I had a wonderful trip to Far Reaches Farm in Port Townsend, Washington, yesterday. My mother, aka The Plant Collector, goes there on a regular basis, and we finally got to go together. If Port Townsend is in reach for you, go for a visit ASAP! The demonstration gardens were wonderful, particularly the greenhouse, which felt like a trip into the Rain Forest with towering lilies and enormous foliage in every direction.
If you don’t live locally, you’re still in luck, because they have a very popular mail order business. As for me, I had 2 takeaways: 1) I must track down some Melica uniflora f. albida as soon as I get home; and 2) When visiting, always plan to have lunch up the road at the Spruce Goose Cafe at the Jefferson County International Airport!
We had a superb visit to the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida. It was a perfect day to enjoy the grounds. In the central museum courtyard are enormous terra cotta pots with bougainvillea as the only color spots- and nothing more is needed. Classic and simple, and I wanted to live there! Although if I did live there, I would add lemon trees. Then nothing more would be needed.
Walking though your garden can be a wonderful tactile experience.
Like a cashmere sweater or a fuzzy fleece in a clothing store, it’s almost impossible for me to walk past these plants without touching them. Even prickly things, like the center of a coneflower, make me want to connect. (“Let me see if I can touch it so softly that it doesn’t hurt!”)
We’re always focused on how a garden looks, especially when we’re perusing beautiful photos, but when we’re in the physical space, the smells, sounds, textures and even tastes elevate our experience to another level.
I’m so excited that these new yellow rhododendrons are opening up in my garden. They’re supposed to be a “compact” variety, which I hope means I won’t need to prune them back much. I don’t normally plant rhodies or azaleas in small gardens because I don’t really like their form over time, but the pale yellow of these felt like daffodils so I thought I’d give them a try. So far, so good, but if they get big and leggy, they’re moving to the back garden!
I was running down the Custis Trail yesterday and saw all this Winter Jasmine hanging along the retaining wall- lovely! Native to China, this is a wonderful early winter bloomer, suggestive of forsythia to come a little later.
Yes, this is the perfect time to plant. The weather is mild, you don’t need to break the bank with the water bill, and plants get a chance to winter over before bursting back to life in the spring. Head to the garden center to find your inspiration!
Well, this summer went way too fast for me, but one good thing I can say is, it’s almost fall planting time! Autumn is really the best time of year for getting new plants in the ground. Once they winter over, you’ll be amazed how great they look when they come up in the spring.
A stone landing tidies up the connection between the driveway and fenced bin area.
Mazus reptans will quickly fill in between the stones.
Second season Mazus reptans groundcover filling in nicely.
So-called “steppable” groundcovers are widely available at garden centers. These are plants that can be walked over without significant damage. They’re great for filling areas along walkways and they add so much charm. Mazus reptans is one of the most common. As you can see, it will definitely do the job!