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, July 29, 2016

New Friends Come to Visit

Several weeks ago, I received an email from the Cascade Cactus and Succulent Society  inviting me to join them to tour some Tacoma gardens and saying that they'd like to visit mine as well.  My garden has never been open before.  Non gardening friends have dropped by and there have even been visits by gardening friends  like Loree (here and here) and Gerhard here but never a whole group of plant enthusiasts so I was a bit nervous.  I needn't have been as the group was delightful. We began the day at the home of one of the members who had a great collection of cacti and succulents (post to follow.)  We then came to my garden where I was too busy talking to take pictures.  Tom snapped quite a few, bless him.

Before the arrival, Tom went out to the greenhouse to enjoy the cool air and morning sun. 

Sorry if you've seen too much of my greenhouse this summer.  I'm really enjoying it when it's not jam packed with tomatoes.  (Only 5 plants this year!)

I've seen this view many times but it just hit me that many of the colors and the general shape in the glass panel in the door and the rug are similar.

Baroque music was playing on the classical station and water was splashing gently in the little water thingy in there.  I only know that because Tom took some videos with sound.  It seemed very peaceful.

What a pleasure to enjoy the company of so many gardeners.

You can't see it in the picture but one of Judi Hook's creations is the subject of the conversation here.

It's interesting to see a group of people in my garden as I'm usually alone or with one or two others. 

Most everything in the garden cooperated nicely for this visit.  The brugmansias closest to the house were in a nice flush of bloom, and nothing had fallen, broken or died recently.  Down by the danger gardenette.

Visiting Marge Simpson, the pearl wearing Dr. Seuss truffula tree.

Clerodendrum trichotomum blooms spilling their perfume.  I've not noticed as many hummingbirds in my garden this summer for some reason.  They were fairly numerous during the winter.

Abutilon megapotamicum 'Red' on the right and above our heads has grown into quite a monster.

Wow, someone actually sitting at the table.  What a novel idea.  The chairs and table usually hold new plants before they make it to one of the pot ghettos or into the ground.

In the unlikely event of an emergency landing, exits are located to the fore and aft of the plane and over the wings.   Really, I'm giving directions to the next garden, that of my friend Florence.

It seemed that we were only in my garden for a few minutes but when I looked at my watch on the way out, an hour and a half had passed.

Because Florence was out of town for the day, I acted as host at her garden as well.  By the time we were finished there, my voice was tired from talking and laughing.  How exciting to have met a whole new group of plant enthusiasts and to be invited to see a couple of their gardens next month!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Visiting Emily's Garden

One of my computer-dwelling blogging friends, Emily,  lives and gardens in Ravenna (the neighborhood in northeastern Seattle, not Italy.)  Recently I had the pleasure of visiting her and seeing her beautiful garden.  You may remember Alison's 2014 visit.  It's interesting to see how much has changed since then

Emily designed and had made the floating steps.  An avid do it yourselfer, she also created Zachary, the energetic boy.  

Pole apple trees have grown taller than the label said they would. The vertical lines are perfect here.
The shade sail and stylish seating make this peaceful retreat visually pleasing.

I so admire Emily's discipline in thinking about her plants, their placement, and overall effect of her garden. We often admire what we lack.  Rhythm is  created here by repetition  of color and form. Emily already has plans for moving things around a bit.

 Moving around the side of the house, we see the fabulous paving job that Emily did here.  This was previously solid concrete.  Emily has an eye for style.  I had to resist taking pictures of the interior of her home.

Zachary and Emily worked on this insect house together. 

Even the garden shed is beautiful!

This back slope, with inherited evergreens,  leads to a street above. 

Do you see something extra here?  There are tunnels and passageways all through this area which makes it a perfect hideout for Zachary. Zachary was in motion for the entire visit but posed here for a moment.  His exuberance made me miss playing with kids at school.

The grid with pots attached is a  super idea for  displaying plant collections. This style of vertical garden that is very appealing.

Great combination!  Can you imagine the autumn fireworks when the sumac foliage screams against the fawny-tan of the grasses?

One last look before it was time to head to the car (along with a gift of many incentive dollars from Swanson's Nursery that can be spent in November and December.  Thank you so much Emily!)  to visit a few nurseries.
Thank you, Emily,  for sharing your garden, home, and adorable menagerie with me!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wednesday Vignette: Enjoying the Sun

Wednesday Vignette is hosted by Anna at Flutter and Hum.  Click on the link to see her vignette and links to those of other participating bloggers.

Ah, those lazy days of summer are what we live for.  The business of spring and early summer is over and fall clean up is at least a couple of months away.  What does one do to enjoy this special time in the garden?  Sunbathe of course.  It's important to have enough furniture for all of one's guests to sit comfortably unless of course y'all are very close.

Hope you are enjoying the lazy days of summer in whatever way makes you happy.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Retail Therapy at Molbak's

When an email arrived in my inbox advertising Molbak's 30% sale on all succulents and another advising me that I had frequent shopper bonus dollars to spend, I knew that a visit was in order. Dropping Tom off at the airport recently gave me a perfect excuse (the airport is 20 minutes closer to Molbak's than  Tacoma.)  I thought the offerings would mostly be sempervivum and sedum so this was no surprise.  Put a few in the cart.  There's always room for more of these, right?

They've moved things around a bit since my last visit and the spray-painted bicycle wheel flowers on the left seem to be a summer theme throughout the nursery.  Fun idea.

Wheelbarrows as art.  This makes a lot of sense for people who don't have a lot of storage space.

High summer and color abounds!

We're so lucky to live here where we can have a touch of the tropics in our gardens and still have winters cool enough for tulips, peonies, and lilacs.

One can't grow everything and my couple of citrus plants were given away this year but this display is sure nice.

Bring on those warm colors!

If it gets too hot, cool pot colors might help. 

Speaking of pots, Molbak's always has some unusual offerings.

Serious lust for the chartreuse pots but they were a bit pricey and it might get lost in all of the visual clutter of my spaces.

Stop by the cafe for a drink?  

A tropical paradise.  

Inside, there were tables of more tender succulents and cacti but certainly these would be considered houseplants and not succulents that would be on sale, right?

WRONG!  Hooray!  Sorry semps, back you go.

 Serious temptation.

I've been in love with Aloe marlothii since I first saw one in the Danger Garden.  It did not hesitate to jump into my cart!

Aloe arborescens variegata also needed a ride to my place.  

Agave celsii 'Multicolor' baby needed adopting too. 

Cereus peruvianus.  Swoon.  Maybe I should go back and get it? 

This inexpensive head planter also came home with me.  Aren't the white painted concrete things on which it's sitting cool? 

Doesn't everyone need an orange giraffe vase?   It stayed at the shop. 
 Last but not least, Pentas (the red flowers) are something I don't see all that often here but my computer-dwelling friend Jean grows them all over her Georgia garden.  Does anyone have experience with growing these in the pacific northwest?

Next on the retail therapy tour were Barone Garden Decor and Flower World.  Stay tuned for posts!