Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Foliage Follow-Up

I missed the boat on Bloomday this month having spent most of the day on the interstate motoring back from the fabulous Garden Bloggers Fling Portland. So, I will instead participate in Foliage Follow-Up over yonder at Pams' ...check it out !

 I'm smitten with Artemsia ludoviciana 'Valerie Finnis' , and hope she will not display any of the thuggish ways of some others in the genus.So far she is comporting herself with decorum. Look at those lovely felty silver leaves ..and she seems unphased by our hot drought-y summers.

She lives with Trachelium 'Hamer Pandora" and my un-named Sanguisorba--a pink flowered seedling from Far Reaches Farm..

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Garden of Michael Trapp

 Connecticut is particularly rich in garden touring opportunities ; the 2014 Garden Conservancys Open Days Directory has 33 pages of garden listings for the state starting in May all the way to October. Last weekend on the occasion of our annual garden tour blitz , my friends and I set off for the open gardens in Litchfeild County. Michael Trapps garden is highly individualistic - Euro-Medit-Old World rolled up into one. Perched on a hillside overlooking the Housatonic river the cobble pavers lead you up and down terraces bordered by salvaged concrete balustrades, punctuated by pillars, urns and plantings that lead your eye to the mysteries ahead.

 Sue and another friend relax on the terrace. Unfortunately ,no one brought them wine.

Looking back towards the house.Still no wine.


This dining terrace was bordered on one side by espaliered fruit trees..very effective -but I don't seem to have gotten a photo.Guess I'll have to go back !

Inside the pool house...

Outside the pool house...

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Blooms in June-Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

 There is  a lot going on in the bloom department this month; even though the roses are just not quite there for the next big flush, it's seems as though everything else is in a happy bloom place. Check out the flowers across the world over at May Dreams , the home of this monthly display of floral excellence.

 I love my Allium sphaerocephalon.

I've reduced the daylily population in a big way here, and kept only those I really like. To combat the ratty post bloom foliage I cut them down to the ground when they finish. The new clean leaves are less objectionable, at least for a while ! 

Sanguisorba 'Chocolate Tips'

I had to include a photo of a miraculous sight: a non-flopping Shasta Daisy .

Lily season is open ..this is 'Silver Angels'

The famous Digiplexis 'Illumination Flame' . I have to say , this plant gets a gold star for clean foliage, heat resistance, strong stems and bloom period. It shows no sign of slowing down.

Verbascum 'Dark Mullien'

Eryngium 'Jade Frost'...2nd try, the last batch reverted and then passed on.

Sideritis cypria.


 This 'Amaranthus' is mighty puny so far. I was expecting a statuesque 4 footer , and don't even have a 1 footer yet.

One of the numerous ornamental Oreganos I have here.

Gomphrena 'Fireworks' .

 Happy Bloom Day to all !

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Return to Western Hills

I couldn't tell you when the last time was that I walked through this gate , into what was our Northern California version of Heronswood--the bohemian iteration without the mail order, but with a palette of plants otherwise unknown to commerce. Like Heronswood it had fallen into neglect and disarray much to the dismay of west coast gardeners. You can read about the history , decline, fall and rescue of Western Hills Nursery here .

 Now reborn as Western Hills Garden, the restoration efforts have been fruitful . I visited on a Saturday morning a few weeks ago, which was unfortunately too sunny for decent photos excuse to return.!


 Look! It's the same sign, with a few modifications. Unlike the 'old days' there is an entry fee of 10.00, which I was happy to pay if it helps ensure the survival of this garden. Back in the early  80's when I first visited , the plants in the display gardens seemed incredibly exotic. There was not a Restio or a Cotinus to be found in any garden center I knew of. In fact I would venture to say I had no clue what 90% of the plants in this garden were . I know I bought plants here , but don't recall what they were for the most part --except for  Phlox divaricata -unknown in local garden centers at the time.

  The plants here were selected for for our Mediterranean winter-wet, summer-dry climate. Back in the 70's gardeners here were still trying to duplicate the classic herbaceous border  or worse Victorian bedding-out , and the likes of Salvias, grasses, Kniphofias , and Phormiums were rarely seen.

  The ponds were beautifully restored, the bridges repaired .

 The layering of the now mature trees was splendid to behold. Did Lester and Marshal plan this ? Was it a happy accident?  Here the trees provide a backdrop to a meadow planting.

 A small pond near the rock garden.

Gigantic person-height Callas.

 I felt good about the progress of the garden , and the owners commitment to it's survival. It is not however a non-profit (nor was it in the glory days) and will be dependent on the support of the gardening community and the willingness of the current owners to stay the course with what is likely to be a low or no profit operation. Thank goodness for volunteers.

 For more information , you can visit Western Hills' website here .