Monday, February 28, 2011

2011 NWF&G Show - the Container Gardens

The Northwest Flower and Garden Show is an exciting, overwhelming experience. I've attended many years and each time I look forward to seeing what's new and what the designers have done with the display gardens. Most years I haven't had as much time as I'd like to see everything. Not this year: I attended two days out of the five it was open, so I really absorbed everything I wanted to see.

The show always features container gardens on the glass skybridge that spans Pike Street. This year, I had the time to give them a bit more attention.

This succulent display was the perfect solution to the limited space. From the contrasts in foliage types to the whimsical containers, it hit every mark.

Each little detail was carefully presented.

Some of the container gardens were more limited in their component parts.

I liked this simple water bowl.

The subtle colors in this composition absolutely compelled me to record them (not to mention this is the biggest Tillandsia I have ever seen.)

Talk about color!

Another whimsical container garden had a Barbie theme (with James Dean adding a bad-boy note to the wholesome group.)

 It was a definite hit with the young set. This little girl kept wanting to rearrange the participants.

This garden was a tropical dream, complete with amazing orchids.

It's easy to see how people get intrigued and infatuated with them.

One container garden had a winter patio theme, complete with "snow."

And this last container garden encouraged you to have your picture taken with Don Dirt. He didn't have a lot to say about the garden, but I liked his welcoming attitude!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My most excellent weekend

The best thing about February is that it provides the perfect time of year to celebrate a birthday. Nothing else of note is usually going on except the long President's Day weekend, and occasionally, the holiday weekend coincides with my birthday. It happened this year, so I took full advantage of it, beginning with the Portland Yard Garden & Patio show on Friday.

Loree, of Danger Garden, and Scott, of Rhone Street Gardens, have posted excellent reports and photos of the show on their blogs, so I'll just share a few of my impressions, and at the end of my post show you what I schlepped home with me.

Although this effect was a bit more elaborate than I usually like, the look of the copper pipes and the vertical sedums was lush and attractive.
Yes, I know: big rocks. But the Mulchman is reworking some of the Northwest Territory at Longview Ranch, so we have rocks on the brain.

I loved these metal chairs.

I spent quite a while looking at the Hardy Plant Society's display tables. Since I want an Aucuba, this showy specimen originally from Heronswood stopped me in my tracks.

Likewise, the bright yellow-green of this Choisya ternata  'Sundance' was compelling.

Here's another plant on my want-list: Carpenteria californica 'Elisabeth'. This was just a display, but now I see where I could get it.

On Saturday, the Mulchman and I set off for Astoria. The drive out was spectacularly sunny and bright. On Sunday, we lunched at Baked Alaska on the waterfront. We'd avoided it in the past, thinking it was a little too starched-tablecloth for our style, but the food was excellent and reasonable. I enjoyed a marinated mushroom and fennel salad and watched as the Pilot boat docked right next door to let two people off.

For my birthday dinner, we went to our favorite Astoria restaurant, Clemente's. The building has some intriguing planters with the top and exposed sides planted in sedums, ferns, herbs and some perennials.

I like the effect, although I'm not entirely sure about the red painted wood.

River traffic is one of the cool things to enjoy in Astoria, even when the weather turns cloudy. Some of the lowest (and highest) tides of the year occurred while we were there, so I understand lots of people were clamming.

Back home on Monday, I got to play with my new YGP plants and clean them up for their portraits. This was done with great care: three of them are pretty pointy!

From Gossler Nursery, I got Agave parryi ssp. 'Huachucensis'. This specimen is even flatter than my A. parryi var. truncata.

Loree tipped me off to some agaves at the Bauman's Farm and Garden booth. I scored Agave geminiflora 'Rasta Man'.

Also from Bauman's is Agave victoriae-reginae 'Porcupine'. I love the white markings on its fat leaves.

I had been hoping for an inexpensive Red Tiger Abutilon to grow as an annual this summer, but the only ones I could find were large and more than I wanted to pay. When I saw this cheap 'Lucky Lantern' abutilon, I went for it.  I thought that it would be tall, like other abutilons, but I found out as I was checking out that it won't get much bigger than it already is. Looks like this baby is destined for a container when the weather warms up enough.

From Dancing Oaks Nursery, I picked up Yucca linearifolia. In the past this was called Y. rostrata var. linaris but recently it has been treated as a distinctly different yucca, so Yucca rostrata goes back on my plant want-list.

I also got three Eucomis 'Sparkling Burgundy' bulbs from Rare Plant Research. Even the bulbs have some burgundy on them!

Here's a group portrait of the newest acquisitions. It's fun coming home to birthday weekend party favors you can grow!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tiny gardens at Terwilliger Plaza

I visit my Dear Old Dad several times a week at Terwilliger Plaza. The building he lives in has a sloping drive up to the parking lot, with a sidewalk running alongside. Beside the sidewalk, in narrow alcoves in the building are several small, finely-tuned gardens with a dry stream bed running through them.
These tiny gardens were designed and are maintained by the residents of Terwilliger Plaza, but by their maturity I'd guess some of the evergreens in them have been here longer than most of the residents.
An interesting fern adds winter color.
Conifers are the mainstay of these gardens, but a carefully rounded boxwood provides some contrast above.

This section is a little less minimal. I look forward to seeing the Lewisias in bloom.

As full as a couple of the beds are, it's hard to imagine they are less than a foot wide.
And some of the gardeners clearly believe less is more.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, February 2011

There's a lot of "almost!" in the MulchMaid's garden this February 15th, and a few out-and-out actual bloomers. First up this month, the ones that are trying harder.

Ribes sanguinium is nearly there and already showing gorgeous color.

Mahonia aquifolium has never been this late (not) to bloom. Although blossom trusses are forming, it's holding on fast to winter.

The big fat buds of our inherited Camellia japonica will be a few more weeks at least.

And now for the few that are actually in bloom this month.

Daphne odora 'marginata' smells intoxicating.

This young Arctostaphylos x 'Austin Griffiths' is blooming! I felt awful after killing my three-year-old Austin Griffiths last year by moving it, so I'm thrilled to see this baby plant has made it safely through winter.

Grevilla juniperina 'Low Red' is off to a running start on 2011 blooming. The firecracker blooms on this plant lasted an amazing eight months last year. These blooms are small, but they're spunky!

Sarcococca hookeriana var. 'Humilis' is perfuming the front of our home with its pungent scent. Although the intensity of the smell is a bit too much for some, it apparently attracts certain nectar feeders.

This big moth (who wouldn't hold still long enough for a clear shot) was intent on covering every flower he (she?) could find. I'm delighted to know I'm supporting the local insect life, as long as it manages to stay outside!

Visit Carol at May Dreams Garden to enjoy blossoms all over the nation and the world. Happy Bloom Day!