Friday, July 29, 2011

The Birrell Garden, Garden Bloggers Fling, Seattle 2011….

It was in this garden (the second of the day) that I realized I was going to be saying “I have no idea” a lot over the next few days. Being from the Northwest my fellow “flingers” assumed I would be able to identify plants (and trees!) that were foreign to them. No luck. Had they been asking about an Agave or Yucca I would have had a chance but instead they were flowers and the like. I am a poor representation of a Pacific Northwest Gardener. Of course there were a few favorite plants of mine here, like a large Melianthus major… And what I think is a Paris polyphylla? But nobody asked me about the ones I knew! Looking at this I really regretted having pulled out my Rush earlier this spring, mine never looked this good though. My second realization was that I take so much for granted gardening here. Over and over people were amazed at the size of the plants. Reminded me of a conversation I had with Maurice Horn of Joy Creek Nursery, we were talking about the size listed on plant labels and how they rarely apply here, where everything grows faster and bigger. Then there was the sun. On a sunny day Seattle is one of the most beautiful places in the world, we enjoyed 3 glorious days of sunshine for everyone to fall in love with Seattle, but then luckily on the last day it was cloudy and rained, I heard several people say they had hoped to see the rain, a funny thought. So again I’m rambling and here we are in another lovely garden, this one at the home of Suzette and Jim Birrell, a lovely brick ranch home I might add. The garden was a more traditional one (as opposed to the gravel garden next door), but there were still several details for me to fall in love with. Like these fabulous metal gates. Asphodeline lutea… This is a plant I fell for in another garden earlier this summer, it was good to see it a little further along and getting a little sloppy. I think (please correct me if I am wrong) this is Crambe cordifolia? They have a lovely vegetable garden in the back. I was especially taken with the support for the beans. Rusty fence detail… Anyone know what this next plant is? More photos from the garden... Next we were off to the historic Dunn Gardens…so many plants to see!


  1. How funny that people said they were hoping to see the rain. But many of them came from droughty places, so I guess that makes sense. The plants in the Birrell garden were especially huge, I thought, even for the PNW.

    Oh, I had forgotten the gorgeous Ocean Spray they had blooming at the back, thanks for posting that!

  2. Sounds like it was fun and educational for you. You are not a sad representation of a gardener from your area. You are very informed on the plants that you love.

  3. I knew I could count on you to make me feel like I didn't completely miss the fling. The people part would have been fun, though.

  4. You go for 2 months without any rain, 100 degree days and soon decide to travel for cool, rainy days! We were lucky at the Fling to finally have some at Bloedel Reserve. I missed this garden because I came late. Thanks for the visual tour!!

  5. It sounds like everyone had a great time. Funny but I often find myself in situations as yours. People know I love my plants but are surprised when I cannot identify flowers as quickly as I do tillandsias or cycads.

  6. Thanks for your "outside the (flower) box" view of that and other landscapes! Striking forms in that look so appealing to me, too.

  7. You did just fine and I have to say that you too took totally different pictures than I did and many of these things I didn't even notice. I am really loving that about the fling. I was so worried we'd all be posting similar posts but we are not at all!

    Oh wait, I haven't posted any of mine yet so maybe I should work on that...For some reason I am still working on posting what I saw after the fling.

  8. A lovely Pacific Northwest garden, with plenty to attract the thrill seeking plant hunter in you (and me.) My Melianthus major dreams of being that lush and the I love that they had a vegetable garden (last night I dreamed I found space in my garden for a full-on veggie patch AND the perfect structure for keeping ducks, too...) What a wonderful set of neighbors!

  9. The Birrell garden looks lovely. I love that first photo especially.

  10. Thanks for the wonderful review of our garden, Jim and I felt like garden rock stars. The plant you could not identify was crambe maritime and yes you are correct with the Paris and the large plant being crambe cordifolia. The secret to our big plants.. Just good old rich dirt, compost compost compost.

    cheers and thanks again. suzette birrell

  11. Alison, yes it does make sense I suppose. I just know that I kept hoping for sun and no rain!

    Darla, thank you!

    ricki, oh gosh yes...I think you would have really enjoyed it.

    compost, true so true...I can't imagine what that would be like. I am spoiled!

    Bom, and it's always the ones I should know too (the common ones)...glad I'm in good company.

    DD, I really wish you would have been there!

    Ann, I know I couldn't wait to get home and post about the blooming Agave at Jungle Fever and the plant I bought at City Peoples. I look forward to your posts!

    MulchMaid, any chance of your dream coming true?

    Grace, I'm not a huge fan of empty containers in the garden (a missed planting opportunity!) but I really liked that one too.

    carkeekfish (Suzette), Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting (with id's!) and for opening your garden! I loved that it was such a personal space. Oh and your "name" just reminded me of a favorite park I used to visit in Seattle!


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