New England is humid, warm and lush in summertime. I compare it to Hawaii , without the tradewinds or palms. Last summer I payed a visit to my friends Les and Monique's garden in Connecticut..and such a garden ! Their lot size can only be dreamed of here in suburban California. Trees, shrubs , grasses and perennials are combined artfully with a tasteful selections of objects that enhance the color combinations of each vignette.The food is exceptional there too by the way. They can cook !
I only visited Annies twice in 2011, really poor planning on my part. There is an unfortunate financial issue involved when I enter those gates, and I have learned to set a budget. I was under both times..but under what ? 100 dollar budget with ten percent fudge factor. Next year I'll just be honest with myself and set the budget at 110. Cheaper than a ball game, and I come home with plants, and photos.
All appendages crossed that my Angelica will re-seed.
I'm partial to fuzzy grey plants. Too bad I haven't a clue what this one is. Gotta be a Salvia ?
If I drive to Annies on a weekend morning , I can be there in 30 minutes, 40 if I miss the lights in Napa. And yet the climate is completely different. Everything grows, all day long. No heat waves, no frost.
I spent very little time and energy this past year taking photos of my own garden. Dissatisfaction had set in , along with boredom..I'm a fickle , fickle gardener, requiring constant re-dos to keep my interest. Not so bad though when I look at these photos-I can see the look I'm going for which must mean I 've succeeded on some level. I like mounds. I like contrasts, I like flowers.
Looking back...so many garden visits in 2011. Looking forward, I have plans for many more in 2012. The decisions are hard to make... San Diego ? Arizona? Florida? All are on the table. So, here is the first of a few retrospectives .
I was sure surprised by Buffalo. My friend Cindy and I ventured into the rural areas south of the city to see gardens that were open prior to GardenWalk .
So many Daylilies--everywhere we went, in full bloom, and colors that just don't happen out here. In this garden the owners confessed to spending many hours per week deadheading..they are of course retired.
My Echinaceas never look like this. Whatever.
If you grow Dayliles you have to be prepared for unexpected color combinations.
This garden was growing Daylilies commercially, but there was alot of other stuff going on.
A friend in Iowa remarked to me upon viewing some fall images I shared, that she never thought of California as a place that had much fall color. In some parts of this state, she would be accurate. California is big, and remarkably diverse, with places that get hideously hot in summer i.e. Death Valley , and frigid snow bound mountain towns like Truckee . Here in the wine valley, the vineyards start to turn on the heels of the grape harvest. Fruit trees, walnuts, japanese maples, gingkos, chinese pistache, all widely planted , add vertical color. It's not New England, but it's not LA either.
House bound over a rainy weekend , I tread into the garden virtually. The photo files from last summers excursions are in need of dispassionate purging, and organization is as sloppy as the junk drawer. We all have a junk drawer, right ?
In mid August, I visited new England , adding some fun time to the tail end of a chaotic business trip.The last stop was a drop-in at Cotton Arbo-Retum, a private garden in Winchester Massachusetts that is open to visitors all day, every day, year round.
The rain started after only a few minutes in the garden, and protective of my camera I rushed through , snapping several ill-composed images. Waving away mosquitoes in this densely planted garden, I pondered the generosity of the proprietors , who welcome visitors without question.
Street side entrance: Please come in. Don't mind if I do--maybe it won't be raining next time..
Thanks to Alice over at Bay Area Tendrils, I was reminded that a visit to Cornerstone Sonoma was overdue. Sunday morning I filled the commuter mug with Peets French Roast, grabbed the camera and set off, pouting at little the clear blue cloudless sky. Too bad they don't have an early bird special for photo hounds. I promised myself I would go back when the gloomy mornings return.
Cornerstone is unique, featuring several display gardens by the likes of John Greenlee and Roger Raiche, among others. They are sculpture gardens too, and in fact the gardens are vital to the art, and vice versa. There are shops, restaurants and gallerys on the property ; most folks I saw were clearly tourists, many of whom seemed bemused as they wandered from garden to garden, no doubt wondering where the flowers were.
I was happy to see a few new installations.I have to believe that keeping a place like this going in the current economic climate must be a challenge. The fabulous Late Show Gardens that took place there 2 years ago was zenith of Cornerstone, and it has yet to be repeated . One only has to remember near demise of the San Francisco Garden Show, a far more 'consumerish' event to understand the difficultly of mingling accessibility with art. The people who don't 'get it' will always outnumber those that do.
One of the new gardens, sunny and reflective.
This was my favorite ..bundled up wire screening festooned with sparkle-thingys..rain clouds ! It looked pretty cool up close, but there were new discoveries from far off corners of the gardens.
This months' Picture This photo contest over yonder on Gardening Gone Wild is all about Filling the Frame. I may not have a win, place or show, but I have always felt most satisfied with my images when there is no dead space. This photo was taken last summer at the Ruth Bancroft Garden, and it depicts an Agave that is on the way out layered over others that are still thriving. This is a photo that I like to look at, taken in one of my favorite public gardens.
I was out on the coast for just a little more than 24 hours, but managed to fit in the olive bar at Harvest Market, and a visit to the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens along with my shopping stop at Digging Dog. Assorted olives, leftover cold BBQ chicken and Pinot Grigio make a nice meal on a road trip, especially when consumed on a little balcony overlooking the pacific. A nice finale for what will likely be the end of my travels for 2011. Unless I get restless.
Wouldn't it be splendid if every parking lot had plantings like this ?
Verbena bonariensis looks fine hanging out with Salvia 'Waverly'
Grasses , Angelica, Salvia ugilinosa and some manner of Coreopsis make a pleasing fall vignette.
Fading Eucomis. Drama with their last gasp.
I have a crush on the Heather Garden here; it's beautiful in every season-sunny, foggy, raining --doesn't matter. The tufts of Ericas and Callunas meld gracefully like a tapestry of colored muffins. As much as I admire this planting, I have never attempted to grow Heaths in my garden. The further inland the trickier they become, crisping up in the 80 degree heat if situated in full sun, stretching if sited in shade.