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, July 26, 2012

Melissa's Garden of Surprises

For the last few years, I've noticed some really great things happening with this house that I occasionally pass by at about 30 miles per hour.  First, the cool rusty metal fence, then some interesting plants.  The other day, I decided to park and have a closer look

 Is that a tetrapanax? Leycesteria formosa?  Hmmm.

 Cool clematis and a towering trachycarpus fortunei.
 The gate was open and could that be a Beschorneria? And there's an aloe on the left of the steps and those really cool faces on either side of the steps.


 Face obscured by allium seed heads.  Catch the aloe on the right.
 Usually, I'm not this bold but I walked up the sidewalk, and up the stairs...
 My heart is pounding.  Certainly someone who loves beautiful artwork and fabulous plants has got to be an interesting person or at least someone who isn't horrid, right.  But then the witch lured Hansel and Gretel with that house made of candy....  I knocked on the door.

 Melissa, the lovely and kind person inside, gave me permission to look at her garden and said she'd be out shortly to answer any questions I had.

I'd never seen, but love this combination of yucca and alium!  The shapes alone are cool but can you imagine the purple of the alium and the yellow in the yucca leaves together? Yowsa!

This is not a large garden but every inch of it is full of cool plants.

 Turns out, Melissa is the potter who made the piece in the sixth picture.

Musa basjoo popping out of a mat of blue acaena.
 Rosa glauca & manzanita.

 In bloom!  Melissa reports that last year, it set fruit!
 Beautiful peony seed pod.

This Restio (I'm guessing Rhodocoma capensis) was as tall as I, planted in the ground and Melissa reports that it's never even turned brown even durnig the two phormium-killing winters we had.  I asked her where she got it and she said, "Have you heard of the Old Goat Farm?" 
 OMG!  Melissa got the plant from The Old Goat Farm, a property she sold to the current owners.  Yikes, this is a place I'd heard wonderful things about but never visited.  I have now and you can read about it tomorrow!
 The back garden with more of Melissa's artwork.

 Melissa was kind enough to allow me to take and post pictures of her garden.  What a special place and what fun surprises! 
Thanks Melissa for being so hospitable to this person who interrupted your day!


  1. Have I mentioned how glad I am that you started your blog? THANK YOU! I love this. Not only did you do some nice garden spying but you just marched right up to the door. I wish I were as brave as you. Really.

    Beautiful garden, so many cool plants. You really are breaking down my resistance to the Rhodocoma capensis.

    1. I'm glad that you planted the blog idea seed and kept watering it! Hopefully, in the winter when I usually don't spend much time in the garden, the blog will encourage me to get out there and appreciate what's going on.

      The Rhodocoma capensis debate is difficult - This spring at Cistus I talked my friend's ear off trying to decide. Can I spend this much on what may be an expensive annual? Every time when one dies or looks particularly ugly, I swear not to get another one but then they flutter that beautiful foliage at me in such a seductive way. So I'll have to work until I die...

  2. That's a really beautiful garden. I love the yucca and allium combo. It's like a plant freaks wonderland! I LOVE THIS!!!!!

    1. Right?! I could see a little from outside and those plants prompted me to knock on the door. The temptation was too great to resist!

  3. I second Loree's 'Thank You'- I haven't really had a lot of time to seek out new blogs, but when I fell headlong into your post on the shadier side of your garden, I was hooked. I love that there are other people out there who, in a moment of bravado, march into a garden, knock on the door and pray that they are greeted with another friendly gardener and not the resident Doberman! It has afforded me not only my 'Botanical Trespassing' segment, but I have gained so many new and wonderful gardening friends.

    This is another wonderful garden, and whilst I am not familiar with many of the plants, being the frigid Zone 5 gardener that I am, its always a thrill to meet new plants that may become future Zonal Denial challenges. I did contemplate adding Lycesteria formosa - went so far as to bring in ten pots at the nursery to see if I was the only one brave enough, but sadly the plants haven't done so well and I, well, I sort of fell out of love with it! Fickle damned bunch aren't we?

    1. You are more than welcome! This is a fun exercise for me; we'll see where it goes once vacation is over. Your 'Botanical Trespassing' entries are wonderful! I thought of lifting the phrase myself.

      Yes we're fickle but if a certain plant doesn't thrive, there are a bajillion more that will. It's a fun part of the game to keep trying right?

  4. I love all the lush growth surrounding the gravel path.

    1. It's a great look and works really well with the house.


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