Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Throwback Thursday; The Farmers Daughter, So. Kingstown Rhode Island

 I love visiting New England. Love the gardens, love the seafood, the charming villages and appreciate the tropical-esqe summer temps; i.e. it's warm at night. And even more important, the company of friends who have welcomed me into their home and gardens and facilitated my visits to both private and public gardens throughout the northeast.
 Back in June 2014, I added Rhode Island to my 'visited states' list.The entirety of Rhode Island is not much larger than Napa County , and in spite of its tiny size still features 400 miles of coastline by virtue of the tentacles of land reaching into the Atlantic. Friends who live in New England annually make the pilgrimage to Farmers Daughter Nursery in Kinsgton RI and always include a meal at Matunuck Oyster Bar. Seared scallops and a cold local beer for lunch-nothing better !  After looking at photos of both plants and food for a few years I finally got to join in. If you find yourself in that area I enthusiastically  recommend a visit to both of these local businesses, they are both first rate.

 Farmers Daughter is a destination nursery that has a vast plant selection and beautiful display gardens as well. Every New England hoop house needs a bit of architectural detail.

 Hoophouse after hoophouse , all impeccably maintained .

 The sales cottage.

 The plants went on and on. I wish I'd taken a few more photos in the plant sales area, but I was anxious to visit the display gardens.

  Better looking than the average porta-potty.

  Container arrangements were positioned in strategic locations around the nursery.

  Lets meander over to the display gardens. The garden runs the length of the nursery and is mature with a pleasing interplay of texture and colors. Not the ideal time of day for photos, but I made do as best I could. Thank you Lightroom !

I long for a shrub border, and have spot for one but it involves expensive concrete removal . I still hope to be able to pull it off one day-space is always an issue . My shrub border would look very different from this one as I don't have the limitations of a frigid winter , or the benefit of summer rainfall.

This long view displays the nice design dynamic. There was no one else in the garden when I strolled though , adding to my enjoyment.

 Very modest and restrained use of sculpture .

 I'll close with one of my favorite succulent containers.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Observations on a Post-Rain Cleanup Weekend

 It has been an unacceptably long time since I had the opportunity to see what is going on in my own garden. It either has been raining (and raining and raining) or other commitments pulled me away. My garden viewing has been pretty much limited to the short distance from the mailbox to the front door. Those brief trips were enough to tell me I have a serious weed problem. In fact  I can't ever recall an early spring this bad. I believe the seeds of these damnable things must have been laying around waiting for the torrential rains we've experienced in the last couple months after years of drought.The ground is so saturated that pulling them is still impossible ; they either bring up a tennis ball sized blob of mud with them that won't shake off, or they break off at the soil level. I need two weeks of dry weather and 3 yards of mulch. This weekend has been splendid, warm temps, no rain and I spent most of it trying to get  a handle on the rose pruning and fall/spring cleanup.

 Geum 'Totally Tangerine' was purchased last summer and never bloomed . It has remained evergreen over winter and many flower buds are emerging. Hoping for a long bloom season-I only bought one but will get more if the flowering progresses as promised.

Unfortunately, it and many other plants in my front garden are completely surrounded by shotweed, which is what you see in the upper third of this photo. My garden has never looked so unkempt.

 This is Clematis 'Arabella' . Every Clem in my garden is budded . None have been cut back except for 'Rooguchi' which I did today. I had actually planned to move Rooguchi because of the shade it casts, but I decided to leave it where it is for the present and instead try to manage it's size with in-season clipping. We'll see how that goes.

 All my Fuchsias are leafing out, but I'll wait til March 1 to prune. Late frosts can still be an issue here , though they are all in protected locations and it's unlikely that we will experience temps in the 20's at this point.

 And what is this Daylily thinking ? At least a month ahead of schedule.

Leucodendron 'Pisa' just laid itself down, the whole plant is on the ground. Not dead, so I cut it back to 3 feet. I think it's too close to the fence , ergo too much shade .

Agave weberi 'Arizona Star' was liberated from it's container last summer , only to suffer the ravages of the rainiest winter in several years. Looks pretty crappy with slimy stuff in the center-never a good look on an Agave.

 Many things are emerging:

 Teuchrium 'Purple Tails' sometimes shows up where you would prefer it not too, but can always be dug and moved . The criss-cross twigs  are last years growth yet to be cut down.

   All the Persicarias are shooting up , and luckily this is one of the few plants I actually got cut back in fall before it started raining. As you can see there are old branches in the photo- I do the half-assed trim in fall and refine it in spring.

 I left my Artichokes to provide winter interest. Said winter interest is long gone. They keeled over at some point , hit the ground and sprouted. This would be exciting if I had an acre or two. A-chokes are gargantuan  plants and I have room for one and one only.

The beloved Lobelia tupa. Excited to see what this will do in its second summer.

 This one has put a big-a frowny face on the gardener. Echium wildpretii which was pristine  and fabulous, sailed through the frosts of early winter and now looks awful. A blob of black linguine tops it off.

Geranium pyranaicum 'Bill Wallis' has colonized my pot of Yucca rupicola . In fact Bill has made himself at home everywhere. Just make sure you really really like this plant before you buy it. I will likely spend a full day digging up seedlings this month.

On the plus side, Tulipa 'sylvestris' a new favorite since seeing it on Tangly Cottage Gardens blog. It blooms early and there are at least two blooms per bulb in my experience and the bulbs are relatively inexpensive.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Throwback Thursday-Linda Cochrans' Garden

  In January I typically try to work on my  ever burgeoning photo files; adding keywords, deleting the crappy images, mapping and editing , and it was during this process I realized I had many photos of gardens I had never  shared on the blog. Since it is apparently never going to stop raining this winter I plan to put together a few Throwback Thursday posts featuring some of these past garden visits.
  In the summer of 2012 I and a group of gardening friends toured the Pacific Northwest . It was a memorable trip that included among others, the garden of Little and Lewis (since closed to tours) Dan Hinkleys' Windcliff ( no photos allowed in those days) the Danger Garden and a visit to the iconic private garden of Linda Cochran. How we managed to score a private tour of Lindas' garden I can't recall, but I do know I can't take credit for it. Nevertheless it is all the more a significant visit to me now; this home and garden were sold and Linda has started a new, smaller garden in Port Ludlow. Her blog is updated occasionally and the posts are always informative with a high level of horticultural knowledge and curiosity. The Puget Sound-Kitsap Peninsula area seems to have a rich and active gardening  culture, with a web of connected and gifted plantspeople.

  Bainbridge Island Washington is USDA zone 8B which indicates  average low winter temps  in the 15 to 20 degree range. We western gardeners often prefer the Sunset zones which zoom in on our micro-climates that are heavily moderated by the Pacific and the geography of our  mountain ranges. The seacoast and Puget Sound influence the Bainbridge Island climate and sunset zone 5, unlike the USDA map, hones in on the marine environment and places the winter low averages in the 30 to 40 degree range. There are plenty of areas in the south and deep south that are also USDA 8B, for example Houston Tx and Tallahassee Fl which clearly have nothing in common with the Pacific Northwest except for average lows. Lindas' garden was located in that enviable place where it's not too hot and not too cold.

 I wish now that I had spent more time in the front garden which was an eclectic mash up of textures and colors, with plants I would not have expected to see that far north.

 I took lots of smaller vignette shots but neglected to get a wide view.

 Lindas' back garden was fenced against deer and was bordered with a perimeter  of mature architecturally imposing plants.

Oh these culms.

 And then there's the Lilys. The PNW is Lily heaven .

 Bold color combinations, and they all work.Not sure I would have ever thought to combine Lobelia tupa and Geranium maderense.

Linda and Denise chat as the potted succulents look on.

    Tune in next Thursday for another garden visit !