DIG Floral & Garden (Vashon Island, WA)

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A few weeks back I promised pictures of DIG Floral & Garden out on Vashon Island and I have failed to provide those up until now. I am sorry for the cursory visit, but my ongoing hand injury recovery has really slowed me down.

Lobelia tupa.
Happiest dog I’ve seen all summer.
I have seen tons of blown glass balls and baubles galore at other places but this arrangement is just right.
If you’re going to put a large round object in your garden make sure it’s big and heavy.
A few years ago these gabions inspired my husband to make his own at the family vineyard in California. His is much smaller but he loved that he could use rocks he’d been digging up in the vineyard to fill it up. (Note too the metal “picture” frames. They are actually recycled metal grates.)
I think this is safely described as a bit surreal. The dissimilar objects remind me much of Lautreamont’s famous quote concerning the beauty of a chance encounter between very different objects. Sometimes the odd couple pairings really do work!
If my mother-in-law enjoyed gardening, I would have to buy her one of these little handsome devils.
I have seen simple tiered planters before but admittedly I’ve never really liked them. This one is completely different though because the pottery appears to have morphed its shape. It seems more alive somehow.
I have a sedum filled birdbath too so I am a bit partial to this one.
Chuckle.
Smile.
Possibly a Tweedia.
Fuchsia ‘Chang’.
More glass balls and this color pathway is maybe a bit less jarring.
Surprising combination.
These are aluminum banded planters that can be used many different ways.
Their take on the Mediterranean theme meshes far better with my relaxed and not-so-technical side. It isn’t Anglophilic or part of the Tuscanization of America. It find that refreshing.
Now I want a totally new garden and it will have a special name inspired by this scene: Glaucous. I would even get my husband a well-trained Glaucous Macaw and train it to act like Kermit the Frog. The silliness of the idea makes it seem plausible.
De nada!
Just in case anyone cares, that’s a Beschorneria ‘Ding Dong’ blooming in the terracotta pot. (If you’re reading this, I got that name just for you.)
This white chicken should stand beside my red wheelbarrow. I need some white concrete chickens right? That’s not a want, but a need. Clearly.
The white glass baubles were also a nice touch. I still can’t decide which colors I liked most though so that’s why you get to see them all.
Nothing makes me happier than an Asparagus fern in a serene formal planter. It floods me with memories of the Alcazar in Seville.
This is meant to remind myself and others that if you have a Staghorn fern living unhappily in a small plastic planter, set it free!
Begonia maculata var. wightii.

The DIG tour had to be quick because we had a ferry to catch. Two of our regular foster respite kids were waiting back in Portland for us so we had to dash off the island. That morning, the ferry had looked so mysterious and moody in the fog, but by the time we’d packed up, and arrived at the nursery, things were looking much better.

As we waited for the ferry, I sat and watched the Madrone trees.

Madrone, Arbutus menziesii.

Vashon Island, Washingtion

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My first visit to Vashon Island occurred when I was in high school. One of my friends at that time had family here and we were often invited up to visit her when she was visiting them. After I purchased my first car, I drove her up and dropped her off. That was my first solo road trip, and as anyone who knows me now knows, it was the beginning of my long love affair with road trips. I cannot tell you how happy I am to have returned for a quick visit. This island is the first place I ever felt freedom as a young woman and that still means a lot to me.
It might be hard to see, but the name of this Washington State Ferry is Rhododendron.

I wasn’t sure what to write about Vashon Island, since there is simply so much to say, but I had to start somewhere so here we are on the water!

There are four ferries to the island. One leaves from Tacoma and takes you to the south end of the island while the other three leave from the north and can take you to West Seattle, Southworth or downtown Seattle. The ferry to downtown Seattle is a passenger-only ferry and we utilized it a lot when I was younger.

Nowadays I stay with another friend from high school and it’s at her in-law’s vacation home. Lucky for us, the drive from the ferry is a quick one so I had my feet up resting in no time.

We had to drive to the north end of the island to gather some dinner items and as soon as we returned, the chef was hard at work. Our hostess did an amazing job of making everything pleasant for us and the evening could not have been better!

My friend’s mother-in-law is great with interior design and it is fun to see her love of nature and plant-life. This charming marigold print is a new favorite of mine. Surrounded by the grey-blue of Puget Sound and the sky it compliments the environment well.

Outside on the deck, a lonely Aloe awaits us. It is such a great touch and it is almost starfish-like. (Yes, you can lean over the deck sometimes and look directly at starfish and other creatures. It is really dreamy that way.)

Like all vacation homes, the house has plenty of hens and chicks—and these are beautifully arranged.

There is a mixed succulent dish too.

When you first arrive at the house, after a long walk down several flights of stairs, this is what greets you  beside the front door. It is nice to enter a house smiling and I think the homeowner has nailed that requirement.

Nearby, you will find other garden and patio decor. And although this is a catfish, I’d like to imagine it to be a sturgeon.

This morning I awoke early, excited for the day ahead, with plenty of plant shopping on my mind, and I watched the fishermen and the wildlife. I grew up on a creek and I often saw herons all of the time, but living in the city now, I honestly miss them. They are really beautiful birds.

Nearby on the back deck there is also this lovely piece. I am guessing this was purchased, but it could easily be handmade by anyone with enough time to collect the driftwood.

I was also able to see some amazing watercraft this morning too other than the plain ole salmon boats with their screeching outboard motors and huge almost ridiculously over sized nets that are honestly necessary to land big salmon.

Sorry this is only setting the scene, and I haven’t truly dug my teeth into any REAL garden material, but trust me, I will. (Have you ever seen abandoned overgrown orchid greenhouse? Oh, you will!)

Flora Grubb Gardens

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If you have not yet read about, or heard about, or seen Flora Grubb and the work that comes out of her nursery, then you have certainly missed a garden design superstar and an undeniable inspiration for many of us. Undoubtedly, you must have seen her work somewhere since published examples and articles highlighting her design work have been around now for several years. After seeing the headquarters at the nursery, I came away feeling like I’d had a relaxing afternoon at a garden spa. It was amazing and I bought some really special garden items but I will post those later.

Lehua. Metrosideros collina ‘Springfire’. Hardy in zones 9-11.
Isopogon anethifolius ‘Cura Moors’. This is an Australian Protea that’s a shrub. Hardy to 20-25°F.
Strelitzia nicolai.
Grevillea lavandulacea ‘Penola’.
Willow Cone Bush. Leucadendron salignum ‘Blush’.  Zone 9b-11.
Fernleaf Banksia. Banksia blechnifolia. Hardy to the mid-20sF.
Kohuhu. Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Gold Star’. Hardy to 20sF.
I feel bad that I missed so many other fine details and plants but I was on such a tight schedule to get up to Santa Rosa to meet my husband after he finished a weekend course on wine chemistry. I tried to stop at some other shops on my way but the traffic and parking in San Fran is so bad I grew impatient and headed north.
From there, we drove for over an hour up to his dad’s house and to the vineyard in Lake County. I was so sad to see all of the rain, but then I realized that this would be the end of tailing my husband in his California car and that seemed much worse. After a night in Kelseyville, I was on my own, but many adventures were ahead of me and I looked forward to hunting for native plants, collecting rocks for the garden, and stuffing large pieces of driftwood into the car. (I will go back to Lake County next time in search of a rare endemic native plant.)

Northwest Flower & Garden Show (2011) Part Two

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We spent all day at the show again today and we arrived back at the hotel late. After some dinner, a bit of correspondence, and some rest, I am posting the next batch of images with some comments. I have at least two more posts to write about the show, and I am currently ruminating over some really great information we heard today during the three seminars we attended that featured some great speakers! (One of them is an avid garden blogger!!!)
NW Orchid Society display.
NW Orchid Society display.
Great way to make an instant maze or play area for kids. I had never thought of using this material in this way before but I think it might be fun to use this summer. It is basically a stuffed permeable landscape material.
Insect art in the garden is more than fitting and it points to the ongoing ridiculousness that we even ornament our gardens at all in the first place.
So often animal ornamentation can seem too bold, but I really loved these subtle insertions.
What struck me about this fountain was the amount of noise that it made. I want a water feature in our small garden very much and the echo of the water splashing underneath was remarkable.
This picture is only here to remind me that my green dwarf mondo grass will grow in eventually. It will be worth the wait.
Note to self: Mix up the stone a bit.
Cannot remember the name of this Narcissus, but I want to say that is is Rip van Winkle.
Note to others: Green walls are everywhere.
Note to others: This garden decor is approved by my husband, especially if attached to our Douglas fir tree, but the cool crab made out of a flat rock and rusted metal is not.
Note to others: See above. This is husband approved for the porch.

Container Garden Exhibition

These smaller displays are always a crowd favorite. I was so excited to see them this year and I was not disappointed. I am just so sorry that I don’t have the names of everyone involved.

Weathered metal and green walls are all the rage. Note that the pillow on the chair has air plants as extra fringe. There is also a mossy top on the planter on the right. Moss was seen all over the place!
This nursery really took the container theme seriously and the edge of their space was planted too.
I am such a turtle lover I got up close to see the detail. I am not sure that my turtle would want this in her garden. Including it in the display was kind of gutsy even if it is just cast concrete. Then again, if antlers are cool, why not…
Note the blue wall pocket for your green wall. Green walls were everywhere.
Planted gutter.
The sweater wrap is a fun craft I discovered on etsy. Wrap any old vase with an old sweater and it looks kind of cute.  On a planter, it is kind of cute too.
I have a planter at home that looks just like this so of course I liked it.
Very cool nautical display with succulents.

Again, there will be more tomorrow and posts everyday until Sunday. We return home to Portland in the morning, but I have a lot to say about those amazing seminars.

If you can make it in for the rest of the show, I highly recommend it. If not, maybe I’ll see you next month in San Francisco! Until then, happy garden planning!

Holiday Ice

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For the last week or so we have been closely watching a young foster child and, due to the toddler status, not much is getting done in the garden—but so it goes. The little one is having a hard time, but we are working together to help with the necessary support.

Last week we had a touch of snow and with it came a hard freeze and some ice. Down here closer to the Willamette Valley floor we didn’t see much in the way of the white stuff, but the ice was fun to look at out of the car window. I couldn’t stop taking pictures of it as I waited in the car trying hard not to notice it was really cold.

I spied this gorgeous little fruit/seed hanging off of one of my newer Mondo grasses and I had to get a picture of it. The color is really amazing.

Contorted Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon chingii)

These are what’s left now of my Japanese Snowbell seedpods. The outer part froze off and now the seeds are just hanging on. I probably should collect a few more while I can.

Ice kind of fascinates me. This is a small area where ice popped up and out of the soil. I used to know how it forms, but I can no longer recall. I am in awe of its beauty and mystery and that is enough for me. Since this is an area of soil that is heavily rained on due to the downspout nearby, the wet soil saturation should have something to do with its creation.

My unfinished stuffed 12″ living obelisk, a small incomplete project overseen by St Francis in pint-sized form,  appears to have acquired a new planting plan while I wasn’t looking. The mushrooms really cracked me up.

The snow has turned to ice on the globe planted with creeping thyme. Sometimes I too feel my snowy nature turning to ice and it is then that I close my eyes to imagine the sunshine warming my shoulders, and I turn, and I feel the sunlight as it heats my eyelids and I open them only to be blinded, happily.

Not sure if I have complained about Hypothryoidism much, but it makes life for me very difficult during the coldest days of winter. Raynaud’s syndrome makes socks a necessity too at all times and even in bed when I am asleep I will get foot craps if I neglect to wear them. Winter is the hardest time.

I caught the last embers of autumn along this frozen Begonia grandis stem before it warmed and collapsed. From a distance, it really was quite striking, a kind of garden graffiti I welcome.

Frosted Hens and Chicks proving yet again that they are always alive.

My ever watchful amulet. It is not the cornicello that so many Italian-Americans cherish, but it is the other evil eye amulet to protect against the evil eye. I suppose it is more akin to fighting fire with fire. This was purchased last year at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show and I hope to buy another one this year when we go. It just glows in the right light.

Hope you enjoyed my mostly random garden visit. Next time I will include the garden crafts I’ve been making indoors while I’ve been overseeing the little one. For me, I am crafting in baby steps so don’t expect hand-grown, hand-woven perfection. Maybe next year though…