Monday, August 18, 2014

Children's garden a fantastic wonderland...

As if tours of Kylee's garden (Our Little Acre) and her mom Louise's garden (Two Girls with a Purpose) weren't enough - I got an added bonus.  After lunch I got to see the amazing Children's Garden that Louise helped design, create and raised the money for it as well.

I thought - yeah, yeah, I expected a few raised beds and maybe a birdhouse or two.  Oh my.  Was I in for a treat, and you will be too.

With an entrance like this, I knew big surprises lay ahead.
Louise and Kylee - ready to lead the tour (with proper rain gear).
Welcome - come on in!
Just follow the path.
Something's not quite right (angled) about this kiddie fun house.
Who doesn't love running over a bridge?

The bed that runs along the inside of the circular path unfolds with the letters of the alphabet and plants that start with that letter. From asparagus to zinnia - it's all about learning.

Beautiful plants dot the garden at every turn.
No shortages of places to play and be "hands on."
This would inspire any child to eat vegetables.
The Enabling Garden, designed for the disabled, includes raised beds and trellises to make it wheelchair accessible.
Animals - friendly and stauesque - fill this garden with adventure.
This rainbow garden, the contribution to the park from Louise and Kylee's family, was truly one of my favorites.  Filled with stunning plants in full bloom, they echoed the rainbow pathway just begging to be walked around.
The creativity factor in this soared through the roof.
And the focal point, as if all the other components weren't enough, is this sculpture that celebrates inclusion, diversity, peace and harmony and love around the world.   (Well, that's my interpretation of it.)
"Good morning, Mister Sunshine, you brighten up my day." -- Bee Gees
Everyone's a kid in a children's garden -- even me!
One of the most exciting stops in the garden -- the butterfly house.  All the plants in the garden around the house were butterfly friendly.
How insightful.  And what an amazing lesson for children -- to see life unfold before their eyes -- through two different perspectives.
Pollinator heaven.
And a little clever art with a seat to go along with it.  Perfect for butterfly watching.
Amazing creature.
The inside of the house was covered with chrysalises and butterflies that had just emerged.
They were everywhere - just waiting to join their flying friends.
They paid absolutely no attention to me - leaving my happily snapping away with my camera to capture the  moment.

Then we entered the secret garden - ducking in and finding ourselves in a perfect hideaway.

Kitty guards the entrance.  It's a stone sculpture - in case you couldn't tell!

A peaceful Zen garden is one of the last stops around the park.
And finally, a monument that honors the contributions of local businesses and citizens, like Louise,  whose creativity, hard work and financial support made this all possible. 

I only wish I lived near the garden, because it's really not just for children.  It's an amazing park that delights the senses of young and old alike.

What an accomplishment, Louise.  My hat's off to you and all you did to make this a reality.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Colorful foliage for follow up...

I've been too busy traveling and posting about other people's gardens and I haven't been home to photograph my own blooms for Bloom Day. But I do have some photos I took of foliage in my garden last week, so I can contribute to Foliage Follow up, hosted by Pam Penick of Digging.
This whale's tongue agave, agave ovatifolia, has taken off in the last year.  It grew very slowly for the first several years I had it but now it's really come into its own. It's flanked by a desert willow, a Texas Mountain laurel and some blooming Jerusalem sage in the distance.
My success with euphorbia has prompted me to collect a few different varieties.  In addition to the euphorbia rigida and the 'ascot rainbow' I already enjoy, I've added this euphorbia amygdaloides to my collection.  The leaves are much darker than the rigida, with red stems and yellow blooms.
These two little lady bugs, could be two ladies or a lady bug and a mister lady bug - (there are both boy and girl ladybugs - I looked it up!), think this glossy green leaf is the perfect place for a little party.

It was 46 here in Indiana yesterday morning, so it will definitely be a shock to come home to scorching temps.  But, I'm missing my garden and am ready to get home to survey it, tend it and photograph it.  It's been in good hands but 100 degrees is 100 degrees.

Art defines stunning garden on Ohio visit to Louise and Kylee...

After visiting Kylee of Our Little Acre 's garden in northwest Ohio on Monday, we had a delightful lunch with her mother, Louise, of Two Girls with a Purpose, who many garden bloggers know and remember from so many Garden Bloggers Flings as Kylee's traveling companion. 

Louise's garden overflows with beautiful garden art.  From family carvings and creations to blown glass and commissioned art, the art is as much a part of the garden as the plants.

A very recent addition, Louise commissioned the creation of the giant metal scroll in the front garden What a statement as you enter the front walkway.
Sadly, in this photo I accidentally cut off the bird's head at the top of this sculpture - but here's a better view of it below.  She's now having another bird made to replace the one she added to the rocks below the sculpture.
He's ready for his cousin to come join him.
These gorgeous horizontal planters flank the front door.  Welcome!
Bright blue glass globes light up this little bed.
 This colorful vertical planter adds Garden Up interest to the brick wall.
A quiet little corner of her side bed evokes a zen-like feeling with this iron pot (originally from China), junipers, conifers and the gentle Buddha.
As we strolled around the beds, this looked like a wonderful place to take a rest.
Oops, can't sit there!  How clever.
Water features adorn her garden around every corner - whimsical places for birds to drink and bathe.

The sculptural pruning of this tree creates a lovely backdrop for the roses and grasses.
 After the rains, these drooping pine needles and cones were stunning.  I so wish we could grow some of these evergreens in Austin.  I have tree envy.
As we wandered further into the garden, Louise said it was really wet and we should take off our shoes.  I can't tell you how absolutely delightful it was to walk through the soft, cool grass.  Without fear of vicious fire ants, cracked earth, limestone rocks or other unpleasant creatures.  It took me back to my childhood and time spent on my Mammaw and Pappaw's farm in Kentucky - running barefoot through the wispy Kentucky blue grass. 
 Hmmm...the perfect idea for using extra pavers or bricks.
 A little protected outside nook houses more art.
 How many garden decor items can you count in this sweet vignette?
Frog antics in yet another birdbath.
 Oh my, ferns and heuchera and creeping jenny and a mushroom!  All familiar things I enjoy in my garden, too.
 I recognize that -- it's a giant saucer hibiscus -- not the same variety as mine, but just as tall.
The blooms were really putting on a show for us.
One of my favorite color combinations.  Can you tell which one of these purple blooms is a piece of metal garden art and which is a spent allium?

And around the corner to another little peaceful space with moving art that Louise bought when we were at the fling in Seattle.
 This I loved -- Kylee and her mom both had one of these trellises - one of  Kylee's  Lowe's projects.
 Birdbath and sculpture all in one.
 A brief glimpse through the trees.
 This looks like a great place to sit with an iced tea and ponder your next garden project.
 Another long view of the bed border with the succulent chair on the very right.
And now for a big garden room for spending the afternoon with friends.
 Although, those swings look like they'd be perfect for napping!

 These glass balls, created by a local artist, include textured pieces that allow butterflies to land on them.
 Precious little details on the posts of the garden room.
What a cool planter hanging in the garden room - and another interesting vertical focal point.
Love these rudbeckias -- I might have to try to find some for my garden.
More places for bird to drink.
This intricately-carved man standing watch over the garden was carved by someone in Louise's family but I can't remember if it was her father or Kylee's father - Louise?
So many lovely vignettes and creative ideas greeted me throughout this garden.  Louise's personality and love for art was evident everywhere I turned. 

Next, a tour of the amazing Children's Garden and park that Louise helped plan and create in her home town.