Don’t you love an unexpected package on the doorstep? I do. It’s been a fun summer for plant surprises, like this Fed Ex box on the back step as I arrived home from the Seattle Garden Bloggers Fling. What was it? Nothing short of an Agave desmettiana, from Chris at Party Valley Heights (isn’t that just the best name? It sounds like a place where there would never be a grey day!). This little agave comes with quite the pedigree, Chris got several from a friend in Venice Beach…and now I’ve got one of them here in Portland, or perhaps soon to be more than just one as there are several pups gathered ‘round. I’m extra excited because this isn’t the variegated version of Agave desmettiana, the leaves are solid green. I’m not sure if I ever mentioned the dark and mysterious Aeoniums I received from Piece of Eden? An off-hand remark on a blog post and the next thing I knew a box of them arrived just in time to fill a couple of holes in my garden! I’ve already shared the fact that I brought home a terrific Mangave ‘Macho Mocha’ from my visit to JJ’s garden, but here it is in its happy new orange container. And check out the rest of my haul! Tephrocactus articulatus var. strobiliformis, or as I like to call it…the Conifer Opuntia. Unknown Haworthia Unknown Aloe Opuntia santa-rita Unknown Aeonium? This fabulous container (I mentioned I had a thing for turquoise containers and the next thing I knew it was in my hands) is the perfect place for the brightly colored Echeveria nodulosa, with a couple little Agave pups tucked in. Winning the distance prize (if there was one), all the way from Tallahassee Florida, came a Kalanchoe tubiflora from Darla at More Family and Flowers. Darla read my account of not being allowed to buy a ‘Mother of Thousands’ from an Oregon nursery and offered to send me one. Not only did I get one, but four and they came with babies attached! She also sent along a bonus: Tradescantia spathacea….this plant is new to me and I really love it’s dramatically colored leaves. My final plant surprise came from Ricki, of Sprig to Twig. Ricki attended my HPSO workshop on Succulents and brought me a gift…look at this gorgeous brown leaved Kalanchoe orgyalis! If we lived somewhere with a kinder winter climate this could get to be a shrub over 3 ft tall! As it is I’ll be protecting it in the winter. I decided to combine these last few (along with a couple other small succulents I’d recently picked up) in a tall metal container. Like I said, gift plants are the best! What have you given, or received, lately?
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
One of the many benefits of membership in the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon (HPSO, see link in sidebar) is the thick booklet you receive every spring listing members who are opening their gardens for other members to tour. As much as I love the idea of this I’ve been lax at taking advantage of it. Finally a few Saturdays ago I had a free morning and jumped in the car to visit the garden of Darcy Daniels, garden designer and owner of Bloomtown. I started photographing in the front garden, hoping I was at the right place as there was nobody around, but figuring even if I wasn’t this was surely the home of an avid gardener who would understand my interest. I’m in love with this short metal and stone wall along the sidewalk (it's new, click here for Darcy’s post about the renovation of her front garden, complete with progress shots)… And I'm kicking myself for not buying the fabulous blue, big-leaf plant in this picture. I can't remember the name right now (of course) but I saw it at one of the nurseries we visited on the Garden Bloggers Fling in Seattle. Isn't it great? The woven metal strips holding the plantings in the hell strip were pretty excellent! Moving to the side garden (edibles!) I could hear people laughing in the back and prayed I wouldn’t be crashing a private party! Ah, once in the back garden I recognized Darcy from a talk I went to of hers years ago. What a great lady, I just met her and quickly we were chatting about her garden and plants the way gardeners do. I love her garage converted to home office, have a similar layout and perhaps someday will go this route with our garage. More doors, these off the back of the house, I wish we had doors that opened onto our garden! Darcy’s garden was one of many that I’ve toured which include a small space for potting, new plant storage, and tinkering. Hers was very organized, and I wish everyone had a place to stow their refuse containers out of sight! I pray my struggling Carmichaelia odorata someday looks as good as hers. I learned that Darcy occasionally reads my blog as she pointed out several plants in her garden that she thought I would like, like these Popsicle Series Kniphofia (Papaya). And this Astelia. Naturally I love the small urn of succulents. An unexpected surprise in visiting Darcy’s garden was this… She lives right next door to the garden with the cool metal planters that I’d been stalking! That’s her driveway flowing nicely right into their side yard. Looking good! Portland can feel like such a small town sometimes! Darcy's garden is a lush refuge that packs a ton of beautiful plants in a very small space, yet doesn't feel crowded. If you have the opportunity to visit her garden do it!