MySecretGarden

U.S.A., Washington State. USDA zone 8a. Sunset climate zone 5

Blog Archive

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Enchanted Garden Of A Hosta Hybridizer

A story about a door to a parallel world came to my mind when I stepped into this garden. I read the story long ago. It was about a person who, during an ordinary walk in the city, opened a small gate and found himself in another world.
In this case, there wasn't even a door to the garden that I want to show you. It was just an opening in an evergreen hedge that separated the yard from the road. When you drive by, you wouldn't even know what an enchanted place is behind it.
I made several steps toward the house and gasped.
*

*
Straight ahead, behind a small manicured lawn, I saw an arbor standing at the edge and attracting attention the way a magnet attracts a piece of metal. Or, should I say, the way a light attracts a moth? Do you see that arbor? This is a closer look:
*

*
It had a gorgeous clematis on its left side, in full bloom, and a climbing hydrangea
on its other side.
*

*
A huge, picturesque lupin was the next thing that caught my eye. I think it was the biggest lupin I'd ever seen.
*

*
A tall columbine with huge blooms begged for attention too. Trust me, the blooms were HUGE! Do you see a hellebore to the left of the columbine? It was humongous too!
*

*

*
Beyond the arbor was a slope, and on that slope, was a magical shade garden under the huge, tall evergreens.
The background of the garden was absolutely marvelous and literally took my breath away.
The forest with different tones of green looked like an enormous curtain. On that background, there was a huge moss-covered stump and three big spheres which James King, the owner of the garden, created himself. I spent several minutes admiring the view.
*
*
The three spheres were the first that Jim had ever made. He said that the spheres' layers are very thin but strong. The staining, made of iron oxide and water, was brushed on and created an instant rust. He also used some acrylic craft paint for highlighting that faded with time.
*

*
These stone-looking steps were created, as Jim said, on a whim, after he cleared the hillside of tons and tons of ivy. He purchased bags of concrete, which were ripped and sold at discount, and used plastic lawn edging as a form in making the steps.
James also made hypertufa pots for different small plantings, such as his hosta minis, that don't do well in the ground.
In the next picture, there is the first hypertufa papercrete that Jim made. "You take rolled up newspaper and use it on the instide of the mold, while you're building the sides. I like the effect this gives the pot" - he said.
*

Photo by James King

*
Well, back to the forest. But before, let's look behind us. Isn't it a magnificent view?
*

*
The floor of the forest was clean, and the plants, growing on the both sides of the steps were not crowded. There was ample distance between them, which allowed to see every single plant.
*

*
Wild cyclomen, hellebore, ferns and hundreds of hostas. Actually, it was a hosta kingdom.
*

*

*

*
The hostas consisted of all imaginable sizes, shapes and colors. In the picture above, there are Jim's hybrids, the result of several years of hybridizing, which are put in the field for evaluating. He uses some of them as subjects for further hybridizing.
*
*
Above is a Japanese cultivar called Hyuga Urajiro, a fine specimen, displaying blue/green leaves with streaking, as Jim noted. "I've used it in my hybrid program, but haven't had any significant seedlings yet. Hybridizing is a lot of work, and a lot of getting lucky".
The gold mini hosta on the right is Atom Smasher. Jim explained: "It is from Ron Livingston, a veteran hybridizer in Detroit who has mentored me since I wanted to become a hybridizer. I bought this plant in 2005 from him and have had several very nice seedlings. This first one was Sizzle. Ron has encouraged me to market it after seeing it in 2007".
*

*
The Maple in the picture above was planted in 1980 when Jim moved into the house. It wasn't until 1995 that he started gardening. "And that was having a lawn" - he says. He started to create beds several years later. After clearing the hillside of ivy, Jim asked his friend, a gardener, what will grow well in shade. "Well, I would plant some hostas" - she said. "What's that?" - asked Jim. The friend shared some of her hostas. Then, they began to visit nurseries together, and Jim would pick up a particular cultivar that he liked. "I didn't really get into collecting them until I met the Boyz at Naylor Creek in Chimacum, Washington. Then, it was like I was in a candy store. I wanted each one of their 300-400 varieties".
*

*
Above is Jim's hybrid that is 3 years old. He said that it's coming along nicely, and he hopes it'll produce some fine new hybrids. "I have some ambitions with it and a new one I produced that has these beautiful fuchsia colored scapes/inflorescence. When they emerge they look like snakeheads, and then fuchsia colored sepals form".
*

*
Besides hostas, there were so many things to see in the garden! Succulents in hypertufas and in the ground, a variety of grasses, saxifragas, bamboo, epemediums, hardy fuchsias... I could easily spend a whole day in James' garden.
*

*

*
One of the climbing hydrangeas enveloped the huge fir tree. I can only imagine how spectacular it is in full bloom!
*

*
Stones, volcanic rocks and garden spheres look like an organic part of the garden.
*

*

*
One last look at the enchanted garden... I hope I can see it again one day.
*

*
Photographs by TatyanaS. Text by TatyanaS with commentary from James King.

37 comments:

  1. I think maybe you were in heaven. What a beautiful place. I could easily spend days there also. I'm really getting to like Hostas more and more too - in fact my last 2 were small. One a tiny little thing called Blue Mouse.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a wonderful garden. Thank you for the tour.

    ReplyDelete
  3. That has to be one of the most gorgeous gardens I've seen in a long time, I'll be back time and time again to look at this post.
    -- Randy

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think the term is tour-de-force! Love the garden, and especially love how it's made special by the gardener's creations of hybridized plants and ornamentation.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm with Randy, wow,wow, wow, and I love hybrid hosta's.

    ReplyDelete
  6. A very beautiful garden! I tried growing hostas a number of years ago, but it seemed I was planting slug caviar, and the poor things just couldn't grow. It's clear that this garden does not suffer from slugs the same way. These hostas are gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow, what a beautiful garden. Aren't the spheres fantastic. You can tell that he has put so much hard work into his gardens. Thanks for the beautiful tour.

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a find, the enchanted garden...

    I'm not suprised you were taken with the lupins as I know you like that kind of growth habit, Foxgloves for example, of which I think you grow the best. Incidently, I don't know if you can lay your hands on a copy of BBC's 'Garden Illustrated' magazine, June issue? There was a feature on foxgloves, great reading.

    Your wonderful photos continue to delight and certainly do justice to this garden.

    Finally, your comment on my other blog made me smile. The one about how do people access their houses, rather, 'where is the road'?

    cheers

    Rob

    ReplyDelete
  9. It is quite a beauty. I had to look twice at that wonderful arbor, good thing you showed a close up. You didn't say but how old is the garden and was it open for a tour or something special? It is wonderful and I don't blame you for wanting to stay there all day-all week even! Heck, let's just move in.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Very romantic beautiful garden ! wow, I would stay there for as long as I could before he threw me out..thanks so much for the tour, Gina

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you dear gardening friends!
    Tina, most of the beds were created in 2004, and the lawn was laid in 1995. The garden was on a tour, and it also can be shown by appointment.

    ReplyDelete
  12. It is really something in only six short years. I love it!

    ReplyDelete
  13. This garden is absolutely magical! I can imagine the life would be so peacefulto have a garden like that. Hostas is something new for the people like me who lives in south florida, but I can see why people wants to collect them, and crazy about them by reading your post. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  14. How beautiful! It makes me feel cool on this 97 degree day!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm a huge, hosta lover, so imagine my delight in this post! I doubt that I'll ever be able to see it in person, but this tour was next best thing!

    The hypertufa pots and spheres and walking stones are inspiring personal touches.

    You certainly took advantage of this opportunity to soak up information and drink in the beauty of the garden!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Such a beautiful place, Tatyana. Thanks for taking us along! -Jean

    ReplyDelete
  17. Those pictures are beautiful!! Very cool shade plantings...

    ReplyDelete
  18. Dear Tatyana, What a wonderful discovery - truly not only a Secret Garden, but one belonging clearly to a passionate plantsperson. Your 'tour' of the garden has been most interesting with so many unusual plants and all very well grown. The woodland, as you say, is a tapestry of green.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Love stories like these where an interest of gardening is born and transforms a piece of property into something as beautiful as this.

    Agree with Ginny above that this garden makes me feel cool on a warm day. I can feel the shading.

    There are so many things I want to comment on, but I risk writing too much so I'll make just a few.
    Love, love, love his spheres and hardscaping.
    The hybrid hosta with purple colored limb, gorgeous - Go Jim!
    The arbor, the lupines, the columbines, the.... I could go on.
    He has created a garden that has me in awe of the mystique and the variety of HEALTHY flowers and plants, and the sense of making it look natural.
    This is an inspirational garden.

    Thank you Tatyana for bringing us!
    Would it be okay if I link to your blog?

    Best,

    Annelie

    ReplyDelete
  20. Breathtaking! His garden is truly a work of art. I could see why you would want to spend a whole day here, Tatyana. If I lived there, I would never want to go indoors!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I like the idea of making steps out of hypertufa.

    ReplyDelete
  22. That's the greenest place I've ever seen.

    ReplyDelete
  23. What a beautiful woodland garden - thanks for the tour!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thanks so much for the link. It was helpful. Getting a little excited by the thought of more Annabelle. :)

    ReplyDelete
  25. Потрясающе! Таинственно! Сказочно! Я тоже чуть не задохнулся от восторга! Спасибо! Я сюда ещё вернусь, чтобы ещё раз окунуться в этот особый мир!

    ReplyDelete
  26. As a bit of an ornamental grass nut, I am dying to know what that grass was, planted in a U-shape, and white in appearance. Sensational and very striking!

    Christine in Alaska

    ReplyDelete
  27. I can see why you fell in love with this mystical verdant place..it is gorgeous. Thanks so much for sharing it with us!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Wow what a beautiful garden. So glad you shared it with us. It's vibrant greens look refreshingly cool. Here it was 98 degrees so I loved seeing this cool looking garden.

    ReplyDelete
  29. This is truly an enchanted garden.
    I seriously thought it belonged to a wizard who magically managed all these plants in a beautiful propotion.
    Still wondering if there is a unicorn around.

    ReplyDelete
  30. You have done a beautiful job highlighting this garden ... one of the loveliest I have ever seen, Tatyana ... enchanted is the perfect description! Thank you. Happy Summer gardening :)

    ReplyDelete
  31. Tatyana, every so often I see a garden to which I have such a strong emotional response that tears come to my eyes. This wonderful garden did that for me. I can't begin to comment on all the elements I liked. Lucky you to have walked there and talked with the gardener!

    ReplyDelete
  32. This is one of the loveliest gardens I've seen. I love the serenity and the feeling that it has been there forever. I wish I had a tiny bit of this man's talent with design.

    Sincerely, thank you for showing us these photos.
    Marnie

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hi Tatyana~~ OMGosh, thank you for the leisurely, dazzling garden tour. I think I've been looking at it for over like, a half hour. :) The backdrop of towering firs is perfect for the shade plantings. The hosta collection is impressive and I love the hypertufa and the spheres too. Fun!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Those "egg shell" pots are gorgeous! What a great design!

    ReplyDelete
  35. I really enjoyed the show - a lovely post on a beautiful garden. Thanks Tatyana! Jack

    ReplyDelete
  36. OMGosh, I've been to the edge and back of the woods that is. What a fantastic,awesome garden. Wow, alot of love and hard labor I'm sure. This would be my Pie in the Sky garden :)
    Photography rocks!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Wow! Love the pics of Jim's paradise. Any chance you know if he has a website of his own with more photos? Or, even a Facebook page? Would love to see more.
    Don
    donl.bailey@vanderbilt.edu

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for stopping by and for your comment! I appreciate your time! See you soon on your blog!

Search This Blog

Loading...

Follow by Email

Share it

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

I'M GLAD TO SEE YOU!

Copyright 2009-2014 TatyanaS, MySecretGarden Blog



My New Plants Fundraising!

-->