Archive for the ‘kitchen gardens’ Category

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Hardy Plant Society Study Weekend

presented by the Northwest Perennial Alliance

Stacie Crooks Garden

a gift to the street

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo


soothing private courtyard behind the bright front garden

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

at the sunny side of the house, a kitchen garden; the mailbox holds supplies and tools.

Allan’s photo

I also use those gloves to garden. (Allan’s photo)

Roger Gossler of Gossler Farms (to the right in above photo) commented that this was the perfect size of kitchen garden, not too big.  (I have purchased many a good plant from Gossler Farms Nursery,  both at Hardy Plant weekends and by mail order.

looking back at the kitchen garden

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

This is the moment when I learned that there are scheffleras hardy to the Pacific Northwest.

hardy schefflera….must have

entering the back garden

dazzling combination at one end of the garden

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

tour guests talk to the gardener

on the terrace

I believe that is Stacie in the center.

I rarely talk to the garden owners—as they are usually well occupied with comments and questions.  Allan heard her say that she had five dump truck loads of soil brought in to make the garden level rather than sloping, looking ahead to easier gardening.

That end of the garden drew my eyes the most.

Allan’s photo

You can read more about Crooks Garden Design here.

More articles about the garden here. And here, this might be her former, steeper garden.  Imagine my surprise when I realized that I had indeed visited her former garden in 2010: second garden in this post.  Some of the photos in the old post will enlarge if you click on them; this goes back to when I used to try to get fancy with formatting.  I also used to have more to say about each garden.  I felt I had to review them in some way.  Now I am more inclined to let you walk through with us in your own imagination and create your own impressions.





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Friday, 22 June 2018

Hardy Plant Society Study Weekend

presented by the Northwest Perennial Alliance

Hampton Garden, Redmond

going in

We were pleased to see more flowers bordering the large expanse of front lawn.

Allan’s photo

I recognized painted sage in the planter in front of the porch and went to have a closer look.  Like mine lately, it was not colouring up in a showy manner.

Salvia viridis (painted sage); I wonder if it will show more colour soon?

painted sage, not what it used to be; the bracts don’t seem to colour up as in days of yore.

rose garden by the front porch

lawn border

more metal alliums—I want some! Sign says Allium metallica.

Allan’s photo

Allium schubertii seedhead with water bottle for scale

Allan’s photo


looking across the lawn

flower beds at the end of the lawn

Allan’s photo

a gorgeous iris

I like flowers.  I prefer a garden with perennials and annuals mixed with shrubs, even though it is more maintenance.

This made me happy!

This made me envious.  (I can’t seem to grow delphiniums.) Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Behind the flower beds, a fenced kitchen garden:

further along the side garden, pots of dahlias

another angle on the handsome delphiniums

We thought this might be a clever upcycled…something…to keep the strawberries off the ground.

By the side porch of the house, we found the chicken topiary with eggs.

On the porch:

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

the catio

Allan’s photo

garden shed in the side yard, next to a chicken coop

I have that same set of chickens, and they fall over all the time.  These were wired into the ground to stay put.

real chooks

a rose petal snack

vigorously digging a hole

Allan’s photo

After the chicken coop came the shade garden.

a courtyard off to the side as one goes toward the back garden.

at the center of the paths

a perfect hosta

Allan’s photo

I looked beyond to find the work area, always of interest.

horse poop, I believe

how so perfect??

Behind the back garden was a barn and pastures.  One dark grey horse walked away from having its photo taken; another was being groomed.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

an enormous climbing hydrangea

behind the house

I love this cat sculpture.

more of the garden along the horse pastures

plates in a bike wheel

Coming around the house, another border featuring perfect hostas…

Allan’s photo

By looking hard, Allan found a few tiny holes in hosta leaves, just to make me feel less inferior.

Allan’s photo

the house from the hosta bed


We had taken a long time touring this garden and admiring all the flowers and those perfect hostas.  We still had one more garden to tour today before the tour time ended.





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First, an exciting announcement. The Astoria garden tour is back!  Read more about it here.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

We continued our peninsula garden tour day, with Ann and Evan, at Dave and Melissa’s Sea Star Garden on the outskirts of Oysterville.  On several acres, much of which is ungardenable wetland, our friends have spent the past two years using their rare days off from their gardening business to create their own paradise. Because they used to own a nursery called Glauca Moon, they arrived here with a large palette of plants in pots.

Dave and Mel’s past life

Sea Star Garden

On the left as you enter the driveway is a large raised garden where once a decrepit old house stood (a house that was unsafe to even enter).  This garden came about when a new septic system had to be installed last year.

Melissa and Evan

On top, a carpet of sedums will solve the problem of not being able to plant anything deep rooted on the septic system.

Allan’s photo


Dave, me, Melissa, Ann, Sean (Allan thinks this looks like a landing party from Star Trek.)

By the back deck of the house is a water feature with waterfall, made by a friend of the previous owner.

Evan and Ann looking at the pond.

the deck pond

in the water (Allan’s photo)

water lilies (Allan’s photo)

pond frog (Allan’s photo)

north of the house

north of the house

The property had been owned by a gardener before and abounds in interesting trees and shrubs.

The Eucalyptus that Melissa named Elvis.

Ann and one of at least two Acer griseum (paperbark maple)

Acer griseum (Allan’s photo)

one of the maples that Dave and Mel brought with them

Acer pseudoplatanus ‘Eskimo Sunset’; This tree had a surprise.

bird nest (Allan’s photo)

old bridge on the north side (Allan’s photo)

Evan, Ann, Melissa in the woods to the north of the house (Allan’s photo)

As Dave and Mel clear the underbrush, they are finding all sorts of hardscapes like two small ponds and a big stone circle with a stone bench.

Evan and the mysterious stone circle (Allan’s photo)

Hostas are one of their favourites in the shade garden.

on the deck (You can find sand dollars on the north end of the beach here.)

Next, we went to the garden of a North Beach Garden Gang friend, just south of Oysterville.

Todd’s Family Garden

As we drove up, Todd was weeding.

Allan’s photo

The house reminded us all of a Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece.

Around the family home, Todd has planted his collection from his years as the display garden curator at Plant Delights nursery in North Carolina.

in the sunshine

Morina longifolia

Ann and Evan examining and inspecting (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Ann and Evan admire the view of Willapa Bay.

Todd surveys an area full of potential.

You can see Allan taking this photo of the shade garden.

Todd’s shade garden (Allan’s photo)


Spigelia marilandica ‘Little Redhead’

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

The kitchen garden, which one of Todd’s family describes as “a real garden, none of this foo foo stuff” lay far below.  Because my heel was hurting, I sat this part of the trip out. (Todd kindly offered to go get a truck but I did not want everyone to have to wait.) Allan’s photos of that part of the excursion:

descending on a woodland path

the kitchen and flower cutting garden

Evan in the berry patch

kitchen garden

Ann harvesting carrots

sweet peas

fenced garden

walking to the bay

Todd has a handful of lettuce and carrots that became our salad for the next two nights.

Ann in her element

back up the road (the woods path down was a shortcut)


While I waited up top, I looked at my present from Lorna.  She had given me a book as we parted ways at The Oysterville Garden.

Thank you, Lorna!

a dedication that speaks to my heart

I also pondered curmudgeonly thoughts about garden tour programs that I feel compelled to share.  If curmudgeonliness annoys rather than amuses you, please avoid.

One of the gardens on today’s informal tour, Martie and Steve’s, had been on the local tour the day before. The tour program suggested its symmetry was “reminiscent of centuries old British estates” and “will put you in mind of Downton Abbey”.  Perhaps because it had a cricket lawn? Perhaps because of the green lawns in general?  It reminded me of my thoughts about garden tour descriptions, something that is always on my mind during garden tour season.

The Captain Stream House

Martie and Steve’s garden completely stood on its own and did not need to be compared to any other place.  The garden’s lines seemed clean and modern to me and certainly did not remind me of Downton Abbey.  Other than my usual desire to be in the UK, I would rather visit their garden than the site of Downton Abbey, anyway.

 I was reminded of the previous year’s comparison of a small garden to an Italian courtyard, leading to confusion on the part of tour guests (much of which I heard about later…even unto it being mentioned this year, and at the time, a friend texted me from that garden asking for enlightenment about the description).  I think that serious garden tour guests take every word of a description into consideration.  Raising expectations is not wise.  That particular garden (the non-Italian-courtyard) also stood well on its own because its big pots and hand made pavers were all portable; I would have described it as being a small garden that showed perfect solutions for folks who are renters rather than property owners.  There’s no need to get fanciful and make tour guests expect something grander than what is there.  Instead of describing a garden as “extensive” when it isn’t, describe it honestly as small but plant-i-ful. (To be fair, this year the word “extensive” was used to describe a tiny local garden in a newspaper article, not in the program itself.)  I think it is especially important not to aggrandize a garden.

The Master Gardeners’ north county tour, which I have now attended for two years, is good at avoiding hyperbole (with only one exception out of 12 garden descriptions in two years…a solid record of accurate descriptions).

The Hardy Plant Society Study Weekend programs tend to be accurate and non-aggrandizing (although I do remember, just once, looking for a cactus garden that turned out to be a couple of specimens in a pot).

I also do not like being told to walk here, stroll there, sit there, admire this, ask the gardener that.  Just describe the garden in a factual sense.  Here is an imaginary example: If I am told that “a salvaged window defines the edge of the garden by the river”, I will find it and admire it on my own without being told “Be sure to admire the salvaged window,” or “Ask the gardener where she got that window.”  (Clearly, I do have issues with being told what to do—thus 41 years of self employment.)

I don’t expect all readers to agree.  Now, let’s go on to one of my favourite peninsula gardens, the bayside garden of Steve and John.


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Sunday, 16 July 2017

After we had toured The Oysterville Garden, Lorna and Gail and Debbie (who had seen our next garden on yesterday’s local tour) went on their respective ways.  Dave, Melissa, Ann, Evan, Allan and I drove a few blocks north to Steve and Martie’s garden.  I’ve never met Steve and Martie although, before they moved to Oysterville, Allan and I worked on a garden just south of theirs, a garden that Dave and Melissa do now.  Dave and Mel (Sea Star Gardening) also helped ready Marty and Steve’s garden for the tour, and the creator of the fabulous Oysterville garden down the street has had some influence here.  You can read about Martie’s design work here.  And here.  And here.  And you can read about her Oysterville home, whose garden we are about to visit, here.

Martie designs plant decor for clients including the Ace Hotel in Portland.

historic Captain Stream House (Allan’s photo)

Captain Stream House (Allan’s photo). Much of Oysterville has lichened picket fences like this one.

front garden (Allan’s photo)

Ann (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

That’s one of my favourites, Verbena bonariensis, to the right.

a handsome stand of eupatorium (Joe Pye Weed)

orchids (Allan’s photo)

From the back deck.

A few days later, I happened to be at The Planter Box garden center when Teresa got a phone call asking what plant had been in the container above.  It’s sarracenia.

productive kitchen garden on both sides of the walkway

stone sink on the north side of the deck

closely mown croquet lawn on the south side

south of the garden (a guest house, I think)

coming around to the front garden again

now viewing the front garden from the entry driveway again, with Ann and Evan still lingering.

You can see more of this garden on Instagram at Oysterville Life.

We will now go on to tour two gardens of friends, and because we’ll be just with friends, I am going to share some garden tour thoughts.


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Sunday, 16 July 2017

I woke up very early (for me), filled with anticipation of a fun day of touring local gardens with Ann (The Amateur Bot-ann-ist), Evan (from Plant Delights, Cistus, and now Plant Lust), and more.  First I needed to water my greenhouse and patio plants.

Skooter is so happy to be allowed out during the day again (even though I have concerns that it is too soon).



Ann and Evan arrived at ten.  They toured our garden for awhile.



Sanguisorba ‘Lilac Squirrel’




These photos remind me of how for five years, to no avail, I kept asking the local tour to change the promotion wording, “You are invited to examine and inspect the gardens” to “appreciate and enjoy the gardens”, to sound less like a medical exam.  I would be listened to and humored, but the wording never changed.  Yet here we are examining and inspecting!



not an area of collectible plants but for some reason I noticed it.


Salvia patens petals on the lawn (Allan’s photo)

With the garden pretty thoroughly and kindly inspected, we were off to tour six (and a bit) Peninsula gardens.  The little bit was our stop at the Clarke garden on the way north.  I did not have a way to contact them, and I did want to show Ann and Evan the attractive containers especially.  (Karen, we did not trespass into the back garden although I have a feeling you would not have minded.)  We just “examined and inspected” the containers in the driveway.



Evan wanted to know which grass this is.


more glorious containers

Pink Poppy Farm

We began our tour with Pink Poppy Farm, a favourite of mine.  Dave and Melissa (Sea Star Gardening) arrived to join us. Pink Poppy Farmer Mike greeted us with the offer of drinks and walked with us through the garden, soon joined by his spouse Lynn, even though they must have been tired because their garden had been on the peninsula garden tour yesterday (while we were in Menlo).  The garden name may sound familiar to you because their daughter, Madeline, is the owner of Pink Poppy Bakery.


Ann, Evan, Skyler, Mike

For a more orderly beginning-to-end tour of this garden four years ago, check out this post.

Today, we wandered here and there in the garden.


Allan’s photo


Mike, Dave, and Allan by the Imperial Chicken Palace


The Imperial Chicken Palace



Look closely to see the bear on the coop.




Melissa communing with a hen (Allan’s photo)


Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ and clematis (Allan’s photo)


Maddy and her dad love old black and white films.


Allan’s photo


Evan taking photos


interior design: I love this kitchen tile.


up a slope into the garden


house and workshop


looking back at the chicken palace


Allan’s photo


The garden specializes in food and in cutting flowers.


Maddy’s old swing set repurposed into a bean trellis


one of several greenhouses and hoop houses


Ann and Lynn (Allan’s photo)


must be amaranth (Allan’s photo)


Evan, Allan, Ann, and Lynn


(left) Evan taking photos


We got our sprinklers-on-posts watering idea from this garden.


Allan’s photo


Allan’s photo


fire area with a “cemetery rose”


Looking back over the garden.  (Right) one of the tables left from the fabulous Wedding at Pink Poppy Farm

One of the hoophouses had a crop of young wasabi.


The leaves were hot and delicious.



another productive hoophouse

Some of the produce you will find for sale when Pink Poppy Bakery has a booth at the market (which is not every Saturday this year).


tiered beds at the end of the hoophouse


another cutting bed


Lynn pointed out this exceptionally pretty calendula.


sweet peas and bachelor buttons




pompom dahlias, my favourite kind




Allan’s photo


Tigridia (Allan’s photo)


Here we go heading off to four gardens in and near  Oysterville.




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The WSU Master Gardeners of Grays Harbor and Pacific County present:



Next to the fourth garden, we parked by a field of farm equipment, some new and some old.



Allan’s photo


promise of a garden up ahead



entry to the front garden


Trapeoleum speciosum on the trellis (Allan’s photo)


the ornamental front garden



Allan’s photo



Allan’s photo


campanulas (Allan’s photo)

Coming around to the back garden, the focus changes to food production.


tomatoes against the south side of the house


a chicken coop in the background



traffic jam at the door


plump and pretty hens


a raised bed edged with growing bags (Allan’s photo)


in the greenhouse (Allan’s photo)


farmland and cattle beyond

If I had to feed myself out of my garden, I might be eating chickweed, sheep sorrel, and some potatoes and a few berries, with some tomatoes from the greenhouse in late summer.  The intensive growing method in this garden made me ponder what I could do with the future kitchen garden space that I envision between our fence and Devery’s driveway.


This could protect the plants from deer.






I overheard that these were sweet Walla Walla onions.


lettuce (Allan’s photo)


grapevines on the left


berries and peaches



roses, honeysuckle, blueberries (Allan’s photo)


kitchen gardener extraordinaire, Tim


gunnera by the back deck


ready for alfresco meals from the garden


on the deck (Allan’s photo)

Because this was not an ornamental plant collector’s garden, I was surprised to see a Melianthus major as we departed.


A tour host was surprised that I recognized it; I said “There are six people touring behind me who will also know what it is.”  (Melissa, Dave, Ann, Evan, Pam, and Teresa!)

We had only one more tour garden to see, this one ten miles northwest of Raymond, and I was hoping to at least spy around the edges of two interesting private gardens on the way home.

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Saturday, 15 July 2017

The WSU Master Gardeners of Grays Harbor and Pacific County present:


A focus of the Master Gardener tour is very personal gardens that are designed and maintained by their owners.

Garden One: “Shades of Paris”


Like all of the gardens on this tour, this one was located by a quiet country road.



impeccably maintained


tour guests checking in (Allan’s photo)


I was well chuffed to be there.


flowers in patterns

There were lots of zinnias and dahlias that would be in bloom not long from now.  If I lived closer than an hour away, I would be trying to get a peek when the bed above is in full bloom.


Red white and blue in this place could evoke the French flag.


pasture just beyond the garden


People were walking back across the pasture from a nature path, possibly for nearby Fuss Creek.

I missed this opportunity and another, in the third garden, to explore further, because I was having an extra problem today of having a sore foot!

To my left was a fenced kitchen and flower garden.




berries and roses


I continued to be impressed by the complete lack of weeds.



This fence was possibly designed to keep out more critters than just deer.


Guests were invited to snack on the berries.  (Allan’s photo)


Allan’s photo

We turned our attention to the large patio at the side of the house.



I felt this might remind the owners of the tradition of dining outdoors in France.


waterfall pond


Allan pointed out that the black and white photo in the program got a better overview of the pond than either of us did.


Between garden and pasture, a wide maintenance path would make wheelbarrowing easy.


looking back at the house


fire circle between pond and pasture


Allan’s photo

Neither Allan nor I got as good a photo of the fire circle as did our friend Ann (Spiffy Seeds, The Amateur Bot-ann-ist) who was touring just behind us.


photo by Ann Amato-Zorich: “my dream s’mores making fire pit”


view over the pond from the fire circle


beyond the garden


hot tub


to the next level


The red tape was a warning where steps went down.


a sit spot outside a fenced garden and more zinnias that will be colourful soon


Allan’s photo


fenced kitchen gardens with berries


Allan’s photo


between the house and the fenced berry patch


Allan’s photo


looking back as I walk around the house


Salix integra ‘Hakuro-nishiki’ (Allan’s photo)


Allan’s photo


zinnias, a big porch, quilt display


I wish I had asked who was the quilter.







leaving the colourful and impeccably maintained garden



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