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

Sanssouci - A Place Not To Miss

Our May travel brought us to Berlin. We couldn't miss a chance to visit nearby Potsdam with its famous Sanssouci Park. The Sanssouci palace was built as the summer residence of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia.  The palace is considered to be the major work of Rococo architecture in Germany.
The palace  was closed for visitors on Monday so we didn't see its interior.  There was still a lot to see. 
They say that the palace was built as a private residence where the King could relax and take a break from the pomp and ceremony of the Berlin court.
Although sans souci means 'without care; free; easy', for me, this palace still looks luxurious.
 The palace was built above a terraced vineyard  in accordance with the King's ideas and sketches.
I loved this grand grape arbor!

The countryside behind the park could be seen from the palace windows. 
Pure delight!
One of the structures in the park, the Neptune Grotto,  is all covered by a seashell mosaic. Amazing!
Wonderful, isn't it?
Bright flowers were not abundant at the particular time when we visited the place. But sometimes less is more. Every time we saw them, it was like a burst of color in the midst of green serenity. 
The Church of Peace:

I love the geometry in the gardens and surrounding areas. Rows of columns always hypnotise me.
The Marly Gardens with their simple charming flowers are lovely:

Isn't it interesting to see the same colors on the pictures above and below: yellow and purple.
Serene and peaceful. Looking at this meadow picture, I would never guess that luxury and grandeur are not far away.
The huge trees were one of my favorite parts. They were beautiful, but their size was very impressive too!
The oriental style Chinese Teahouse built in 1756 is currently home for a collection of porcelain.
One more palace in the Sanssouci park,
the Orangery Palace:
 It was built by Friedrich Wilheim IV, known as the Romantic on the Throne, in his seat at Potsdam from 1851 to 1864.
Giant palm trees are being moved from the Orangery:

Below is the New Palace also located in Sanssouci park. This is what I meant when I mentioned luxury and grandeur.
It was added later to the grounds of the park. This baroque jem is very impressive! It was commissioned by King Frederick the Great after the 7 Year's War, which solidified Prussia's status as a powerful nation. For a powerful nation - a grand palace! What a contrast with the intimate Sanssouci Palace! 
The 2-story New Palace (Neues Palais) contains more than 200 lavishly decorated rooms. The large dome sits on the top of the central ballroom.
I spent several minutes on a bench just admiring the gorgeous baroque buildings.
Stunning architecture. Stunning architecture plus pink color equals a double stunning view!
Did you notice the perfect blue sky? An excellent backdrop for pink buildings, isn't it?
I am always attracted to lights. I already have a collection of light pictures. This one will be a special gem in my collection!
We went through this palace and saw its famous Grotto Hall which contains 20,000 different minerals, fossils, stones and cast iron products.
If the Sanssouci Palace was created for privacy and relaxation, the New Palace was supposed to demonstrate the power and glory of Prussia. Royals and dignitaries who were invited here were exposed to splendor, grandness and magnificence.
Next to the Neues Palais is the Communs building. Looking at it, could anyone guess that it contained the servants and guards' quarters and the palace kitchens? It's decorated in the same style as the palace! I wonder if students at the University of Potsdam feel special using this historic place.
I wrote before that I didn't see so many lawn mowers in Germany as we see here in the U.S. But, this is one of them:
If you travel to Berlin, I would recommend a visit to Sanssouci. It's a wonderful place with beautiful architecture, pathways, fountains, statuary, trees and flowers.
***Copyright 2011 TatyanaS

June Foxgloves

My garden wouldn't be what it is without foxgloves.

I love them for their height, symmetry of their blooms as well as for their hardiness, independence, reliability and easiness to grow.
My care of foxgloves consists of only one operation: removing extra plants.
In my garden, foxgloves grow better in those spots where the seeds sprouted naturally. They don't like to be moved.
They make a statement in the garden. They create excitement. Look at these blooms!

They have faces!


Did you know that a Foxglove has a hairy nose? Here it is:

If you'd like to see how foxgloves  beautify my garden, please see the posts under the label 'Foxglove'. Shown below is one of the previous years' pictures :

If you are wondering why I don't show a recent picture, well, right now this is what I am looking at:

I am on vacation, my friends, in beautiful North Carolina.
***Copyright 2011 TatyanaS

Garden of the Conifer Collector. Part 2

Continuation. First part is here: Garden of the Conifer Collector. Part 1.

It would be more correct to call both posts 'Garden of the Conifer and Maple Collector'.
 There were some beautiful maples shown in the first post, and there are more pictures below.

Again, I will let William, himself, comment on the photographs.


Part of the heavy-shade garden with some hostas from the growing hosta collection.


James King, a local Hosta hybridizer, was my inspiration for collecting hostas.
Tatyana did a wonderful write-up and photoshoot of his gardens last spring (Enchanted Garden Of A Hosta Hybridizer ) and I was stricken with hosta mania.
The sheer amount of colors, textures and beauty offered by hostas are a welcomed addition to any shade garden.

 My love for Japanese maples was reinforced by their many seasonal appeals. While many trees have great fall color, many varieties of Japanese maples produce riveting colors throughout the growing season. Above maple (Acer shirasawanum 'Autumn Moon') has strong orange/red/gold hues by late spring.

A color not often seen in trees, this Japanese maple has tremendously bright shades of shrimp pink variegated with darker purple spots and waves. Acer palmatum 'Shirazz', a very new and extremely popular new cultivar is as colorful as many flowering shrubs, and this color lasts throughout the growing season (6+ months or more). Even better, the color and variegation changes as the seasons progress, a true 3-season wonder.

Another Japanese maple with beautiful variegation is Acer palmatum 'Beni Schischihenge'. Strong pinks and oranges cover some or all of many leaves mixed with white and light green. Rarely are two leaves the same.

 The shrimp pinks of a newly leafed out Japanese maple (Acer palmatum 'Shin Deshojo'). Whereas many maples are a duller purple-red, Shin Deshojo has very bright red/pink colors and will maintain strong red overtones all the way until the leaves drop.

 Japanese maples can also be selected for size. This extreme example (Acer palmatum 'Hupp's Dwarf'), grows a few inches a year with pink-tipped new foliage. This tree is about 7-8 years old and has received NO pruning or training. It measures about ten inches tall and 15 inches wide.

 Two weeping conifers here have been trained together. The green/gold form is Picea abies 'Gold Drift' while the blue weeper is Picea pungens 'The Blues'. Trained upright over the years, they will be allowed to drape over each other and provide considerable color contrast.

 More color contrasts here as a prostrate variety of Colorado blue spruce (Picea pungens 'Aubie's Spreader) is set off by a purple dwarf barberry (Berberis vulgaris 'Crimson Pygmy').

Another contrasting garden plant, this Dwarf upright Japanese white pine (Pinus parviflora 'Blue Lou') grows in a narrow column of deep blue and is graced each spring by hundreds of purple pollen cones.

Cones, the 'flowers' of conifers. Though not very present quite yet in my young garden, many dwarf conifer cultivars produce stunningly beautiful cones, and at an early age. Some are bright red, others are dark blue and purple. Something to look forward to with age as dwarf conifers all get better and better with age.

 Conifers too can have exciting colors not frequently associated with dull plants from big-box stores. This Colorado spruce specimen (Picea pungens 'Gebelle's Golden Spring') pushes out the brightest gold colors possible from the tips, contrasting strongly with the blue-green older foliage. This color show is almost jarring and can last for six to eight weeks.

 A fanatical collector, I have a sizable collection of conifers and plants in pots on the decks. Since many conifers grow very slowly, large pots can house these trees for a decade or more.

 Cedrus deodara. Cedars. To most gardeners this name conjures up images of giant conifers towering and shading out their garden until it gets blown over and damages the house ten years later. Like many conifers, however, cedars have dwarf cultivars as well, better suited for garden design. This little charmer (Cedrus deodara 'Silver Mist') grows 3-4 inches a year into a graceful, spreading mound with silvery-white new growth. It even tolerates some shade.

 A maple medley.

 Contrast again in the garden (King 5's Cisco says contrast IS the key). A purple smoke bush casts a dark foreground to a brilliant-gold maple (Acer platanoides 'Princeton Gold').

  Stones. Lots of them. Huge rocks. All of the labor in my garden, including moving those behemoths around was done by hand or with a wheelbarrow. A garden project is always more rewarding if you do as much of it as you can by yourself.

 Stakes. A necessary, if unattractive part of the young garden. Many conifers are very tolerant of staking/training and this artform is one slowly learned through trial and error. Bonsai masters aren't born, they are sculpted over time.

  Hydrangeas, another featured plant type goes bonkers beneath the only Japanese maple that came with the house. They thrive in the shade here and welcome visitors with dozens of flowers in summer.

  Look closer. Shade-loving groundcovers, bright gold oak-leaf hydrangeas, hostas and other perennials hide behind the larger hydrangeas.


 A dwarf conifer easily recommended for any garden. This turquoise-blue beauty (Picea engelmannii 'Compacta') grows slowly and the new branches weep gently from the original branches. This specimen is over ten years old.

Gold, bright, healthy and long lasting. This large, narrow semi-weeping deodara cedar(Cedrus deodara 'Gold Cone') produces glowing new growth that splashes downward in sprays as with most cedars. Eventually this will become a big tree, but until that day, the beauty it provides will be more than worth the trouble.

The center island, as most visitors behold it, from the driveway.

It bursts with activity. Colors, textures, different shapes, a birdbath all squeezed into a small place. It's too busy for many eyes, but the creator of this garden is anything but subtle.

Our native Douglas firs provide a dark backdrop that really shows off the various colors in the landscape, in particular these Japanese maples.


Thank you William for leading us through your garden and thank you my readers for touring this remarkable place with us. I hope you enjoyed the tour and got some ideas for your own gardens. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to include them in your comments, and I'll direct them to Will.
Photographs by TatyanaS, commentary by William.

***Copyright 2011 TatyanaS

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