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Posts Tagged ‘Seattle’

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Hardy Plant Society Study Weekend

presented by the Northwest Perennial Alliance

Jorgenson Garden

We now come to my favourite private garden of all those we toured on the  2018 Hardy Plant tour days.

Ah…just the sort of garden I like best.

treasures in the parking strip

rose and more next to the driveway

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

front steps

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

It was hard to get photos in the extremely bright afternoon sun, but trust me, the front slope was full of just the sort of plants I like.

Allan’s photo

happy me just stood here for awhile

If only I had one (or more) of each.

People were doting on the very aromatic Salvia clevelandii, smells so good

I finally left the sidewalk and went up the stairs to the front porch area…

And decided to go around the other way rather than go down these steps (which were not difficult, but still…)

I empathize with the man with a cane going down very carefully. (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

I had had some rude responses in other gardens when I politely bucked the flow to go the way that was easiest for me.  More on this in the post with which I will conclude this tour sequence!  Here, there were no problems as I entered the back garden by the “wrong way”.

hardy schefflera in the back garden

a small garden packed with fascination for me

packed with tour guests also

Allan’s photo

I was in a tizzy over this, a gomphrena, yes?, little bitty and I want it!!

Rambling Rosa banksiae way up a tree caused a sensation with tour guests.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Lady Banks rose is thornless. (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photos; I totally missed this part.

soothing shady sit spot

Coming around the side of the house…I had been well aware all day that it was Pride Day in Seattle.  It would have been great to be able to be in two places at once and go to the big parade, which I had attended so many times in its early days.  It was good to see the flag in this garden.

with lilies in bud

looking back at the lawn

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

through the gate to the front garden

Allan’s photo

O how I wish I could grow eremerus at home…they seem to need more heat than I can provide…..or something.

Lobelia tupa

I have occasionally had success with this plant but never managed to get it through the winter.

a new batch of tour guests in for a treat

I like what I like and that garden is just what I like.  And I like to see small gardens; I tire quickly of grand estates.

See more at the Facebook page of Jorgensen’s garden design company.

 

 

 

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Friday, 12 January 2018 

From my chair, written on my iPad, and inspired by Ian Whitcomb (see my previous post) to blather on a bit more than usual. 

I made it out to water in my greenhouse, the furthest I have gotten into the garden since picking bouquets for Allan’s party on January 2nd.  

The rain gauges showed the rainfall that has made staying indoors for the past week not too frustrating. 

Skooter accompanied me. 

Bulb foliage is emerging in the new window boxes. 

I hope I will be well enough to cut back the epimediums soon. Positive thinking: I will be. 

The fern that Todd gave Allan for his birthday:

I think back to that glorious January 2nd birthday and how wonderful it was to surprise Allan with a bigger party than he had expected. I remember how healthy and energetic I felt (little knowing I would be felled by shingles less than two days later) and how well chuffed I was to have managed, with the help of friends, to organize such a splendid shindig.

 I thought about how once a friend had sternly told me that no one should have a potluck party; it simply was not the thing to do, and no party should be held unless one could pull off a dinner worthy of Martha Stewart. She was not joking. I secretly thought, “Okay then, you won’t be invited to my 60th birthday.”  That conversation was the moment when I knew the friendship was doomed by a class difference too wide to cross. She was too rich for my blood. Something about the conversation disheartened me enough that I  later solved the 60th year party problem by decamping to the Sylvia Beach Hotel five days. 

Not only did I need to surprise Allan with potluck items for his big 65th (or he would have realized how big the party was going to be), but… working class people have potlucks and that is just the way it is. 

After Allan’s party, I kept thinking of people I wish I could have invited. My criteria was to invite people who have invited  us into their homes. I figured that then the invitation would be a pleasure and not a burden.  But I am sure I forgot some. I also forgot to give a shout out to J9’s party helper business, Have Tux, Will Travel.  As a guest, she slipped into party help mode, including washing up, and made everything easier. I also forgot to make a little fuss of celebration at the party that it was the 12th anniversary to the day of Allan moving here. 

My next big party plan is for July 2009, which will mark the 25th anniversary of when I moved to the town of Ilwaco.  That can be a garden party. 

Today, once I returned from my very brief foray outside, I settled in with an interlibrary loan. 

Here’s a clear shot of the cover. 


I had discovered this garden while on a walk home from a Capitol Hill housecleaning job to my home in Greenwood in the late 1980s.  I used to walk miles between work and home. Sometimes a two hour walk would be faster than taking three buses and would be a way to discover wonderful places. I nosed around the hillside garden, not sure if I were really allowed to be there, and visited it several times, without ever meeting the owners, before I left Seattle in December 1992. Recently, I saw that the garden was to be featured on a (very expensive) Pacific Horticulture garden tour weekend. Recognizing it by one photo, I learned its actual name and found its website, at streissguthgardens.com. (The website seems to be down as I write this so I can’t link to it yet.) 

You can read more about it here.  And here.

The beginning of the gardens is the perfect story of gardening neighbors:


I have sort of an obsession with gardening neighbors, especially after finding a chapter on that topic in the book Gardening from the Heart: Why Gardeners Garden. 


I have longed for the glory of a gardening neighbor and never quite got there. Once I thought I had, with someone nearby but not quite next door. I was wrong, and it was deeply disappointing. I have felt envious when touring garden neighbors’ adjoining paradises on garden tours in Portland and Aberdeen.

Back to the Streissguth gardens.  I enjoyed reading about gardening on a hillside of blue clay, as parts of my previous Ilwaco garden was like that.  I had had no idea of the battle to save the hillside from development.  The solution of donating their garden to the city was genius and so admirable. 


I appreciate their use of human powered tools. 

One of the principles of the Streissguth Gardens that strongly speaks to me : “a good garden and its house should be a gift to its neighbors.”

Those of you who live in or visit Seattle, do visit this garden and send me some photos, if you would be so kind. 

The last time I visited the garden, still not knowing its name, was with a friend in July of 2003. Not even sure if I could find it again, we drove Capitol Hill streets until we came upon it from above. 

Here are my photos from that afternoon. 

Looking down the hill to the garages at the bottom of the garden: That may have been one of the garden owners. We didn’t chat as she seemed very busy in the vegetable garden (and I was shy).


Looking to the north side into the private part of the garden, well described in the book. 




Down by the old garages at the base of the hill:


The damp areas by the pond that catches water run off:

The beauty of a hillside garden:

The friend I was with, lost now in the mists of time, was not a gardener and could not understand my rapture over the garden. I’m glad I took photos anyway (before digital camera) and wish I had taken more.

Back in 2018, I finished the day of a convalescent with a suspense novel. Quite good, and set in the wild forests of Oregon. 


While I’ve been immersed in books, our friends Scott and Tony visited Oysteville,  and Tony took this photo of THE Oysteville garden. 

Photo by Tony Hofer

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Arion Court, June 1991

The Arion Court project began as an attempt to take an empty but liveable building and turn it into low income housing.  When looking up the history of the effort, I found this photo, one of several of mine I had donated to them back in ’91, on the present-day Arion Court website.

Arion Court

Arion Court

As I recall, a bunch of tenants had been evicted and the building was sitting empty. A group of people who had met at the Federal Building decided to occupy the building in hope of bringing attention to the need of a homeless shelter.

Arion Court

Arion Court

Diane holding my shirt with the lyrics of Patti Smith's "People Have the Power."

Diane

painting

painting

Connections:  Diane is holding my shirt that was made for me by the person I had gone to Arizona with in 1987.  It has the lyrics to Patti Smith’s “People have the Power.”

The housing activists got to work painting and fixing up the inside.

inside Arion court

inside Arion court

activist art

activist art

Diane looking tough in my leather jacket

Diane looking tough in my leather jacket

Inside the building, the abandoned apartments were still furnished.

inside

Robert in an old mirror

inside

instructions in the lobby

instructions in the lobby

furnishings left behind by evicted tenants

furnishings left behind by evicted tenants

abandoned kitchen

abandoned kitchen

houseplant

houseplant

looking down from inside

looking down from inside

Homey touches began to appear as the rooms were fixed up.

homey

refurbishing a kitchen

refurbishing a kitchen

painting

painting

The police showed up and a number of people, including Steve here, were arrested, quite peacefully as all had learned civil disobedience techniques at the Federal Building protest.

arrests

Jo Jo being arrested

Jo Jo being arrested

another arrest

Occupiers of the building observing the arrests.

Occupiers of the building observing the arrests.

After the arrests, the occupiers moved to a loading dock next to the building.

by the loading dock

on the loading dock

on the loading dock

on the loading dock

It was inset into a neighbouring building and provided some shelter.  The whole situation looked pretty hopeless to me.  The woman below was hoping for an apartment before her baby was born.

loading dock

loading dock

snoozing on the loading dock

snoozing on the loading dock

dock

dock

lunch time

lunch time

group

Below: The loading dock encampment. Diane and Jim and Robert and I were quite furious that a couple of bad apples among the men were harassing the homeless women who were sleeping there as part of the activist group.

the encampment

the encampment

Jim

Jim

Diane

Diane

Diane and Robert

Diane and Robert

I am pleased to report that the Arion Court did indeed become a haven for the homeless.  And it is green and purple!

Arion Court

Arion Court

muralHere is a lovely mural from the LIHI website, and a description of housing at the Arion Court:”Amenities
Washer/ dryer on each floor
Shared bathrooms and showers
Utilities included in rent
Description: Arion Court has 37 units for homeless adults, with a large community room/kitchen area. It is located in downtown Seattle, close to shopping and public transportation. Each unit is approx. 175 square feet and has a stove top, fridge, sink, and closet. There are three floors accessed by stairs.Arion Court operates under the Mutual Housing model where residents assist in the management and maintenance of their housing. Residents must contribute monthly by attending Resident Council meetings, serving on various committees or assisting with the physical upkeep of the building. Residents screen applicants and enforce house values. This model of mutual housing allows residents to participate in all major decisions affecting their housing.”

me and Robert outside Arion Court

me and Robert outside Arion Court

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(Written in 2010: Reblogged in 2013 to show that the gorgeous house is for sale.  It sold in late 2013.)

Allan is in Seattle at his mother’s funeral as I write this, and I am remembering her and her garden.  Because his trip involved a day of preparation and, afterwards, a day of legal and family matters, I have stayed here to work yesterday and tomorrow, and to have this one day off, theoretically to do some desperately needed work in our own garden. But at this moment, I am reminisicing about Ruth’s lovely garden.  By the time I got to know her, her health prevented her from doing much gardening, but she had designed a landscape with such elegant and Asian-influenced structure that even without the annual colour which she used to add, the tranquil atmosphere remained.

Ruth's front garden

Ruth’s front garden

Ruth and Dale’s house was originally in the path of the freeway; Dale had it moved and rebuilt it in a north Seattle neighbourhood where it stands out like a fairytale cottage surrounded by more modern (fifties style) houses. She used to fill that triangular area by the front door with annual colour.

back garden

Ruth’s back garden

By the lower side of the house is a quiet, green back garden, where she continually struggled to have a patch of perfect lawn under the trees.  While that was an ongoing dilemma, the surrounding beds were filled with good shrubs and perennials, well arranged and soothing to the eye. I used to tell her that a moss “lawn” would fit in well with the Japanese garden style, and I think if we had had more time we might have been able to help with some sort of river rock look…But the small problem with the lawn was miniscule in comparison to the charm of the entire garden, and her determination to make that lawn a success was a source of many garden conversations around the kitchen table. While I had known Allan since we were in high school, we were only together for the last few years of Ruth’s life, so I never saw the garden at its peak of her gardening.  Its continued good looks were a testament to her good design.

in Ruth's back garden

in Ruth’s back garden

in Ruth's back garden

looking toward fish pond

Ruth's lawn and garden

Ruth’s lawn and garden

In the back corner of the lower garden is a fish pond with a waterfall, built by Dale. You could see the fish and feed them from a window in the daylight basement. Because of the way the house sits on the hill, Ruth said door to door salespeople would go first to the back door, then to the front door, thinking they were at two different houses.

view of new house

view of new house

It was rather a shock when, during the Seattle real estate building boom of 2005, a monstrous new house was built across the street, where once had been a small house and a soothing backdrop of trees.  The view from Ruth’s back yard was radically changed and she had plans and hopes for some new plantings to bring the green, enclosed feeling back.

daylight basement window

daylight basement window

Ruth also excelled at growing houseplants, and when Dale rebuilt the house she asked him to design this window overlooking the back garden sanctuary.  The indoor planting bed actually goes down into the earth and makes one feel indoors and outdoors at the same time….

fern walk

fern walk

Walking along NE 90th Street, one would pass the bed of sword ferns and white primroses and the trees that Ruth and Dale had planted in the parking strip.  One thing Allan and I could do for Ruth when we would visit in February for the garden show was to prune back the ferns so they were all fresh and green each year.  If we had lived in Seattle, we might have worked with her to add some cool perennials instead of lawn to that slope by the street; what a great space for a plant palette that would have been! Allan tells me there was some unfortunate pruning of the shrubs in 2009 by an inexperienced garden crew, so if one of my Seattle friends does walk by, the garden might not look as green as I remember it!

weeping tree

weeping tree

Ruth told me the common name of this gorgeous tree outside the front door.  It would try to revert to straight-up, and Allan or I would get into the center and prune out those branches, as she used to do when she had more vigor.  She told me that it had amazing foliage colour in the fall.

close up of weeping tree

close up of weeping tree

If any reader knows what this tree is, please let me know!

side view of the house from NE 90th

plants

bonding over cool plants

For several garden shows, we stayed at Ruth and Dale’s house and would always bring a couple of cool, shade perennials to add to her back garden.  One summer we went to the Bainbridge in Bloom tour…sadly, Ruth was too frail to accompany us to any of these garden events.  We filled her patio temporarily with the stash of collectible plants till we left to transport them back to Peninsula gardens and she admired and discussed each one.  (You can see her tree fuchsias and baskets in the background). Of course, we had added a few special plants to her garden on that weekend (Brunnera ‘Looking Glass’ being one).

The whole time I wrote this was the time her funeral was going on in Seattle.  Ruth, thinking of you…

Ruth Marie FRITZ Ruth Marie Fritz, 80, was born to Beulah and Leo Fones on May 23, 1929 in Julesberg, CO and died at her home May 3, 2010 in Seattle, WA. She was surrounded by family as she passed away. Ruth was raised in Salinas, California and attended San Francisco City College School of Nursing and completed her training through Children’s Hospital. It is there she met Dale Fritz and they married on August 27, 1950. They have been happily married for 59 years. Ruth leaves behind loving husband Dale and their children, Allan Fritz (Skyler) Ilwaco, WA, Robert Fritz Seattle, WA, and Pam Stockman (John) Seattle, WA. Ruth is also survived by brother Harold Fones (Dorothy) Cayucos, CA, sister-in-law Dorothy Lindstrom, Minneapolis, MN, numerous nieces and nephews, and granddaughter Pearl Fritz. Ruth was a kind and nurturing wife, mother and homemaker tending to all details for a rich, beautiful home and family life. Ruth was a lifetime member of Beta Sigma Phi Sorority and longtime Camp Fire Girl leader, leaving a legacy of service, good character, and stewardship of the environment for many women who have been touched by her. A Celebration of her Life will be held at University Lutheran Church, 1604 NE 50th St., Seattle, Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 1pm with reception following. Remembrances can be made to King County Search and Rescue Association @ King County Sheriff’s Office, 7300 Perimeter Road South, Room 143 Seattle, WA 98108-3848.

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I proceeded in 2012 to write the history of my gardening life through 2008 and 2009, the non-blogging years….Because only through photos can I remember!

Late January of 2008 saw the rare coldness that iced over our pond…

fishing float

…in which I had cast to sea a fishing float (but I have to confess that I bought it at Marsh’s Free Museum).

Its colour nicely echoes a gazing ball that Allan had given me for Christmas.

gazing ball

Not quite the traditional silver reflective gazing ball, it nestles in an old copper tub that years ago used to sit planted up with ferns in my Grandma’s garden.

In January the Mahonia outside our cottage door bloomed spectacularly.  This one is either Faith, Hope, or Charity.

Mahonia

On February 1st we began the job of pruning the 300 hydrangeas on the bay.  The gorgeous setting assuaged the distress of seeing the condition the hydrangeas were in from a really bad pruning the year before.  Let me just advise garden owners to not let the lawn mower guy loose with a chainsaw in the hydrangea field, not unless he also loves plants and knows how to prune.

hydrangea field

All the hydrangeas had been chainsawed off at the same level and no old wood removed.

corner of hydrangea field

Much of last year’s prunings had been dropped in large pieces making for slippery footing and the need to clean up the mess before starting the job, and each hydrangea had ugly candelabras of wood where the chainsaw had cut with no respect to buds or branching.  We started by removing a third of the old wood.  It would be a three year project to get all the old wood and those ugly candelabras removed.  I would have chopped the poor things all low and sacrificed a year of bloom but the elderly owner did not have TIME to lose a year of beautiful blue blossoms, so our slower method sufficed.

Allan going in to prune

All the poky limbs cause pain when backed into or hit with one’s arm; the cold weather made for aching hands, and I fretted that the owner’s demand that the shrubs be pruned NOW meant that their buds would be frost nipped later.  Despite some miserable times standing under the eaves waiting for seriously dire hailstorms to pass, working right along the gorgeous Willapa Bay provided considerable compensation.

board path

This picturesque boardwalk went way out into the bay where the householders in younger days had kept a small boat tied up.

rainbow over Willapa Bay

Several rainbows appeared after chilling squalls of rain and hail.

The hydrangea results did not thrill us the first year.  So much distorted older branches remained, but we knew that if we could just get to do the job for three years in a row the results would be most satisfactory.

[2012 note:  We did get our three year pruning plan completed in 2010, and the fourth time we pruned the hydrangeas in 2011 I felt that they were completely revived.  The house is now for sale.  The hydrangeas are being passed on in good form.]

We took a break from pruning to go to Seattle for the Northwest Flower and Garden Show.

As usual because of my freeway phobia we took the longer route up back roads to the ferry from Bremerton.  The peaceful glide into the harbour is much more beautiful than speeding (or waiting in traffic jams) along crowded lanes of cars.

full moon over Seattle from ferry deck

I have no record of which garden designers made each of these displays at the garden show.  Here are the ones I found most inspirational.

small water feature

forestscape

courtyard entryway

pi?

stone steps backed with a tall gabion (rocks caged in wire)

I love these slanted stacked rocks.

Each display garden is built in just a few days inside a cavernous, high-ceilinged room.

The cottage style is always my favourite.

interesting water…things…backed with gold twig dogwood

Oh, look! In the background, urban chickens!

Even though I don’t have the time for chickens, I love to see a coop in a garden.

…especially a coop with a clever green roof.

I’d been drawn back to the stacked rock structures…

detail of the scrumptious stacked rocks. My budget runs more to broken concrete.

Oh to have the skills AND materials to create this.

So from sleet, hail, rain, and the cold wind of the hydrangea pruning job to the luxurious surroundings, ambient (canned) bird song and lushly flowering gardens of the show, our February of 2008 was a warm up to the busy work season that would slam us as soon as we returned from Seattle to the beach.

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Thanks to Allan’s hard work and our assortment of beloved clients, we had a most profitable and enjoyable work year.

Now comes vacation…a month of rest and reading and indulging my new computer addiction: Scrabulous on Facebook!  (If Scrabulous is still around, find me there as Flora Gardener and challenge me to a game.)

We had Christmas with Allan’s parents, sister, and brother in Seattle, and on the 24th just fit in a day trip to the Pike Place Market, a favourite place of mine  ever since my grandmother took me there as a small child.

dogs and cats at the Pike Place Market

With a dog band and cat world, flower booths and delicious restaurants, I was in heaven at the Pike Place Market.  As Christmas Eve approached, the restaurants closed unexpectedly early, so we tried Pan Africa…closed!…Sabra (Israeli)…closed due to family emergency….The Crumpet Shop…all out of crumpets!…and finally found a wonderful Russian Cafe in the Sanitary Market.

Now begins the quiet winter…and finally, catching up on the blog.  New entries go back as far as October 10th…Sorry it took me so long due to uploading problems.  Remember, if you can’t find anything here for 2008, check out my space at blogspot after awhile…I’m giving this site another try with a new set of pages and hoping they will upload better.

Happy New Year from Allan and Skyler of Tangly Cottage.

Tangly Cottage holiday

[2012 note:  Uploading problems continued on web.mac.com and I didn’t find blogspot intuitive, so my journal lay somewhat dormant through 2008 and 2009.  I say somewhat because I did keep up a sort of narrative flow in my Facebook photo albums, and I think now that I am going to use them to recreate a few more flashbacks for 2008 and 2009.  Our 2012 work season has begun but without the job of pruning those 300 (or was it 250?) hydrangeas, we can ease into it and I just might find time for those extra flashbacks.  This is for me, someday in the future perhaps in my mom’s old room at Golden Sands Assisted Living, so that I can read about all those years of gardening on the Long Beach Peninsula.

Oh, and Scrabulous is gone, but now I play Words With Friends.]

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While spending a quiet day pruning and weeding in the garden of Ruth, Allan’s mom, I noticed her neighbour, Bill Hardy, two doors down, weeding in his own garden.  Ruth had told me that he has an impressive garden built on levels so she and I went to request a tour.  He was happy to show off the garden that he and his son Larry had made.

The paths down to the back two-level deck lead through a series of inlaid wooden arches.  From the street, one can only imagine the continued theme of contrasting wood.  To see he moon gate, you would need an invitation into this secret paradise.

At this time of year, with many plants dormant, Larry’s carpentry is the main feature of the terraced descent into the back yard. I can imagine it in the lush bloom of summer.  I like a garden full of secrets, and this one revealed new delights at every level.

What a privilege it is to gain entry to hidden gardens.  This one is worthy of being on a garden tour.

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