Sunday, September 11, 2016

Pacific Horticulture Society Hosts Summit 2016

 Fall is a fine time to visit the Northern California wine country, and what better reason than to attend the weekend long PHS weekend Summit 2016, "Shaping a New Garden in a Challenging Environment". The event will take place on the weekend of October 15th and 16th in and around beautiful Sonoma County , featuring a line up of nationally renowned speakers and tours of important public and private gardens in the area, with an emphasis on the exploration of the connection between gardens and nature.

Image used by permission© Saxon Holt

On Saturday, the Luther Burbank Center for the Performing Arts will be the base of operations where we will hear inspiring presentations by the likes of Thomas Ranier, Bob Hyland and  Michelle Sullivan. Tom Fischer of the venerable Timber Press will lead a discussion among the days speakers, and next up a chartered bus will transport us to Quarryhill Botanical garden in Glen Ellen, home of one of the premier collections worldwide of wild-collected Asian plants.

The pond at Quarryhill.

An evening reception at Shone Farm, an environmental education laboratory at Santa Rosa Junior College, complete with farm and vineyard views will conclude the day.

Sunday mornings' speakers will be Phil Van Solen , co-owner of  Cal Flora Nursery  and Marilee Kuhlmann president of the Urban Water Group.

In the afternoon armed with box lunches and maps we set off on a self guided tour of gardens and ecological sites in Sonoma county, including a private opening of the iconic Western Hills Garden in Occidental.

You can visit the Pacific Horticulture website for more detailed information and to register. And please consider a membership if you are a west coast gardener . The Society offers educational programs and travel of interest to our region , and the quarterly journal which comes with membership is a fully west-coast centric publication .I've been a member since the 80's and still have every issue.

Image used by permission ©Saxon Holt

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Summer at Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden

 The north coast of California can be a gloomy damp and cold place in summertime. It's hard to predict how the weather might be on any given road trip, and since fall is more reliable for seeing the sun I typically travel out that way in October . This year I needed to get the hell out of town and away from the office  for a few days in July and so I rolled the temperature  dice and headed to Mendocino.
 Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden has been a blog subject here and here, both customary fall trips. The differences between seasons are subtle; this coast is frost free but winters are wet and stormy. I appreciate the relativity of the term 'cold' but for this wimpy LA girl Mendo can be cold. I was fortunate with the weather on this trip, days broke 65, the sun came out and the only downside was the fog rolling in about 4pm thus eliminating sunset views from my oceanfront inn.

  Summer flowers grow tall and flopless in this open garden, Heleniums, Lobelia tupa and Verbena bonariensis. Oh to have space to grow this stuff .

 I was taken with this grouping  of Sedum 'Frosty Morn' and a noid Eucomis. Well done wouldn't you say ?

 The Angelica purpurea has been allowed to seed around freely. A grove punctuates this border.It has become a signature plant of this garden over the last few years, along with the above Eucomis which grows in generous drifts in more that one area of the garden.

On the backside, it pairs with Leycesteria ..planned ? Or maybe just allowed. 

Artemisia Guizhou. Mine will never look like this.

Mid-summer abundance. Agastache, Salvia,Verbascum.

This imposing planting of Melianthus 'Antonows Blue' is spectacular on a dewy morning, the juvenile growth glowing with red highlights . I lingered here with my camera for quite some time, finding when I got back home and uploaded my photos that I had taken 23 images of this plant.

 They do color well don't they ? The forgiving seaside climate provides extra moisture and fog filtered light that helps saturate the hues.

 The Dahlia garden is separated from the ocean by a dense belt of cypress that provides a windbreak. My Dahlias this year were an abject failure, a combination of planting too late and too much shade . I enjoyed a wander through a well grown collection.

 An extremely scenic 3 hour drive from my front door to this garden, usually accompanied by an overnight and a stop at Digging Dog on the way home. The perfect weekend getaway.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Garden Bloggers Bloomday August 2016

 August is just about my least favorite month in the garden, and it never fails to stimulate a relentless round of cutting back, digging up and too-late staking of the floppers. Bloomday gave me the opportunity to look for what actually still looks good. It's rarely as bad as it seems.

 For reasons that remain mysterious, getting decent photos of Fuchsias escapes me. I must include them in spite of   because they are a bright spot in the August doldrums. I was quite obsessed with Fuchsias at one time and had a robust collection, in spite of the fact that my inland climate is not ideal. After a few years of attack by the Fuchsia gall mite, I tossed them all , and was Fuchsia free for several years. Gradually I have re-introduced mostly resistant varieties.

  Caryopteris is holding it's own, this is a newbie C. 'Hint of Gold' superior in every way to 'Worster Gold'  in my garden. It may very well achieve the sought after repeated element status if I can actually find another one.That's Salvia 'Wendys Wish' performing a photobomb.

 This is C. 'White Surprise' , not as vigorous as the above, but really nice consistent variegation.

 Caryopteris incanum, modestly reseeds , blooms in spring and fall, and sports great deep colored blooms.

 I despaired this Cuphea would ever bloom, but now in it's second summer here it finally has given several flowers , with more to come. This is Cuphea micropetala.

 This is Lilium 'Sapporo' , new to me this year from The Lily Garden in Vancouver Wa. I plan to get a few more of these in spring; it has numerous attributes.

Chocolate Cosmos, purchased as an emergency replacement has earned it's spot.

Erigeron galucus

I attempted to dig out this no-name Persicaria last fall, but I changed my mind in mid-dig.The aborted removal  had nothing to do with quality , and everything to do with quantity-the footprint is vast and somewhat overwhelming in my small garden. But it adds a nice architectural presence and the bees love it..

The excellent Clematis 'Arabella' , blooms til winter.

 My only succulent bloomer a the present is Echeveria hamisii.

The Eryngium is beginning it's fade to brown.

 And as is my custom the 2nd Artichoke batch is allowed to flower.

 Garden Bloggers Bloomday is the creation of Carol at May Dreams Gardens, where bloggers around the globe weigh in on the 15th of every month to share the blooms in their gardens. Be sure to pay avisit.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Gardens in the Village

 The Village of Mendocino is perched on headlands above the Pacific on the Northern California coast. Many of the early founders who established the town in the 1850's were from Maine and thus the eastern seaboard architectural influence is evident . Unique in our part of the nation, we westerners brave the serpentine  roads and flock out to immerse ourselves in New England charm.  And if that alone is not enough to attract visitors, its' location on the most spectacular segment of our coast ensures the tourist trade is robust year round.

 Small pocket gardens are seen on every street, and this frost free maritime climate favors almost anything that doesn't need much heat ; forget about Bougainvillea, peppers and tomatoes. The average high temp here is 65 degrees, and I always bring winter garb no matter what month of the year I visit. Your lettuce won't bolt !  Grab your Dramamine for the drive out and come along on a stroll through the village.

 This cottage is representative in style-a little overgrown, a gardener with a relaxed attitude and the absence of mow-blow guys to turn the garden into a sea of bon-bons.

 More exuberance in a side-yard

   One of several real estate firms in town...notice their commercial landscaping lacks Stella d' Oro , Phormiums with flat-tops, and meatball Coleonema.

  Another cottage-you'll note a couple clipped shrubs , and clipped shrubs can be ok if they add to the design. I think in this instance the shapes are nice contrasted with the exuberance of the rose arch and the Cistus on the right.

I missed peak Echium season by a few weeks, but this view is totally Mendo, bloomed out or not.

 The mow-blow guys in my town would be all over this. It's great to see what commercial and civic plants can look like when the power equipment is put aside.

Village businesses buy in to cheerful if sometimes unruly plant displays and this is part of the character of the town.Some are tidier than others...

At the landmark Mendocino Hotel, the Crocosmia seems to have staked it's claim. Frankly, I felt a little disturbed at what has happened to this garden in the last few years. 'Garden Suites' are charming rooms placed along pathways in what has become a somewhat poorly maintained garden. I wish I could say give me 250 bucks and a room for 2 nights and I'll come out once a month and fix this.Maybe most of the guests don't recognize a garden in decline. I have photos going back several years, and I do.Perhaps they don't feel that expense of getting a real garden manager in there will result in more revenue, and I suppose they could be right. But I was saddened by the lost potential. Think what Skylar and Allen could do with this place !

On the other hand this garden at Trillium , a cafe and small (3 room) lodging establishment, is one of the best maintained gardens in the village.

As you continue walking small colorful gardens come into view, and though some are blowsy , this is in fact part of the charm of a tiny village on a wild remote coast.

 This is one of my favorite private home front gardens, though it is over it's early summer peak.

 This B&B frames the gate with a pair of Leptospermums.

I'm really looking forward to following the progress on this private garden.The little orange blobs are heaths of some sort (Erica or Calluna) which grow spectacularly well out here and look to be newly planted. And what a lovely little  meadow garden with the low profile demanded when in close proximity to the ocean . The headlands and sea is just beyond the fence line , thus there is little protection from wind and salt spray.

 I take a photo of this every time . Some day I'll have perfect light !