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Posts Tagged ‘Spigelia miralandica ‘Little Redhead’’

First, an exciting announcement. The Astoria garden tour is back!  Read more about it here.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

We continued our peninsula garden tour day, with Ann and Evan, at Dave and Melissa’s Sea Star Garden on the outskirts of Oysterville.  On several acres, much of which is ungardenable wetland, our friends have spent the past two years using their rare days off from their gardening business to create their own paradise. Because they used to own a nursery called Glauca Moon, they arrived here with a large palette of plants in pots.

Dave and Mel’s past life

Sea Star Garden

On the left as you enter the driveway is a large raised garden where once a decrepit old house stood (a house that was unsafe to even enter).  This garden came about when a new septic system had to be installed last year.

Melissa and Evan

On top, a carpet of sedums will solve the problem of not being able to plant anything deep rooted on the septic system.

Allan’s photo

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Dave, me, Melissa, Ann, Sean (Allan thinks this looks like a landing party from Star Trek.)

By the back deck of the house is a water feature with waterfall, made by a friend of the previous owner.

Evan and Ann looking at the pond.

the deck pond

in the water (Allan’s photo)

water lilies (Allan’s photo)

pond frog (Allan’s photo)

north of the house

north of the house

The property had been owned by a gardener before and abounds in interesting trees and shrubs.

The Eucalyptus that Melissa named Elvis.

Ann and one of at least two Acer griseum (paperbark maple)

Acer griseum (Allan’s photo)

one of the maples that Dave and Mel brought with them

Acer pseudoplatanus ‘Eskimo Sunset’; This tree had a surprise.

bird nest (Allan’s photo)

old bridge on the north side (Allan’s photo)

Evan, Ann, Melissa in the woods to the north of the house (Allan’s photo)

As Dave and Mel clear the underbrush, they are finding all sorts of hardscapes like two small ponds and a big stone circle with a stone bench.

Evan and the mysterious stone circle (Allan’s photo)

Hostas are one of their favourites in the shade garden.

on the deck (You can find sand dollars on the north end of the beach here.)

Next, we went to the garden of a North Beach Garden Gang friend, just south of Oysterville.

Todd’s Family Garden

As we drove up, Todd was weeding.

Allan’s photo

The house reminded us all of a Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece.

Around the family home, Todd has planted his collection from his years as the display garden curator at Plant Delights nursery in North Carolina.

in the sunshine

Morina longifolia

Ann and Evan examining and inspecting (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Ann and Evan admire the view of Willapa Bay.

Todd surveys an area full of potential.

You can see Allan taking this photo of the shade garden.

Todd’s shade garden (Allan’s photo)

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Spigelia marilandica ‘Little Redhead’

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

The kitchen garden, which one of Todd’s family describes as “a real garden, none of this foo foo stuff” lay far below.  Because my heel was hurting, I sat this part of the trip out. (Todd kindly offered to go get a truck but I did not want everyone to have to wait.) Allan’s photos of that part of the excursion:

descending on a woodland path

the kitchen and flower cutting garden

Evan in the berry patch

kitchen garden

Ann harvesting carrots

sweet peas

fenced garden

walking to the bay

Todd has a handful of lettuce and carrots that became our salad for the next two nights.

Ann in her element

back up the road (the woods path down was a shortcut)

Meanwhile….

While I waited up top, I looked at my present from Lorna.  She had given me a book as we parted ways at The Oysterville Garden.

Thank you, Lorna!

a dedication that speaks to my heart

I also pondered curmudgeonly thoughts about garden tour programs that I feel compelled to share.  If curmudgeonliness annoys rather than amuses you, please avoid.

One of the gardens on today’s informal tour, Martie and Steve’s, had been on the local tour the day before. The tour program suggested its symmetry was “reminiscent of centuries old British estates” and “will put you in mind of Downton Abbey”.  Perhaps because it had a cricket lawn? Perhaps because of the green lawns in general?  It reminded me of my thoughts about garden tour descriptions, something that is always on my mind during garden tour season.

The Captain Stream House

Martie and Steve’s garden completely stood on its own and did not need to be compared to any other place.  The garden’s lines seemed clean and modern to me and certainly did not remind me of Downton Abbey.  Other than my usual desire to be in the UK, I would rather visit their garden than the site of Downton Abbey, anyway.

 I was reminded of the previous year’s comparison of a small garden to an Italian courtyard, leading to confusion on the part of tour guests (much of which I heard about later…even unto it being mentioned this year, and at the time, a friend texted me from that garden asking for enlightenment about the description).  I think that serious garden tour guests take every word of a description into consideration.  Raising expectations is not wise.  That particular garden (the non-Italian-courtyard) also stood well on its own because its big pots and hand made pavers were all portable; I would have described it as being a small garden that showed perfect solutions for folks who are renters rather than property owners.  There’s no need to get fanciful and make tour guests expect something grander than what is there.  Instead of describing a garden as “extensive” when it isn’t, describe it honestly as small but plant-i-ful. (To be fair, this year the word “extensive” was used to describe a tiny local garden in a newspaper article, not in the program itself.)  I think it is especially important not to aggrandize a garden.

The Master Gardeners’ north county tour, which I have now attended for two years, is good at avoiding hyperbole (with only one exception out of 12 garden descriptions in two years…a solid record of accurate descriptions).

The Hardy Plant Society Study Weekend programs tend to be accurate and non-aggrandizing (although I do remember, just once, looking for a cactus garden that turned out to be a couple of specimens in a pot).

I also do not like being told to walk here, stroll there, sit there, admire this, ask the gardener that.  Just describe the garden in a factual sense.  Here is an imaginary example: If I am told that “a salvaged window defines the edge of the garden by the river”, I will find it and admire it on my own without being told “Be sure to admire the salvaged window,” or “Ask the gardener where she got that window.”  (Clearly, I do have issues with being told what to do—thus 41 years of self employment.)

I don’t expect all readers to agree.  Now, let’s go on to one of my favourite peninsula gardens, the bayside garden of Steve and John.

 

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