Friday, April 28, 2023

Book Bits, Chapter 2

Welcome to Chapter 2 of Book Bits—a quick look at the garden books I've been reading, along with a bit of brief commentary.

I long to be able to grow the gorgeous aeonium and echeveria my friends in California can grow, but since I can't I make do with sempervivum, hardy alpine hens and chicks. I feel like they should be my easy, go-to succulent, right?

Right. I thought I was doing pretty good until I visited the Denver area as part of the 2019 Garden Bloggers Fling. Oh my! Those people can grow sempervivum! Inspired by what I saw there I ordered Sempervivum: A Gardener’s Perspective of the Not-So-Humble Hens-and-Chicks by Kevin C. Vaughn (Schiffer Publishing, 2018). Perhaps this book would unlock the secrets? 

Not so much. I should have known this book might not be fore me, since I can't even manage to keep the names straight on the sempervivum I do have (my issue, not the book's, obviously). There are however are a couple of bits from the book I thought I would pass on. The first one has to do with the sheer multitude of sempervivum there are, and this is just referring to the natural hybrids, not the fancy ones proliferating the marketplace. 


And then there's this! It's so sad when I bring home a new 4" pot of some sempervivum and plant it out only to have it decide to bloom a few weeks later. Since they're monocarpic that's not ideal. Maybe knowing this will help...

—   —   —

Next up; American Roots: Lessons and Inspiration from the Designers Reimagining Our Home Gardens by Nick McCullough, Allison McCullough, and Teresa Woodard (Timber Press, 2022).

I checked this one out from the library and read it on my iPad. That right there should tell you a little about the book, as I do not read most garden books on my iPad, that's reserved for fiction, novels. This one however I really enjoyed reading in that format. The stories about each garden maker (designers), were so engaging that I found it hard to put down when it was time to go to sleep. I was surprised that I'd visited a couple of the gardens profiled in the book; that of Tait Moring and Scot Eckley, and enjoyed learning about the ones I had not. It's a good read, stories about gardeners—not at all what I was expecting, which was fancy talk about fancy gardens.

—   —   —

The next book is a modern oldie, The Collector's Garden by Ken Druse. It was originally released in 1996 in hardback form, by Clarkson Potter, then re-released in 2004 as a paperback from Timber Press. A Facebook friend mentioned learning about Marcia Donahue's garden via this book—Dan Hinkley was visiting Marcia recently and posted photos on Facebook—that sent me searching my shelves as I was sure I had the book somewhere...

I try to keep unread books separate from those I have read, but nothing in this book seemed familiar. I wonder if it's because when I read it originally the people and places the book is about were just names, whereas now I know many of them, and have visited many of the gardens? 

The introduction sets the tone...

Mr. Druse goes on to write; "Collectors come in various guises, and for this book, I have given them names. Some are hunters, part of a long tradition of people who have sought out the new and the different [eg. Dan Hinkely]. Other collectors are missionaries, driven to save threatened plants by growing them in conservancy collection, or to spread the word about their favorites [Roger Gossler and Gossler farms are mentioned in this section]. Many collectors are impressed by a taxonomic group of plants or a particular habitat and become specialists [he places Ruth Bancroft here]. Aesthetes collect plants for their appearance and value in garden designs." Yes, this is where Marcia Donahue falls, and I guess I do as well—although I am a missionary where agaves are concerned!
A photo of the Agave franzosinii at the Ruth Bancroft Garden, looking very different than they do now.

It is was very interesting to see not only how the gardens I know have changed since this book was published, but also to see how photography itself has changed. The images obviously show the limitations of the tools available at the time. 

At the beginning of the Aesthetes chapter Mr. Druse shares; "The aesthetes have no rules to break as long as their plants thrive. These are the most personal creations imaginable. Aesthetes set their own measures of success. Either you like it or you don't."  I can't disagree with that! Images from Marcia Donahue's garden...

This book was a joy to read and I'll end with a quote from J.C. Raulston that speaks volumes; "Horticulture is a lifestyle, not a business." 
—   —   —

To receive danger garden posts by email, subscribe here. All material © 2009-2023 Loree L Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Lakewold Gardens, my final Study Weekend 2022 stop

Like Powellswood (my second Study Weekend stop), Lakewold is an estate garden I'd long been aware of, but never visited—even though I frequently drive just miles away on I-5 to and from Seattle. I was thrilled to finally have the push to visit.

From our event booklet: "Lakewold Gardens provides intentional encounters with the life-changing power of nature, fostering peace, creativity and healing in our communities. A national Historic Landmark with a Georgian-style mansion on a 10-acre estate. The collections, amassed over a 112-year period, include: rhododendrons, Japanese maples, magnolias, camellias and hardy ferns. There are 8 Washington State 'Champion Trees' on site."

Much of the site's landscape was designed by Thomas Church, who stressed the importance of drawing people out into the garden where they would interact with nature. 

I explored the more formal garden areas around the home before dropping down into the natural part of the landscape.

The home itself was full of activity as there appeared to be an event that folks were setting up for. I was pleased they allowed visitors to use the restrooms.

I wish I had a room like this in my home that brings the outside in, in such a dramatic way.

Back outside...

Love this bloom color!

Two pools in a row! (there was a pool in the garden I stopped at before this one).

Looking back towards the house.

Now I'm in the wilder part of the garden—not that you needed me to tell you that!

I'd love to know the story behind how these came to by lying here.

This table and benches were simply wonderful...

So much character!

An unused planter? 

A crevice garden in the works perhaps?

I'm back up by the visitors center now. I could have explored for a couple more hours but I needed to get back on the road.

What a well-stocked garden shop, wow!

Lots of temptations...

I somehow managed to not add to my plant stash in the car. 

A note for those of you who might attend the 2024 Puget Sound Area Fling—lead planner Camille Paulsen says Lakewold will be one of the gardens we'll be visiting, if I remember correctly we'll be having an event there, yay!
One last photo, an "off-limits" work area I spied on my way back to the car. I love seeing signs of the work that goes into making a garden look so polished.

This concludes my coverage of the 2022 NPA Study Weekend! My other posts are here:

—   —   —

To receive danger garden posts by email, subscribe here. All material by Loree L Bohl for danger garden © 2009-2023. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

Monday, April 24, 2023

NPA Study Weekend: The Syford Hoyle garden

What better way to break up a 3.5 hour drive home than to stop and stretch my legs in an open garden?
The NPA Study Weekend organizers planned additional open gardens on the shoulder-days of the event so those of us traveling from points north and south could visit gardens in route. This garden was in Lakewood, WA, 43 miles south of Seattle.

From Ross Syford Hoyle in the event booklet: "Green Tree Acres was created by my family from the original 5 acres of virgin oaks, firs, and prairie in the 1930's. Architectural structures, hardscape, and native plantings date from those early decades. As the home and gardens are near Lakewold Gardens, they also feature historic objects, including exceptional stain glass from former buildings in downtown Tacoma."

I don't remember seeing any stained glass, but there were some interesting hardscape elements like this fountain. I wish it would have been running.

I suspect the open spots in the base are for plant pots?

I wouldn't normally include such a sad looking agave, but compared to what we've seen this year it's actually looking pretty good.

I love this vignette, everything about it.

Not in my garden, but it's perfect here.

More hostas!

My memory is not real good as to what we're looking at in the foreground here. Perhaps another non-functioning fountain?

That however...

Yep, a greenhouse I would love to take home with me. Seeing a beautiful greenhouse like this that's not being used is a little sad.

Compost piles? Raised planters not in use?

A pool with planting pockets! Isn't this a fabulous design?

I think I'd fill the corners with tropical looking plants though.

They'd be out of sync with the surrounding plantings, but they'd look great with the pool.

I really wish I would have gotten a better picture of the pinecone sculpture behind the pool to the left (with the lady standing right behind it). From the tour booklet: "New garden art was created by Northwest artist Douglas Granum. Highlights are the "Imperial Pinecone" sculpture carved from North Cascades rock, with stainless steel "fir branches""

It was pretty fabulous. I think my reluctance to walk back around to photograph it was because I'd decided I was going to squeeze in one more garden and I needed to get going. That will be Wednesday's post and my last from last June's NPA Study Weekend. This year's event is being held up in Vancouver B.C. and I can't wait!

My other posts from the NPA Hardy Plant Study Weekend: 

—   —   —

To get danger garden posts by email, subscribe here. All material © 2009-2023 by Loree L Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.