Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Dan Hinkley’

Hardy Plant Society Study Weekend, Portland 2015

study

Saturday, 27 June 2015

evening soirée at Blooming Junction Nursery

DSC02110

I have a great fondness for Blooming, having bought plants from them for years.  They will send a delivery truck to the Peninsula, and the Basket Case Greenhouse not only carries their plants but lets me look at the availability list and order my favourites.  Therefore, it was a special pleasure for me to go the Saturday garden party at their retail nursery in Cornelius, just west of Portland.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

annual beds at the front entrance (Allan's photo)

annual beds at the front entrance (Allan’s photo)

annuals (Allan's photo)

annuals (Allan’s photo)

strawberry fields (Allan's photo)

strawberry fields (Allan’s photo)

Blooming Junction

Blooming Junction

The perennial display garden by the parking lot made me decide again to turn my front garden into a gravel garden.  (Deciding and doing are such very different things.)

display

display

display

display

rocks

rocks

display

plants maturing and intermingling

verbena

DSC02110

entering the nursery (Allan’s photo)

In the  nursery, we were turned loose among the aisles of plants for sale with the wonderful bonus of a 15% discount.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo of a window sticker in the parking lot

rudbeckias

rudbeckias

one

These were gorgeous...and would probably have thrived in our extra warm dry summer here.

These were gorgeous…and would probably have thrived in our extra warm dry summer here.

soft

view

petunia

I had to have this variegated Joe Pye Weed.

I had to have this variegated Joe Pye Weed.

Heucheras (Allan's photo)

Allan was taken with the number of heucheras. (Allan’s photo)

Heucheras (Allan's photo)

Heucheras (Allan’s photo)

Gallardia 'Coral Spark'

Gallardia ‘Coral Spark’

Of course, I got one of each Agastache that I did not already possess.

Of course, I got one of each Agastache that I did not already possess.

Could not resist just one spiky blue veronica.

Could not resist just one spiky blue veronica.

Now I wish I had gotten one of each (pink and blue).

Veronica ‘Darwin’s Blue’ Now I wish I had gotten one of each cultivar (pink and blue).

Why oh why did I not buy this Pittosporum 'Wrinkle Blue'?

Why oh why did I not buy this Pittosporum ‘Wrinkle Blue’?

Allan pointed out how the plant tables started filling with water.

tables

What a clever and labour saving way to water.

What a clever and labour saving way to water.

(I got me one of these ornamental oreganos.)

(I got me one of these ornamental oreganos.)

water bubbling up

water bubbling up

pretty darn cool

pretty darn cool watering method

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

I tried to resist a big shopping spree, and ended up with a shopping trolley full of plants anyway.

My cart (Allan's photo)

My cart (Allan’s photo)

Todd had put a big Phormium in the middle of the cart, knowing that I have completely gone off them.  He and Allan waited to see if I would notice.  I saw it while in the check out line and thought “What the heck?!” then figured Todd was buying it, as another plant of his was on my cart.

the prank Phormium

the prank Phormium (Allan’s photo)

"What the heck?"  (Allan's photo)

“What the heck?” (Allan’s photo)

waiting in line (Allan's photo)

waiting in line (Allan’s photo)

Fortunately, Allan removed that darn Phormium before I bought it!

watering can fountain (Allan's photo)

watering can fountain (Allan’s photo)

As the sun lowers, the temperature…which started out even hotter than in Portland…took on a welcome touch of evening.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

shade

large shrubs for sale...I resisted these through lack of energy to move them.

large hydrangeas for sale…I resisted these through lack of energy to move them.

Hydrangea 'Edgy Orbits'

Hydrangea ‘Edgy Orbits’

Even the loos were charming.

Even the loos were charming.

The delicious dinner was catered by Vibrant Table, the catering company of Kurt Beadell, whose garden we had toured earlier in the day.

food

Two large outdoor dining areas were soon filled with Hardy Plant people.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

dinner

view from our table

brug

 

our table (Allan's photo): That's Kurt Beadell in the middle.

our table (Allan’s photo): That’s Kurt Beadell in the middle.

dessert (Allan's photo)

dessert (Allan’s photo)

After dinner, Dan Hinkley spoke.  I had left my notebook way far away in the parking lot in Todd’s truck, so I borrowed a piece of paper from Alison and a pen from Allan.  I took notes on Dan’s witty remarks, but since the paper was one loose piece I now cannot find it.  I am sure it will turn up someday.  He spoke about plant exploration trips and his new introductions in his Monrovia plant collection and proved that he does not need slides to give a scintillating speech.

an eager audience

an eager audience (Allan’s photo)

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo (If only I could find my notes!!)

Allan’s photo (If only I could find my notes!!)

dan

We were each given the choice of one of four new, exciting plants from Monrovia.

Allan's photo: Dan with Holboellia coriacea 'Cathedral Gem'

Allan’s photo: Dan with Holboellia coriacea ‘Cathedral Gem’

The “sausage vine” was the gift plant that especially caught my fancy.  He said it blooms in sun or shade.  I hoped there would be enough because it sounded so enticing that I feared everyone would want that one.

A close second in my interest was a new Prostrathera; I had one that survived several winters and smelled so delicious…

Allan's photo, because we cannot ever get too much of Dan.

Allan’s photo, because we cannot ever get too much of Dan.

One I did not get, but do want.

One I did not get, but do want.

This is the one that Allan picked: Leucosceptrum japonicum 'Golden Angel'

This is the one that Allan picked: Leucosceptrum japonicum ‘Golden Angel’ (Allan’s photo)

I cannot for the life of me remember what the fourth plant was.

Allan's photo: An audience member was chosen by a nursery cat.

Allan’s photo: An audience member was chosen by a nursery cat.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo: plantsman Sam stands to ask a question.

Allan’s photo: plantsman Sam stands to ask a question.

the line to get gift plants

the line to get gift plants.  Thanks, Monrovia!

There were plenty of plants, so we each got our first choice.

There were plenty of plants, so we each got our first choice.

Later, at home, I looked at the Monrovia site and was thrilled to see you can order online and they will deliver to a participating nursery near you….until I saw that the nearest nursery for my zip code is in Olympia, two hours away.  I wish 7 Dees garden center in Seaside were a participant.  (I tried decreasing the “within x number of miles” to 25 and got the same results…Olympia.)  I have a feeling that next year I may be bribing Our Kathleen, who lives near Oly and has a weekend cottage here, to bring me a Monrovia order.  Perhaps a delicious dinner at the Depot will do the trick.

oly

 

By the time the party was over, the air had become bearably cool and I would love to have done more shopping.

Allan's photo: Grace, the owner of Blooming

Allan’s photo: Grace Dinsdale, the owner of Blooming

departing at 9 PM

departing at 9 PM

the parking lot

the parking lot

Allan's photo, as we drove out of the parking lot

Allan’s photo, as we drove out of the parking lot

Back at the hotel parking lot, Allan brought down the bucket of water from our room, and I added the water from a large jug in the van to make enough depth to burble all the new plants.  Because we were checking out of the hotel the next morning, we loaded all our plants down from the room into the van to join the new acquisitions from Blooming.  They’d have to stay in the van during the morning lectures; fortunately, the weather was predicted to be slightly cooler.

I want to show you how packed the van was, even though the photos came out blurry.  Allan said “Remember, we do have luggage.”

all our plants

all our plants in the van

Tonight: a bonus post for you garden nerds who might be interested in my notes from Sunday’s lectures.

Tomorrow:  four more tour gardens.

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Friday, 26 June 2015

Hardy Plant Society Study Weekend, Portland 2015

Here’s a plant geek post with a great nursery and with lecture notes.  Tomorrow morning, we will get back to garden touring posts.

study

Back into Portland we drove on Friday afternoon, on a mission to get to a gardening mecca for the very first time:  Xera Plants.  Back when Pam Fleming had her own garden store in Gearhart, she would bring plants from Xera and I would buy one of everything.

The temperature kept rising!

The temperature kept rising!

Xera Plants and Contained Exuberance

Xera at last!

Xera at last!  “All plants grown locally by Xera.  Bee friendly.”

It was not till viewing my photos later that I realized that the owner of Contained Exuberance and Hyland Garden Design, the shop that shares the corner with Xera, is Bob Hyland whose garden we had just toured within the previous hour.  My reading comprehension of the program was low.  I will blame the heat.

containedexuberance

inside Contained Exuberance

inside Contained Exuberance

The fellow at the shop graciously accepted the Peninsula garden tour poster.  (You can see it on the desk.)

The fellow at the shop graciously accepted the Peninsula garden tour poster. (You can see it on the desk.)

Here it is, so you don't forget to come.

Here it is, so you don’t forget to come.

trough

next door at Xera Plants

next door at Xera Plants

It was so hot!  I wanted to browse and read every tag but couldn’t take the heat.  I’m so acclimated to beach weather.  I would pick out a plant and duck back into the shady side of the lot and put the plant on the concrete edge of the gorgeous shade display garden, then brave the heat again to find another plant.  The odd thing was that I had meant to collect shade plants anyway; the heat had addled my brain and made me think that my main mission should be to make my front garden more drought tolerant (which is not a bad idea).

the shady side

the shady side

in the sun

in the sun

medusa

potted tetrapanax

potted tetrapanax

I bought Melianthus major 'Purple Haze', as I'd lost mine in a cold winter.

I bought Melianthus major ‘Purple Haze’, as I’d lost mine in a cold winter. (Allan’s photo)

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

some of my purchases

some of my purchases

The plants were all of a size that we could easily accomodate in our hotel room over the weekend.  We weren’t sure, just before we left, if Paul had charged us for them all.  He had, but I made that stupid nervous social anxiety comment “We wouldn’t have known if you charged us twice” (because we were confused).  As if he would have done such a thing.  Why couldn’t I say something intelligent??

Allan's photo of Paul Bonine

Allan’s photo of Paul Bonine

our plants (Allan's photo)

our plants (Allan’s photo)

Allan's photo; I'm in plant nerd heaven.

Allan’s photo; I’m in plant nerd heaven, and also VERY HOT.

I wish I could go back and read every tag…and probably buy one of almost everything, as owner Paul Bonine’s taste in plants is impeccable.  I was thrilled to get to meet him in person; we’ve been Facebook friends for awhile thanks to knowing garden blogger Ann.

the rest of the day

a smokin' Cotinus, from our van on the way back to the hotel

a smokin’ Cotinus, from our van on the way back to the hotel

In the hotel bathtub, I used the two buckets I’d brought to burble all the new plants, one to dunk them and one to let the water drain out.  It took about an hour.

This saved having to commandeer the hotel's waste baskets and then try to clean the overflow soil out of them.

This saved having to commandeer the hotel’s waste baskets and then try to clean the overflow soil out of them.

Hydrangea 'Pistachio'

Hydrangea ‘Pistachio’

Allan brought up some floor mats from the van to set the plants on.

Allan brought up some floor mats from the van to set the plants on.

Because we had only a short while for dinner, as I was eager to check in to the HPSO event and to peruse their plant sale, we dined at the Chipotle restaurant across the street from the college.

It's a small chain restaurant with healthful Mexican food.

It’s a small chain restaurant with healthful Mexican food.

a green wall on the way to the HPSO check in

a green wall on the way to the HPSO check in

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo: vertical wall

a college eco-roof project

a college eco-roof project

After checking in, we explored the HPSO offerings.

checking in: Allan's photo.  One of my gardening idols, Lucy Hardiman

checking in: Allan’s photo. I’m being a star struck goof over one of my gardening idols, Lucy Hardiman

silent auction

silent auction

Why did I not bid on this last time or this time?  It would be worth a lot to me...Darn it.  I felt shy.

Why did I not bid on this last time or this time? It would be worth a lot to me…Darn it. I felt shy.

another silent auction item

another silent auction item featuring another garden idol

When I say idol, I don’t mean I worship them; well, I sort of do.  I can’t say mentor because they don’t know me.  What’s the word for someone who is an inspiration (other than the word “inspiration”?

botanical display table

botanical display table

specimens

Lilium 'Lankon': must add to my must have list

Lilium ‘Lankon’: must add to my must have list

Anthyrium 'Ocean's Fury' (Allan's photo)

Anthyrium ‘Ocean’s Fury’ (Allan’s photo)

Podophyllum 'Spotty Dotty' (Allan's photo)

Podophyllum ‘Spotty Dotty’ (Allan’s photo)

Books.

Books.

I never found time to properly browse the books.  I did purchase a new collection of Dulcy Mahar’s columns.dulcy

Bottom row: Mr. Owita's Guide to Gardening is excellent.  It was given to me by Karla of Time Enough Books at the Port of Ilwaco.

Bottom row: Mr. Owita’s Guide to Gardening is excellent. It was given to me by Karla of Time Enough Books at the Port of Ilwaco.

Next, the plant sales rooms where collectors’ nurseries had set of tables of their choicest offerings.  My big question of Maurice Horn at the Joy Creek table was, “What was the name of your adorable dog?” (We had toured his garden earlier that day.)

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Roger Gossler, Gossler Farms

Roger Gossler, Gossler Farms

Sean Hogan, Cistus

Sean Hogan, Cistus

Sean Hogan, Cistus (Allan's photo)

Sean Hogan, Cistus (Allan’s photo), using tongs to groom cacti

Dancing Oaks (Allan's photo)

Dancing Oaks (Allan’s photo)

me, filled with longing for ALL the plants (Allan's photo)

me, filled with longing for ALL the plants (Allan’s photo)

Dan Hinkley, Windcliffe

Dan Hinkley, Windcliffe

Talkin' plants with Todd (Allan's photo); or maybe telling him about my watering woes at the Port!

Talkin’ plants with Todd (Allan’s photo); or maybe telling him about my watering woes at the Port!

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

I did not buy nearly as many plants here as I wanted.  This plant sale, unlike the one at the Bellevue/Seattle weekend, does not have a holding area, so the plants must be carried to the hotel, or one must send someone to drive up to get them, or….  The logistics were beyond me, so I only bought as many as I could (not so easily) carry for several blocks.

plants2

The vendors had ice cubes on the plants because of the heat.

The vendors had ice cubes on the plants because of the heat.

Aspidistra elatior 'Chicory Asahi':  WHY did I not buy this??  And then it was sold out.

Aspidistra elatior ‘Chicory Asahi’: WHY did I not buy this?? And then it was sold out.

a couple of rhododendrons for Steve and John’s enjoyment:

rhodo

rhodo2

Used to have lots of Crocosmia 'Solfatere'...should have bought one.

Used to have lots of Crocosmia ‘Solfatere’…should have bought one.  I like the brownish leaves.

Variegated Gingko...I bought one four years ago (still small)

Variegated Gingko…I bought ‘Summer Rainbow’ four years ago (still small); it’s still $95.50!

sebright

I got me a Pittosporum 'Tasman Ruffles', which I've so many times admired in Steve and John's garden.

I got me a Pittosporum ‘Tasman Ruffles’, which I’ve so many times admired in Steve and John’s garden.

At 7:15, it was time for the first seminar of the weekend.

the auditorium (Allan's photo)

the auditorium (Allan’s photo)

Before the lecture, as would happen with each segment of lectures over the weekend, names were drawn for a free raffle.  My name was drawn for the first time in six study weekends! and….I won ten zinc plant tags.  Todd’s name was drawn and he won a cool plant.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Later, Allan won a plant, so all weekend Todd teased me that we needed to get a photo of the three of us with our great prizes.  (Another coveted raffle prize given to a couple of lucky pups was a $100 gift certificate from Blooming Junction nursery, and in one case a plant which Dan Hinkley told the recipient was one of only two in production, the other of which he himself owned!)

I can’t recall who introduced the lecture, but she referred to this article from the Guardian, about natural words like “catkins” and “acorn” being replaced in a children’s dictionary by “blog” and “voicemail” and “chatroom”.

She said 491 people had signed on for the weekend.

The keynote speaker was Dan Hinkley, who is my ultimate garden idol, and about whom I hear all good things about his kindness as a person.

A Little Bit of Heaven lecture by Dan Hinkley

with Sam Decker and Nancy Davidson Short

His theme: “People who have influenced me and people who we as gardeners influence.”

Dan Hinkley (Allan's photo)

Dan Hinkley (Allan’s photo)

He has gone so far beyond slide show presentations.  On his mac, he had created an hour long montage of short films and interviews and garden tours interspersed with still photos.  He opened by saying that when he left his home in Indianola, Washington this morning to drive down, his marriage to his longtime partner, Robert, would not have been legal in all states had he driven east across the country.  By the time he got to Portland, it was legal across the whole USA. The audience erupted in applause and cheers and I got all joyfully teary eyed again.

We all laughed uproariously when he showed a slide of the Michigan Bulb Company ad from the early 60s showing bushel basket size mums.  As a child, he ordered those mum and said that he thought (after receiving an envelope of tiny plant starts instead of the bushel basket sized plants he had envisioned being delivered by a truck), “I could do this as a living someday, grow really small expensive plants and somebody out there would buy them!”

DSC01954

He showed films of plant collecting in China, and of Nancy Davidson Short, the now 102 year old former editor of Sunset magazine, whose warm and witty comments about gardening, and life, and death (which she “doesn’t worry about; it’s going to be OK”) were so inspirational.  His other interviewees were his own father, and a young man named Sam, who at age 11 is a knowledgeable plantsman who is in the enviably wonderful position of having Dan as his mentor.

Sam his own self

Sam his own self

Sam was in attendance, with his dad, and after the lecture Dan brought him to the stage and the whole audience stood in applause.  As has always happened when I have heard Dan give a lecture that has touched upon personal matters, it had filled me with joy and poignancy and brought some tears.

Takeaways from my lecture notes:

One of the few advantages of getting old is the opportunity to look back and connect the dots even though some places we have visited are dark.

Nancy Davidson Short said “My grandmother was a terrific gardener.  I have a rose that came from my grandmother.”  (So do I, from mine, that is; a “sweet heart rose”, probably Cecile Brunner.)

Dan showed a slide of Great Dixter’s Christopher Lloyd planting a tree at Dan and Robert’s Windcliffe garden.

On the way back to the hotel, we walked by a line of enchanting food carts, now closed for the evening.  I never did take the opportunity to eat at one because I needed to keep my digestion completely unruffled for garden touring.

food carts

food carts

rain

almost to the hotel: sedums in the light rail tracks (Allan's photo)

almost to the hotel: sedums in the light rail tracks (Allan’s photo)

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Before garden touring, we had three delightful and informative lectures to attend.  We were up at 7:30 and out the hotel door by 8:15, after the tasty hotel breakfast bouquet, and hustled like mad up the slight hill to the event.  We got there just at starting time, and I was sure we would be in the back row.  Our lovely friend and early riser Todd had saved us seats at the front!

Sam, in the audience with a plant purchase

Sam, in the audience with a plant purchase

DSC04853

Allan won his plant during the refreshment break,

Allan won this plant during the refreshment break,

I am going to swipe it for a sunny spot.

I am going to swipe it for a sunny spot.

Lucy raffling off plants.

Lucy raffling off plants.

Lucy Hardiman

Lucy Hardiman

the Saturday morning lectures:

You can read more about each speaker here.

Planting in a Post-Wild World by Thomas Rainier

my notes:

designing plant communities…

plant communities to evoke nature…

public gardens often made with no plan to maintain them (!!) …maybe I said that

painting by Albrecht Dürer: Great Piece of Turf

300px-Albrecht_Dürer_-_The_Large_Piece_of_Turf,_1503_-_Google_Art_Project

about weeds….We can’t stop this…The great exuberance of plants.

He showed a slide of a library planting mulched twice a year, maintained by Master Gardeners and lots of space between plants while weeds thrive.

Wild plants are social, not individual.  He spoke of plants, not mulch, covering the ground.  OH yes, thought I, thinking of jobs I had quit because clients did not want to the plants to touch.

Regarding native plants, he said that “imbedded in the argument for natives is the ideology of NO” (no peonies, no roses, etc).  So true!   …How to get natives beyond preaching to the choir.

“The best examples of north American native plants are in Europe.”

Relate plants to place, create a palette from similar habitats.

Book recommendations: Perennials and Their Garden Habitats by Hansen and Stahl and The Know Maintenance Perennial Garden by Roy Diblik

The SilberSomer (silver summer) perennial mix by Piet Oudolf

To relate plants to plants: vertically layer, compatible species, don’t have plantings missing the ground layer. [Yes! Why oh why do even beloved clients insist on seeing soil in between the plants!]  He and other speakers liked sweet woodruff as a ground cover.  I may have to stop being anti-sweet woodruff.

Wild plantings in orderly frames can make people more comfortable.

He spoke of satellite views of the world that show dark unlit spaces that people might think are still wild, but instead they are vast areas of fuel production land, and food production land, not wilderness.

Thomas Rainier’s blog

Thomas Rainier’s book: Planting in a Post-Wild World.  I intend to purchase it post-haste.

quote

Old Dog New Tricks by Maurice Horn

Maurice spoke of his experience moving to Sauvie Island home and garden that he shares with his husband, George.

my notes:

Joy Creek Nursery founded in ’92, overlooks Joy Creek Canyon

He used to live on a city lot on Portland, now on Sauvie island, “the size of Manhatten but mostly wildlife preserve.”

I’ve gone back and added to the post about touring their garden these insights that he shared with us:

The original garden design called for a belvedere.  (I had to google that.)

The windows go from knee height to over (most) human’s heights.

The house is all windows except for a central bathroom.

He realized that the garden is a mandala.  The garden has Buddhist iconography because George is a Buddhist. The bolsters of shrubs are earth, the yellow and red flowers are fire, Hebe ‘Quicksilver’ is water.

Clematis integrifolia and viorna resist the root nibbling the moles that eat other clematis roots.

The window views remind him of Japanese woodblock prints that were in his childhood home.

Maurice says he is a populist gardener who wants to create gardens anyone can do (I probably don’t have that quite right).

He describes his garden as “an old man’s garden who feels like a child in his heart.”

He read part of a poem called The Current by Wendell Berry

Having once put his hand into the ground,
seeding there what he hopes will outlast him,
a man has made a marriage with his place,
and if he leaves it his flesh will ache to go back.
His hand has given up its birdlife in the air.

He misted up when he said “I love my partner and my home” and then the whole audience misted up.

He and George met dancing.  He showed a photo of Garrya elliptica in bloom and said “I want to dance like that.”

He showed a slide of a burnt tray of roasted vegetables and told the story how he and George stepped outside, got lost in gardening and came back into the house to a cloud of black smoke.  “What I wish for all of us is that we can get lost in the garden like that.”

He played a song called “Let’s Think About Living, Let’s Think About Life.”

I get choked up just reading my notes about his lecture.  Lucy was all misty when she got up to introduce the next lecturer, Mike Kintgen, of whom she said that Panayoti Kelaidis called “the greatest horticulturalist I know.”

Garden Gems from the World Dry Regions by Mike Kintgen

My notes:

Kintgen works at the Denver Botanic Gardens and his specialty is the alpine garden.  When he spoke of the snowstorm in May and the hailstorm in June this year, I had already heard about this awful weather in The Miserable Gardener blog.  He said that the DBG sits on a former cemetery and that the temperature can go from 64 degrees F to 0 on one day.

He’s been a member of the North American Rock Garden Society since he was 12.  Plants in “cushions and buns”, he said, are a way of adapting to the cold.

Persian rugs were inspired by the plants of the steppes.

Plants he inspired me to seek out:  More erigerons and penstemons, arctosis, ursinia, erodium, zauchnerias, Euphorbia rigida, Sesili gummifera (moon carrot).  Each lecturerer who spoke of many plants provided a plant list to refer to later.

Sesili gummifera (Moon Carrot) as seen at McMenamin's Kennedy School garden in 2014.

Sesili gummifera (moon carrot) as seen at McMenamin’s Kennedy School garden in 2014.

We had a bit of time before garden touring to go to the plant sale again, where I bought a few more plants to schlep to the hotel.

other joyous attendees

other joyous attendees

Sam shopping (Allan's photo)

Sam shopping (Allan’s photo)

Allan thanked this nursery owner for his raffle plant donation (the one Allan got)

Allan thanked this nursery owner for his raffle plant donation (the one Allan got)

I bought three plants from his booth.

I bought three plants from his booth.

cameron

lav

We’d ordered the pre-packed lunch from the event, to save time; as we walked back to the hotel to join Todd for the afternoon of garden touring, I realized that we would have had time to eat at the darling food carts.

like a little village in the city

like a little village in the city

DSC04870

cart

I did not realize til now, looking at the photo below, that I had captured Todd having his lunch of a tasty shawarma.

todd

on the street across from the hotel

on the street across from the hotel

Next: touring Lucy Hardiman’s garden

Read Full Post »

My old friend Mary (since age 12!) met me at the train in Seattle and the next day we went to the garden open at Heronswood near Kingston. I almost wept when entering the long driveway….It was a pilgrimage onto sacred ground.  I had been mail ordering plants from Dan Hinkley since the nursery first offered them but had never been there.  By the time it had become a tour mecca, I had already moved to the beach.

trees along the Heronswood entry driveway

trees along the Heronswood entry driveway

under the trees

under the trees

A few years before I had heard a lecture by Anne Lovejoy, in Seaside, Oregon, not about gardening but about her trip to the Cloud Forest in Costa Rica (AND she had given me an Edgeworthia chrysantha which she lugged down for me on the train, bless her!). The idea of a cloud forest made me feel way better about my shady Ilwaco garden, and so did the woodsy sections of Heronswood.

Pulmonaria 'Cotton Cool'

Pulmonaria ‘Cotton Cool’

Heronswood

the Gunnera with tiny leaves!

the Gunnera with tiny leaves! magellanica, I think

To be at Heronswood was like a happy dream.  I was thrilled to see in person the famous Heronswood lawn with Hakonechloa macra aureola grass along the edge.

the lawn border that I had seen in many photos

the lawn border that I had seen in many photos

approaching the house garden

approaching the house garden

Mary and I also got to hear Dan Hinkley give a lecture, and she finally experienced first hand how very witty he is.  I was pleased to see that even though she was not at all a gardener obsessed, she laughed and laughed!

the famous (not so) clipped Hornbeam hedge

the famous (not so) clipped Hornbeam hedge

adorable ferns near the house

adorable ferns near the house

In the back of the vegetable garden, you can see the famous hand washing sink created by Little and Lewis.

the vegetable garden

the vegetable garden

Aeonium 'Schwarzkopf'

Aeonium ‘Schwarzkopf’

details

details

The Little and Lewis pillars in the boggy garden

 Little and Lewis pillars 

the top of more pillars

the top of more pillars

I think you would have to go out on the nearby pond in a boat to photograph this whole glorious structure.

detail at the base of the pillars

detail at the base of the pillars

Blue Himalayan Poppy

Blue Himalayan Poppy

poppy

poppy

After Heronswood, Mary and I had a delicious meal at Molly Ward Gardens restaurant.  The food was wonderful. I seem to recall a cold melon soup. The restaurant was housed in an old barn that had once housed a yard shop.

at Molly Ward gardens

at Molly Ward gardens

Peeking into the Molly Ward courtyard

Peeking into the Molly Ward courtyard

the courtyard

the courtyard

Phormium contained

Phormium contained

The Phormium in a small garbage can is an idea I have used several times since then.

in the Molly Ward garden

in the Molly Ward garden

courtyard seating

courtyard seating

And then….back to Bellevue and Seattle for more garden touring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Here’s a job I had done for a couple of years and from which I had amicably resigned in 2006 because the manager at the time (a new one) had called me while at the garden show and told me we must never work on Saturdays.  We had indeed been there on a Saturday before the show because every other day had been pouring rain and we wanted to make sure the gardens looked good for Valentines Day weekend visitors.  I knew for a fact that visitors actually like having the gardeners around so they can ask questions; in fact, for years I deliberately scheduled a weeding session at the Shelburne in on Saturdays because so many guests asked for plant names which the innkeepers did not know.  We are always careful that our buckets and wheelbarrow don’t get in the way.

My point here is to explain why Anchorage Cottage garden photos did not appear in 2008 flashbacks (and maybe not in 2007).  The garden itself held great interest to me when I first acquired the job because one of the original owners was Robert Jones’s sister….Robert Jones the architect and partner of famed plant collector Dan Hinkley.  The cottages go back many years, but the gardens had been enhanced, redesigned and planted by Hinkley and Jones and therefore had very cool shrubs and perennials.

In autumn of 2008, management changed into the care of the hilarious and charming Lola, formerly a server at the fine Depot Restaurant. She asked us if we would return to the job.  “Of course!” said I, from the perch on the top of one of the railroad sleeper beds at the Depot Restaurant which I was busy weeding at the time.  (See next journal entry for a glimpse of the Depot garden.) She expressed surprise at my ready acceptance but I had always loved the job; it was just the manager’s rules I couldn’t abide.  Despite our schedule being, as usual, overbooked, I was happy to reclaim the garden.

Anchorage Cottages is, in my opinion, one of the three top cottage places to stay on the Long Beach Peninsula, the other two being my favourite (and favourite gardening job) Klipsan Beach Cottages, and the secluded semi circle of cottages at Shakti Cove.  Anchorage allows dogs (KBC does not) and as well as loving the gardens there I also very much enjoy seeing the assorted canine friends of the guests.

Here are the Anchorage gardens in 2009:

Courtyard, 30 April

Sheltered from the parking area by a fence and tucked in between cottages at the north and south, the middle courtyard provides seating areas, a lovely garden bed, and an assortment of container plantings.  Above, on April 30th, ‘Black Hero’ and ‘Cool Crystal’ tulips.  Below, May 7th with green and fringed tulips:

middle courtyard 7 May

Below, the courtyard garden bed on  May 7th, 2009…and a further flashback to its full glory in summer of 2001.

Anchorage Courtyard, May 2009 (with too many bluebells) and July 2001 

On July 2nd one of the Allium albopilosum in a middle courtyard planter decided to put on a bit of a funny little show with one spiky bit sticking out of the ball.

unusual behavior of Allium albopilosum (backed with Paul’s Himalayan Musk rose)

There’s a second smaller courtyard to the north by the office door.

office courtyard, 5 July

The south side of the cottage layout offers another sit spot with a bench tucked into a circle of pavers (below left).   I’m not sure what happened with the original plantings along the north wall of cottage 9 (below right) but I had replanted it with hardy fuchsias (below center), a climbing hydrangea, astilbes and other shade loving perennials.

south end gardens, 23 July

south end gardens, 31 July

Above, more of the gardens at the south end of the cottages.  By the way, all these gardens are on the east side, sheltered from beach wind.  To the left, the flowers of Leycesteria formosa (Himalayan Honeysuckle), a shrub with green stems and edible black fruits that taste like burnt caramel.  Some feel it should be on the invasive plant list, but as long as Joy Creek still sells it, it’s okay with me.  In this garden it has never reseeded.  To the right, the sit spot with viburnums, flowering quince, hydrangeas.  2009 is probably the year I regrettably introduced a vigorous and thuggish rugosa rose to that bed….Oh, if I could go back in time I would undo that.

Escallonia iveyi, Hydrangea

Above left, the wonderful Escallonia iveyi with profuse white flowers must have been planted here by Dan Hinkley when he owned Heronswood Nursery, and I think that the hydrangea also came from him.

The events of summer 2009 distracted me from photographing the end of summer and autumn at most of our jobs, so I’ll cheat and throw in three Anchorage photos from August, 2010:

August 2010….lilies….and Allan weeding in the middle courtyard

Oh dear, in looking through the 2010 photos I found some that force me to cheat on the 2009 flashback and insert here:

entry to middle courtyard, July 2010, with New Dawn Rose

birdbath by office entrance, July 2010

north courtyard, July 2010

I wanted to find, but can’t, a photo to show the marvelous display of sweet peas we managed to grow on the twig trellis that Lola constructed against the brick chimney (center, above).  Did I just imagine taking that photo?  In that fruitless quest, I ran across two photos from August 2011….which I might as well add as I did not blog at all during that busy summer.

August 2011, Escallonia iveyi, and view toward the office

So….if you travel with your dogs, if you love staying in cottages near the ocean, and if being surrounded by beautiful gardens enhances your vacation experience, I highly recommend the Anchorage Cottages in Long Beach, Washington.

[2012 note:  At the end of 2011, Lola left as manager of the Anchorage to pursue other opportunities and made our lives more delicious with one of her ventures: Bitter Weather Butter Batter.]

Read Full Post »

Okay, I’ll admit it: I have issues about the way the Heronswood garden closed.  When we joined other gardeners for dinner at the end of the day, many cooler heads had thoughtful things to say, but before that, when we drove onto the grounds and saw cars parked where greenhouses used to be, I got teary-eyed and not from garden joy.  I had a little inside information (from a relative of one of the owners) back at the time of the sale that running the business side of the growing nursery was exhausting to them and had sapped their joie de vivre.   Some say that Burpee closing the nursery and moving the operation to Pennsylvania was fine because a lot of money was paid for it.  I believe that the owners would not have agreed to the sale if they had been able to forsee the garden’s closing; that they would have found another way; that no amount of money was worth what happened.  Now, that is just my opinion, based on all that I have read, and cooler heads may disagree and speak of both sides of the story.

So just let me share a few of the iconic scenes of Heronswood, the vignettes that will stay with me through the years.  I hope the garden ends up being preserved and enhanced by a group like the Garden Conservancy or the Pacific Northwest Horticultural Conservancy, on whose website you can see glorious photos of Heronswood.  [2012 note: this preservation effort failed, and I have no idea how well Burpee has done at maintaining the garden.] And now that Allan has seen it he can understand why all of the avid Northwest gardeners he has met since starting to work with me have been in mourning that H’wood is now longer a place where we can go, like mecca, to purchase amazing plants.  Allan already has seen the loss of the wonderful, funny and literate catalogs plantsman Dan Hinkley used to write before Burpee changed the catalog to be, well, glossy.

car park and dismantled greenhouses

This is where I got all choked up: a parking lot where  we used to buy plants, and some derelict greenhouses off to the side.  I remember the Heronswood open days, two of which I travelled for miles to see (and friend Sheila travelled even farther) and how Dan would always give his humourous lectures and slideshows. (My visits came after Burpee purchased H’wood, but when the arrangement seemed to provide the best of both worlds: Dan’s influence and wisdom and collecting, and the practical side run by Burpee).

into the woodland

Into the grounds we then went, while I muttered for awhile about the lost greenhouses…down the long driveway with side gardens of astonishing forest plants from around the world, all of which I want of course. A fallen tree had its base planted with bromeliads.

The iconic lawn……and the iconic hornbeam hedge with some amazing lemony-white tall lilies in front

Past the lawn edged with Hakanechloa macra ‘Aureola’…perhaps the most famous scene at Heronswood…Through the sunny borders…around the house…past the renowned arched hornbeam hedge, into the vegetable parterres enhanced with bright flowers….and the secret garden around the house.  By now we were again with Rainysiders; one said that she had never seen the private area around the house, which was usually roped off on open days.  I had been to an open day which had included the house gardens, and they had certainly had more amazing plants in pots way back then (even though it was after Hinkley had moved to his new house).  That and more little weeds here and there were signs of change.

More iconic views: The famous columnar tree underplanted with black mondo grass, echoed by a black pool of water at the other end of the path.

the vegetable garden….where even the sink is a work of art…

Back through the woods, to the famous Little and Lewis “ruins”, past frequent bottlenecks where folks would stop to photograph one amazing plant after another…

The bright dahlias (center) always speak to me of Sheila, lover of hot colours, with whom I have visited Heronswood before.

Twice we had circled through the gardens, storing up memories.  I look forward to the book that Dan Hinkley is writing about his years there.

Read Full Post »

The shuttle from Northgate to the show took a remarkable 9 minutes…such an improvement over weekdays when the showno longer is a shuttle.  We got there so soon that we were able to get into the Pamela Schwerdt and Sybille Kreutzberger seminar “On Making a Garden: Learning from a Lifetime Experience” AND get our tickets for the first Dan Hinkley seminar.

Pamela and Sybille’s lecture was wonderfully humourous.  After their retirement from being head gardeners at Sissinghurst Castle, they “arrived [at their new home] with more plants than furniture.”  Regarding making plans, Ms. Schwerdt spoke of how hard it was to draw up the garden: “We are not paper people.”  I love the way the British say rotovating instead of rototilling.  Because their new garden was on rocks, they built up the soil “a spadeful”.  When the workers came to attach a wire grid to the lovely stone wall, she said “We were flapping around because they were knocking the shoots off the plants.”  What a picture! Many times I have “flapped around” while someone does a job that requires stepping into one of my gardens!

About the two of them placing the new plants in the garden, Ms. Schwerdt said, “There was a certain amount of argy-bargy, but we managed without actually coming to blows.”  (Having been an anglophile since first reading a book set in Great Britain, I love statements like that.)

Because it turned out to be too expensive to lay in a water main for a pool, Ms. Kreutzberger says their fisherman sculpture “fishes in blue flowers instead.”  About their thickly planted garden, she added “We’re gluttons for work.  We make labour for ourselves.  Everything is staked because then we can get more in.”  They make cages of hazel twigs, just the eventual height of the plants, for staking.

After their seminar, it was out the door and into the line for Dan Hinkley’s talk on “The Quintessential Tree.”  He spoke  in his inimitably humourous style about many trees, among them Betula luminifera (“gold catkins like Garrya elliptica”) Clethra barbanerbis which I put a star next to in my notes as the slide was so beautiful, cut leaf alder for a wet site, Cornus kousa, Cornus mas,, Cornus contorversa, Embothrium which I want rather badly as he says it is dependably hardy here, and Sorbus forestii.

We had some time to further tour the show for an hour or so between his to lectures.  I found some sweet pea seeds to buy but the pickings were slim for seed stands this year.

Then back to the seminar room for Dan Hinkley speaking on “No Naked Ground.”  I was pleased when the emcee introduced him by saying that his website was “upyoursburpee.com”, to the great glee of the audience.  I am so glad the group exists to try to save Heronswood. Dan inspired much laughter when he began by saying something like “Now that I no longer sell plants, I’m telling you the truth.  The plants that I rave about are actually good plants, not ones that haven’t been selling at the nursery.” His version of groundcover is anything that covers the ground including shrubs, which made for a fascinating lecture and slide show.  I was interested to learn that Spiraea ‘Gold Flame’ will grow in a wet spot…so instead of typing this I should be moving mine to the spongy wet area next to my pond. Euonymus ‘Wolong Ghost’ caught my eye at Steamboat Island Nursery last summer and turns out to have been collected by Dan…but of course! I scrawled 6 pages of notes of plants to acquire but I miss being able to immediately order the new-to-me plants from the Heronswood catalog.  (I will never buy from Burp/wood after what they did.)

Thus ended the garden show for me…Allan went back to his folks’ house and I to Ballard to have dinner with friend Carol at the Santa Fe Cafe and then to watch our beloved show “The Amazing Race.”  Curses that the ubiquitous Rob and Amber came in first.

[2012 note: Ha but though Rob and Amber won the leg, they did not win the race!]

Read Full Post »