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, July 31, 2013

A Day in Portland Part Three: A Garden Party at Longview Ranch

One of our main reasons for going to Portland was that Jane, aka Mulchmaid was planning an open garden for the Portland area bloggers.  While Alison and I live in a different state, we're sometimes granted special dispensation to participate in the activities of the Portland group.  Jane's garden is glorious and it was wonderful to see it in person. 

Unfortunately, I didn't include anything here for perspective but this eucomis  (Pineapple Lily) is huge! It's taller than waist high and is the largest I'd ever seen. 

Every plant that Jane grows is given ample space, treated well and responds to her masterful treatment. 
Jane's use of evergreens lets one know that this is a garden interesting even in the winter when the beautiful splashes of color are gone.

You may recall this calla lily from a Mulchmaid post.  It's really beautiful.  Notice how the silver spots on the leaves are echoed by the eryngium and melianthus in the background.

Beautiful bamboo and a huge tetrapanax ease us into the "Northwest Territory," the Mulchman's garden.  While Mulchmaid is fond of exotics, Mulchman, her gardening husband, has built a garden of Northwest natives.  The shady seating area is situated in the Northwest Territory and when I saw all the Portland bloggers, I put down my camera to say hi and forgot to pick it up again.  Fortunately, you can see some great pictures of the NWT here and here.

Love this Dyckia/Pot combination!
Beautiful variegated  Echium candicans 'Star of Madeira.'  When it's covered with deep blue and purple flowers, it's even more stellar!

Yucca rostrata
I understand that this sweet rose by the chimney was left by the former owners of the house. 
Here's the Mulchmaid herself being a fabulous host.   
 Thanks, Jane for a delightful afternoon in your gorgeous garden!  

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Garden Bloggers' Fling: Visiting The San Francisco botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum

One of the optional activities at the San Francisco Garden Bloggers' Fling was a morning photo shoot with Saxon Holt at the San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum.  Mr. Holt was friendly, approachable, and full of great tips for taking better pictures.  After the formal presentation, Mr. Holt generously stuck around answering all kinds of questions.  This being our only chance to see the Arboretum, many of us left the group to explore.  Realizing that it would be impossible to see all 55 acres in the 40 minutes we had left, I walked briskly. 

Here's Saxon Holt telling the group that we should always use a tripod. 

Fun California poppy sculpture by the entrance gate.

Do you remember the Joni Mitchell song, "They Paved Paradise?"  Something about the next image with the fence around the trees reminded me of part of the lyrics:
They took all the trees
And put 'em in a tree museum
And they charged the people
A dollar and a half to seem 'em

Admission is free for all San Francisco City and county residents.  Pretty cool huh!

Here we are in the Fountain plaza. 
Arriving in Africa, where the sprinkler system is on. 
This is what Toto was singing about in their song "The Rains Down in Africa."

Dodging the sprinkler heads I got to see some beautiful restios and other South African gems growing happily in  San Francisco's mild climate.  I was not a particularly artful dodger which is how the map above got a little wrinkled.  On the positive side, the water felt pretty good on such a warm morning.

 Pelargoniums (Geraniums)

Now we're out of Africa.  Musa Basjoo.

 On the way to the succulent garden.

Who should I run into in the succulent garden but Ms. Danger.  How large is that agave?  Bigger than a Bohl!

Spent Echium flower spikes still create sculptural interest.

So much to see!

All too soon it was time to head back to the bus for another day of garden viewing adventure.  This is a wonderful botanical garden which is also part of Golden Gate Park.  I look forward to revisiting in the future!