Thursday, November 30, 2017

North to Anderson School! (part one)

Yes, you've probably figured out I am a huge fan of McMenamins restaurants and hotels for the outstanding gardens around their properties. Instead of lawn and foundation plantings they spend money on beautiful and unusual plants, and hire knowledgeable and skilled people to care for them. One of those people, my friend Riz Reyes, is the master of the garden domain at McMenamins Anderson School, in Bothell, WA.

Anderson School (re)opened as a McMenamins in 2015 (it had previously been a Jr. High) and I've been dying to get up there and see it for myself. That finally happened on November 3rd. I'd timed my leaving Portland so I could trek the additional distance north from Seattle, little did I know a freak snowfall would slow my travels at Olympia, WA and again through Tacoma. I pulled into the parking lot late, but with two goals: see the "desert garden" and meet up with Riz. The fist one happened immediately.

And I was instantly smitten. When Peter (the Outlaw) visited in July this Agave Ovatifolia (Whale's Tongue Agave) was caged under the wine barrel rings, it's since been freed. Grown too big I'm guessing.

Can you even?

This means you Bozo!

Creative reuse is a theme at McMenamins and the wine barrel rings are definitely a successful decorative touch, I think. Spot the trio of 4" pots waiting to be planted?

A bit of Portland (Xera Plants) 200 miles north.

Notice the rain turning to sleet, verging on snow? I was not dressed for this kind of weather and was not entertained. Still I pushed on. Must see the garden!...

The Colletia was a highlight.

The thorns are normally the draw, for me at least. But the flowers were just so numerous you couldn't help but be transfixed.

Eryngium leavenworthii, gotta be painted that color right?

Nope, that's natural.

I should apologize for the fact these photos aren't really progressing through the desert garden in any sort of logical way.

I had a sort of frantic energy as I walked about and the snow/sleet/ice became heavier.

I wanted to see it all, but a freak winter storm can quickly turn a normal commute into complete gridlock in Western Washington/Oregon.

Part of me kept saying "but it's only early November, that can't possibly happen" and part of me kept thinking "you don't want to be stranded in Bothell when you're due back down in Seattle!"...

I kept snapping pictures...

I finally broke away from this bit of loveliness and toured the rest of the campus (more tomorrow), while simultaneously texting to meet up with Riz. Finally, when my fingers and toes were frozen, I gave up and met him inside the "North Shore Lagoon" — for a glass of wine (I had a glass of wine, Riz abstained) and a chat about what he'd created.

A little over an hour later we emerged to find the sleet/snow mixture had stopped, but many of the plants had a thin coat of ice on them.

Very dramatic...

If this was all there was to see here at Anderson School I would be impressed, but there's so much more to see, come back tomorrow for a look at the other gardens. Oh and I got back to Seattle just fine, no nightmare commute.

Weather Diary, Nov 29: Hi 52, Low 37/ Precip 0

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

23 comments:

  1. That is one gorgeous garden. Thanks for taking all those pix despite the weather. This post will deserve another longer look later today when I can kick back with a glass of wine. What kind of school is this?

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  2. Glad you enjoyed! And sorry — I should have been more clear. It was a school (a jr high) but now it's a hotel/restaurant/events facility. McMenamins takes old buildings and rehabs them.

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    1. I figured it wasn't still a public school but couldn't quite decide what it might be. What a treat for gardeners to stay at a place like that.

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  3. The desert garden is beyond beautiful, I am in awe. Did Riz design this garden? He's a wonderful guy, I'm crazy about him.

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    1. I am not sure what level of design Riz is responsible for, I should have asked him! Erich Petschke (corp gardens mgr with McMenamins) has a great eye too and has been involved in this garden.

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  4. This is just fantastic. To think these plantings are right next to the parking lot. The combo in the first photo is breathtaking.

    Do you know what this agave is?

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    1. Is it Agave montana 'Baccarat'?

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    2. If you guys ever decided to drive up to visit Laura at school and need a place to stay north of Seattle keep this in mind! Oh and yes, I agree with Anon's ID.

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  5. I've been wanting to visit ever since Peter posted his photos, but figured maybe the garden by now was in a state of autumn decline, and thought it might make more sense to wait till spring. This was a month ago now, but it looks great!

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    1. The only part that I would label as in decline is the meadow garden (seen in Friday's post), but it's still fabulous.

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  6. This garden is full of fabulousness at every turn. Glad to see that the Agave ovatifolia was freed from it's cage. Eryngium leavenworthii is now on my list of plants to hunt down; what a great color! Riz is such a kind and talented man!

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    1. Annie's just posted about that Eryngium on FB yesterday!
      http://www.anniesannuals.com/plants/view/?id=4779

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  7. Fabuloso! I was excited to see a link to Riz but, alas, it resulted in an error. I'm still kicking myself for missing his flower arranging seminar at the now defunct Yard, Garden & Patio Show...didn't know about him until I saw the incredible bouquets posted outside the seminar room.

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    1. Bummer, this website was live when I wrote this post, it's only gone down then in the last few days. I re-linked to his blog, it's old but good! I missed that seminar too, so sad...

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  8. The PNW does have the most marvelous gardens! I was oohing and aahing throughout your post but stopped dead when I saw California poppies - in November!

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  9. OMG that agave + red sedum combo is AMAZING.

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  10. I wonder if winter bees and hummers enjoy the Colletia. Did you detect any fragrance? Nice garden.

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    1. I did not, but then again it was cold and sleeting, etc. Perhaps on a better day?

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  11. The PNW has such a wonderful imaginative spirit these days. So much positive good stuff being done by creative people. Its deeply encouraging to see that--so much news has been so grim the past year.

    Here Colletia paradoxa flowers have quite a noticeable sweet fragrance--perhaps it is only apparent on a warm day?

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    1. I didn't detect any scent, you're right...probably not the best conditions for scent in the air.

      Gardens/Gardeners will save us!

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  12. W O W ! That Agave w the purple sedum, muhly grasses (guessing at the latter two). Incredible. Cold and gray does not usually come up with such bright photos! Super impressed with the color of November here. GOT to get up there! Thanks for that tour.

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