The second garden we visited on the Bloomin' Tour was The Plant Station, home of The Gardens at Sandy Bend. This is an evaluation/trial garden for new plant introductions from around the world. The owners, Nancy and Jim, used to own and operate All Seasons Nursery in Castle Rock, once a favorite destination for my family on a weekend morning. But back to their current garden.
I started snapping photos as soon as I stepped out of the car. How could I not, when we pulled in and were immediately faced with these Cotinus and Rosa glauca?
The Plant Station deserves partial credit for encouraging me to divide my Hakonechloa macra 'All Gold' for one of the new areas I planted last fall. I'm not all that big on grasses, but I love this one.
Lush plants, both in the ground and in containers, surround the house. You may notice a few flags in these photos, like the two pink ones at the base of the banana. Visitors receive flags to mark their favorite plants, helping The Plant Station to gather information on gardening trends. Different colors were given to guests based on their experience, whether they were home gardeners, master gardeners, professionals, etc.
There were plants for sale. These aren't them.
I do love a happy California fuchsia, whether you call them Zauschneria or Epilobium. Mine don't look so happy right now, after being frozen and flattened by snow, but they'll come back and be beautiful like this again. I can already see new shoots.
Golden Himalayan honeysuckle (Leycesteria formosa cv.) glows with chartreuse foliage and charms with pendant clusters of tubular white flowers emerging from purple bracts.
Thujopsis dolobrata is one of my favorite conifers. I really should find a place for it in the garden.
I'm not a big fan of garden ornaments, but I did have fun photographing the big purple ball, which was well-matched with the green conifers around it.
I love simple pairings like this Salvia officinalis and Teucrium chamaedrys. Silver and green make a perfect combination. For some reason, I've never grown germander before. This photo has me rethinking that for several areas of the garden.
The Plant Station also contains a whimsical wooded area, where the owners' grandchildren are encouraged to engage with the garden and exercise their design skills. I think it's already clear that this isn't my cup of tea, but this one actually made me laugh. It was much better than the one at the first garden we'd seen on the tour. Come on, who doesn't need a flower-child pig with orange-rimmed sunglasses?
When a gardener is put on hold for too long.
Definitely getting a hippie vibe in these woods, or maybe Mardi Gras? I think the bear may have been begging for honey.
It's a legitimate concern in the Pacific Northwest.
The Plant Station is full of wonderful plants. The gardens were full of color, but the textural combinations were what really struck me.
I love the texture in this vignette. The fern, tradescantia, and Asarum caudatum in the background make a wonderful, lush green combination.
More simple, lush greenery. The bits of blue and pink from the hydrangeas in the upper left seem out of place in this tapestry of green shades. There's nothing wrong with brighter colors, but I love this.
This was one of my favorite vignettes in the garden. The silver pear, Pyrus salicifolia, arching overhead, contrasting with the metal ornament in the foreground. From it's shape, I assume it turns in the wind, though I don't remember it doing so. A lush mix of foliage and flowers creates a diverse yet harmonious melange of textures and colors. The partially obscured view invites guests to venture down the path to discover what lies beyond. It also screams "summer," which I'm in dire need of at the moment. This is my contribution to Wednesday Vignette, hosted by Anna at Flutter&Hum.
I don't normally fall for hydrangeas, but this black-stemmed beauty caught my eye. The contrast of the stems, foliage, and flowers was simply gorgeous. I like that the flowers were single and in smaller clusters, not as congested or frilly as many hydrangeas.
A weeping blue Atlas cedar trained over a mix of Juncus and Acorus conveyed a cooling, soothing vibe with the water feature under and behind it. There was a waterfall, but I mostly focused on the plants.
Again, I love the textures and colors here. Simple and serene. Who needs flowers? (Though technically, the Juncus is flowering in this photo.
Though I was impressed by the size of these floriferous begonias. They were huge!
Lavender and blueberries, with boxes of nasturtiums and other annuals on the decking above. Outside the frame of this photo to the left were delicious alpine strawberries. We were encouraged to indulge and did so with gusto.
I loved (LOVED) this water feature. We have lots of old cedar left from taking down the split-rail fence, and I could imagine using some of it to create something like this. I love the aged wood, the way it emerges from under the deck. I love the rocks and the conifers. I love that bit of rusty metal on the right.
Sadly, my idea was shot down. That's ok. I can look back on these photos for inspiration when I have full control of my own garden.
This winter has seen a lot of planning for the arrival of spring. I have pages on pages of garden tasks; detailed lists of plants that need moved, removed, added, pruned, etc; fantasy lists of new plants to add to each bed, compiled through internet research. I've gotten sick of fantasy planning and wanted desperately to visit a few nurseries to refine my lists based on what I could actually find locally, in real life. I had planned to go to a few on Monday, until the forecast made me cancel those plans. This Saturday looks mercifully dry (only a chance of showers, versus a downpour) for the season opening of Xera's retail store. Of course, I'm also desperate to start gardening. I think I could get away with planting my big leaf maple seedlings out in the woods, and digging a few sword ferns from the woods to move into garden beds. A little cold won't hurt tough plants like that. If only it would stop snowing!
Edit: Sunday night, after I had written most of this post, the power went out at about 10:30. It was my worst fear, a power outage at night, and me with no backup heater for the greenhouse. I threw on warm clothes and a headlamp, slogged through 9 inches of heavy, wet snow to the greenhouse, and did a quick assessment of what to bring inside. Thankfully, temperatures were predicted to hover just above freezing all night, but there were a few plants I didn't want to risk getting even a light frost. Most of my vireyas, an agapetes of unknown hardiness full of flower buds, Blechnum gibbum, and a bevvy of baby tree ferns came in the house for the night. Everything else could handle at least a light freeze (I hoped). The entire time I was walking back and forth between the greenhouse and the house, loud cracks and crashes from breaking limbs and falling trees resounded in the dark.
I'll spare you the full details of my power-outage and snow-related tasks that morning. Eventually, I went back out to photograph the damage to the fence, both for this blog and for insurance claims. Then I set about clearing some of the debris.
|Deer tracks in the snow. Something I had hoped never to see here again.|
|Two trees fell across the fence here. I took down the temporary fence to get a better shot of the damage.|
|We have a new water feature.|
Shattered to pieces. It looks awful, but the rhododendron will survive. We've cut it down to stubs before in order to move it to its current location. It just took years to retrain the vigorous, floppy new shoots into a sturdy frame of dense foliage to block the view.
Other injuries include Rhododendron 'Medusa' and Rhododendron 'Kurume Red'. Medusa was slated for a hard pruning this summer anyway, as it had become thin and leggy in its former location. But I still would have preferred it not to be splayed in half.
This Japanese maple might reveal some damage once the snow melts, but it seems to have been miraculously missed, for the most part.
And the fence damage.
I am so incredibly ready for this winter from hell to be over. I desperately need to see plants growing, and to work in the garden in a capacity other than damage control.