Monday, August 11, 2014

Epiphany on Rhone Street

 I've done a fair amount of garden touring this summer, in public and private gardens on both coasts. New England gardens can be both exciting and frustrating -lavish, verdant and impossible to duplicate here in Northern California. The environmental trio of humidity, summer rain and warm nights seems to facilitate explosive growth, the trade off for a bitter winter. I'll keep my winter thanks, but would welcome a modest amount of summer rain. Only when I'm at the office or sleeping of course, and nothing that would turn flowers into blobs or instigate flopping.I hate flopping.
  Portland on the other hand, has many similarities to my own zone 9/8  (like a late April Aries, I'm on the cusp) climate. In spite of it's reputation for constant rain , summers are relatively dry (find some data here )  and winters wet and mild. Intellectually, I knew all this when I stepped on the Fling bus. I've visited Portland frequently in all seasons and previous to this trip had only focused on the differences --the sensational conifers, the Delphinums with baseball bat trunks, blue Hydrangeas . When our bus dispensed us at Scott Webers Rhone Street Gardens I heard the choir . For here were many plants , in fact very many plants that I either grow now or can grow in Norcal. My preoccupation with the architectural genre of my house vs. the carefully manipulated meadow style of planting that I love blew up at Scotts..he has made it work. Gray house, clapboard, white trim. And damn, I even have cats !

  Ironically, in my excitement at just being there , I took a series of spectacularly awful photos and have weaned these out of the few that were actually somewhat in focus. Lesson learned..slow down !


 Oh , hell strips ! This corner lot makes the most of that extra real estate..I like the way Scott edged and bermed up the soil..



 Answering questions.




 Damn, my only kitty shot, the lovely feline face hidden behind the Veronicastrum.



I believe this is Rudbeckia triloba. Want.




Many plants I already grow ...not sited as well as those here !










 When I returned from Fling, I dug out half my hell strip, and a segment of my back garden.  Rhone Street made me see things I had not seen, had given me permission to ignore what I could not previously ignore and enriched me with ideas suitable to my garden...Thank you Scott !

23 comments:

  1. Ain't it great when it all clicks? So glad you found your inspiration on Rhone Street. Perhaps Scott will be convinced to do an in person consultation...

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    1. oh yeah, an in-person consultation...at HIS house of course, at which time I will take better photos !

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  2. And this is why we tour gardens. Isn't it great when inspiration hits like a bolt of lightning? You are smart to have acted on it as soon as you got home. I was burning with inspiration when I got home from the Fling, but I've waited and it's burned off somewhat. Of course our Texas Death Star has a lot to do with that. ;-)

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    1. I had to act fast Pam, it's business trip season for me and my available weekends dwindle . We have had a very mild summer here in NorCal ..it occurs to me we'd have been in weather heaven if SF Fling and PDX Fling had flipped !

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  3. I can almost see you, going at your garden with new purpose. Fall planting season will be especially fun when you have new beds to fill!

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    1. I resolved last year to get a bit more draconian on fall clean-up this year. I went a bit overboard in 2013 leaving winter interest and spring cut back time was hellish ! If I dig it up, I won't have to clean it up ..hmm, may be a good blog post topic...

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  4. Lovely post, and I agree wholeheartedly. Scott has a talent for making the whole thing work, his rules, his choice of plants. I too admire Rhone St. and took away lessons myself.

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    1. I saw similarities with your garden Tamara;the sloping and densely planted front garden and hell strip, and the smaller back where space had to be cleverly utilized -every square foot was important !

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  5. Oh, I love this post! Scott's garden is totally magical.

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  6. After seeing so many photos of Scott's garden before it was great to finally see it in the flesh and what a fabulous sight it was! Glad to hear that his garden has inspired you (and great title too!).

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    1. I just love the 'in person' visits of gardens you know well in photos. I still remember vividly my first visits to the Danger garden, to my friend Deannes garden in New Hampshire , and Idyll Haven--all gardens I had seen photos of for years. What I really need now is a visit across the pond...

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  7. How lovely I've really enjoyed seeing all the different photos from different photographers of Scott's gardens. I love it when I come back from a garden tour and have an epiphany about how to deal with a section of garden that just doesn't please anymore. I've come home from Monqiue's and Sue's and dug out an entire patch of the Terrace Garden in the past. Great post

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    1. Scotts garden was so relevant for me, it was fun to tour something without the impossibility factor !

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  8. Fabulous read with great photos. In fact, the very ones I wanted to see to remember his planting combinations. It was raining when we were there and my photos are not so good! That's my excuse and I am sticking with it!

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    1. Thats an excellent excuse ! I wish I'd taken more photos in the back garden though. And the combos, yes...so well done !

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  9. Wow! I'm glad to hear you really went to town on your own garden, implementing things that inspired you, immediately after the Fling. Thanks for sharing his planting combos.

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    1. I've sure been doing lots of demolition this year Alison, but wasn't quite sure what form the transformation might take.

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  10. Scott is a pretty amazing gardener and it's always a treat to see his garden! How cool that it inspired you to rethink some of your own space!

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    1. What a pleasure to have the chance to visit all these great gardens and get some nuggets of wisdom from each one !

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  11. Thank you for the kind words...I was thrilled to have you over, Kathy...and I'm beyond happy that you found some little nuggets of inspiration in my humble little garden. Come again, any time and we'll ruminate over grasses and other favorite plants ;-)

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    1. I'm going to lobby for a sundown visit Scott !

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  12. Yes indeed, the best gardens seem to produce the worst photos--I was so excited to be there. In my case, any good pix were accidental. All my kitty shots were of the backside.

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