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

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Northwest Flower & Garden Show - 2015: West Seattle Nursery Display Garden

The name of this display garden was 'Birds Do It... Bees Do It...'
As a person who had an uncle-beekeeper and spent many happy childhood days among beehives, I was naturally partial to this garden.
Back in those times, there was nothing more exciting for me than to find myself during a morning in a forest where dozens of beehives stood.
It was a magic place with no industry within hundreds of miles, where the sound of a creek, carrying crystal water, together with the songs of birds and the buzzing of bees were the only noisemakers.

Starting in kindergarten, we used to help  the adults harvest honey by carrying the frames filled with the thick amber treasure from the hives to the honey extractor.
We held the frames putting our thumbs under the frame tops before handing them to the people who operated the extractor and then watching how the pure sweetness flew from it into the bucket.
Once, I didn't notice a bee, and it got squeezed between my thumb and the frame. Of course, it stung me, but I couldn't drop the precious frame and continued to carry it. Ouch!
It wasn't the only sting that I got, but it never stopped me from enjoying that place.
Comb honey was our reward. I'd never ever trade it for all the candy and other treats of the confectionery industry.
Sweet memories.

This is what the creators of the display garden said in their show brochure:

"Scientists had struggled to find the trigger for so-called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) that 
has wiped out an estimated 10 million beehives, worth $2 billion, over the past six years. 
Suspects have included pesticides, disease-bearing parasites and poor nutrition. 
But in a first-of-its-kind study published today in the journal PLOS ONE, scientists 
at the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture have identified 
a witch’s brew of pesticides and fungicides contaminating pollen that bees collect to feed their hives."  Source

 Some plants from the West Seattle Nursery display garden:
Louie Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus 'Louie')
Persian Ironwood (Parrotia persica)
Cousin Itt (Acacia cognate)
Columnar Norway Spruce (Picea abies cupresinna)
Fuchsia (Fuchsia 'Delta's Sarah')
Winter Daphne (Daphne odora 'Maejima')
Brazilian Giant Rhubab (Gunnera maicata)
Bear's Breeches (Acanthus major 'Whitewater')
Rice Paper Plant, Paperbush (Edgeworthia chrysantha 'Nanjing Gold')
Dwarf Flowering Peach (Prunus persica 'Bonfire')
Tulip (Tulipa 'Princess Irene')
Beartongue (Penstemon 'War Axe')
Hook Sedge (Uncinia rubra 'Belinda's Find')
Himalayan Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum venustum)

Cattail  bird feeders

"This garden really is about the birds and the bees (in the literal sense), but a lush, grassy area accented by a subtle water feature provides a setting to form your own interpretation of romance. Blooming spring bulbs add splashes of color, but it’s also a setting where backyard gardeners grow their own fruits and vegetables.
Our lives intersect with birds and bees on many levels. An elevated live bee house is the garden’s focal point along with inviting blooming plants for our winged neighbors. Constructed using recycled materials and salvaged wood, the bee house spotlights the vital importance of bees in the production of food.
Our feathered friends aren’t left out in the cold with artistic bird houses providing shelter. And a decorative but functional “insect hotel” further underscores the importance of all the inhabitants in our eco-system.
“Take-home ideas” for your own garden: Plant selections that attract and support birds and bees"
 Source: NWFGS

West Seattle Nursery & Garden Center website: West Seattle Nursery

***Copyright 2015 TatyanaS

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Elandan Gardens: Northwest Flower & Garden Show - 2015' Display Garden

This was the first time that we attended the Northwest Flower & Garden Show on a Saturday.
 I was expecting a big crowd of visitors to be with us and the flowers to be wilted.
Surprise-surprise! It wasn't more crowded than some Wednesdays and Thursdays in previous years. And, the flowers weren't wilted!
This post includes the pictures of one of the display gardens - The Root of True Romance. Beautiful Chaos: Love, Art, Nature. Elandan Gardens, ltd, Will Robinson, Sculptor. Designed by Dan and Will Robinson. Silver medal.
I love the minimalist style of the Robinsons' garden!
For me, it looks like a nature's corner somewhere in the woods, beautiful by itself, and the red tulips make it more poignant.
Stunning effect.
It is so Northwest!

"Celebrating nature captured for our pleasure, this is an intensely natural garden. Multiple elements contribute to the sense of romance: a waterfall nestled among granite boulders is a soothing focal point in this “High Cascade” setting. A sculptured snag—its image reflected in a large stone bench sculpture—serves as a canopy for the garden’s visitors. The waters of the pond are crystal clear and natural. 
Mass plantings of red tulips create a dramatic—and romantic—visual accent to the combination of stone and naturally gnarly native plant material.
There’s plenty of time for romancing in this low maintenance garden, and all the plants are grown without pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers. Artistic use of recycled wood remnants from an earlier time in our regional history complement this very natural setting.
“Take-home ideas” for your own garden: Integrated use of stone, water features and natural plant material "

 Last year's display garden and six acres of Elandan Gardens, containing Dan's bonsai sculptures, can be seen Here.

***Copyright 2015 TatyanaS

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

2014 Garden Memories and 'Picture This' Contest Update

Following Saxon Holt's suggestion, I spent several hours going through  my 2014 photo archive and selecting my favorite garden pictures. I then chose one image that is special to me.
The Gardening Gone Wild contest encouraged me to look again at my garden and recall some nice moments from the last year.

It was a good year. I had several new plants blooming for me for the first time. 
Actually, before  this assignment, I didn't realize how many new blooms were there!

Romneya trichocalyx (Matilija Poppy) liked loose sandy soil in the cutting garden:

Peony 'Green Lotus' gave only one bloom, but what a bloom it was!

Talking about peonies, the 'Coral Charm' was a nostalgic reminder of a peony nursery in Kingston, WA that we were lucky to visit right before its closure. 
We are so glad we bought several of these beautiful plants:

Salvia memorosa 'Sensation white', also new in the garden, liked its spot under the leaves of 
Red Banana ( Ensete ventricosum Maurelii):

Himalayan Honeysuckle (Leycesteria formosa) was a valuable addition to the garden:

Japanese anemone from my friend's garden gave us a profusion of so simple but oh so elegant blooms:

Meconopsis blue flowers were not new, but they are always exciting:

My old favorite plants showed maturity and didn't disappoint in 2014 either.
As much as I like individual plant pictures, I also enjoy the wide views of my garden.
This shade corner pleases me with spreading groundcovers, tropical look of Tetrapanax and Aralia, neighboring with Rhododendron and grapevine.

The back garden with a small kitchen garden always pleases me with its minimalist color scheme:

In 2014, we continued to watch a growing friendship of Clematis montana and a huge fir tree, admiring how the clematis vine was making its way from the metal arch to the tree branch:

The cutting garden surprised us in 2014 with the height of its plants, such as Joe Pie Weed and Thalictrum rochebrunianum (Meadow rue):

Going through the pictures, I was thinking about my love for tall plants that give a vertical dimension to the garden and serve as exclamation marks:

The pictures reminded me again how important garden ornaments are for creating a mood in the garden. 
For example, the brand new pagoda looked good in summer, but when fall and winter came, it added so much to this corner of the garden:

The same is true about this fleur de lis:

And, animals are important for the garden atmosphere too!

My dog was following me during a clean-up after a windstorm, but looking at this picture, you can think that he was doing all the work and now he is having a break!

Now, at last, the picture I chose fot the contest.
The picture submitted for the Gardening Gone Wild  contest should be with a strong composition that uses the entire frame to tell a story.

'The Unexpected Snow'

I like this picture, which was not staged, and the story behind it. 
It is a story about an unexpected snow that came in late November and about a gardener who was late to hide the garden furniture and accessories in the garage for the winter. Those, who visited my garden, know that this chair belongs to my shade garden and stands in front of my potting bench. I moved it  here to  let it dry after a rain and forgot about it.

The picture doesn't only show the specific moment when the first early snow caught me off guard.  I also can see how much my garden grew and changed in the past ten years and how well it blends with our wooded lot. 
Fir trees create a good natural background for the garden. Garden plants, such as clematis, ligustrum, hydrangea, berberis, etc. coexist nicely with native salal and huckleberry. I also like how clipped boxwoods, which are spread through the garden, fringe the sidewalk and paths and serve as a uniting feature.
For me, it's also a story about the upcoming spring with its daffodils and crocuses as yellow as the chair's fabric and about the sun which we lack so much in the Pacific Northwest during winter.
The story related to this picture is ongoing inasmuch as the splash of bright yellow color serves as a harbinger of future sunny days.

Let's see if the picture follows the principles of a strong composition.
- Simplify the scene. Hmmmm...  I don't think this scene is simple. There are so many elements here: the chair, stepping stone path, plant beds, a curtain of trees in the background, shrubs, grasses, little sculpture in the middle of the potager, ceramic moon on one of the firs... No, the scene is not simple!
- The frame should be filled. Oh, yes! This frame is choke full!
- Place the main object not in the middle. Yes!
- Direct the look of the viewer. Yes! The stepping stones and a sidewalk are my helpers here. My blogging friends know where they lead: to the back patio with the clematis arch, a bird bath, palm trees in containers, through the piece of lawn to the cutting garden.
- Love diagonals! I clearly see diagonals here. Do you? From the chair to the cone boxwood in a terracotta pot, to the row of clipped boxwoods and to another cone boxwood in a terracotta container.
- Show the movement! Well, my eyes are certainly moving from the chair to the other parts of the garden.
- Attention to the background. Well, the background is not simple, but it doesn't consist from alien elements either. Everything in it relates to the same garden theme.
- Colors! Use them creatively. I like the monochrome colors of this shot. Green, white and yellow-brownish hues make the scene calm and peaceful. The yellow color of the chair's fabric, with the light shining through it,  makes the chair a focal point. The yellow pops up from the moment I look at the picture.
All in all, I'd say that the majority of the composition rules are followed in this picture.
Not all, but here comes one more rule:  Break the rules!
That's it. 

As for the snow, it was the only snow so far this winter, and it was nice to catch its short-lasting, fleeting charm (First Snow in My Garden Zone 8a).

A view from the cutting garden to the center of the backyard 
with a patio, bird bath, fir trees  and back border

Berberis thunbergii 'Maria' (Gold Barberry)

 Grapevine Gazebo and Ilex crenata (Japanese holly) hedge

Morning sun

Thanks for walking with me through my garden and thank you, Gardening Gone Wild, for restarting the Picture This photo contest!
Update, 2/11/2015:

'Picture This' Contest winners: PICTURE THIS WINNERS- BEST OF 2014

***Copyright 2015 TatyanaS

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