Tuesday, June 30, 2009

More from the ANLD Tour

The Lilyvilla Garden was featured on the front of the tour flyer and brochure, and got most of the local newspaper press. With good reason, as it had the best structure, plantings and personality of all the gardens. I’m not a big believer in the need for a garden gate as a formal entrance to a garden but this one is so well done I’d take it in a second. You enter the gate after climbing a short series of wide concrete steps from the sidewalk.
The plantings were fabulous.
I walked right by these tall Tetrapanax trees without even noticing them! Shame. Luckily my husband spotted them right away and called me back. There was another smaller one in a corner. The trunks were so substantial. Loved the simple rusted wire trellis for the Clematis to climb on.
There were several Caster Bean plants around the garden, and the Acanthus was a different variety for me, with dramatically cut leaves and sharp bits on the flower spikes.
I give the LilyVilla garden my Best in Show award! Of course the fact that it was totally my style of garden might make me just a little bias.

At the next garden we found simple plantings and a nice solid retaining wall with character.
Along with beautiful Flax.
Walking on to the next location we discovered this odd sight. Poor trees! Two of them were getting the treatment. I loved these tomato cages at the next garden.
And I got so excited when I saw these agave-like plants, they were perfect! This home was not part of the tour but I planned to find out exactly what these fabulous plants were and get their source!...
But as I got closer I realized they were “perfect” because they are FAKE, Plastic Plants!!! Who would do such a thing!?

As for the tour…the voyeur in me really enjoyed the snooping, and the amateur garden designer in me was left feeling like my garden looks pretty good after all! One might call that a win/win situation, if one used silly phrases like that.

Monday, June 29, 2009

ANLD Garden Tour

I am always up for looking at other peoples gardens, I love to see how they arrange their space and the plant materials they’ve chosen. Last weekend was the Association of NW Landscape Designers “Behind the Scenes Garden Tour” an opportunity to see how the professionals (those that actually get paid to do it!) designed 10 urban gardens around Portland. My in-laws from Tennessee were visiting us and this seemed like a great way to spend the day with them.

We started at the garden closest to our home. This metal fencing material held back the laurel and created an accessible pathway (top, and below). Even though you can’t clearly see it, it did run the entire length of the hedge. I wonder does it must make it easier to trim too? I should have asked. I know Laurel is a fast grower and keeping it in check is a constant battle. Also in this garden they had very carefully attached the stems of their Crocosmia to small bamboo stakes, with bit of wire, to keep them upright. Mine lean forward and can be a little floppy, I’d never considered tying them up, I never like the way it looks but in this case it was done very well. If I had the patience I would consider doing this. At the next garden this little evergreen caught my eye. Not normally my type of plant and I’m embarrassed to admit I have no idea what it is, I am sure you all know. The colors and textures were fabulous. And speaking of the colors and textures I love this old CMU wall. I hope you can see the diamond shapes. It was the back wall of a pergola covered setting area. Fun.
This same home/garden had this crazy little deck over the garage. Don’t understand its purpose! There was no way to get into the space! This would drive me crazy.
This driveway wasn’t actually part of the tour, it was the house next door but I had to sneak over and take a couple of pictures. How cool are these little niches and the monks head plaque?
The next garden was billed as a family garden with places for the kids to play. They integrated a sand box area along with a net to pull over it so that it doesn’t become a cat box. There were beautiful Nasturtiums all over this garden, one of those plants I have to enjoy in others space because I can never get them to grow in my garden.
Lunch break at the Chapel Pub, another McMenamin’s restaurant. It used to be a funeral parlor until it was renovated a couple of years ago. Since we were in garden tour mode we walked around the grounds prior to lunching and I spotted this! I love it! I hope someone can identify it…. There was also this happy huge Callistemon which gives me hope for the pair I planted earlier this spring. I wish I had noticed them earlier so I could note how they grow and how last winter treated them.
This bright grass/garage wall combo caught my eye, from a block away as we got out of the car and headed to the next location, it just glows! The next garden turned out to be my favorite of the tour. That one, and others, tomorrow!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Danger found at Garden Fever

After seeing Globe Thistle while walking about last weekend I’d been wondering why I never see them at a nursery, only in other people’s gardens, which makes it harder to get one for yourself (there’s that pesky “stealing” issue again). Then the other night I made a quick stop at Garden Fever on my way home. I hadn’t been for two weeks and needed to see what was new (yes, I had to get my fix). And there it was! I found the most amazing Globe Thistle, an Echinops sphaerocephalus ‘Arctic Glow’ - silver/white globes and deep red stems – sold!
I made my way to the cashier who was just finishing up with another customer. She looked up and said “hi to you and your dangerous plant,” yep, that’s me buying more danger for the danger garden! I’m thinking I might need to go back for another.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A walk to dinner

The other night we walked to a local restaurant for dinner. We are lucky to live in an area with multiple dining options within easy walking distance, and plenty to look at on the way. Remember the cactus bondage? I guess they finally gave up because these have taken their place.
I love any opportunity to check out what’s growing in the Kennedy School gardens. Last week they were planting a new area, the plants were in the ground but they hadn’t dug the hole deep enough as the top 2 - 3” of soil and roots were completely above ground level. It looked like the work of a newbie gardener not a seasoned pro. I should have known they were up to something; now they’ve mounded gravel around the base of each plant. Trying to keep the rain from pooling at the base and improve the drainage I’m guessing? Smart! There was a load of gravel dumped nearby so no doubt they’ll mulch the entire area. Love these big leaves. Based on the blossom my husband identified them as Sour Dock, something I am not familiar with but having grown up in Nebraska he knows all about, evidently it is an invasive there. The leaves don’t look right though (based on the picture in the link). I'm sure one of you has an ID?
When I see Alliums looking like these I kick myself for not having any in my garden. I know Lucy Hardiman spray paints hers fun colors, but I like them left natural.
I love Globe Thistle! Aren’t they just the cutest!?
This was the first Tetrapanax I remember ever noticing, it was about 3 ft tall then. Now it’s much taller and growing into the tree next to it. It’s also starting to spread. Some people might be tempted to help them out by digging and dividing. But that would be stealing, right?
I am no lover of roses but I really like this combo. These flax were pretty decimated last winter but making a great comeback. They were so tall previously that the roses weren’t able to ramble through like they are now.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

It's Agave day in the danger garden

The sharp spikes, the embedded patterns, the elegant flower-like shape…is there anything as beautiful as an agave? These are some of the agaves in my collection; I’d love to see yours.
(I didn’t want to muddy up the pictures with words, if there are any that you would like ID on let me know and I’ll comment back with the name)