Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A gardener's wish list of styles, all in one Portland garden

Last month's Garden Bloggers Fling in Portland offered something for everyone.  There were many different gardens, ranging from cottage style to tropical.

The Old Germantown Gardens found its way onto my favorites list because it was one-stop shopping.  (Well, not literally shopping, though we did a lot of that on the Fling, too. ) Winding paths, perennial beds, a rock garden, ponds, a dry hillside garden, tropical plants and a collection of seating areas were scattered about the 2-acre property. A mere 23 years in the making, the gardeners brought the design and their plant collections together beautifully.
 The vista from the front of the house beckons you into the garden.

 Winding paths entice you into the diverse gardens and vignettes.
In spite of the broad swaths of color and texture and form, stunning individual blooms reached out to me in many places throughout this garden.

Something new and unique waited around every corner and down each path.

Ah, a lovely place to rest and enjoy the garden.
 But I didn't dally here - too much more to see!
The woodland garden was a treat for me - the cool, shady path provided a welcome relief from the hot sun and in Austin, Texas, a garden like this is rare.
 I'm always delighted by the conifers in the Pacific Northwest.
Another path leading to more garden goodies.
I saw these plants in the nursery in Portland and on someone's blog post.  The color combination absolutely wowed me. 

And there were daylilies everywhere.  Tall daylilies, short daylilies, bright daylilies, pale daylilies.

Then there was a drier garden, fille with plants that I recognized.
And some tropical colors started appearing in the garden.
Doesn't everyone need a waterfountain in the middle of the garden for a refreshing drink while you are weeding?!
Ah - Eucomis - I have one at home and bought one at the nursery the previous night.  Love them.
And another familiar sight - cacti with beautiful blooms.

 And then there were the real tropicals - love these hot, popping colors.

 And a greenhouse full of special plants.

It was a delightful garden with so much to see and enjoy.  The best kind of garden for a tour - one in which every path leads to a new garden adventure.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Hot art and design spice up Portland De Sousa Fling garden

Full to the brim with ideas and a mile-long wish list of plants that I know I can't grow here, I'm reacclimating to Austin and my own garden after 6 glorious days in Portland, OR.

My seventh Garden Bloggers Fling beckoned last weekend - with an agenda full of great friends, gardens, nurseries, and gift shops. 

The whirlwind started early and ended late and wowed me all day long every day.  Because there were so many gardens in every imaginable style - I just closed my eyes today and blindly picked one to begin my posting.

The JJ De Sousa garden was one of my favorites.  Hot colors created a riot of interest in the garden - plants and art and seating everywhere shouting "look at me, look at me."  The rich and sophisticated hues of tropical colors were designed to brighten the shady spots of this garden and to celebrate the hot, sunny spaces.



 This whimsical gate welcomes visitors.
 The colors of the tropics permeate everything in the garden, plants, pottery and decor.
 The plants looked happy and healthy everywhere I turned.  Ah, the benefits of some rain in the garden.

 Pots and gazing balls coordinate and contrast.
 The side garden ends with a fabulous wooden gate -- which leads to another pocket of paradise.
 Come on in, the party's in here!
 More whimsical art sets the mood for this garden.




 Every little nook and cranny was filled with some sweet something designed to delight the senses.
 This precious little statue is squirreling away succulents instead of seeds.
 This regal Egyptian dog statue comes down to earth with clematis and nasturtiums trailing all around.
 These tall, elegant vases, capped with aeonium, added a little note of sophistication.
 One of many seating areas that welcomed visitors to sit a spell.
Color joined texture in this garden -- smooth ceramic pots, gritty gray concrete and the sleek look of the corrugated tin made a cool combo.
 Ahhh - I could sit here for hours!
 And, a little humor.  Chicken nesting boxes now home to hens and chicks ... ha ha.
And just past the shrimp plant in this bed, a colorful stock tank water feature with a metal shrimp  sculpture and glass globes.  Look up whimsy in the dictionary -- this is the photo you'll find.



The same burst of colors that enriched the shady front garden, with a drier, sunnier twist.
 More whimsy around the corner.
 This Buddha statue, hidden among the trees, looked just like a giant gummi bear.
 There were little vignettes like this everywhere.



More color, radiating everywhere.
And back through the gate again.


This was one of many Portland gardens on the tour to feature trendy tropical-style colors and decor.  But beyond the design, this hot garden would brighten any cloudy day.  It certainly brightened mine.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Beautiful Austin gardens on Wildflower Center tour inspire with details and structure...

One of my annual Mother's Day treats -- the day before Mother's Day -- is to spend the day on the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center's annual garden tour with my garden blogging friends. 

This year's tour included exceptional gardens that were previously featured during past tours.  Since I had previously seen three of the gardens,  it was a great opportunity to see how they had evolved over time. 

Our first stop was an early invite to catch the morning sun in Tait Moring's garden before the crowds arrived.  Situated on a hilltop with an amazing canyon view, this garden is always a treat to visit.  It includes classic elements and eclectic focal points -- finely-honed view corridors and magnificent vistas.  Several water features and a range of plants from xeric to native to tropical fill garden rooms with unique appeal.

This beautiful iron gate - which matches several others around the property, is the gateway to the beautiful view.
Strategically placed pottery and other objects serve as focal points around the garden.
Pots decorate patios, too.
I remembered the wonderful sculptural pruning of this pittosporum and after several more years of growth - it was even more beautiful than before.
 More simple, understated pots with lush plants made a perfect match with the clean lines of the house.
Along the side of the house, these dramatic pots planted with yellow hesperaloe grab your attention.
In another vignette - this hardscaping elevates these pots with oversized agaves, both in height and in interest.

This ornate gate mirrors the other iron work on the property.
This wall was created with stones from Moring's childhood rock collection and other memorabilia and art.
Pieces of glass are interspersed with the rocks in the wall, and a trio of pots adds more color to the display.

 We couldn't decide if this carving was Aztec or Southeast Asian in origin -- but it was very cool.
 And a field of native plants and wildflowers cascades down the hill.
 Wonder what my tour mates are laughing about?  I know!
 This fence was definitely not meant to keep these beautiful blooms on one side of the fence or the other. 
Pops of spring color.
I'm not sure this guy paid for a tour ticket!
This hammock, hidden down in the woods, called to my blogging buddy.

 Intricate raised stone beds in the potager were filled with vegetables and flowers.
 Artichokes on tour.
A small pocket of sun in a secret sitting area in the woods illuminates a blooming cactus.

After a long trek down the hillside and through the woods (no river), we found a beautiful Texas madrone tree.  The Texas madrone is known for is its distinctive exfoliating bark. When the older layers come off, the new bark is smooth and can be white - like this one - or orange or even red. The madrone needs a xeric climate and very good drainage.

Another addition since our last visit - a beautifuldark-bottomed swimming pool.  Subtle and simple, it fades into the backdrop of the garden.
A collection of tropical plants lines the stone wall and wood fence that serve as the backdrop for the pool.
This made me feel like I was in the Yucatan!

A delightful and fascinating garden, I left feeling peaceful and inspired.