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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.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Frolicing at Fancy Fronds Nursery

Each year for the last 13 or so, Judith Jones, owner of Fancy Fronds Nursery, hosts the Fronderosa Frolic.  What is a Fronderosa Frolic? 

“Fronderosa Frolic is a celebration of plants and summer…that has become the horticultural equivalent of Woodstock”.
- (Val Easton, Seattle Times, 4/8/04)

"A festival of rare plants, garden art, artifacts, scintillating botanical conversations with some of the Northwests premier specialty growers and garden artists. Specialty nurseries are rapidly disappearing due to the aggressive marketing done by the large wholesale growers. Many of the new plants introduced by these commercial growers are first discovered or grown by keen growers operating small specialty nurseries. Please support them if you are interested in a diverse range of plants that have been correctly identified and tested to thrive in your gardens."  Judith Jones

There is a raffle every hour of donations from our vendors to benefit the Equine Stewardship Center, NWESC. This non profit horse rescue and rehabilitation center also offers classes in equine care. Fancy Fronds has been using horse manure for garden beds and as a potting additive for over thirty years. Bring a bucket or bag and you can take away some of this "horsey goodness"!

You may remember my posts about last years Frolic.  If not, you can see them here, here, here, and here.

For me, this is the last hurrah of summer.  Sure there are a couple more sales in the fall but this one holds a special place in my heart because it happens while I can still believe that summer and thinking mostly of gardening can last forever.  Just a couple of weeks before the major tasks of planning for the academic/choral year and the business of working six days a week has me stealing a few moments in the garden again, this event celebrates the carefree joy of  the season.

One of Far Reaches Farm's tables filled with treasure.  The climbing aconitum on the far right is one of the several beauties that hitched a ride home with me. 

Salvia dombeyi is another.  Here's Kelly's description of the plant: "Salvia of the Gods. A small padded kneeling bench is handy to have in front of this plant to make it easier for garden visitors as they spontaneously fall to their knees. We forgive its need to be grown frost-free because the flowers rule. Immense red pendulous flowers from the huge calyces."

Among the vendors were many long time participants  and some newer ones as well. 


Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Japonicum' showing off  soft seed heads.  Growing 4 -5 feet, and hardy to zone 6, this is one gorgeous grass!

 How cool to see Celestial Dream Gardens at the sale!  Such nice people (plant folks tend to be that way!) and cool plants!

Some of Celestial Dream Gardens' offerings.  Looks dangerous!

Another thing that makes this event special is the bucolic setting.  We don't see scenes like this at many plant sales.  Chimacum Woods nursery from Port Ludlow was lucky enough to use this as the backdrop for their fabulous selection of unusual rhododendrons. 


While unusual plants are the main focus of the event, there is also quite a bit of beautiful garden art and furniture  available as well.


Couldn't stop looking at this simple but effective succulent combination.

Another plant area.  While this is a big sale, the vendors are spread out through the large property so, even though there are a lot of folks in attendance,  it doesn't seem horribly crowded.


 The Desert Northwest tables contained an array of delights including this one which almost came home with me.

Look at those seductive blooms.  Can you imagine a tree covered with these in August?  Glorious.

And the foliage is evergreen, who could ask for anything more?

Ian brought with him Leucadendrons 'Safari Sunset' and 'Jester' (pictured) among other wonders including a couple of Grevillea x gaudichaudii that he brought just for Loree and me.  Hooray!

The Frolic is the brainchild of and is hosted by Judith Jones, an international expert on ferns, co founder of the Northwest Perennial Alliance, and participant in the Northwest Flower and Garden Show since its inception.   Here she is doing what she does best, sharing her expertise with others.   I came across a nice article about her titled, "Fern Star Judith Jones can take you way beyond swords and maidenhair."  Very clever!  To read more about the self proclaimed Fern Madame, check out the article here.

How nice to see that mine is not the only garden with plants in pots waiting to be planted.  My garden is much smaller and the job easier though so I have no excuse.

Oh my goodness, look what's just escaped from his cage!  Judith's garden is full of whimsy!

Hosta la vista baby!  This monster snail could eat every hosta in the state!  We were warned about storing that nuclear waste  at Hanford!

A few pots out by the garage.


An oft photographed part of the garden. 

And a cute detail or two.


Still love this gazebo!

Behind the house and back garden we walk down to the river.

Something's been here before.   Hmmm, wonder what it was?

Vendors camp out by the river, some in tents, others in more comfortable digs.

Tell me I'm not the only one who thought of Matt Foley, motivational speaker when I saw these vans down by the river.

Such a beautiful site, it might not be such a bad thing!

You are welcome to bring a lunch and picnic anywhere on the grounds and this area would be a lovely spot for such a thing.  There's also a trampoline so you can work off those calories.  Didn't notice the zip line across the river this year.  I wonder if it's been taken down or if I just didn't see it.

Now these are some Fancy Fronds!

You never know what you'll come across in this garden but no one would be surprised if the giant whose chair this is popped out of the forest.

More of those fancy fronds!


Awww, I didn't know that Big Bird had passed away. 

Fun fused glass pieces.
 

 
 
Wonderful blown glass by Barbara Sanderson of Glass Gardens Northwest.  These "fiddleheads" are some of my favorite things that Barbara creates.  Next year I'm going to get a few!





To see more of Barbara's work, go here.
 
Another of my favorite things about attending the frolic is all of the cool places along the way.  We always stop at this nursery/fruit stand to get delicious seasonal fruit.  I'm a big fan of peaches and since the frolic takes place during peach season, it's easy to decide what's for lunch.  I picked up a whole box of them as they are so inexpensive now and they freeze well. 
 
 
They also have more than just run of the mill plants like this beautifully-shaped pelargonium.
 
 
And always quite a variety of sizes of brugmansias. 
 
Fancy Fronds nursery in Gold Bar isn't far from Flower World and Molbaks, and just a hop skip and a jump from Wells Medina Nursery so there are a lot of great plant adventures to be had if you're contemplating attending the event next year.  Hope to see you there!
 


24 comments:

  1. You make me sorry I missed it this year! It looks like none of the Portland vendors who've come in the past made it this year either. That was the main reason I went last year, and was so disappointed they weren't there. I have to admit I;m lusting after that enormous Brug that Tom is contemplating. It might just fit in my garage, but where would I put the other four I've got? Not to mention getting it home.

    Did you happen to notice who made those cool flags? I love them! And I really love those double flowers that Barbara has been making lately.

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    1. No I didn't. I admired and showed them last year as well but don't have the name. She's a delightful woman who also does the twig furniture. I bet the name is on the Facy Fronds Fronderosa Frolic list of vendors. Maybe we should go next year to buy some! Some of the Oregon vendors weren't there this year either but there were several other vendors that I'd not seen before that filled in nicely. Would be great to get Cistus to come back!

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    2. Judith's friend Vanca Lumsden makes the rustic twig furniture and the colorful flags. Her twig furniture business is called ALBE Rustics and the flags she makes under the name Flying Colors.

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  2. Maybe next year is the year I finally make it to this event...I have hope.

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    1. That would be fun! Fling, fruit stand, couple of other nurseries on the way to Flower World, Molbaks, and Wells Medina, skip over to Seattle to go to Bedrock industries or Peoples and then dinner at a fabulous restaurant.

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  3. How fantastic...it's like a wonderland!

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    1. It's an interesting place and a fun event!

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  4. Blast, I'm so sad I couldn't make it up there for this! Hopefully next year. I always wonder if Pennisetum 'Japonicum' is a spinoff of 'Foxtrot', which is similarly enormous! I'll admit, I've been tempted by those glass fiddleheads...but Norm totally hates them, for some reason :-(

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    1. Next year would be fun. See my comment to Loree above. We could have a grand time! Funny about Norm hating the fiddleheads.

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  5. I love the idea of a sale in such beautiful surroundings. I'll bet the vendors party down around a campfire when the customers leave.

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    1. They do. They arrive the afternoon before and set up their sales spaces and their campsites. The frolic used to be a 2 day event so a couple of evenings of campfire talk took place. Judith provides meals for the vendors. It seems like a rally fun event in which to participate as a vendor. Almost makes me want to throw some glass garden stuff together and schlep it up there.

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  6. How cool is that? So many interesting things to look at. I absolutely adore the glass. You really seem to get around to a lot of different places, I can't imagine how you have time to garden, LOL

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    1. Well, while I work six days a week from September through June, two of my three jobs are over at the end of June and the third, teacing stained glass classes, is reduced to a couple of nights a week and a Saturday or two so I have lots of time to visit places in the summer. However, because of a health thing, I've not had as much energy or motivation to garden this summer. Fortunately, I'm much better now but won't have the time again. Everything is still alive and doing well but things don't look orderly at all. Oh well, the garden is a forgiving place and I'll get started early next season.

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  7. What a wonderful event, maybe next year I can contemplate making it. The glass and colorful flags, and other garden art are so tempting. I'm not tempted by the Eucryphia, though, since losing a 15' Eucalyptus supposedly hardy to 0*F, because the first frost of the year was on Dec. 20 and in 3 days went to 6*F, so the plants had no chance to harden off gradually. I've had too many losses to be able to consider plants that can't go to say 5-10 degrees below freezing. Thanks for sharing all the awesome photos! BTW if that's Big Bird, he was secretly a biped horse!

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    1. It is a fun event and I look forward to it every year. The beautiful drive alone is a pleasure and stopping at al the cool roadside places on the way back is a big part of what makes the day special. Living in a city and being able to drive a short distance and be in the country is pretty special.

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  8. I swear, the PNW seems like one giant plant orgy/garden festival. So jealous!! I'd need clean undies if I ever saw a snail that big in my garden. Last year I had to tell a student on the first day of school that he was at the wrong school after he couldn't find his homeroom teacher. So so funny! :o)

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    1. The PNW is pretty much like that so you should probably give up and move here. Poor kid, first day at a new school, must have been a little scary for him. Can you tell that I work with really young kids?

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  9. We have only been out there once, many years ago. this august has been very busy. maybe next year. Love your photo tour!

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    1. Glad you liked the photo tour. Your August sure has been full of wonderful adventures! The frolic is a fun event and attending next year sounds like a fun idea. If some of the Portland bloggers come up as well, we could maybe have a garden bloggers' picnic together by the river. Nothing too long as we'll want to hit Flower World, Molbak's, roadside attractions, etc. as well.

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  10. What a cool post! I love everything you saw and I'm so glad you're taking us along on your garden adventures. Yes, I'll take some of that glass.

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    1. There were so many great plants there that I put my camera down and just enjoyed being surrounded by all of the green treasure. Nice that you came along!

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  11. Love the quirky touches of her garden but that woodland setting is wonderful!

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    1. I keep thinking of Munstead Wood even though it's nothing like Jekyll's wood of mostly deciduous trees and more structured gardens. When I first read her books, it was through my mind's lens of the Pacific Northwest coniferous forests and more informal gardens. Funny what our minds picture.

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