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.

Friday, May 31, 2013

The Lassie and Outlaw Fling; All Good Things Must Come to an End

What, you may ask could be more fun than a scenic road trip through seaports and bucolic scenery to a fabulous plant sale and several tremendous nurseries with a delightful companion?  Enjoying a relaxing dinner at an excellent restaurant with a view of the bay,  car full of plants parked out of the sun!  The end of our adventure was  delightful.  Every time I go to Port Townsend  to visit Far Reaches Farm, I swear that I'll  explore the town more.  This place is known for it's wonderful Victorian homes, some of which are utilized as bed and breakfast inns.  Many of them have been featured in Victorian Homes Magazine, America's Painted Ladies, and other publications.    Somehow I'm usually so excited about the plants that I've never really ventured into town much.  Alison, having been here before, suggested that we eat at The Public House in town so we found our way and I'm so glad we did.   Not only was the repast excellent, the company was, as always, sublime!  In addition, I got to see some beautiful Victorian buildings in Port Townsend's downtown.  To learn more about Port Townsend, considered one of the finest examples of a Victorian seaport in the United States, go here.

 I know nothing about the history of these buildings but folks have done a great job in restoring or maintaining them!

Even the sign painted on the side of this building has a period design.  I'm imagining that there's some sort of city ordinance regarding historical buildings.

This building was once, maybe still is an Elks Lodge (a fraternal organization.)

After dinner, we decided to take a little walk to an antique store.  Time had flown and  many businesses were closed.  However, we'd seen a few interesting gardens on our drive into town that we wanted to visit so off we went but not before admiring this borage growing in a large pot on a sidewalk. 
 This house and garden were sweet!

It featured a lot of interesting, low growing plants in place of a large expanse of lawn. Pam Penick would approve!

Another area had these raised beds  but the same array of plants.  Interesting.
Round the side and a little glimpse of the gazebo in the back yard. 

Poppies in the front are about to pop!  I never tire of the way these flowers emerge looking like that rumpled tissue tucked in your elementary school teachers sweater sleeve and become such elegant flowers,  quite unlike the aforementioned tissue.  That just got wadded up and stuck back in it's knitted prison.

The way the buds start out  coyly looking at the ground like teenagers at their first dance.
 Before you know it they're gaining confidence, looking up,  and soon will bloom.

Also like teenagers, they're mostly  interested in sex and before the night is through, if there are no chaperones, there will be pollination.  Don't say I didn't warn you.  Like those trollops, the columbines,  poppies are quite promiscuous and often surprise you with their offspring.

 It was a perfect evening to be outside and this group was enjoying the evening in another garden.

 Up the road a few yards was this garden.

It looks as if this hawthorn has been expertly pruned for years to create the beautiful pillows of foliage and bloom which contrast so nicely with the bark of the tree.
Back into the car to visit a couple of houses  on our way out of town.  Love these gates and think that they are probably European.

The John Quincy Adams House is for sale!  For a picture of it with a different paint job, go here.

Also for sale is the sizable lot next to the house, part of the original garden.  This would be a great bed and breakfast!  With the additional lot, the garden could be as interesting as the house itself!

Yet another view of this house, along with a lot of other images of  Port Townsend buildings, lives here.

Across the street is this beauty. 

Much as we were enjoying ourselves, it was time to take our leave.  I'm so looking forward to visiting and exploring more of Port Townsend. 

So, here are the shots of a car full of green treasure gathered from the Kitsap Peninsula! 

 Notice that it was once again  dark outside by the time we got home.  

It was a long and exhausting day but I enjoyed every moment of it!  Now, where am I going to plant all of my new finds?

Have you planted yours yet Alison?    Does everyone have an out-of-the way area or areas of  his/her garden where there are stored far too many potted plants awaiting the gardener's  attention?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Far Reaches Farm Part Three; More Amazing Plants

In the last two posts, we've looked at some gorgeous Podophyllum and Meconopsis at Far Reaches Farm in Port Townsend.  Today, we'll explore, in totally random order, a few  other spectacular offerings both from the plant sales areas and the garden itself.  It's really great to visit the place when it's not busy so that you can ask lots of questions and not feel like you're bogarting the plant experts.  It's also a good idea to take a wish list with you as sometimes these plant magicians can pull something out of their hat (more likely one of the many houses that are not open to the public - they also run a mail order business)  that isn't in plain view.  P.S. Kelly says that emailing a list two days in advance is a better idea.  This makes total sense as Far Reaches really gets hopping with the plant obsessed on open days!

Trillium grandiflorum 'Flore Pleno' is a show stopper.  Here they're gossiping with each other about how beautiful they are and deciding if anyone is worthy of seeing their glorious faces.   White Flower Farm says, "This naturally occurring sport is excruciatingly slow to propagate..."  Far Reaches does not list this one as available by mail order but Keeping it Green Nursery does.
Is it me or does this appear to be a Schefflera macrophylla planted in the ground?   Dan Hinkley says that these aren't hardy in our climate but Crug Farms reports that it has survived -11 C  (12.2F) which would make it work here.  Wouldn't it be cool if this became more widely available?

Podophyllum delavayi contrasts beautifully with the glossy green foliage of Cardiocrinum giganteum.  I'm thinking that some of these are Cardiocrinum giganteum var. yunnanense 'Big & Pink,'  an exciting and extremely rare huge pink lily about which you can read more here.

  Maianthemum oleracea

Paris Japonica, simple white flower with  a genome fifty times longer than that of a human being.  Read an interesting article about that here and grow this in your garden so that you can point this out to all of your friends when they visit.

Nice big leaves belonging to Diphylleis grayi.

Trillium luteum

This sumptuous specimen of Mahonia gracilipes is one of the largest and happiest I've seen. 

I forgot to inquire about this fabulous grass.  We wanted to get through the garden and nursery without keeping the kind folks who were staffing the nursery while Kelly and Sue were at the sale,  past closing time.  This is absolutely beautiful!  The slightest breeze caused it to quiver and move in delightful waves.  Do you have any idea what it is?  I'll find out next time if visit.  P.S. Kelly sent the following: "The mystery grass is featured in the current Gardens Illustrated in the container gardening article and is Melica uniflora f. albida although it is identified in the article as M. altissima ‘Alba’ I think.   It is around under both names but the current RHS Plantfinder has only one listing for the M. altissima and quite a few for the uniflora so we’ll go with the popular vote."

This Arisaema's foliage is huge and dramatic 
as are it's blooms!

Cardiocrinum giganteum  getting ready to bloom next to last years dried seedpod.  It's interesting how excited we get about these plants which have been grown in gardens for years.  Gertrude Jekyll was writing about growing them a hundred years ago.  Still seeing them in bloom is a special experience. 

Just realized that I should have taken more pictures of larger areas of the garden.  That'll give me something to do next time!

Cypripedium  parviflorum which Kelly got from a small nursery in northern Minnesota in the late 80's as a salvaged plant from new road construction.

Another  couple of gorgeous Arisaemas

Love that Skunk Cabbage foliage!  Make sure that you call it Lysichiton americanus  if visitors ask!

Peony seed head jesters making merry.

Some sunny stock growing just out of reach of shoppers.  Fortunately there is so much out in the sales areas that you will loose yourself there and not be tempted by the several off limits areas.
Masterful foliage combinations abound in the garden!

Anemonells thalictroides ' Oscar Schoat'
Fatsia japonica 'Spider's Web'  was quite the in plant a few years ago and now it's hard to find.  A delightful plant that brightens up  shady spots beautifully!

Ajuga incisa 'Bikun' or Frosted Jade Ajuga has beautiful dark blue blooms.  Look here to see pictures of it in bloom.  Slugs love the emerging foliage of this one as much as gardeners do.  A slug bait mulch couldn't hurt.
Hooray!  schefflera delavayi for a reasonable price!  
Corydalis scouleri is a Washington native which I first fell in love at Far reaches.  That sweet succulent-stemmed foliage gets nearly as tall as I and makes me very happy growing next to a big-leafed hosta.  Oh yeah, it blooms too. Pink.
Sunny Bog Garden with green-roofed gazebo.

One of the resident Killdeers that enjoy nesting and raising their young around the nursery.
Lest you think that Far Reaches is all about shady characters, there were quite a few sunny souls round as well.  Opuntia hurnifusa(pictured) and I was delighted to find O. Ellisiana, a glochid-free variety that takes the pain out of living with Opuntias!

Aloe zebrina.  Mine hasn't looked this rusty/orange since I bought it here last year.  I think I'm too nice to it.

Vestra foetida

I'm sure that Gilbert and Sullivan were thinking of Ranunculus constantaninopolitanus 'Plenus'  when they wrote:
I'm called Little Buttercup — dear Little Buttercup,
Though I could never tell why,
But still I'm called Buttercup — poor little Buttercup,
Sweet Little Buttercup I!
That's quite a long name for such a sweet little flower.  The Far Reaches tag says, "Ok - 10 times real fast and win a free plant of our choice!"  I had to buy the plant to get the tag so that I could practice for my next visit! 

Ranunculus aconitifolius 'Flore Pleno' is truly wonderful and easy to grow.  I haven't killed mine in a couple of years so you'll be able to grow it with no problem at all!

Ledebouria cooperi.  Look at those beautifully striped leaves  so tiny and so cute.  The little blooms are sweet, too. 

Variegated strawberry makes a great groundcover  but not so great a berry.  Can't have everything!

This potted puya is striking!  I love the way the elevation allows for full appreciation of the foliage!

A NOID plant that I forgot to ask about.  My brain is tiny and can only remember a little bit anyway.  Sure has great foliage color doesn't it. 

Trough-like gardens are fascinating to me.  They're like little worlds in a container!

And in the sunny border on the way out, an Embothrium coccineum was blooming just for Ricki
Well, that's all from Far Reaches for now.  Believe it or not, The Bonney Lassie and Outlaw Kitsap Peninsula extravapalooza isn't over yet!
 This is an image of a wonderful two sided photo collage of images from this special place.