Thursday, December 1, 2016

We garden bloggers descend upon the garden of Vanessa Gardner Nagel...

The Portland-area Garden Bloggers have a rich tradition, five years and running. Every spring and every autumn we get together to exchange plants. And these aren't your common run-of-the-mill pass-along plants. These are divisions of special plants, thing's we've coveted in each-other's gardens, seedlings, or things that we've lovingly dug from our own gardens to make room for new plants. Plus, because the location is always one of our own gardens, it's a way to spend time with each other and do a garden tour as well. This last October the swap was held at Vanessa Gardener Nagel's place just north of Vancouver, Washington...

Heavy rain was predicted for the day but we lucked out and only the lightest drizzle fell.

I hadn't visited Vanessa's garden since 2013. A lot can change in 3 years, thankfully this inviting seating area remained mostly unchanged...

The same for this spot just off the back of the house.

I think I remember Vanessa had changed out the grass in this, the largest of her "crop-circles"...but I could have that wrong.

I believe that's Darmera peltata (left) and Rhododendron pachysanthum (right)...

Mosaic steps back towards the house, with Persicaria virginiana 'Painter's Palette' on the left.

Detail...

Another "crop circle," this a Jeffrey Bale mosaic with an Agave parryi center.

Yes Vanessa's garden is large, both a blessing and a curse...according to the gardener herself.

Looking back towards the house, between the two tall evergreens.

Her Ligularia still looks great, even late in the season.

Fruiting Dogwood, I don't know enough about them to give you a name though.

Looking from the second "crop circle" back toward the first. Love the Sumac!

Oh my! We are not alone...

Great match-up of plant and pot...

I was one of the last to leave, it's finally time to take my haul (no photos...but some great plants!) and head home.

Thanks for the fun afternoon Vanessa!

All material © 2009-2016 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

34 comments:

  1. Wonderful (except for the snake!)

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    1. At least he just stayed in one place. It's the slithering that sends me.

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  2. Wow. Just wow. It's the kind of large-scale canvas I dream of having. I think I know what Vanessa meant by it being a blessing and a curse. Still, I'd like to try.

    What does dogwood fruit taste like?

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    1. My Cornus kousa fruit has a fairly mild taste; nothing to write home about in my opinion and often very grainy. The squirrels adore them!

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    2. I'm glad Tim chimed in, since I was going to have to say I have no idea...and probably never will, the thought of biting into one of those just holds no appeal.

      As for the size of the garden, me too...someday before I get to old.

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    3. You have to split the rind off and the center is sort of gushy.....definitely don't bite into that thick skin!

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  3. I agree about the blessing/curse aspect and I don't think my garden is as big as hers. I love her book on garden design and it's so nice to see her own garden. The plant combos, those vertical evergreens everywhere and those "crop" circles. It's all just brilliant.

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    1. There's also ravine in front of the house that I didn't even show, she's recently been doing some clearing of invasives and planting there too.

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  4. That was a lovely day! I so enjoyed seeing Vanessa's garden and seeing all the Portland bloggers again. I loved the circular beds as well as Vanessa's plant choices, and her garden art was also quirky and fun!

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    1. It was a fun day indeed, to bad we missed some bloggers being there with us.

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  5. Thanks for taking me back. What a great day, and a beautiful garden!

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    1. I really regretted not taking a photo of my fabulous haul, mostly from you!

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  6. So sorry I missed this exchange. Vanessa's garden is spectacular and, of course, I love the Bale mosaics! Since I always dream about more space, it's nice to hear that there's a down side to having a large garden.

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    1. We all definitely missed you Peter.

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  7. Such a treat to see this garden through your lens again. It is one thrill after another. Whatever that first, wiry evergreen is (Wissel's Saguaro?) - I'm in love. That crazy, protuberance-covered container is pretty fantastic, too. I'll throw out a guess that the dogwood is Cornus kousa 'Wolf Eyes' or one of the other variegated cultivars.

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    1. I took that first photo thinking it was definitely a Wissel's Saguaro (why don't I have one?) but then looking at it yesterday I had doubts. And thanks for the Cornus guess...that's one tree I know absolutely nothing about, although (coincidently) the one Dogwood I do have, Cornus sanguinea 'Compressa', was a gift from Vanessa.

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  8. I had a brief visit to your wonderful city last week (mostly family oriented)--and hoped to visit Vanessa: she was very accommodating, but I couldn't work it in. Your pictures gave me a pang of regret! Next time for sure (and to visit you as well)--your pix are awesome!

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    1. Well I hope Portland showed you a good time, and you're welcome here anytime. Although I must say I do not have the autumn-friendly garden that Vanessa has. Summer is its season.

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  9. I feel calmer just having virtually stepped through this garden via your post. I loved that bright red Sumac and all the little touches likes the bells on the poles hanging over the path.

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    1. It is a calming space isn't it? Wish you could have been there with us!

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  10. Great garden, and I loved the narrow view between the two ev's --Cypress ? Yews ? I'm so crappy at trees and large evergreens. Guess thats because I've never had room for them !

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  11. I took a special day off to be able to attend. Though we got lost and arrived late, I'm so glad I did...and revisiting all the highlights here today was another treat.

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    1. We were so happy when you and Tamara arrived, late or not.

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  12. So many great design take aways from Vanessa's beautiful garden, even some I can apply to my just-started large garden here in subtropical Brazil. Thanks so much for sharing this.

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    1. Glad to help...what fun you must be having!

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  13. What a great tradition!!! it sounds like a treasure! I know I have almost disappeared from the blogosphere lately and I miss looking at blogs. You always amaze me with the beautiful gardens you have in the PNW...and it seems like they never end...there are always gardens I hadn't seen before and really stunning.

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    1. You're missed Lisa. I hope that what's keeping you away is a good thing....

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  14. What an excellent tradition. I love the crop circles and the whole layout of this garden.

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    1. Wish you guys were closer and could take part in the fun!

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  15. That is 1 beautiful garden, and perfectly appropriate to its climate. I would only be itching to replace the parryi with a bigger Agave--the parryi seems too small for the circle--how about a big monster ovatifolia, six feet of gorgeous?

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    1. If it was my garden YES, oh so YES. But this seems appropriate for Vanessa. Oh and six feet? Probably not here...but a girl can dream.

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  16. I admire the large circle of grass. I wonder about the maintenance it requires to keep it looking so fresh. It certainly doesn't need mowing. It must look great when the wind is blowing.

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    1. I think (could be wrong) she just cuts it back once a year in the spring...

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