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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.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Justin Galicic's Magic: The 2013 Normandy Park Garden Festival

This weekend, Alison Bonnie Lassie and I had the pleasure of attending the second annual Normandy Park Garden Festival, coordinated by Justin Galicic who writes the blog Growing Steady, formerly known as Zone 8.  The festival, which included a plant sale (plants from Far Reaches Farm and of Justin's own propagation,) garden tours, lunch, a presentation by Kelly Dodson, special activities for children,  and hula lessons, took place in Justin's spectacular garden.  The event was meticulously planned and seemed to go off without a hitch. 

Ample signage along the route to made finding the place a cinch.  Parking a little way up the street and approaching the garden on foot, one could easily see that this is no average garden!  Notice the small black plant markers similar to those used in botanical gardens.

 
Metapanax delavayi.  This is going to be exciting!


Another thing that made a big impression on me was the lack of a fence.  Welcoming paths led directly from the public sidewalk into the garden.  Are there no deer or vandals in this area?



Drawing closer, we got a peak at the large lawn with seating for 150 or so of your closest friends.  One of the many things I admire about gardens on a larger scale than mine (that's pretty much all gardens) is their ability to have gorgeous huge trees AND sunny growing areas. 

We were greeted on the sidewalk out front by a friendly volunteer who asked our names and wrote them in lovely script on nametags.

Instead of going directly to the garden, we went to the driveway to check out the plant sale.  One must have priorities!

The sale alone was worth a visit!  I didn't even get an image of Kelly's tables of plants as it's difficult to grab plants and take pictures at the same time. 

Not only were there plants on all of the tables down the middle of the driveway but also flanking each side. 

Further up the drive, there was a sign that said Garden Open Today with an arrow pointing in the opposite direction of Justin's garden.  One of Justin's neighbors also opened their garden for the day which was very kind of them.  You might be thinking at this point that someone who has just toured sixteen gardens in three days might not be interested in seeing another.  Silly you. Here are a few images of that garden.  The weather was perfect for enjoying the day outside but not so great for taking garden pictures.  Sorry for the quality of these!


I'm totally in love with these stairs.

Unfortunately, I didn't get the name of the folks whose garden this is but is it's a beautiful and restful space,  the lush greenness of it reminding me of why I love the PNW. 








Outdoor living at its best!


Attractive edible gardens.
 This garden just keeps going and going!




Now back to Justin's garden...
 
Just up from the plant sales area, the driveway curves.  On the left is one of the most ornamental edible gardens I've seen.  Leslie Bennett and Stefani Bittner would be pleased!  None of my pictures of this area are very good so you'll have to see it yourself when you visit  next year at the third annual Normandy Park Garden Festival!

Here are some images in random order of the garden.  I'm very impressed that Justin does this all himself. 
The white arbor on the left leads to the rear of the edible garden area & some well behaved bamboo.  The path on the right leads to the greenhouses.

 Turning around we come to the tropical feeling area with the water feature that Justin created.



A great place to sit and relax but I can tell you that from the looks of his garden and from watching Justin in action at this event, he doesn't sit still much.  Either that or he doesn't require sleep.


 Looking out from the front of the house.  Yes, those are Schefflera taiwanianas flanking the entry.

Looking the other way.  So well designed, such a perfect balance of formal and informal and so many fabulous plants.  Something for everyone!




So excited was I to see this special space that I kept randomly revisiting spaces.  Here we are back at the entrance to the edible garden.

Dig how tall this Musa basjoo is already!  I wonder what Justin's trick is? 

A youthful admirer of the banana blossom, one of two (already.) There's some sort of magic afoot here!

The  proximity of the banana and Magnolia macrophylla, aka banana leaf magnolia made me smile. 

 
Arundo donax towers behind the pond/tropical area. 

Around the other side, the wet tropics give way to a dry garden. 


It was a joy to see this grape arbor that I'd read about Justin making. 

 And now we're at the front central axis of the garden. Remember the round pond from before?

Cussonia paniculata or cabbage tree has attractive Glaucous gray-green palmate leaves and it was exciting to see large tree sized specimens in the ground in California.  This far north, we have to grow them in pots and haul them inside during the coldest part of the winter.

Here, beneath this towering redwood, a dais was set up for Kelly's speech and the Hula lessons which followed.
 
 Here's the magician who makes this awesome garden and this truly special event happen.  Notice that his name tag simply says "volunteer."  His humility would not allow him to reveal that he is an accomplished pianist, educator, gardener, plant geek, and builder but a brief chat with his proud dad, Al, revealed many of Justin's fine qualities.



And here he is sharing announcements, schedule for the rest of the day and introducing Kelly.  From the audience, mom heckled, "he's 31 and single!"  I feel I would be remiss if I didn't pass this on.  (Sorry Justin.)

Kelly was quite entertaining, knowledgeable,  and funny.  Think of reading one of his plant tags and multiply that experience by an hour and add animation.  I almost didn't recognize him in shorts and a cap, fairly conservative garb for this character!
 
Many thanks to Justin, his family and friends who volunteered so much time and energy to make this great experience possible.  What an incredible gift to give to your neighborhood and outsiders  like Alison, the guy below, and myself who were lucky enough to attend! 
 
 
 
Alison and I decided not to stay for the hula lessons  so that we would have time to visit City People's Garden Store which pal Loree  loves and has most recently blogged about here and Ravenna Gardens.  We do NOT have a plant addiction problem!

23 comments:

  1. Wow! You got this post up quick! That was such a fun day, and both gardens were so beautiful. I actually got some of the same shots as you, but yours are so much better. I've been trying to decide whether a big-leaf Magnolia can take the western summer sun in my front garden. I think it would make a good addition to the tropical look I want to achieve there. I'm so glad I got to hear Kelly speak. He was so entertaining, talking off-the-cuff about his seed-seeking adventures in China.

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    1. Yes, big-leaf Magnolia can take full blazing (PNW) sun. Mine is out in my hell strip that gets full sun and little summer water & it seems very happy there. Hooray! I'm looking forward to seeing yours when you get it planted!
      I'm glad too that we got to hear Kelly speak. What a great and funny guy!

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  2. That looks like a wonderful day! Justin's garden is spectacular. I'm at a loss for words with how wonderful those schefflera taiwaniana are! Wow! And in the very first photo, is that parajubaea? It looks super tropical!!! Thanks for sharing these wonderful photos!!

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    1. I think the palm in the first picture is Pindo Palm (Butia capitata) You'll have to come down to the festival next year!

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  3. I love this season of garden festivals and tours. This was quite and event. Great photos.

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    1. It's a great time for gardens and gardeners - what we live for all year! Thanks.

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  4. All that and City Peoples and Ravenna Gardens too?! You are a lucky man. I hope to attend next year if the Fling timing doesn't conflict.

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    1. And we ate at a marvy Italian restaurant near Ravenna Gardens. It doesn't get much better than this! Hope to see you there next year!

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  5. Peter, hope you spent nice time in the Justin garden and listening to his lecture.
    I love his white arbor, good shape and color. Many different plants, some of them I don't know but they are pretty, especially Cussonia paniculata.
    Have a nice week!

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    1. Thank you, Nadezda! We had a wonderful time! I'm glad you came along! Have a wonderful week in your garden!

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  6. That cabbage tree would be well worth the effort, if there were only room indoors for more plants (hmm...who really needs a sofa?). The wavy lines of the arbor give it such character. I'm too old to marry him (& R might object) but maybe we could adopt him?

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    1. I got one from Cistus last year after my previous one came down with some sort of icky disease & they're wonderful plants that really take up very little space inside. Sofas are overrated anyway. Adoption would be just the thing! Do you suppose we could share custody? I bet he'd love to have more than one garden in which to play!

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  7. Almost the next best thing to being there! Thanks for the extensive "tour", great photos and descriptions.

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    1. Always a pleasure to have you along my friend!

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  8. What a fabulous garden! And I'm in love with that neighbor's staircase too. L-O-V-E-L-Y.

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  9. Personally, I would go just for the hula lessons. Also, I would kill for that water feature.

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    1. I bet people would pay money to see the two of us doing hula lessons! The water feature is amazing. If you check out Justin's blog, Growing Steady, you can see his posts about making it.

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  10. Holy WOW, it's all fabulous! What wonderful gardens and incredible selections of plants. I'm going to have to come back to this post to revisit as I'm sure I'll see things I missed the first time through.

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    1. It was a treat to be able to see in person this garden that I'd read so much about on Justin's blog. Glad you enjoyed coming along!

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  11. Thank you Peter. It's nice to have finally met you in person and it is always great to see my garden from another camera's perspective (i.e. a real camera; not a smart phone!).

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    1. The pleasure was mine! Happy gardening!

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  12. Oh - I love this garden. I need to get on the list for next year's tour. I think the mild winter helped the bananas this year. Ours did not die back fully for once so it had a head start. It just started to bloom also which is a first for us.

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