Monday, 21 April 2014
We returned to Stephen and John’s glorious garden, which I had last seen with Garden Tour Nancy in September, this time to see the rhododendrons in bloom. Allan and I were first to arrive at 4:30, soon joined by Garden Tour Nancy and Phil and a bit later by Pam and Kathy from Back Alley Gardens in Gearhart. Stephen and John are regular shoppers at that excellent little nursery.
As we waited for Pam and Kathy to arrive (who had the longest drive by far and were delivering a Japanese maple), we admired the assorted views from the living room. I am always a little hesitant to take lots of photos inside a home which is not officially on a home tour, but here are some hints (with permission):
the view, east over Willapa Bay
one of a large collection of garden books
Oh, and look, a book by local writer and daily blogger Sydney Stevens.
more gardening books
window view looking north
and east again
The garden will be one of seven or eight on the Peninsula Garden Tour, Music in the Gardens, on July 19th. The musician will probably be sitting on the patio shown above.
This is their favourite bird sculpture…
and this was my favourite.
And then…Pam and Kathy arrived and we soon walked out in the soft light to tour the garden. I took copious notes, first on my phone (with many comical results by autospell like a “blow dry” rather than loderi rhododendron) and then scribbled on notecards. I do hope I will be able to decipher them and get the right plant names on the many photos.
some of my notes! I gave up on autospell after ridiculous results
We began west of the parking area by the house.
Intense fragrance in the air came from a huge rhododendron to the north, the same one we had seen from the north window. I had no idea that rhododendrons ever had that intoxicating a scent. Stephen and John’s garden and the property just to the north of it were originally part of Clarke Nursery, and the rhododendron collection goes back many years. It is a beautiful thing that two knowledgeable rhodo fanciers bought this property.
Rhododendron loderi ‘Venus’
The swoonworthy sweet fragrance made it hard to move on!
me, John, and Pam
a very prostrate yew from The Planter Box
a Heuchera in bloom, probably ‘Snow Angel’?
bright new leaves on Pieris
looking back toward the house and a striking Acer
and back to Venus!
We then all went round the north side of the house to the bay. Next door is the former Clarke Nursery home, and its garden will also be on the garden tour.
looking forth from Stephen and John’s lawn
As we strolled, flocks of birds swooped just above the water of the bay.
Kathy, John, Pam, Phil, Nancy, Allan, John
Everyone focused their attention on Rhododenron ‘Shamrock’…blooms on St Patrick’s Day (my birthday!)
our native evergreen huckleberry
the east patio
John and Stephen have accentuated this lovely native dell.
moss and evergreen huckleberry
Last time we visited, they wondered how to make a good walkway around the south corner of the house. Over the winter, local landscaper Steve Clarke, whose family once owned this property, built this perfect solution. I wish I had that sort of hardscaping skill.
the elegant new walkway, easy for wheelbarrows….and discussion of what to plant in that corner. Pam suggested a variegated Eucryphia.
The Eucryphia in question, I think from Back Alley. Autospell could not handle that plant name.
mossy dell from the new walkway
west side of the house, south of the parking area, with a golden Lonicera
looking west down the driveway
the west courtyard between the two wings of the house
Allan’s photo, variegated Japanese maple leaves
Pam did not have her camera and particularly asked for photos of certain plants which caught her eye. This little conifer, whose name I did not write down, was one.
One of the old rhododendrons
hosta backed with mahonia
a massive redwood trunk
sword fern and redwood
Vaccinium nummularium (a wee evergreen huckleberry)
down a gentle slope…red huckleberries
Next to three railroad tie steps going down, a Polemonium had popped up on all its own. I am sure it is ‘Stairway to Heaven’, which is perfect as from below those simple risers lead toward the house.
Polemonium (Jacob’s Ladder) ‘Stairway to Heaven’
a glade, with a kiwi vine
Pam had to pet it.
You can see why.
Pam commented that a kiwi with nothing to climb on will tend to stay smaller and not clamber all over.
Maianthemum (false lily of the valley)
When asked what we do about the rampant native groundcover, I had no solution but to live with it. It does go dormant later in the year after going through a rather annoying yellowing off stage.
another choice rhodo…’Silver Skies’ perhaps?
Allan pointed out how meticulously the old fronds of the sword ferns were clipped. No old stubs at all.
another rhodo…and I am floundering in my notes! Sir Charles Lemon, perhaps? S&J know all the names!
Fatsia x hedera, Allan’s photo
When the driveway was put in after Stephen and John bought the house, the builders wanted to remove the Thuja. No indeed, the driveway curves around it.
a thuja saved
To our south, while clearing the woods of salal (I applaud that!!) and alders, Stephen and John revealed a tall grove of species rhododendrons so old that even Steve Clarke could not identify them.
We amble down the drive.
Stephen and John cleared all these woods with pick and saw.
Pam pointed out that the flower of Rhododendron ‘Mango Tango’ matches the new growth on the huckleberry.
Next, in one of the open bays in the woods along the side of the drive, a bright hydrangea caught my eye.
behind it, a blue corydalis
a hydrangea from a Dan Hinkley collection
large serrated hydrangea leaves
When they joined the Rhododendron Society of Portland, Stephen and John were given a rhododendron as a gift, and they chose this one:
Rhododendon ‘Starbright Champagne’
I recognized Disporum ‘Night Heron’..doing better than mine.
I walked way back to look at this bright epimidium.
Next to it, an epimidium in flower..looking best when you turn up the blooms to look underneath
I found a dark stream that marks the southern edge of the property…
flowing to the bay from the center of the Peninsula.
Pam was interested to see the Lindera (spicebush) which had just leafed out.
As we came to the Thuja by the driveway, I thought that its bright skirt of foliage was a shrub planted underneath.
We all examined and remarked how the lower branches had layered and rooted into the ground.
To our south, another bay in the woods held a Cryptomeria grove. I kept asking what conifer each little tree was and only a bit later did I realize how little I had grasped that it was indeed a Cryptomeria grove and that they were all Cryptomerias!
Cryptomeria spiraliter falcata
Cryptomeria japonica ‘Auricariodes’
From the Xera catalog: Cryptomeria japonica ‘Auricariodes’ Zn6a (-10º to -5ºF) Cupressaceae
“Fantastic, exotic looking conifer with rope-like branches that are sparse and twisty when young but become denser with age. To 10′ tall and forming a conical shape over time. Grows slowly in youth, picks up steam after several years. Full sun to light shade in WELL DRAINED soil, with regular summer water. Excellent specimen tree, well behaved. Always looks cool. Coldy hardy. Old selection of Japanese Cedar. Monkey Puzzle in miniature. “
I’m pretty good at going through a garden and identifying shrubs and perennials but am sadly lacking in knowledge of conifers. A garden like this makes me want to change that.
Cryptomeria elegans…or is it…’Dense Jade’?
a variegated sambucus
I’ve never met a sambucus I did not love.
On the other side of the driveway lies the big, still pond, which used to provide irrigation for Clarke Nursery.
We enjoyed every angle.
the view toward the neighbour’s house
Those who like still water won’t find that there are too many pond photos.
Stephen and John are making a new garden bed on the north side of the pond.
I think that is where I saw this little rhodo.
and definitely this tree.
Pam and I were quite taken with it.
We walked among larger trees on the way back to the house.
Eastern white pine
graceful trunks; I think this was the very old, very large cotoneaster
And then…into the house where we were given martinis…
shaken by Stephen (and note how the kitchen cabineta have wavelike handles)
and some amazingly delicious hors d’oeuvres.
After a martini, I was incapable to remember to photograph the caramelized onion and cheese on toast most delicious snacks I’ve had…or the friends having conversations about plants and books and architecture. I do remember that earlier in the garden tour, Nancy said that a certain book, one that was fun and easy to read, was like “butter” and I loved that.
Thanks, Stephen and John, for including us in the soirée, and I hope you’ll let me know if I have any plant names wrong. I believe your garden is going to be the best on the tour this year.
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