MySecretGarden

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

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Vacation. My Picture of the Day


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Copyright 2011 TatyanaS

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Slope Garden Extraordinaire - 2

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This garden has never been on a garden tour. Nevertheless, I consider it to be one of the most beautiful gardens which I’ve seen in my life. I’ve been watching it since we moved to our neighborhood. In this post, I included pictures which I began taking in 2005. This garden never disappoints me!

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The garden of Mrs. S. is located on a slope. I think she created a masterpiece and managed to showcase each and every plant on this slope.

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There is no lawn in the garden. All the space is taken by trees, shrubs, ferns and perennials. This is a perfect example of a garden with good bones. Winter or summer, autumn or spring, the garden attracts and excites.

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Being of oriental descent, Mrs. S. uses dozens of plants belonging to the Far East which gives a certain oriental flavor to this place. Regular and dwarf conifers, aralias, Japanese maples, shrubs including rhododendrons and azalias create the garden’s core. Meticulously trimmed, they look good all year round, but the garden has the most color in the spring when the shrubs are blooming.

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I love the variety of poodle trees and topiaries.



Ground covers, bulbs and perennials are not overwhelming and serve as colorful accents between the shrubs.

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Garden decor is limited and very tasteful with most of the pieces located in the back garden.



White on white – why not?


The back garden can’t be seen from the street. I felt privileged to be invited to see it.


It is not one bit less exciting than the front garden.


Rocks creating dry creeks are as decorative as practical.



A fountain is the only big piece of garden decor there.


Sedums, Japanese anemone, crocosmia and ferns together with shrubs surround it.



Hydrangeas and some dahlias add excitement to the autumn garden.



Fuchsias, including tall tree fuchsias, in the front and back gardens are spectacular:





I think the autumn garden is absolutely gorgeous:



Japanese maples are stunning.


What not to love here?



Mrs. S is a hard working lady. A passionate gardener, she does all the job herself without any hired help. Can you imagine pruning and trimming all the plants? I take my hat off to her.

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My previous post about a garden on a slope is Slope Garden Extraordinaire. It’s interesting to see how two gardeners approached their slopes. The gardens are very different, but both are oh so charming!

***Copyright 2011 TatyanaS

Friday, March 11, 2011

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Two Worlds

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Copyright 2011 TatyanaS

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Amaryllis Blooms Twice in 2 Months

Can I brag a bit? I want to show you my Amaryllis arrangement which is blooming for the second time in two months. The first blooms were shown here: Amaryllis. My Picture of the Day and this is the photo taken in January:

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Photo: January 2011

It is early March now, and this is what I have:

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Photo: March 2011

Two of the same three plants have blooms again. The plant in the middle has five huge blooms. Actually, they look even larger than those in January. The second bulb shows one unopened bud so far. The third bulb doesn't have buds yet.

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Photo: March 2011

Want to know my secret? How I forced them to bloom again? I won't share my secret with you. You wouldn't want to follow it. It's too complicated and time-consuming. It involves calculus calculations, chemistry and a bit of voodoo. Just kidding. I am just pulling your leg. Do you use this expression often 'You are pulling my leg"? No? Yes? For me, it is one of those expressions in American English that stands along with 'Raining cats and dogs', ' You are in the doghouse' and 'Couch potato'. Oops, I got carried away. Back to our Amaryllis. What is usually recommended? When amaryllis finishes blooming, they recommend the following: 1- cut it a couple of inches above the bulb; 2- do not remove leaves since they provide nourishment for the bulb; 3- place the bulb in a sunny window til the danger of frost has passed; 4- water when the soil dries; 5-move Amaryllis outside when temperatures are above freezing.

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Photo: March 2011

My secret of making these bulbs bloom a second time is: Leave it alone! I mean it. Do nothing. I left my container with three bulbs alone where it was standing all the time while blooming: on the breakfast table. Nothing special about that place, just no direct light. I didn't water the bulbs after the blooming ended. I cut down the stalks with the spent flowers. Several nice green leaves were so pretty, I enjoyed watching them. If all the leaves got yellow, I'd cut them down and kept the bulbs til spring when I would plant them in the garden and let them grow til fall. In fall, I'd follow the tips which you left in your comments here. Because the leaves looked so nice, I left the container alone. New leaves grew, and then I noticed bulbs! What fun! Actually, I recall one special thing I did: I was very excited with those three amaryllises and kept showing them to my family, praising them and asking: Aren't they beautiful? Aren't they gorgeous? I hope the third bulb will show a bud soon. In the picture below, it’s on the left.

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Photo: March 2nd, 2011

I just took another picture that shows the second bulb's flowers opened. They are smaller than the January blooms and almost twice smaller than the flowers on the middle bulb. But, it doesn't make them less special.

Photo: March 6th, 2011

So, what do you think: do I have bragging rights or is the consecutive blooming of an Amaryllis typical in your experience?

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Copyright 2011 TatyanaS

Thursday, March 3, 2011

My(?) Grandma's Garden

You thought it was Your grandma’s garden? And she? And he? They thought it was THEIR grandma’s garden? Is this why the ‘Christianson’s’ nursery display garden at the Northwest Flower and Garden show-2011 attracted so many admirers? Is this why we were all standing in front of it, nostalgically eyeing rustic outbuildings, old bike and watering cans, gnarled wood and plants, plants, plants…

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Actually, the creators of the ‘A Day Well Spent’ display presented a unique garden which “depicts a typical family nursery from the 1940s with a rough-and-tumble easy charm ” where leftover plants often took root wherever they were last set down” (from the NWFGS newspaper).

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'Once upon a time plants were started from seeds or cuttings, grown in pots or open fields and sold to customers at the same location. These small family nurseries took on an easy charm with leftover plants, bulbs, trees and shrubs sometimes taking root wherever they were last set down. Rows of trees could become permanent windbreaks and lined out shrubs could turn into fences. Seasons influenced the family's life with most of spring taken up with selling plants and the rest of the year with plant production in the growing fields surrounding the nursery.' - Wrote Toni Christianson in the Garden Gazette .

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Can you imagine forcing all these bulbs, perennials and shrubs to bloom in February? I read that there is a special collection of mature big plants in the nursery’s greenhouse which are used for forcing and performing at the NWFG shows. When was that greenhouse built? 1946!

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Did you notice the wheels on this mini-greenhouse made from old windows?

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It was pure pleasure to see blooming tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, snowdrops, pansies, euphorbias and primulas, but delphiniums, roses, lily of the valley and bleeding hearts blew my mind away!

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The potting shed made from repurposed materials was full of charming decorations for house and garden. Christianson's nursery, located in Mt. Vernon, Washington, has a wide selection of antiques and old world style things for sale. And where is its gift shop located? You’ll never guess: in the tractor garage! These are some products named in Christianson’s website: antique French and English watering cans, wicker furniture, antique gliders, bath products and salves, botanical stationery, candles made from horticultural oils, etc. As they say, “Everything that we love and can be considered botanical or horticultural by any stretch of the imagination makes its way to our shop.”

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Two wisterias drew many Ahhs and Ohhs: Wisteria floribunda ‘Longissima Alba’ (White Japanese wisteria) and Wisteria sinensis ‘Alba’ (Chinese Wisteria).

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Cold frames were filled with seedlings in wooden trays.

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Blooming viburnums (Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’ and doublefile Viburnum), flowering hosta… amazing!

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Can fragrant aroma be one of the elements of a display? For me, it certainly was!

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The following are my three pictures of Christianson’s nursery taken a couple of years ago. This is our must-stop during visits to the annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival (dates for 2011: April 1-30).

My grandma's garden was one thing that came to my mind when I saw Christianson’s display garden at the NWFGS-2011. At the same time, it reminded me of the nursery itself. Just look at this building with its white windows! Christianson’s team managed to bring the spirit of their place to the show. I hope to see them at the NWFGS next year. If not, well, Christianson’s is just a couple of hours away from us!

By the way, there is one more unique thing to see when you visit Christianson's : the 1888 school house, the oldest remaining one-room school house in Northwest Washington!


I bought some plants and garden decorations at the show, but what I treasure the most is the feeling of happiness, excitement and nostalgy, the sense of connection with time passed. A peaceful, simple but beautiful countryside would always be a place to return, at least in my mind, to regain energy and emotional strength which is necessary for dealing with the hustles and bustles of modern tech-filled life.

Credits: Christianson’s website, The Garden Show Blog .

***Copyright 2011 TatyanaS

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