Friday, February 2, 2024

Heronswood Winter 2023 visit

Back to my 2023 visit to Heronswood Garden. After exploring the rock garden and parking-lot-wall agaves, I was off to the fern garden, or the Renaissance Garden in Heronswood speak.
En route there were peonies peaking out of the ground.

And grevillea blooms...

Grevillea victoriae

This was my first time seeing the newly built raining wall (raining ferns that is).

And I was extremely disappointed to discover the fern table covered. During the winter the garden is only open on the weekends, and they do charge admission. There was no cold weather in the forecast, how much effort would it have taken to fold back that covering so visitors could see the table plantings?

Protected tree ferns...

As I mentioned in an 2021 post on the Renaissance Garden there are non-plant "things" sprinkled about, here's quote from an article that appeared in the Hardy Fern Foundation Fall Quarterly, written by Patrick McMillan (then director at Heronswood) that I included in that post: "the Renaissance Garden is filled with period appropriate artifacts that take the visitor into an abandoned logging camp that has been reclaimed with the lush vibrancy of life." I found it easer to ignore those artifacts on this visit, perhaps because the plants were bigger, and it seemed that maybe there were less of the items strewn about. I quite liked this rope on the mossy log.

I've no idea what this ruffled cutie is, but it was looking fresh in February.

Astelia in the midst. 

Astelia make such good fern companions, sadly the ones in my garden that had rebounded from winter 2022/23 were hit again, hard, with the last storm.

The trunk of this tree fern is protected, fronds left in place though.

Moss and hellebores kind of expected, the palm is a surprise.

Finally, the pyrrosia! Pyrrosia sp. aff. lingua 

Pyrrosia lingua 'Futaba Shishi'

Pyrrosia lingua 'Tachiba Koryu'

Pyrrosia lingua 'Hiryu'. 

A reminder this visit was in February of 2023, I wonder how the pyrrosia are doing after this year's winter storm? (I'll be visiting Heronswood as part of the Garden Fling this summer, so I guess I will get a chance to see).

Heading into the garden proper I had to run a gauntlet of spring flowers, it was hard-core! Chimonanthus praecox

So many crocus!

So many...

Freshly mulched around the plants on columns.

Cyclamen...more flowers!

Check out the size of those ferns! I believe they're Woodwardia unigemmata, and the grassy-looking plants are Fascicularia pitcairniifolia, but I could be wrong.

Olearia ilicifolia 

Scallopy and spiky.

One of Dan Hinkley's Edgeworthia chrysantha finds. Not yellow, not orange, kinda bubble-gum.

Oh my! Mahonia oiwakensis ssp lomariifolia v tenuifolia, amazing. I have a small one of these (very small, and very thrashed by winter), I hope it looks like this one day.

Walking on...

That's a handsome schefflera, on the right.

Carnivorous plants in the foreground.

I can't decide if I hate that fountain or not.

The first time I saw it, I hated it.

But it's starting to grow on me. Working on this post I finally learned of it's origins. Searching for a link to the Little & Lewis work later in the post I found this: "Our seven-foot-tall Chanterell Plunging Basin, at home in the Heronswood Nursery vegetable garden. When not in use for washing their produce, it doubles as a fountain." (source)

Continuing the fungus theme...

My hand for scale.

Heading back to the entrance/exit as I think Andrew has been patiently napping in the car.

He did walk the garden, but finished much quicker than I did.

Little & Lewis installation

Mature tree ferns wrapped for the winter. I wonder if they did something special to get the bend in the trunks?

Finally, I had to share this patch of aspidistra.

Perfect leaves of green...(unlike the same plant in my garden this winter)

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  1. I really like that fountain, especially as the faucet makes it utilitarian. I enjoyed the flowers in February too, particularly the crocus, which I so wish were happier here; however, like most ferns, they're hard to keep alive in my climate. I've been thinking about Schefflera more of late as there are some tree-sized specimens of unknown identity in my neighborhood.

    1. I would think you can grow some of the really fabulous schefflera that we can't, lucky!

  2. I remember your impression of the fern table during the previous visit and your disappointment with the uninspiring selection of ferns. I will be looking forward to reading about it again after the fling, sans plastic cover.
    I feel similarly about the raining wall, but it's early days still. It has great potential.
    I'm kind of loving the Chanterelle fountain... Maybe if it wasn't placed in the formal garden but a rather more natural setting you could come around to liking it better. It is fungi after all.

    1. I look forward to seeing that fern table in it's summer glory, perhaps I just wasn't educated enough to understand what cool ferns I was looking at?

  3. Patiently napping, ha ha ha. Your love of pyrrosia is contagious, and all of a sudden I have one. The crocus are so cute.

  4. I'm so glad Heronswood was rescued from Burpee. Just another example of corporate greed running rampant. I am looking forward to seeing Heronswood this summer (and hopefully an opportunity to shop from Windcliff...).

    1. I wonder if we'll be allowed to shop at Windcliff!?! Fingers crossed.

  5. Some impressive shelf fungus. I kind of agree with you re: the fountain. It might not be showing it's best at this time of year. With more greenery, trickling water and better light it might not look so awkward.

    1. I am glad to know I'm not alone in my fountain issues.

  6. I lived up there too (Edmonds..the ferry!) but just about the time it sunk in that Heronswood was very, very special, Burpee happened, so I never visited. At least I got to Dunn, Miller and RSBG.

  7. I was really puzzled to see the pyrrhosia in my garden actually came through the ordeal quite well, as did most of the aspidistras. Last year, they suffered greatly. So weird - I thought winter was far worse this year... I feel you about the astelia double-whammy. The itsy bitsy one I had barely came back. I fear it's likely a goner after what we just went through. Time will tell, I guess, but I think you raised a very good point when we spoke; if you are an evergreen plant in a specific climate, how many winters of near complete defoliation can you take before your energy wanes and you give up the ghost? That's a very good question...
    Anna K


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