container gardening

Lush hillside garden delights bloggers at Fling

Filled with a seemingly endless array of textures, colors, and forms, Barbara Katz’s garden provided a cool oasis on a hot summer day at the Garden Bloggers Fling in DC and Norther Virginia.

The back yard, filled with plants, stone and a babbling brook, evoked a Zen-like peacefulness.

The koi added a pop of color to the pond.

Japanese maples, decorative stone and conifers create a blend of beautiful textures.

This combo of bold colors is echoed in many different kinds of plants with similar hues.

The containers highlighted the same vibrant contrasts she wove into her garden.

 

Bloggers flocked up the steps into the upper lever of the garden.

At the top of the garden, a bench is tucked away waiting to provide a place to enjoy a contemplative moment.

This realistic iguana required a second look as we strolled through the garden.

Lush paths lead around the side of the house.

Bloggers spread out around the front yard, looking for the best shot of this cottage-style garden.

This unique and beautifully designed garden – cottage in the front and  Zen in the back, was delightful.

The spring garden…pots, pots and more pots!

Spring is usually pretty warm here in Central Texas, and this year is no exception.  A few spring bloomers actually had a shorter lifespan because it got hot pretty quickly, but it’s been delightful to see Jerusalem sage, salvias and black foot daisies in bloom.

I’ve spent the last week or so working on clean-up chores and some planting.  We had company for dinner outside last night and so Friday and Saturday were spent planting the pots on the back patio and scrubbing the oak pollen and blowing leaves. (It’s all back this morning – with a vengeance – but it’s a rite of passage and I know it won’t last forever.)

I had a great idea as I was trying to be efficient in crafting combinations for the outside pots — take a picture of each pot so I could see what was missing or what was already in a pot nearby so I could coordinate colors, textures, forms, etc.  Wow.  What a smart idea.  And then I forgot to do it and  I still found myself at the nursery buying annuals trying to remember and guess and buy enough.  I always think of it like Thanksgiving dinner – you have to finish with that perfect combo of food on your last forkful, or you need more potatoes, or gravy…  I need another filler, or another spiller…  If you’re addicted to pots like I am, you get it.

And, yes, every year — EVERY year — I say …less pots, less pots…and then plants just jump into my nursery cart.

They’re all so pretty and bright.

I love all the hot, tropical color combinations.

Of course the dogs have to help!

It looks so inviting.  I wanted to sit down, I really did, but there was pollen to blow!

This is my favorite spot.  I’ll get to sit there soon — maybe tomorrow morning with a quick cup of tea before the week hits in full force.

Summer gardening with nice weather and good soil…

Every year, we travel to Indiana to visit Jeff’s family.  About an hour north of Indianapolis in farm country, it’s like a breath of fresh air.

The weather is cooler, the soil is blacker, the life is simpler.  I feel the stress of life back home drift away as we whiz by field after field of corn and soybeans.  Each visit includes some exploration into native plants and unfamiliar gardens filled with peonies, lilacs, conifers and other plants that would turn to toast in Central Texas.

My mother-in-law’s planters are always stunning.  The feathery grass between my toes provides a sharp contrast between the no-bare-feet-ever policy I adhere to at home to protect myself from biting fire ants.

And then there are the tomatoes.  Oh my.  Seriously delicious.  Real seasons, rich soil, cooler summer nights … I don’t know why, but Eleanor’s tomatoes seem better than any others here on earth.  And we ate them, along with fresh sweet corn, morning, noon and night. Yumm-o.

Jeff’s family also raises Belgian draft horses – gentle giants that punctuate the landscape.  Four mares are making their home there this summer, but 20 years ago there were 28 in the lots and barns around the farm.  One of the highlights of our summer visit, the Indiana State Fair Draft Horse Show has been run and worked by Ellers for four generations now.

Jeff, his sister, Lisa, and nephew, Ashton.

I’m also a junk food junkie, and I avail myself of every opportunity to eat something fried, greasy, or sugary.  This year, I had a beef sundae for breakfast at the beef producers’ tent.  Tender, pull apart roast beef, covered with mashed potatoes, corn and gravy.  Mmmmmm. So good.  My nephew, Ashton, who is on the State Fair Board, took us to breakfast in his golf cart and then we toured the Agriculture and Horticulture building, which he helps oversee and run.  He opted for a hotdog — the $2 Tuesday special that day.  Two lemonade/iced tea shake-ups and some cheese fries found their way into me before we left for the day.

My favorite in the Ag/Hort Building?  The giant cheese sculpture!  How.  I could really make some queso with that!

Can’t forget the midway.

Look at that HAIR!!!!

Our last event of the day — the dog show.  These wonderful rescue pups performed daring feats of acrobatic skill and delighted the crowd.  And the cute factor was off of the charts!

One morning we woke to a cool, damp 57 degrees, with a whisper of fog settling over the fields. This photo captures the peaceful, picturesque countryside of Indiana farmland.

Back home in Indiana, 2015.

Dramatic Danger Garden makes a point to welcome visitors from Portland Garden Bloggers Fling

The Portland Garden Bloggers Fling this summer delivered on every level.  I love visiting gardens all around the country and getting to know so many of the garden bloggers that I follow online. 

Learning about new plants from different zones is sometimes a double-edged sword. After falling  love with them, I realize they are not appropriate for my garden, and I’m forced to walk away from them at local nurseries because they don’t make the survivability cut for my suitcase. 

But not so in Danger Garden‘s amazing landscape.  Filled with agaves and yuccas and cacti that will not only grow but thrive in my Central Texas garden, it was dangerous indeed.  The danger – that I will come home inspired to search for many of the fascinating plants in her garden.

Garden bloggers prepare for the big tour – cameras at the ready!

Succulents like these like plenty of drainage — pea gravel and decomposed granite make excellent growing mediums for them.

We were welcomed to the garden with refreshing cold drinks and snacks.  A blistering hot day (for Portland and an outdoor garden tour) seemed appropriate as we ooohed and aaahed over Danger Garden’s heat-loving plants.

With space at a premium in this garden, container vegetables lined the driveway.

Pavers and bricks and patio stones created unique design angles to lead visitors through the garden and provide contrast to neighboring plants.

Leaving no area empty, trendy and perky hanging planters were scattered throughout the garden.

A riot of color and form, many non-succulent plants provided a softer foil to the more dangerous elements in the garden.

A small square of grass provides a place for the eye to rest while feasting on all the delightful plant specimens that surround it.

Agaves, yuccas and … hostas?  Yep – these water and shade-loving plants work side-by-side in this garden.

So many unique succulents to see.

Tucked in the back is a Zen-like covered patio area for relaxing.

These shiny metal planters give height and interest to the sea of succulents.

And pots — pots everywhere.  Each and every one different.

With clean lines and a contemporary feel, the patio offers a peaceful respite from the sun.

No empty spaces, here, either…

A unique horizontal fence is flanked in the back corner of the garden by tall plants of every conceivable kind.

Even within a bed, containers showcase specimen plants.

Little pops of color make me smile.

This bed looks like a miniature forest of tiny succulents.

The biggest danger in this garden?  Falling in love with the wonderful plants and the delightful design.

Time for garden container planting…

New soil, mulch and plants in last week’s post means it’s time to move on to the other things on my garden to-do list.  At the top of the list?  Pots.

Every year, I vow not to plant so many pots.  The heat makes taking care of them unbelievably time consuming.  But they add so much to our patio space. 

So this year, I’ve thrown caution to the wind and actually gone out searching for more large pots to buy.  Crazy, I know.

In the meantime, this is what my patio looks like — a war zone!

 More pots! 

Untersetzers.  This is one of several words that I just think of in my native German.  I don’t even know what you call them in English! 

Online plant orders!

 This is my favorite pot so far — a dracena, potato vine, diamond frost euphorbia in the background and a hot pink variegated bougainvillea.

 This pot with only the amaryllis was given to me by a friend when she moved.  I added the plumeria (stick on the right – just now putting on a leaf) and a succulent, potato vine and in the back a burgundy curly-leafed basil.

The two giant pots back by the pool have mystic spires, Mexican honeysuckle (not showing yet), homestead verbena, sun coleus and a lemon ball succulent.

Have you planted your pots yet?