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Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Visiting Fairie Gardens Nursery

Fairie Gardens Nursery and the lovely garden on the site in Tumwater, WA  are the creation of David Baird and Steve Taylor.  I've visited a few times but always in the summer when the gardens are full of grasses and herbacious perennials.  Since I was in the neighborhood, I decided it might be interesting to visit in the winter.  To be honest, I wasn't expecting to see much happening in the garden because the fabulous herbacious beds  left a wonderful impression.
 
I know nothing about heathers and heaths except that they some of them are beautiful in the winter.  This one was in the flower bed of a church across the street from the nursery.


Was I in for a surprise!  With all of the herbacious stuff slumbering, the large number of evergreens throughout the garden beautifully took center stage.

I wasn't particularly looking "to conjur a faire or helper"  as I was delighted to poke around the garden and take pictures.  However, as I eventually neared the back of the house, there was barking from within  which somehow summoned David Baird himself.

David said that he got his Chief Joseph Lodgepole Pine in 1997 when they first were barely available to the public.  It has grown quite a bit since then and according to David it's the largest one south of Vancouver. 
 Abies Koreana
 Blue and gold, what a lovely combination!
 Chinese pine.  Sorry, I don't know the real name.  Do you?

I mentioned a couple of the plants I'd admired in the garden like a cypress, hemlock or something and David said, "Oh, so you know conifers then?"  To which I replied that I admire them but know very little. 

David, having heard that I liked conifers, gave me a guided tour of the garden, chatting like gardeners do about their favorite plants.  I wish that I'd brought a writing utensil and paper because I couldn't cheat at this place and take pictures of plant tags to remember names.  I believe that botanical Latin is David's first language as he spoke it fluently.  Having sung Latin for years, I'm not so bad at writing names in that language as they're spoken but my memory is coated in Teflon - nothing sticks so there are some unidentified plants here.  Sorry. 

 The large Carex elata 'Aurea' which has moved to various areas in my garden originally grew in this very pond at Fairie Gardens.

The berries of this Nandina are catching my eye this year in gardens all over the area.  Is it a good year for the berries?  Have I been more interested in the foliage in past years?  Do you sometimes  suddenly appreciate a certain aspect of a plant that's obviously been around for a long time?


Loving this trellis!

On one side of the garden there is a large berm separating the garden from the street.  Here is part of the path between the berm and the back of the pond.  It's a really cozy area.
 Cryptomeria japonica elegans 'Aurea'  stays green all winter instead of turning bronze.  Bronze is  a euphemism for  turns brown and looks dead for part of the year.



The sun began to shine and I started to believe that there just might be magic afoot.  Rain weary, sun starved Pacific Northwesteners will believe just about anything by February.

While Fairy Gardening isn't one of my favorite things in the world, it's kind of fun to see things like this little ladder that leave a lot to one's imagination.

On the other hand the giraffe visiting this creature is pretty darned funny!
 In reviewing my pictures, I realized that there are some areas of the garden that I didn't photograph.  Sorry about that, David's passion for plants was pretty wonderful and I stopped taking pictures at some point.  You'll just have to go exploring here yourself  and maybe you'll find the magic.


The large stump(15 feet tall) is that of a Sugar Maple, over 120 years old, that was badly diseased and had to be removed.

Larix Kaempferi 'Paper Lanterns' (Don't be impressed, this one still had a tag on it.)  looks wonderful with all of these cute little cones!

 Abies Koreana 'Aurea'
 Taxus something or other
 It has been said that a garden that isn't lovely in the winter isn't a lovely garden.  I was thrilled to find that this garden is truly a lovely garden and I look forward to seeing it again in the summer . 
I promise to be more appreciative of the wonderful evergreen presence even when all of the flashy summer plants are doing their frivilous seasonal dance!

22 comments:

  1. What a treat to see this place in the winter, to get a tour from the man himself, and to get a dose of what winter interest really means! I know I need more conifers, but know nothing about them. I usually rely on taking pictures of plant tags to remember names too. I guess that's not cheating, if others do it too. I'm not really into the miniature/fairie garden thing either.

    You got some wonderful photos! Thanks for taking us to yet another local place that I've never heard of.

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    1. Honestly, it was a relief to see a real garden that was being worked on, with projects in process. Lots of times when I visit gardens, they have staff that keeps everything looking perfect all the time and I get discouraged about how my garden looks in the winter. Here, there were faboo plants and garden design but not everything looked perfect. Hooray! This place and Bark and Garden which I'll post about tomorrow, make a wonderful field trip. If we had time, we would have also visited the Barn (I think that's the name of it) that you posted about last summer.

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  2. Okay okay, you officially have me in love with the Chief Joseph Lodgepole Pine. At first I thought it was really cool. Second, I was feeling fondly, and this morning I actually considered buying

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    1. They are pretty spectacular in the winter but in the summer, they have a fairly common pine look. You probably should get one or several just to see what you think.

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  3. What a wonderful visit you had! I know whenever I'm with a plant person who can rattle off the names perfectly it's both awe inspiring and intimidating.

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    1. The man really knows conifers and it's always a joy to listen to people who are passionate about plants. And intimidating.

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  4. Nice tour. "Bronze is a euphemism for turns brown and looks dead ..." Ha!

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    1. It's funny because it's true. Plant marketing language often requires translation. For example "Attains an unrivaled ochre hue at summer's apex" means When your whole garden design is looking spectacular and the garden club is coming over for tea and catty remarks, this plant will turn a sickly yellow color so that your perfect roses and perennials will pretty much go unnoticed while everyone points with horror at this atrocity of a plant.

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  5. How wonderful to be able to walk around, appreciate the evergreens, and get a private touring and loads of information from someone so passionate. Love the Chief Joseph Lodgepole Pine! Just stunning!

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    1. It was very nice! Joey is pretty spectacular this time of the year. Maybe you'll try one in your area and let us know how it does?

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  6. You must look into Heaths and Heathers Nursery near Shelton. You won't believe the selection, the shapes, the colors. If you make the right choices, you can have bloom year round, not to mention fabulous foliage effects. They have a web site, but going when the display garden is open is worth the trip.

    Deirdre

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    1. Thanks Deirdre (from Big Dipper Farms?) I'll definitely add them to the list of places to visit. Love hearing about new places & plants!

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    2. Not from big Dipper farms.

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    3. Thanks. Last time I visited there several years ago, there was a charming woman working there who shared your name.

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  7. Visiting a garden at this time of the year, unless its inside a heated area it's the structural and evergreen plants that definitely takes centrestage. What a fab tour from the owner himself!

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    1. No palms, no bamboo, this was a different kind of garden but it was gorgeous. Makes me appreciate conifers more.

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  8. I love it and indeed there is something magical about conifers, Love cryptomeria japonica and the pine. Fairy gardening is too small and fiddly, nice for kids I suppose.

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    1. So many conifers in a small space made it feel like a miniature forest. Because of the gardener's skill, it wasn't shady or dark at all.

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  9. Outlaw, I love evergreens very much. You know they are spectacular in our harsh climate. The Abies Koreana and Chinese are wonderful, I'd like to have them in my garden too!

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    1. Evergreens look beautiful wih snow on them! Those two were my favorites, too. I love the way the needles weep on the Chinese pine.

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  10. So many differant evergreen! I like that Korean one. Happy Valentine's Day, Peter!

    Satu and Mickey

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    1. Hyvää ystävänpäivää Satu ja Mikki!

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Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your thoughts.