Ultimately it has been rejuvenating and exhilarating, but for the previous several weeks, especially the last two, there has been much anxiety around my garden. The usual litany of issues came up…failed plants, replacements that were slow, but realistic, in their efforts to establish and grow in, procrastination, a little trepidation, a vacation in March, in April and early June, I know, no tears for this one, and then throw in the freakishly warm dry spring with most of my soil looking like it was later July rather than June (Those of you who don’t know, the maritime Pacific Northwest, has normally dry summers…they just don’t usually start until July!), stressing new and established mesic plants as well as pushing them rapidly, and too often, through their flowering cycle…, and I was more stressed than my plants. But all was good after hours of fretting and working while Julie prompted and supported me, showing great patience, and joining in by doing much of the necessary mulching, to help hide the worst scars, general clean up, needed painting, errands and the staging that helps everything look ‘finished’. The response from Study Weekend visitors, were there really over 400?, was over-whelmingly positive. We can all be overly critical of our own gardens. We know their scars and faults intimately. Friday and Sunday I was able to get to most of the other open gardens, Saturday was just too busy here, and like most garden visitors it is wonderful to see what others are doing, beautiful plants, perfect little vignettes, framing and views, things we have forgotten and others we hadn’t yet imagined, each garden unique with its own style, intent and feeling. I think most of us are more forgiving of others errors, don’t see them or don’t feel them with such depth that the resident gardener might. Overall, it has been a powerful and positive experience, one that I had been missing for awhile since I retired. I highly recommend it to any gardener. Now, we can kick back enjoy our garden and entertain friends as always intended…as long as it doesn’t fry!!!
I encourage those who haven’t read my previous post on my Garden to do so now. I feel that context is all important to understanding. If it doesn’t float your boat, at least spend some time looking over the photos Josh McCullough took of my front garden a couple of years ago. they are better shots than I can duplicate and also show how much it has changed over the last couple of years! Enjoy!!!
Looking east up the sidewalk along my dry borders. The beautiful green agave is A. montana, or so it was lableled, and is 15(?) years old, the best and cleanest performer I have. Yucca rostrata ‘Sapphire Skies’ towers over me now.
Hesperaloe parviflora. This is one tough, drought resistent, sun loving, cold tolerant Agave relative and it blooms much of the summer to the delight of resident Hummingbirds!
This little composition is really coming together! Another couple of years to grow and the perfect vine on the Trachy’s trunk and I’m done. It’s joined by Kiniphofia ‘Coral Glow’, Phlomis ‘Sunningdale Gold’, a Puya venusta I’ll move in for the winter, Olearii haastii, Stacyhs ‘Primrose Herron’, and a new Ascelpias speciosa
Many thought my Oak Leaf Hydrangea was a smaller leafed form, but no its the species and the magic of drought stress. The Agave parryii ‘Hauchuca Blue’ is clean, unprotected and doing well since it was planted over 6 years ago. You’re not supposed to look up at the partially painted soffit above.
My big Butia capitata just keeps cranking along without protection.
This shows the gate, built by Madden Fabrication, who also did all our other steel work on the house and adjacent stairs. (Oops! An addendum: Madden did the steel work, Troy at Bamboo Garden did the final design and bamboo work on it! Sorry, Troy!) Actinidia kolomikta tops the gate’s corrugated metal roof…now in its bronzy, passed its white pink stage.
A long shot, from beneath the ‘Pagoda’ towards the house and front gate.
The ‘Pagoda’, built by Troy Susan of Bambo Craftsman over 15 years ago after a recent roof power-washing, bamboo sanding and re-oiling. All of our stone work was done by Pete Wilson over a period of several years. This is a tensile structure and flexes in the wind or if you’re standing on the roof…a little disconcerting when you’re working on it.
The Pond bed fronting the ‘Pagoda’ featuring a slightly toasted Cardiocrinum giganteum, now bloomed out.
Looking south from the ‘Pagoda’ along the fence that needs replacement. A young Magnolia insignis is very slowly filling some of the space and will eventually serve to screen the neighbors duplex. A Chusquea culeou was removed two years ago. It was a great screen but a beast and it threatened to destroy me. A Dioon spinulosum rests temporarily here in a pot where it is beginning to push new growth. D.s. is the fastest growing Cycad that I’ve tried.
Looking, northerly back across the garden.
Our refurbished cedar deck, finished a month ago with our ‘resident’ Ensete. Hakonechloa macra Aureola is one of the several grass like plants I use repeatedly with yellow or chartreuse color.
Looking from near the gate NW toward the ‘Pagoda’ The big Bromeliad sports ‘red’ foliage which I also repeat on other plants and forms.
Another view across the garden featuring Canna Bengal Tiger, Arundo donax ‘Variegata’ and a tough but forgotten Lily looking much like a giant Stargazer.
I’ve loved this combination of Hakone Grass with Host ‘Great Expectation’ for years. Now the Hosta seems to be reverting!!! Besides the two Bromeliad members in the pot behind this vignette, is an unidentified Dendropanax with great texture that is still small and doesn’t, unfortunately photograph very well.
Looking across the gap in the ‘L’ shaped deck toward our hot tub, in its summer position and the rather sluggish Taro ‘Lime Zinger’
A view from Julie’s new favorite perch on the back porch (where I’m writing this!)
Looking out of the sliding doors on to our raised front patio.
The garden gate after I resanded and finished it.
Looking east across the patio
An arrangement by our front door on the patio
Low angled evening light on our Chamaerops humilis with a very decorative ‘tie-dyed’, virus induced look! I got this from Sean years ago and don’t care if it’s slow and stunted.
Some other patio succulents. Look, it my first blooming Cactus, if you don’t count the Night Blooming Cereus or the Christmas Cactus we’ve had for years.
A little light sucking purple vignette with Canna ‘Australia’, Eupatorium ‘Chocolate’, and Calla ‘Edge of Night’. There’s also a little Cestrum newellii ‘Elegans’ with its dark purply-pink bloom, hopefully to come. It’s brightened up with Sedum ‘Frosty Morn’ and Carex phyllocephala ‘Sparkler’.
Strappy, green, gold, burgandy, white even some green and other stuff in there by the ‘Pond’
Here are a few bell and post shots done by my friend and welder/metal worker extraordinaire, Scott Vanderpool. He’s the man to talk to if you ‘need’ a custom built still for distilling your alcoholic beverage of choice.