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Posts Tagged ‘found garden art’

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

A new-this-year gardening friend had invited me to tour a garden with her today, one I very much wanted to see.  Because we would have time to visit at least one other garden first, I suggested we go to the home of an artist couple who had invited me and Allan to see their autumn garden.  In the early afternoon, Beverly and I set off garden touring, while Allan decided to get a hedge trimming job done.

The Toepfer Garden

….is one of my top three favourite local gardens. It is the haven of two artistic plant collectors and up-cyclers.  You can read about Kent and Betsy’s art on the Northwest Artist’s Guild site, here.

The big wheels on the fence are something to do with (I think) cable tv.  At least, I think these are the circles that once were a big structure in the garden itself, as you can see in this post from my first visit there.

Coincidentally, the next day Allan saw the big circles in use an electrical utility truck.

Although the garden creators had to be gone today during our tour time, we had permission to wander.  We were greeted by a purple donkey.

To the east side of the entry drive is a dry garden whose red theme is now enhanced by bright autumn foliage.

We noticed a theme of cotinus (smokebush) throughout the garden, beginning with the blazing red one above.

Turning to the west, we walked along a shaded path.

(I think) Cotinus ‘Golden Spirit’

I remember this horse from previous tours and had been looking for it.

The glorious main is all wire.

We turned to the garden around the house.  Beverly pointed out that the repurposed pot covering, left below, is the whirly vent thing that goes up on a roof.

Left, below, another smoke bush of a more subtle hue and I think a rhododendron with dark foliage.

mirror ball

I would like to trade with them a start of my very silver pulmonaria for a start of theirs with long and narrow leaves:

another fancy rhododendron

Coming around to the north side of the house:

I was filled with envy when I saw their Pseudopanax ferox; I have tried and failed three times to grow it, and it is not readily available to replace after a failure.

It is perfect for  a garden with lots of repurposed metal accents.

I lingered covetously…

…but finally moved on to a hydrangea with exceptional fall colour.

I think I spy another smokebush.

The outdoor fireplace would be sheltered from winter wind.

.

by the back deck
on the deck

I bet that Betsy’s art, or maybe mirrors, get hung here during summer days.

I hope Beverly and I can return next spring to see the garden in a different season.

We still had an hour before our arrival time at our garden destination.  Beverly suggested the long way round and I suggested that we could go to one of the furthest north gardens in Surfside and at least look at it from the road.

Somsri’s garden

We arrived at our second artist’s garden, and Somsri, being home, welcomed us in.  You can see full tours of her garden here (2015) and here (2019, summer).  Today, I was focused in on the art pieces she has created.  Beverly is artistic and crafty herself and had good questions about how the art was made.

Somsri’s two greeters were ever so sweet and welcoming.

Somsri’s magnificent septic vault garden is always the high point for me.

I am particularly smitten with the bowling balls decorated with marbles.  Another way Somsri gets the orb shape is to cover a light globe with cement and then break the bulb…or something like that!  (Not quite sure why you’d have to break it; I think Beverly understood the crafty parts better than I did.)

We both loved the orbs covered with glass shapes other than marbles.

Another local artists had made the plate and bowl flowers, screwing them together, which would work much better than gluing.  I have noticed that glued ones soon fall apart.

Somsri even makes her own stepping stones.

And these realistic squashes were made, in a method that mystifies me, out of paper and (I think) crumpled nylon…

We had to tear ourselves away because we were now running a quarter of an hour late for our arrival at our original artist’s garden destination.

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Saturday, 18 July 2015

Music in the Gardens Tour, Long Beach Peninsula

a benefit for the Water Music Festival and music programs in local schools

ticket tour map

ticket tour map

Garden 5: Somsri’s Garden

A fire-circle patio welcomes you to this plant collector’s two-year-old garden, whose owner has shopped globally for unique plants from Hong Kong, Japan, and her native Thailand as well as nurseries in the Pacific Northwest.  Her beautiful raised-bed septic drain field includes driftwood creatures and garden art partially hidden among the flowers.   More magical pairings of plants and art await your discovery throughout this garden.  

Sit yourself down and make yourself comfy as I have a lot to share about this garden, which I visited twice before the tour as well as on tour day.

Nancy and I went out pre-touring on June 1st.  When we got to north Surfside we took a wrong turn and ended up half a block west of Somsri’s garden.  On that block, I said we must stop and look at the raised septic field garden.

down the block from Somsri

down the block from Somsri

a driftwood serpent

a driftwood serpent

with a marble eye

with a marble eye

When Nancy and I went in the right direction, and saw Somsri’s garden, I realized that she must have created the neighbouring one, too.  Yes, she said, she helped her neighbour by planting that garden and making the artistic touches.  I am always smitten with someone taking her personal gardening outside of her own space to beautify the world.

As usual, I will intermingle pre-tour with tour day photos of Somsri’s garden.

Somsri's garden: Photo by Bob Duke

Somsri’s garden: Photo by Bob Duke

photo by Bob Duke

photo by Bob Duke

On tour day, we arrived at the same time as our friends Ed Strange and Basket Case Greenhouse’s Fred Aust.

Basket Case Nancy was gone visiting her mother, so Fred and Ed toured together.

Basket Case Nancy was gone visiting her mother, so Fred and Ed toured together. (Allan’s photo)

My nephew Jackson

My nephew Jackson

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo: Jackson was having a break from riding in the truck.

Pretty soon Debbie Teashon also turned up!  She was touring at a slower pace than ours because of taking photos and videos and listening to some of the music.  In fact, she saw only six of the gardens.  That’s a good reason to have no more than seven gardens next year, in my opinion.

me, Debbie, Ed and Fred

me, Debbie, Ed and Fred

west side of the garden

west side of the garden

south side

south side

main entrance via the driveway

main entrance via the driveway

east side of driveway

east side of driveway

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

dragon2

Allan’s photo

June 1st

June 1st

June 1st: the moment I fell in love with this garden.

June 1st: the moment I fell in love with this garden.

tour day

tour day

Somsri’s repurposed found objects and her driftwood scupltures are throughout the garden all the way out to the street.

driftwood and shell planter

driftwood and shell planter, June 1st

acanthus

patio

patio2

patio

patio3

patio4

Across the patio, the music tent.

walkway to front door, photo by Kathleen Shaw

walkway to front door, photo by Kathleen Shaw

photo by Kathleen Shaw

entry garden, west garage wall, photo by Kathleen Shaw

Debbie taking photos.

Debbie taking photos.

front porch

front porch

pre-tour visit, June 1st

pre-tour visit, June 1st

west window garden, photo by Kathleen Shaw

west window garden, photo by Kathleen Shaw

pre-tour visit, June 1st

pre-tour visit, June 1st

balls

pre-tour visit, July 3rd

pre-tour visit, July 3rd

dierama, July 3rd

dierama, July 3rd

and on tour day

and on tour day

planters

Brian O’ Connor was the tour day musician.

brian

This man has an excellent voice.

This man has an excellent voice.

photo by Kathleen Shaw

photo by Kathleen Shaw

daisy

Somsri (whose nickname is Sam), right, walks with a tour guest.

Somsri (whose nickname is Sam), right, walks with a tour guest.

On the west side of the garden, the raised drain field, required in modern septic systems at the beach, has been transformed into an eye level garden.  In my opinion, this area is the star, planted up with cool plants chosen by a true CPN (Certified Plant Nut) who is always on the lookout for something new and interesting.

south end of the drain field garden

south end of the drain field garden

pre-tour visit, June 1st

pre-tour visit, June 1st

June 1st

June 1st

photo by Kathleen Shaw

photo by Kathleen Shaw

eye level garden

eye level garden

ird

Allan’s photo

June 1st

June 1st

Sam and a tour guest

Sam and a tour guest

pre-tour visit, July 3rd

pre-tour visit, July 3rd

July 3rd

July 3rd

raised2

June 1st

June 1st

July 3rd

July 3rd

June 1st

June 1st

June 1st

June 1st

hens2

June 1st

June 1st

north end of raised garden. June 1st

north end of raised garden. June 1st

June 1st

June 1st

plants

plants

I could walk around and around this raised bed garden for hours.  It’s great seeing the plants at this level.

pulsatilla

pulsatilla

Nothing much gets past Somsri's desire to turn objects into art.

Nothing much gets past Somsri’s desire to turn objects into art.

cup

cup2

Allan’s photo

farm

hens

bird

nest

Allan’s photo

dahlias

Allan’s photo

drift

white centaurea, June 1st

white centaurea, June 1st

A driftwood fence backs up the garden on the north side of the house.

north side of house

north side of house

a tour guest explores

a tour guest explores

photo by Kathleen Shaw

photo by Kathleen Shaw

Among the beach pines on the south and west sides of the lot, Somsri places her driftwood, fishing float, and shell planters and decorations.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

shell

out

mobiles

The garden extends out to the street.

The garden extends out to the street.

Gunnera, June 1st

Gunnera, June 1st

guests

photo by Kathleen Shaw

photo by Kathleen Shaw

photo by Kathleen Shaw

photo by Kathleen Shaw

out3

out4

out6

Allan’s photo

June 1st

June 1st

out5

Allan’s photo

out7

Allan’s photo

out9

out10

Allan’s photo; Someone else had told Allan to look for the painted driftwood pieces.

out11

June 1st

June 1st

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

I am sure that if you were to walk by Somsri’s garden and saw her outside, that she would invite you to tour the garden and share her love and enthusiasm for each plant and each creation.

Somsri talks to us about a plant she brought back, years ago, from Thailand.

Somsri talks to us about a plant she brought back, years ago, from Thailand.

siam4

Allan’s photo

It spends the winter indoors.

It spends the winter indoors.

She calls it Siam Lucky Plant.

She calls it Siam Lucky Plant.

siam3

Allan's photo: Somsri's spouse quietly watching the tour guests.

Allan’s photo: Somsri’s spouse quietly watching the tour guests.

I told him that I loved the garden because walking through it was the best kind of experience of being in the gardener’s mind.  He said Sam has a very busy mind, and he just helps her realize her ideas.  What a nice man.  I also told both of them that Somsri’s edges out all the other gardens as my favourite, because she is an artist and a plant collector and her garden has the quirkiness that I adore.  Another reason it was my favourite is because she does it all herself, and that always pleases me.  It’s not made to impress or dazzle anyone but Sam and her spouse, yet provides delight for anyone who walks through.  It had plants I had never seen before (ones she’d brought from Thailand and Japan years ago when it was easier to bring plants through customs).  I’d like to see the garden in all seasons.

interlude

Before we left for the next garden, I took a walk a block down the street and saw Sam’s influence on other gardens.  The way her passion for gardening has spilled out into the neighbourhood is another reason her garden was this year’s favourite of mine.

a couple of houses to the west

a couple of houses to the west

I like the wooden deck.

I like the wooden deck.

wooden deck next to raised drain field.

wooden deck next to raised drain field.

a half block to the west, the garden Sam helps out with.

a half block to the west, the garden Sam helps out with.

It has that Somsri touch.

It has that Somsri touch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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