Thursday, April 6, 2017

Old Germantown Gardens

Old Germantown Gardens, aka the garden of Bruce Wakefield and Jerry Grossnickle, was one of the stops during the Portland Garden Bloggers Fling in 2014. I wasn't able to make the pre-fling tour, and only had the briefest look through on the day of, so I was thrilled to be able to visit, and wander through, at an extremely slow pace, last May 22nd.

If you aren't familiar with this garden here's the description we used in the Fling brochure:

Style/Focus: Creating various habitats so as to grow the most diverse palette of plants possible.
Size: 2 Acres
Age: 23 years, but with many recent changes
Favorite/Noteworthy Plant(s): All of them!

Tucked away on a wooded parcel near Forest Park, Old Germantown Gardens is a nearly 2-acre hillside garden that is a wealth of garden diversity, including ponds, bog gardens, perennial beds and borders, woodland plantings, rock garden, dry hillside garden, and a greenhouse full of unusual tropical plants. Each garden habitat is stuffed full of plants - rare, unusual and common ones, too. Beyond the various types of gardens on this hillside property, visitors will discover a French/Italian-style patio- terrace adjacent to the house. The terrace includes small decorative pools, a fountain, rill, and waterfall, all contained within hand-chiseled stone walls. The garden is always evolving and changing - both naturally and by the owners’ guiding hands. Indeed, the past two years have witnessed much editing and renovation of this 23-year-old garden. After exploring the extensive hillside trails, visitors who may need the added sustenance are welcome to refreshments on the terrace or upstairs deck while taking in a bird’s-eye view of Old Germantown Gardens.

That sustenance mentioned comes in the form of freshly baked cookies. They are amazing.

Love that Cematis...

So excited to explore!

At last, the pond.

I wish I could describe exactly what changed here. Obviously a tree was removed (you can see the stump on the left) and the pavers and grass clumps are new. Was it a decision based on light (desire for/lack of)? Diseased tree? Mother nature?

The garden is famous for its collection of Cardiocrinum giganteum aka Giant Himalayan Lily. I was a little too early for the blooms...

But loved seeing last year's seed pods still in place.

Rhododendron faithiae

Daphniphyllum macropodum

More Cardiocrinum.

I didn't find a label on this Rhododendron.

Schefflera (maybe delavayi?) having just pushed out its flush of new leaves.

Take the stairs, or continue on the path. Difficult decisions!

This! I was told it's Pseudopanax delavayi. Which kind of makes my head spin, like when I discovered this little name game.

I do so wish it were in my garden...

Aesculus hippocastanum 'Laciniata'

Cut-leaf Horse Chestnut.

This garden is fabulous for getting you looking up-close and in detail at the plants and then bam! You look up and the long-view is amazing.

Now we're entering the final part of the garden, and my favorite.

I'm sure you can guess why.

I continue up the pathway and climb those stairs...

To look back down on where I've just been.

Oh, and we must explore the greenhouse.

And back outside to admire the blooming Phormium. You don't see those very often in this part of the world.

Left to right: Euphorbia stygiana (?), Furcraea, Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) and Melianthus.

Leucospermum reflexum

And finally a couple of shots from the deck...

Before it's time to walk out the front door and up the (steep) driveway to head home.

Parting shot, because we must not forget the Bismarckia nobilis.

Weather Diary, April 5: Hi 63, Low 47/ Precip 0

All material © 2009-2017 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

31 comments:

  1. I missed the Fling but managed to get a look at this great garden during the Hardy Plant Study Weekend a couple of years ago. Like the Fling weekend, that was a very hot and miserable day. It's hard to admire plants with sweat running into your eyes. Thanks for sharing your photos. I'd love to go back on a cooler day.

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    1. Doesn't look like they're opening this summer, but there's always next. Plus they've been known to sneak an open day in here or there...I'll let you know if I hear of anything.

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  2. Ms. Smarty Uppity Thinks She Knows Everything Pants (on fire) made me laugh again! It was such a treat to see this spectacular garden during the fling and your wonderful tour brought back warm memories. Your weather diary has me a little envious as it's windy and rainy here today.

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    1. P.S. the name came from the link to your Pseudopanax name game post where you gave yourself the moniker. XO

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    2. Thanks for clarifying! I thought I might have offended you somehow, and this post seemed so benign.

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  3. You've shown many spectacular gardens over time, but this is mind-boggling. Hard to believe it is a private garden and not a botanic garden. Makes me feel like a slug and that I haven't accomplished much over the last 20 years. Those first views with those gorgeous combinations of trees and shrubs have me weak at the knees. I am going to have to come back later and look at this again.

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    1. You might enjoy checking out some of these posts too:
      http://gardenbloggersfling.blogspot.com/2014/07/fling-preview-old-germantown-gardens.html

      Kindly ignore the spam links that I can't remove!

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  4. Thank you so much for this post. This was one of my favorite gardens at the 2014 Fling but I was so overwhelmed by it that I never wrote about it.

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  5. Wow-all that color and texture and 95% foliage. Gardeners after my own heart.

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    1. See I'm so foliage oriented I hadn't even thought about it, but you're right!

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  6. I too loved this garden at the Fling, and am amazed that they found something to renovate. I suppose I could see how the removal of a tree or two (for whatever reason) could require this, but otherwise it seemed pretty perfect already. Plus, newts in the pond!

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  7. such an amazing garden, really is something for everyone.

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  8. I think they met their spec of a diverse plant palette! It's a glorious garden.

    P.S. As I don't think I've mentioned it, the little Tetrapanax seedling you sent me is alive and well. It's still very small and I expect it'll remain in its pot for some time but I've actually begun to think about where I'll put it once it's ready to enter the big time.

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    1. I'm so glad! I was wondering about that little guy, as I've had another pop up in the garden. Post to come...

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  9. What an incredible garden. I was hoping to find it in the HPSO open gardens book, but I don't see it. I wish I had gone last year. What's wrong with me?

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    1. Ya they've decided to take a year off. Still, there might be a last mintute opening, it happens. Watch the HPSO emails to see if it happens.

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    2. Oh yeah, I meant to say that the rhododendron with the red new growth is probably 'Elizabeth Red Foliage', aka 'Ostbo Red', but I got lost in all the other beautiful plants.

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  10. I surely hope to see this garden again some (cooler) day, since all my photos are pretty bad --yours on the other hand are great ! I've seen a fair amount of beautifully maintained private gardens(incl the Danger Garden !) but this one was remarkable considering the size --thanks for the return trip !

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    1. I felt pretty lucky that day, the overcast haze wasn't oppressive, but there wasn't any harsh light to battle. And thank you for the kind words about my garden, which looks like hell right now!

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  11. I concur with the other flingers, that it's a special treat to see such a long, photo-filled post on this amazing garden. I think we were all too dumbstruck to do it justice.

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  12. I commented yesterday and got a weird message that I was double-editing or some such nonsense. Just chiming in to say how stunned I am at the size of this garden and its apparent immaculate upkeep. I would drive myself into a frenzied early death trying to maintain something this size. My hat's off because I am so impressed!

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    1. I've gotten that message before when replying to comments. I have no idea why. The owners are definitely detail-oriented! Glad you enjoyed.

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  13. Wow, what an amazing garden, though that Leucospermum is rather odd.

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    1. You got to see it during the Fling didn't you?

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  14. Fabulous garden. And an amazing achievement given that slope. It's what I aim for. Whether I get there or not is far less certain.

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    1. It's good to have goals, right?

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  15. Never tire of seeing this garden. I have only been there in high summer so seeing it in spring is a special treat.

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