Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Alyce's Garden

I serendipitously met Alyce while arranging with Florence a mini garden tour for a few of our friends.  We were invited to visit Alyce's garden as well.  Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of Alyce's healthy and happy tomato vines heavy with fruit and looking weeks ahead of mine.  There may be a reason that envy is associated with the color green!

Florence at Alyce's garden gate.  Those are our native Adiantum aleuticum spilling so beautifully over those raised beds.

 Alyce has done some great things with her tiny space.  Verbena bonariensis on the left adds height but not weight to this front garden.
 Leaving artichokes to bloom gives not only the beautiful purple thistle blossom but also this which I also find beautiful!

The back garden is long and narrow.  Surrounded on two sides by concrete walls, it has a cloistered feel about it.

Alyce's beautiful hydrangea being watched over by an alabaster-colored maiden.
 Her restrained use of plants makes Alyce's garden seem larger than it actually is.  Here Alyce tells Florence that she ripped everything out of this area and replaced it all with sedum and sempervivum.  The grape vines on the left have begun producing fruit.
 The sedum bed from the other direction.  Thankful to be 82 years old, (people are shocked as she looks and acts MUCH younger!) very active and sharp minded, Alyce says that she doesn't so much enjoy "senior" activities as many of her peers want to sit and play cards while she would prefer to be out doing things.  Gardening keeps you young!
 Tea anyone?
Thank you Alyce for sharing your garden and home with us!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Italian Garden Construction Update

You may remember my original post about my pal Florence's Italian Garden here. Recently, I stopped by with a few friends for some more what Barry at Teza's Hortus Magnifucum calls horticultural trespassing.  The garden is progressing very nicely.  Florence and her husband Howard never seem to do things in a small way. The new gardens, maintenance of the existing garden, and a large two-story addition to their home are all happening simultaneously. 

Gryphon carvings are now in place in the niches of the gate posts.

This view is quite similar to the way it looked earlier.

Potted roses are blooming beautifully and look, there's water flowing in the fountain which was just being installed at our last visit.

To the left, we see the first terrace and the house addition.

A view of the first terrace from the other side showing the benches that will be placed around the perimeter.
Fabulous details like these terra cotta fountains used to make hose spiggots available on each level are to be found throughout Florence and Howard's garden.

A lion, perhaps awaiting prey,  relaxes above the waterfall.  I wonder if he'll scare away those pesky racoons?

The second terrace now has benches.  Notice the pavers on the table, a sure sign of something else to come.  The fan pattern of the pavement on this level is my favorite.

Steps from the second terrace to the bottom of the garden.

Here we are at the bottom, the fountain, complete with swan, is splashing away. Boxwood has now been planted and the inner circles covered with gravel, benches placed.

The steps seen on the left of the previous photo are nearly complete and gryphons now grace the niches at the bases of the columns which support a sextet  of insturment-playing putti.

Turning left again.  this staricase gives viwes of  the garden from the other side and leads to  the bottom of the new addition.

However, if we stay straight at this axis, the path leads to the secret and more private garden.  Many  of the hundreds of circular pavers  in this area were made for Florence by her friends and family.  Mine's in there somewhere. 

A partial view of the secret garden from above.

And below.

At the part of this area farthest from the house is this beautiful Italian marble gazebo which is now a little obscured by a Cecil Bruner rose.

 Exploring further in the secret garden.  Ah, glorious shade!
 Hey lady, I know it's a hot day, but maybe you should keep your clothes on.  I suppose that would make bathing a little less than pleasureable so I'll just leave you to that mkay?
 Up the wide, gradual, and earth-covered steps of what I call the bamboo walk.
 There used to be more  Asian pieces in this area, reflecting Howard's many years of importing and selling antiques from China and looking quite at home among the bamboo.  Florence and Howard's  latest passion for all things Italian seems to have changed that. 
 This path leads around and up to a more private area.
 Back down we go past this great french iron rail.
 And we're back on the other side of the house, second terrace.
 These steps were built around the base of this Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree) the bark of which is incredible!
 Finally, we've arrived at the front of the new addition  containing a small courtyard.  It's very important to have just the right base for your armillary sphere.  This ultimately leads to the front door of the house.
Much progress has been made since our last visit.  I'm told that the addition and garden will be completed by Christmas.  No one specified a year.  I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Visiting Pine Creek Nursery

Retruning from the Fronderosa Frolic, we had time to zip through Pine Creek Nursery which is just off the highway.

The folks at this nursery are very friendly and helpful. Even the inside of the store says Welcome! Come on in and sit a spell. Coffee and cookies anyone?

 Work of a local potter.
Sweet bird nests.

Love the rusty metal flowers!

In additon to a large tree area, shrub area and houses filled with perennials & small woody material, there are these beautiful mixed displays.

 What a great way to see plant combinations.

 I've got a major crush on this bench but it probably wouldn't fit in the car. Well, maybe if the car didn't need a driver...
 So many beautiful plants and so much cool stuff!  Don't miss this nursery if you are ever in the area!
Have a seat by this lovely and calming water feature.  You are welcome to enjoy lunch  in this delightful setting.

 Unbeknownst to me, a frog had been sunning himself on the warm rocks and as I walked past, he yelled at me for disturbing him and jumped into the water.

Unfoutunately, it was time for us to jump back into the car and speed toward home.