Posts Tagged ‘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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Sunday, 21 July 2019

Markham Farm

morning sun, tea and a pastry at the cottage

We were honored to be able to stay at the cottage, which is really not used as a guest cottage.  It is more of a library.  The real guest rooms are up some stairs in the old farmhouse, and Terri and Bill were so kind to offer us a one story dwelling out of sympathy for my physical problems.

We packed our belongings and drove down to the barn so that we’d be ready to go garden touring later.

by the driveway
Ilsa awaiting company

Teresa of The Planter Box had already arrived from an overnight at Ocean Shores, and Kilyn and Peter soon arrived from their campground at Ocean City.

Peter and Ilsa

We walked all around the garden.

The European bladdernut tree (Staphylea pinnata)
Ilsa, Kylin and me
Teucrium ‘Purple Tails’ and a rose
a bright little bird
Woody, the old blind horse, is over 30 years old.
one of many hydrangeas
garden art
Terri, Teresa, and Kilyn
more hydrangeas
smokin’ smoke bush
another idea I want to copy (if I can find a big enough pot)

We found a frog by Waldo Pond, named because one looks for frogs in the pond like “Where’s Waldo”, and of course, a pun on Walden Pond.  As usual, it took me a long time before the pun dawned on me.

Allan’s photo
More frogs were in the pond. (Allan’s photo)
The beautiful water globe was a Costco find.
the blueberry field (for the birds)

We went down the trail to the beach.

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo, Teresa and Ilsa

Back to the garden…


We went down the east slope to see the river of Geranium ‘Rozanne’.

at the bottom of the hill

a side path on the way up
looking down

After our Markham morning, we caravaned in three vehicles to visit Cindy’s garden, just a few minutes away.

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Saturday, 20 July 2019

Gardens, Sea and Art tour

presented by the WSU Master Gardeners of Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties

Ocean Shores

garden one: On the Beach


Allan’s photo, front garden

I felt immediately that this garden was unique and distinctly the creation of its owners.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

path leading along the side of the house

We overheard that the home used to be waterfront, but with beach accretion (probably caused by the north jetty in Ilwaco, which has also caused accretion along the Long Beach Peninsula and erosion at Washaway Beach), it is now a half mile from the water. (Do have a look at the Washaway Beach This Week blog.) It is rare to see a garden planted this close to the dunes.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Never have I seen so many blue bottles in the garden.  The reflections and sparkle are supposed to deter the deer. Allan overheard that many were collected from the recycling center.

Allan’s photo

row of once waterfront homes

On the back porch:

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

beautiful and fragile old stepping stones in the side garden

I would like to know if the multi-hued round rocks are natural to the garden or were they imported? They were comfortable to walk on.

Returning to the front garden…

Looking at our photos, I am now strongly reminded of Derek Jarman’s garden.

Instead of the rusty bits and pieces in Jarman’s famous garden, we have blue bottles and watermelons, and who is to say which is better?    If I lived closer, I would gift them with a flat of santolina starts, silver and green, which would do well in their tough garden conditions, and a recommendation to have a look at this book.  I think they would be as pleased with the comparison as I am.



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Sunday, 24 June 2018

Hardy Plant Society Study Weekend

presented by the Northwest Perennial Alliance

Sandy and Sterling’s Garden, Seattle

That is Lake Washington in the distance.

See where that woman is casually standing? That spot was open to a drop-off and, to me with cane and brace, the gravel slope was slippery and unstable.  I would have put a railing along the house…for someone like me.  Afraid of slipping in a way that would make it hard to work next week, I retreated to the shade of the very front of the porch.  This little front courtyard (not accessible to tour-goers) had a shallow reflecting pool that was attracting much attention from others who had stepped onto the porch out of the hot sun.

The docent demonstrated how the panels, created by the owners’ son (as I remember) could be adjusted for different light.

Ten steps through the open door of the house was the deck with a view.  I have some thoughts about semi-disabled garden touring at this point, one being that two days of garden touring had been physically harder than two weeks of working.  More on this in my concluding post about this tour weekend.

The next garden was said to be two blocks away so I decided to walk there while Allan and Alison toured the back garden and deck.

Here is Allan’s walk through this garden:

This was no problem for normal people. (My words, not Allan’s)

back garden

Below were our seminar speakers from Ireland, June and Jimi Blake.

Jimi and the cool water.

and June.

returning to the front garden

a tour guest with a smart shade umbrella: onward!



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Saturday, 23 June 2018

Hardy Plant Society Study Weekend

presented by the Northwest Perennial Alliance

Mallet Garden, Shoreline

Puget Sound in the distance

Allan’s photo

near the front porch

Puget Sound is also known as the Salish Sea.

This view and feeling was familiar to me as my uncle had a home in Shoreline with a similar view.

Allan’s telephoto

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

history, on the deck

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

A moon gate would be a wonderful garden feature to have.

weeping tree underpruned for the view


Realizing that this garden had been in the Innis Arden neighbourhood moved me.  As a child, my parents and grandmother and I often visited friends Dena and Emil there.  As a young woman, Dena had been a housekeeper for my wealthy uncle (my mother’s brother) and had become part of the family.  She and Emil had a lovely modern house, on a humbler Innis Arden lot with no view.  I remember driving in past the Innis Arden sign, which we saw today, and I remember a beautiful garden on two levels, with lots of well kept shrubs, and a little slope that I could slide down on a piece of cardboard until Dena would get worried about damage to the lawn.  Dena’s garden lives in my memory as being similar to some of the tasteful, shrubbery type gardens we have seen on this year’s tour.  I think she would have enjoyed the study weekend.  She must have been an avid gardener; she died when I was fairly young and my memories of that garden ended there.

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Tuesday, 15 August 2017

The garden that we visited today is so excellent that I need a long evening or day off to blog about it.  Meanwhile, I can much more easily share the trip there and back.

A bouquet of flowers in our van, ready for the almost two hour drive to the garden.


Part one of the drive: 101 to 401 to 4 to 101

As we drove along the Columbia River (on our route through Naselle that avoids the dreaded—by me—Willapa Curves), we saw that the river was carpeted with little fishing boats.  It is the height of little boat “Buoy 10” fishing season.  We pulled into the Dismal Nitch viewpoint to have a better look.

The long flat stretch of the Astoria bridge is the background here.

Tongue Point

Allan’s photo

When we arrived in South Bend, we took a coffee break at Elixir Coffee.  I had been wanting to experience their ambience.  Many years ago, Robert and I used to have a burger or fish and chips at a restaurant in the same location whenever we drove down from Seattle.

Elixir Coffee

This oyster is near Elixir.

right on the water

flower stall inside the coffee shop

For a moment, I thought the middle book on the table, below, was a journal for patrons to write it and I thought, “Uh oh, I might be here for more than the 15 minutes we had allotted.”  Fortunately for our plans, it turned out to not be a journal.

We had our coffee and tasty scones out on the deck.

view to the north

and to the southwest

I wish there had been a heron in view.

I’m sending the gardener we were going to visit a photo of the café.

We did keep our coffee break to about fifteen minutes and then embarked upon the second hour of our drive, which took us up to Aberdeen and then over toward Westport.

We turned on a road that would dead end into our destination.  On the way, I admired this cool bay window on a double wide:

I want a window like this very badly now.

Just past that house, looking ahead down the road, I saw my first glimpse of our destination garden and exclaimed “Oh, my gosh! LOOK!”

I knew right away, from my first sight of the garden bed at the end of the road, that we were in for something special.

The garden will be tomorrow’s post.  It is huge, stuffed full of cool plants, and has a beach as well, so prepare yourself for a long-winded tour.

However, in the interest of having this blog not fall more than two weeks behind Real Time, I must combine the trip there with the trip home and save the garden tour for tomorrow.


We had gone up 101 to Aberdeen; we returned on 105 via Westport and Tokeland.

Westport Winery


Allan’s photo

After our day in her garden, on the recommendation of our garden host, we toured the gardens at Westport Winery and checked out their nursery.  It proved to be excellent.

The nursery is on the left side of the building.

plants for sale


Allan’s photo

iris sculptures (Allan’s photo)

Near the nursery is outdoor seating for the restaurant.

giant scrabble game

Allan’s photo

one of my four plant acquisitions

After purchasing four treasures, we walked around the large display garden.  I was having foot pain by then and could not even make it all the way to the back of the garden—it’s huge and is divided into themes, each area with excellent signs.  Allan was out there, too, and we did not even see each other in the vast garden area.

Fragrance Garden

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

the driftwood arch entrance to an “underwater” garden that I found most inspirational.

The early evening light made it feel like being underwater.

Allan’s photo

I walked along a series of gardens behind the main building.

behind the outdoor dining area

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

looks like a green roof in the making? (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

a wall of bottles behind a bench (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

patterns of thyme

lavender labyrinth

a showy kniphofia

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

I am sure we missed a lot of garden here because of time and disability.  I hope to return…If not before, next July when the Master Gardener tour will be in this area.


We took a slight detour from our route home to see the boats in the Westport Harbor.

Allan’s photo

a substantial safety fence

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Planters along the harbor were a new addition since the last time we drove through here.

an enticing row of cottages

If we had gone on the road past the cottages, we would have found this memorial garden.  I wish we had…but then we would have not gotten out of the woods before dark.


Allan google-earthed it.

pelicans (Allan’s photo)

jetty (Allan’s photo) Me: “Don’t break a leg up there!”

We passed this mural and I wondered if this Andersen was any relation to our friend Lorna’s dad.


After a drive down the coast, most of which was along a quiet highway with few views of the water, we made one more detour to look at the famous Tokeland Hotel.

It is said to be haunted.

I had hoped to be home before dark.  Because the detours took longer than expected, it was dusk by the time we passed through South Bend and reached the long road along Willapa Bay.

marshes at low tide

We got out of the woodland roads and to the Columbia River by dusk and home by dark.  I look forward to writing tomorrow’s post about the garden visit that was the focal point of our journey.

A text from our friend Tony asked me if we had found the cake.  Cake?  We had come in the garage door.  I checked the front porch and indeed there was a delicious pineapple cake left there for us.  You might recall that Bailey and Rudy are our pomeranian friends.





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Saturday, 15 July 2017

On our way home from the Visions of Paradise tour, we drove by a garden where I knew a great gardener lived, someone I used to know but had not seen since 2003.  I blogged about a previous garden of hers here.

Kate’s garden


driving slowly past the front garden


We drove past the corner, where I learned later that Kate is trying to kill off horrible horsetail..


a scene of battle against horsetail

…and I could not see down into the secret garden below except for glimpsing one foxtail lily glowing in sunlight.  Trying to spy more successfully, we turned the corner but could not see in because of an effective privacy barrier of a steep slope of blackberries.  Up the road, we turned around at the courthouse and came back to head on home…and there was Kate just pulling into her driveway.  She had also been on the garden tour and had thought she glimpsed me in one of the gardens.

She warmly invited us in and began our tour by showing us her latest visions of art, intricate assemblages around masks cast from faces of herself and her friends.



Most of the pieces were accompanied by poem fragments, which Kate read to us.  One was by Mary Oliver.  I confess I had not heard of her but I intend to read her work.

After being enveloped in the magical world of Kate’s home, she took us out the back door to see her garden.


on the back porch, with garden books


This is so Kate.



Allan’s photo


Allan’s photo

The garden lay below the porch in a hidden space that felt like a bowl of light.  It gives the impression of an entirely sunken garden because of the house on one side and two steep banks.


a fountain was burbling in the shade against the wall.



Here my camera battery died and I switched to my iPhone.


ornamental and edible


a little fountain


Kate was amazed I had managed to glimpse that one foxtail lily from above.



rebar and hoops from an old whiskey barrel


an outhouse (with a bucket)



an enviable ‘Forest Pansy’ redbud


It loves this sheltered spot.


Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’


Forest Pansy redbud (Allan’s photo)



huge buddleia flower


Allan’s photo


in a little leanto greenhouse



double rain barrel (Allan’s photo)


the house from below


leaf tapestry









shed in a corner of the garden (with lean to greenhouse on one side)



Allan’s photo



back up on the porch:






lifting the veil



another veil lifted


more of Kate’s art in the kitchen


one of Kate’s “rug” paintings



When I knew her years ago, she used to paint scenes like the one above on furniture.


from the front porch (Allan’s photo)

She walked us outside and we looked at the corner where her horsetail battle is waged.



I told Kate that she is an artistic genius. Then Allan and I had to depart because we were due back at home to meet friends.

A Naselle garden

On the way, we of course drove the Naselle and river route rather than the OUTSIDE lane of the Willapa Curves.  Besides, I wanted to check out a garden that we had seen when attending an Indivisible meeting in Naselle last winter.  We have only seen this garden by skirting around the outside, from the street and from the Naselle Timberland Library parking lot.


In the winter, this swalewas full of rain water.


view from the library parking lot



This was IN the library parking lot.


from the street

Running fairly late by now, I texted our friends that we would soon be joining them.  They were already in our garden waiting.

Apres-tour in our garden

Debbie (Rainyside Gardeners) and Jeanne had gone on the Peninsula garden tour that day.  (Perhaps three years ago, I had introduced Debbie to our local tour and since then she has been invited back to write about it.)  We arrived home and immediately set about making a campfire so that we could all relax and talk about garden touring.  I set Skooter free from the convalescent room so he could join us. He ran joyously from one end of the back garden to the other after his week indoors. 


Allan, Debbie, Jeanne, and Devery from next door

Debbie, author of Gardening for the Homebrewer, had found some perry (a pear cider made from a certain type of pear) at Sid’s market in Seaview.  It was delicious and I intend to acquire more.


campfire food

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