Friday, July 29, 2022

The fern bowl becomes the bromeliad bowl—but where did the ferns go?

Back in May of 2019 I put together a planting I referred to as the "fern bowl"—kind of like a fern table, except it wasn't on a flat surface but rather in a large, shallow bowl. Here's a photo from that post (which you can read here)...

Three years in and that planting needed a refresh. Thankfully all the important players were still looking good, but I could tell they weren't thriving any longer. Plus I was kinda itching to use the bowl for a few of my smaller bromeliads and an expanding collection of cryptanthus—and so I did, and I love the way it turned out.

So, what did I do with the ferns from the bowl? Well, last spring something strange happened to the huge podophyllum clump that used to fill this stock tank and they just sulked (see how fabulous they once were here). Unfortunately they weren't anymore robust this spring...

So I moved the sad plants that remained elsewhere in the garden and prepped the tank for new occupants.

I needed a background to build off of and so I buried this section of I-beam I happened to have in the garage (doesn't everybody?) and also planted a chunk of driftwood I hauled home from our last trip to the beach.

It's just begging for something to work it's way up those "branches" don't you think?

All planted up!

Truth be told, I planted and stepped back and thought "I need some metal in that corner" (to help hide the awkward meeting of the garage and fence). I immediately thought of these two pieces over near the tallest palm in the garden, but they're a little too small—and being used as trellising.

They both came to be mine thanks to Alan Bertin, the Mardi Gras Gardener.

Alan picked them up at BBC Steel (which I wrote about here), so the next morning I had free I was off to BBC to see what I could find that would fit easily in that corner...

I do like sticking to a theme, in this case circles. But you pay by the pound here and this number was so heavy I could barely drag it over to take this photo.

Lots of fun circles here, but these panels were way too big.

Ditto for those leaf shape panels.

I don't need more cylinders, but these were mighty attractive.

Tempting to have a seat and mull over the options.

In the end I went back to revisit these really big circles cut into thin metal sheets—easy to move and cheaper too! I went with the two in the middle, the shorter piece with 8 holes and the one with 4 holes and a solid side.

Here they are in the corner...

Hard to see in a photo...

But providing a nice back-drop in-real-life. I spray them down when I'm watering, hoping to speed along the rusting process.

So let's look at the plants! Not all of these were moved over from the fern bowl, I'd had this project in mind for awhile and so had been "collecting" plants.

Pyrrosia sheareri along with some black mondo grass—these were in the fern bowl.

Asarum maximum 'Ling Ling' also from the fern bowl planting.

More Pyrrosia sheareri, this from Cistus Nursery.

Asplenium trichomanes

Disporum cantoniense 'Night Heron'—I am very excited about this plant being elevated and thus easier than my current plant is to photograph when the blooms show up in the springtime.

Pyrrosia polydactyla

Pyrrosia sp. SEH#12547, purchased at the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden.

Final shot, you might remember this pair from my haul post after the trip up north in June; Rhododendron 'Strawberry Sorbet' and a syneilesis hybrid from my friend Camille's garden

Although I'm just finally sharing it now, this planting all happened earlier in July. Thank goodness things had a couple weeks to settle in, as we're currently in the midst of six+ days in the high 90's and low 100's. I'm babying this planting and hoping everything makes it.

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All material © 2009-2022 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

The Risdahl-Pittman Garden, my first stop on a fun-filled weekend of garden touring

Early on June 16th I packed up my car and headed north for the Northwest Perennial Alliance Hardy Plant Study Weekend. This event—held in the greater Seattle/Puget Sound area—was a five day garden touring extravaganza. While I was excited to once again be out touring a collection of private gardens and getting to chat with plant-people, I was also a little anxious. It had been several years and I was very out of practice...

I took this shot walking up to the first garden, things looked hopeful...

Very Pacific Northwest...

Lots of foliage and texture...

Everything so perfectly maintained.

Right about here is when I settled in and realized it was all going to be okay. I was back with my people and I had chose well for my first garden of the weekend. This—the Risdahl-Pittman Garden located in Milton, WA— was open on the "shoulder" days of the event, for those traveling up from the south.
When visiting gardens it's good to be a little jealous of just how perfect plants you wish you could grow look, like this one—which might be Ligularia Britt-Marie Crawford? It does not like my garden, not one bit.

I love a cramscaped pathway!
And unique hardscape details...

A few words from the garden description in the Study Weekend handbook we received: "Our garden is a collector's garden arranged in eclectic rhythm. Not totally scientific, species seem to play well with each other in the Merry Mixture... You will notice a sphere theme going on. Ferns of all persuasion are happy to show themselves in most beds."

Struthiopteris spicant, syn. Blechnum spicant, aka deer fern.

Maybe Impatiens omeiana 'Silver Pinkster'?

Perhaps Matteuccia struthiopteris, the ostrich fern?

When visiting a garden, looking back at where you've been—which I am doing here—is as important as looking ahead. The flash of blue is the jacket of another garden visitor.

Something interesting over in the distance...

Seriously you guys, this garden was SO GOOD!

Asplenium scolopendrium (Hart's Tongue Fern) 

More from the garden description, written by Susan Risdahl-Pittman: "Gardening is even better when your Garden Guy is also a creative hardscaper. He envisions and creates entirely without a pattern and from scratch. Our greenhouse (below), built by the Garden Guy, houses plant cousins who don't appreciate temperature swings."

That Garden Guy she refers to is the other half of the talented duo here, Guy Risdahl-Pittman. Guy built a very nice greenhouse!

By the door...

And inside...

I especially loved that the ceiling was framed by a pipe from which you could hang plants.

In the distance is an interesting shed with great storage that I am surprised I took no up-close photos of. Oh well. I was in conversation with the Guy half of the Risdahl-Pittman's in this part of the garden and sometimes one or the other has to give. Both Guy and Susan were so fun to talk with that I'm glad it was the photos and not the plant talk that "gave".

Not that I suffered from a lack of photos to chose from for this post!

Ah... Daphne x houtteana, not a plant you see very often. I had to ask to be sure that's what it was as the leaves are a little larger and greener than on my plant. Perhaps because it's growing in more shade?

A baby Clifford! Magnolia macrophylla

Again from the garden description: "We do have the prerequisite pond, which doubles as a water source when I have used up the rainwater in the trugs and Home Depot glaringly orange buckets. Thanks to Deep, Rover, and Chiclet, our friend Koi, for the light fertilizer.

I assumed that the talented Guy was responsible for the creative hardscaping here as well, but he said no. The pond and surrounding work was already in place when they moved in. 

Shortly before (or maybe after?) rounding this bend I ran into Susan and we had a nice chat about all things garden.

She admits to have gone a little "big-pot crazy", big rocks too...

I believe this is a Kalmia latifolia, or mountain laurel. I don't remember ever seeing it before this garden, where it was grown so well. 

Oh, I forgot to mention that on this mid-June weekend there was still rain falling here in the PNW. Not enough to interfere with my garden touring, and it just happened to be the last rainfall before things went dry for the summer (dry and warm to hot... it was 102 yesterday in Portland, headed to 101 today).

If the rain didn't say June then the blooming peonies definitely do.

I've decided that from now on I'm going to be highly judgmental of any garden that doesn't include a lot of containers. I mean... why would you not have containers—and a lot of them!

It was time to take my leave of this wonderful garden. I was off to PowellsWood. So many gardens, so little time...

All material © 2009-2022 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.