and others out of view, provided shade for numerous tables and benches. I disturbed more than one person having a quiet conversation among the plants, as I ducked in and around with my camera, hoping to capture it all.

What a bizarre flower! I believe this is the Hibiscus Heather labeled "rode hard and put away wet"...

Bismarckia nobilis

Another Cycad...(where the hell do all of these plants go during the winter? They're not hardy here!!??!)

Pseudorhipsalis ramulosa

Mossy base in the Pseudorhipsalis ramulosa pot.

Plumeria rubra

Another view of the "tropical alley" (my name)...

Jatropha podagrica

Aka "Buddha belly plant"

Hibiscus 'Tylene'

Dioon spinulosum

Entering the moongate garden (still within the Enid A. Haupt Garden, if you were wondering).

Well that's a lovely Farfugium.

There were several urns along the border of the parterre...

Their most remarkable feature was they appeared to be secured with a thin wire. If I were really contemplating stealing one of these urns, and wire was the only thing keeping them secure, I'd probably bring wire cutters.

So, birch logs added recently?

What do you think? (and why were they added? original spacing too wide???)

Standing there in person I didn't notice the construction on the left. Too mesmerized with the activity on the ground plane I guess.

Keeping it real! These formal gardens don't take care of themselves you know.

Another entrance to the "Castle", this one flanked by interesting plants.

It's about to get stinky!

Another gorgeous Furcraea, this one a little smaller than the one we saw last week.

Cyrtostachys renda, aka lipstick palm

And this!!! You know I love spotting an unexpected Agave, and this Fling was full of them. Still this one was a huge surprise. Large, and in the ground. Any guesses as to which species it is?

The splotchy color and movement of the arms have me thinking Agave franzosinii, but that's only hardy to Zone 8....(things that make you go hmmm)...

Oh ya! A branching Yucca rostrata...I am impressed! Check out the very bottom though. That's some weird spreading trunk business there.

Eryngium yuccifolium

Did you catch my "Wednesday Vignette" post this week? This is the backside...

And the front. It looks to be a water feature but the water wasn't running when we were there. The slightly wet concrete was do to a few sprinkles that fell from the sky.

Mussaenda 'Queen Sirikit' — "Mussaendas, often known as Bangkok Roses, are popular throughout the tropics and subtropics of the world" (source). I expected to learn they're somehow tied into the Euphorbias but I guess not.

Live and learn! That's what makes travel so fun right?

Weather Diary, Aug 17: Hi 80, Low 62/ Precip 0

All material © 2009-2017 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Sudden Death, Grevillea Style

I know this. I've been through this, twice before. On the right, against the house, that's my Grevillea victoriae 'Murray Queen', champion bloomer, winter food source for the local hummingbirds and tough as nails plant through snow and ice.

Yet as I walked into the back garden on July 27th and stopped to actually focus on that amazing Grevillea it hit me — hard — it's dead!

When I started writing this post I was calling it "someday I'll laugh about this..." but since I was already laughing the same afternoon the death occurred I decided that was a dumb title. I mean what can you do, but laugh? My Grevillea 'Neil Bell' up and died seemingly over night in 2015 and my G. ‘Poorinda Leane’ did the same last summer.

As a friend said on Facebook "Proteaceae like to die. It is their very favorite thing to do"...

Thing was I had a tour of 30 or so people from Seattle coming through the garden the very next day, and then a magazine was sending a small entourage (three people qualify as an entourage, yes?) to photograph my garden after that. Hello huge dead shrub!!!

But seriously, what are ya gonna do? Knowing the tour group likely consisted of real gardeners I just left it in place and we talked about it. They were great people and totally understood.

However, that was early Friday afternoon and the magazine group were arriving on Sunday. Two afternoons in the mid 90's. Things were gonna get crispy, I had to remove the dead Grevillea...

Not wanting to make a quick decision about what to put in its place I ended up falling back on some summer performing favorites.

Spot the tall banana (Musa Basjoo) at the back? Funny thing, it's been there all along. It was one of the first things I planted, showing up in VERY early blog post in August of 2009 (yes, that really is my garden). I'd kind of forgotten about it, I knew it was back there but hadn't really seen it for years. Playing off it's tropical "big leaves" made filling in the bare space a little easier.

A bit of Crocosmia...

A couple lush Canna lilies...

And a Eupatorium capillifolium 'Elegant Feather' I'd picked up awhile back but hadn't found a suitable home for.

Add an Agave pup, and a few divided clumps of Black Mondo Grass at the base, and who's the wiser? Well me, but I was just standing on the sidelines laughing at it all.

Weather Diary, Aug 16: Hi 84, Low 58/ Precip 0

All material © 2009-2017 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.