Friday, July 29, 2011

The Birrell Garden, Garden Bloggers Fling, Seattle 2011….

It was in this garden (the second of the day) that I realized I was going to be saying “I have no idea” a lot over the next few days. Being from the Northwest my fellow “flingers” assumed I would be able to identify plants (and trees!) that were foreign to them. No luck. Had they been asking about an Agave or Yucca I would have had a chance but instead they were flowers and the like. I am a poor representation of a Pacific Northwest Gardener. Of course there were a few favorite plants of mine here, like a large Melianthus major… And what I think is a Paris polyphylla? But nobody asked me about the ones I knew! Looking at this I really regretted having pulled out my Rush earlier this spring, mine never looked this good though. My second realization was that I take so much for granted gardening here. Over and over people were amazed at the size of the plants. Reminded me of a conversation I had with Maurice Horn of Joy Creek Nursery, we were talking about the size listed on plant labels and how they rarely apply here, where everything grows faster and bigger. Then there was the sun. On a sunny day Seattle is one of the most beautiful places in the world, we enjoyed 3 glorious days of sunshine for everyone to fall in love with Seattle, but then luckily on the last day it was cloudy and rained, I heard several people say they had hoped to see the rain, a funny thought. So again I’m rambling and here we are in another lovely garden, this one at the home of Suzette and Jim Birrell, a lovely brick ranch home I might add. The garden was a more traditional one (as opposed to the gravel garden next door), but there were still several details for me to fall in love with. Like these fabulous metal gates. Asphodeline lutea… This is a plant I fell for in another garden earlier this summer, it was good to see it a little further along and getting a little sloppy. I think (please correct me if I am wrong) this is Crambe cordifolia? They have a lovely vegetable garden in the back. I was especially taken with the support for the beans. Rusty fence detail… Anyone know what this next plant is? More photos from the garden... Next we were off to the historic Dunn Gardens…so many plants to see!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Tucker Garden, Garden Bloggers Fling, Seattle 2011….

So I’ll be honest…I wasn’t sure what to expect from “the fling.” First of all I am not a joiner. While I love to meet new people and certainly have a need for socializing, I can be a loner at heart. So here I was with 67-70 (not sure, the official number kept changing) other garden bloggers for 4 days! Had I just made a huge mistake? No, I most definitely did not. What a group! I had the good luck of spending time with Pam before-hand, which certainly helped. She and others from the tight Austin, Texas, garden blogging community were the ones behind the very first “fling” four years ago (Austin, Chicago, Buffalo, Seattle). The Austin group welcomed a newbie from Oregon with open arms. And this was just the beginning, there were so many amazing people to meet, wait…actually women, because there was only one (ONE) man who attended…the brave Jim of Compost In My Shoe. Do you hear that Scott and Ryan? You two should have been there to represent gardening men everywhere and boost the Portland contingent (it was just Ann (the Amateur Bot-ann-ist) and I along with the Timber Press people)! Anyway enough talk let’s get on with the garden tour! Our first stop was in North Seattle at two private gardens next door to each other. Isn’t that a dream? To have a tour worthy garden right next door to yours? Lucky lucky people. I first wandered into the garden of Shelagh Tucker (all photos in this post are from her garden). Our hand-out said this garden was inspired by Beth Chatto’s gravel garden…and it was gorgeous! Elegia capensis, I was told this was a hardy Restio…however after a little research I see it’s hardy only to zone 9… Rosa glauca, Ann mentioned that they looked like olives. Of course that had me seeing this rose in an entirely different way…loving it. But I just don’t think I can get over those flowers…too sweet and pink! However this pink, on the bloom of the Pineapple guava, is a knock out! This garden was to be the first of several brush-ups with this curly ribbon tree. I was in plant lust! Robinia pseudoacacia 'lace lady' is the name I found on a pot speciman in another garden, I'm not sure if this one is 'lace lady' or another variety. Isn’t it amazing? Like my garden (but on a much larger scale) the Tucker garden transitions from a sunny gravel garden in the front to a more lush green private hide-away in the back. In this picture I am looking backwards toward the front as I pass into the back garden. A bit of note worthy trivia about this garden is that it contains bits of Seattle’s Music Hall fa├žade. I was living in Seattle during the fight to keep this magnificent bit of architecture from being demolished, and mourned along with many others when it was torn down. They sold bits of the building and a good friend gave me a decorative chunk as a holiday gift that year. I am sad to say my piece of this Seattle landmark was long ago lost (or given away) in my many moves but it was wonderful to spot pieces here and there in this garden and imagine where they may have been on the building. Can you imagine gardening with a green house and a conservatory like these? Wow…heaven! Tomorrow we'll walk next door to the Birrell Garden.