Friday, September 20, 2013

Visiting the garden of Vanessa Gardner Nagel…

I resisted joining Facebook for a very long time. Just didn't see the need, didn't want another account to check or update. I finally signed up last January and for the most part it's been a good thing. The biggestt benefit has been meeting new like-minded people who'd never commented on my blog before, Vanessa Gardner Nagel is one of those people. After "talking" on Facebook for a couple of months we finally met in person and exchanged garden visits. My garden, being very small, took about an hour. Hers on the other hand, well I could have stayed all day...

My visit was about this time last month, in the weeks that have passed I've managed to forget the kitty's name as well as many of the plant names. I really need to try and post about these visits faster, when things are fresh! I do remember those are IKEA chairs which Vanessa painted stained, much better than plain wicker don't you think?

Vanessa is a garden designer and author, her most recent book The Professional Designer's Guide to Garden Furnishings is out now from Timber Press (I wonder if she mentions IKEA as a source?).

This vignette is so opposite from my garden style, but I loved it!

And you know, there is always an agave...

This is where I entered the garden...

And this is looking back towards where I took the photos above...

There are several seating areas throughout the garden, this one was probably my favorite.

If I had bought that black Daphne when I first saw it mine would probably be this big by now...

And why have I not planted any dark Ajuga?

On the other side of the gabion seating area is this raised wooden "dock" - at least to me it felt like a dock.

From there you could look over onto the first seating area...

Or out into the garden beyond.

Moving away from the house you encounter the first of several large planted circles which divide the garden in two. I loved this feature and kind of wish I had a garden large enough to do something like this!

Looking closer at the plants that border the circles...


Does anyone know the name of this little chalky succulent?

Schefflera taiwaniana

Darmera peltata and a beautiful ghostly rhody...

This circle is planted with veggies, a crop circle!

I had no idea asparagus would end up looking like this, I may need to plant some as an ornamental.

I think the Gunnera's days are numbered. Vanessa recently posed a question on Facebook asking for suggestions on what to plant in it's place...(it needs too much water to stay looking good).

Here's the final circle in the series...

Looking back...

Had I visited at night there would be lights gently illuminating the bell...

At the back of the garden I discovered a Bromeliad in the Magnolia, great minds think alike!

Although hers is getting better treatment than mine, with extra soil.

This is the same Ensete maurelii we saw earlier, from the "dock"...

And here we are on the other side of the circles, where our visit concludes. Thank you so much Vanessa for inviting me to see your beautiful garden, and your generosity of time spent that lovely afternoon!

All material © 2009-2013 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

51 comments:

  1. since discovering your blog i race to check it every day! always a fun read and thanks to you and condolences to my checkbook i have learned of many plants i was unfamiliar with. i have met people on fine gardening garden photo of the day who also love the danger garden and i hope you don't mind that i find myself saying quite often,,,,,,there are always agaves.

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    1. Yay! I'm glad you enjoy the blog and have been discovering new plants, that makes me very happy! I used to subscribe to the Fine Gardening photo of the day, I wonder why I stopped getting that...must look into it, thanks for the reminder. And yes...please repeat my agave mantra as much as possible!

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  2. There's so much to like here. The Asian accents are magnificents. I wish I had a gong like that.

    How large is this garden? Your photos made it look quite expansive.

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    1. Vanessa chimed in to report 1/3 of an acre...but you know I think it feels bigger.

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    2. 1/3 of an acre is pretty sizable, at least where I live. That's 50% more space than I have :-).

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  3. That enormous banana is inspirational, I love it. Do you want a dark Ajuga? I have one called Black Scallop, I can bring you a start or two. It's not always quite as dark as you see in pictures, but in the early spring it is. Lightens up as summer comes on and it gets a bit more light.

    I have seen you credited elsewhere on the web for the "There's always an Agave" line! That's pretty cool.

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    1. I do! That would be most appreciated Alison!

      Cool indeed, makes me grin to think about people repeating that line.

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    2. I'll bring a couple to the swap.

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  4. Stunning! That garden looks immense. And so lush! The SoMag and bromeliad stole my heart though!

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  5. I'm a prolific idea generator, but it seems the best gardeners are those good at follow-thru. Lovely.

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    1. Well yes in fact follow-thru does help others see those great ideas that are bouncing around in your noggin. However anyone who's seen your garden would hardly call you a slacker.

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  6. I keep expecting you to run out of great gardens to visit but I've recently come to the conclusion that will never happen.

    Facebook reminds me to visit your blog every time you post something new. With so little time to read blogs, often times the one right in front of me gets the attention.

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    1. I hope not, I don't want to ever run out!

      I could rant all day about the pros and cons of FB but if it helps me to connect with those that I like then in the end it's a good thing. Hey...I don't think I've harassed you yet about coming out to Portland next year for the GB Fling...how about it?

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  7. Thank you for doing my garden justice, Loree, and for avoiding any of the spots that I am working on! To enlighten your readers: the garden is about 1/3 of an acre, those IKEA chairs are stained vs. painted (Don't paint wicker if you can help it!), and the wonderful dark-leaved Daphne is Daphne houtteana.

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    1. Ah Vanessa I hope you really think that I did. It was beautiful and inspiring. Plus it was nice to see that even the professionals have project areas (and a couple of weeds) and of course in the true test of a great garden my take away memories are only of the fabulous things I saw.

      Stained, of course! Yes...silly me, I remember that conversation now. How could I forget after all my years of painted white wicker at Pier One?

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  8. Lots of great stuff in this garden! Thanks for another faboo tour, you really get around!

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  9. What a beautiful garden...I actually really dig the elevated wooden walkway...and oh yes...to have that much room!

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    1. Someday Scott, someday you'll have that much room!

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  10. Nice garden. I like the copper(?) panels. What are the conical conifers? Were they sheared?

    The succulent is a puzzler, wonder what color it would be in more sun-was it in shade?

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    1. Yes I believe they were copper, and I don't think the conifers were sheared. They looked natural and Vanessa doesn't seem like a lady who would go to that sort of length to maintain a plant shape (instead planting something that would better suit her need/design).

      The succulent was in a fair amount of shade, to my (sometimes faulty) memory...

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  11. Very nice. I grew asparagus for awhile but the orange asparagus beetle which, as a youngster gets his kicks from sucking the juices out of emerging spears, forced me to give up the pursuit. I've still got a few plants that come up in my raspberries. Did Vanessa do the pebble mosaic? Great post. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Why does there have to be a special beetle that attacks every different plant!!!???

      Yes, I believe she did do the pebble mosaic, or at least designed it. Vanessa??? Help???

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  12. Could the succulent by a senecio ? Looks a bit similar to one that I have. Thanks for the tour, it's a lovely garden !

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    1. I might have thought that too (senecio) but I believe she said it was a sedum of some type...

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  13. fifi la fontaineSeptember 20, 2013

    Wow. Another amazing garden. Thanks so much for the pics!

    (I wonder what will happen to the gunnera? It looks great from what I can see.)

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    1. I believe she's leaning toward a Rheum palmatum, which is another fabulous BIG leaf plant.

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  14. I've been having the same debate over FB. I have an account but rarely visit. I need to get over it! That chalky succ is a mystery to me too, but I love the herbaceous clem above it, C. heracleifolia. Such a good plant with great seedheads too. Maybe Vanessa will be on the fling?

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    1. As I recall I looked for you on FB when I first signed up but couldn't find you. You mean her personally part of the Fling or her garden? She's up north of Vancouver so logistically it could be a stretch...still until we have the schedule finalized anything is possible...

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  15. This garden is lovely. Thanks for your comment on my post about the Volunteer Park Conservatory. I hadn't found your blog before this. It's very impressive. I don't know how you find the time to post so often. I can barely manage once a week. And I wish I had such a positive experience as you on Facebook. I mostly learn what old friends from high school had for breakfast.

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    1. Thank you for the kind words. I'm a little frustrated with blogger at the moment, the sizing of my columns seems to have changed and the photo buttons are now too large. I've put off fixing it because I'm sure as soon as I do they'll then change whatever caused the issue in the first place. As for FB it helps that I signed up using my blog name as my personal name. I had no desire to reconnect my high school classmates!

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  16. What a pretty and serene garden..I'm in the market for some new garden chairs, and it never occurred to me to check Ikea.Thanks for the tip !

    That succulent sure looks to me like Sedum linare or some version of it.

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    1. Serene is a great word! Our patio furniture came from IKEA and I can' say enough good things about it. The only problem you might face is that this isn't the best time of year. They tend to be very seasonal and don't carry much in the way of garden "stuff" after about mid August. Also I think you just might have solved the sedum question!!!

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  17. I'm glad you mentioned about the chairs, I zoomed into it instantly as it looks so contemporary and her customising it has greatly helped. Above all that her garden is amazing! FB has its benefits ;)

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    1. Glad you liked the chairs, I've been contemplating doing something similar next summer too, more places to sit in the garden is always a good thing!

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  18. Amazing gardens, both of them.

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  19. There are a lot of great ideas folded into these photos. I especially like the planted circles - as I continue to tear our sections of grass I need to consider something along those lines.

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    1. Yay! I'm so glad you found this inspirational and I love that you're thinking about doing something like the circles!

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  20. As beautiful a garden as Vanessa is a person!

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  21. What a stunning garden! I would have thought it larger than 1/3 acre -- she's done a great job of framing views and hiding any nearby houses, while giving the impression that her garden goes on and on. I love the circles and Asian accents too.

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    1. It definitely feels larger, yet not overwhelming (at least not to me, since I don't have to care for it). And you're so right about hiding the neighbors, there are a couple quite close but you have to practically be standing next to them to realize they're there.

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  22. Her designer chops are sure showing in her own garden. Lovely tour. I, too, will bring a few 'Black Scallop' plants to the swap, and I have found mine to remain quite black and spread quickly. (one patch of my so-called lawn has been completely taken over and I've no idea how it got there but applaud its incentive).

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  23. Stunning. I want to rip out my garden and start over. Seriously. Also:
    Her cat looks like my dear departed Mr. Dumbles.
    Thanks for using the word "gabion" because I always forget it and it is hard to find a search term that helps me find it.

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    1. Besides being a cool feature I also love the word "gabion" and wish I had more excuses to use it!

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  24. P.S. I also meant to say that I get a lot of blog comments on Facebook instead of my blog...I think it because one has to jump through hoops to comment on a blog. I don't mean moderation, just choosing an identity for posting, etc.

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    1. Good point and I'm sure that's true.

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  25. Wow! thanks for sharing!!! that garden is one of my new favorites now!

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