2014 garden bloggers fling

Cistus nursery delights gardeners at Portland Fling…

Our third stop on the first day of the Portland Garden Bloggers Fling was Cistus Nursery.  Coming from the Lan Su Chinese Garden, which was serene and peaceful, Cistus provided a bold contrast — it was chock full of plants – a sensory explosion for plant lovers.

There were many familiar plants at the nursery, like these Yucca rostrata, which grow happily at home in Austin, Texas.

 I did say chock full, didn’t I?

 But some of the Cistus family were uninterested in visiting bloggers.

“Yeah, I see you, but it’s hot and it feels good here on these cold bricks, so I hope  you don’t mind if I don’t get up to greet you!”

 Oh, so true!  It should have said, “gaggle of plant nerds!”

 I’m smitten with interesting tree bark and there were several great trees to photograph.

 Love these Eryngium — their dramatic spiky blooms provide unique texture in any garden bed.

 Dramatic grasses billowed in the breeze.

While it was easy to become engrossed in the plants on the ground and the tables, the impressive views extended to some of the majestic trees that love the Pacific Northwest.

There were many different species of Eucomis in the gardens and nurseries in Portland.  I’ve been  babying one in my own garden at home for some time.  Forced to suffer the scorching heat and the periodic nibbling deer, it is tough as nails.  Hmmmm…. and thus began the idea of taking another one home with me…

I saw this plant all over the Portland gardens — Melianthus major.  Big, bold, textured and tough, it really caught my eye.  I took several photos of it, fully intent on finding one for my garden at home.  But after some research yesterday, I’ve decided it might be too invasive in my garden…but maybe I can keep one in a pot!

 Another favorite in my garden, Euphorbia.

 Flingers in search of treasure.

 More interesting bark.

And these crocosmia were everywhere.  Their beautiful strappy leaves combined with vibrant blooms add a real pop to any garden setting.

 More amazing Erygnium.

 Reaching for the sun.

Being a salvia collector, I’m going to have to try to find one of these in Austin for my garden — Salvia guar. ‘Argentine skies.’

Even the growing heat couldn’t keep us from fanning out across the nursery in search of garden goodies.  Some bloggers left with plants.  I left with something almost as good — ideas!

Beautiful Westwind Farms vista — the backdrop of a colorful prairie-style garden…

The scent emerging from rows and rows of lavender and other wildflowers wafted around us as we descended down a hillside path into the Westwind Farm Studio.

Incorporating a stunning vista, beautiful meadows, sculptures and a refreshing pool, this Garden, nestled in the hills outside of Portland, provided a refreshing stop during the Garden Bloggers Fling tour.

 The view beyond the majestic pines war beautiful.

 Rows and rows of lavender and other wildflowers marked our walk to the house and garden.

 The meadow frames this picture-perfect view.

 Swaths of flowers greet you as you enter the garden.

 Crocosmia were blooming in almost every garden that we toured in Portland.

 And we wouldn’t want to forget the day lilies,

 or the monarda.

 A little toe dip felt very refreshing on this warm day.

 This sculpture was fascinating — and perfectly paired with these blooms.

 On the hillside behind the pool more flowers weave a blanket of color.

All the garden bloggers were taken with the sculpture, including Ally of Garden Ally, one of the members of our Texas contingent.

 Pick your view from this side of the sculptural window.  This one…

 or this one…

The grasses and the seed heads and blooms billow with the hillside breezes.

 The view was as invigorating as the cool pool waters.

 Even the pool house bathroom came with an artistic touch.

 Great views of the gardens and the vista, both outside and in.

 The amazing backdrop goes on and on.

Nestled in a lovely hillside, this garden offered us a unique side of the Portland area.  It inspired and delighted us all. 

Chinese garden is an oasis in the heart of downtown Portland

The second stop on the Portland Garden Bloggers Fling was the city’s Chinese garden, located right in the heart of the downtown bustle of Portland.  It encompasses an entire city block.  Entering the garden, you leave behind the bus fumes, honking horns and scads of people click clacking their heels on the way to work.

 Waiting for the doors to open.

 I’m not sure if this statue was greeting us or trying to keep us away!

 Intricate stone work greeted us as we walked into the garden.

It takes your breath away.  This pearl nestled among skyscrapers provides a welcome respite from city life.The view across the lake makes you feel like you’ve become a time traveler to a faraway land.

 I love the lines and the curves of all the pagodas.

 I can only imagine how long it took carvers to create some of these intricate pieces.

 Beautiful details adorn even the windows.

The point of this pagoda roof looks almost menacing as it peeks out from the trees.

Garden bloggers fan out to check out all the sights.

The sounds from this waterfall add to the spiritual sense in this garden.

 Inspirational writings adorn the rocks along side the waterfall.  I wish I knew their meaning.

The entire garden surrounded this lake.  The blooming water lilies made me think of Monet’s garden and paintings.

A tea room on the grounds offered a resting place from some bloggers. But with the growing warmth and humidity of the day, I passed on the hot tea.

 This clever pepper-shaped window offered a glimpse into the neighboring courtyard.

 The courtyard is framed here by a life-sized circle.

 Our visit to this garden was a beautiful and peaceful start to our day.

And a peek into the distance revealed the glint of the city lurking with its modern skyscrapers as we left the garden.

A gardener’s wish list of styles, all in one Portland garden

Last month’s Garden Bloggers Fling in Portland offered something for everyone.  There were many different gardens, ranging from cottage style to tropical.

The Old Germantown Gardens found its way onto my favorites list because it was one-stop shopping.  (Well, not literally shopping, though we did a lot of that on the Fling, too. ) Winding paths, perennial beds, a rock garden, ponds, a dry hillside garden, tropical plants and a collection of seating areas were scattered about the 2-acre property. A mere 23 years in the making, the gardeners brought the design and their plant collections together beautifully.

 The vista from the front of the house beckons you into the garden.

 Winding paths entice you into the diverse gardens and vignettes.

In spite of the broad swaths of color and texture and form, stunning individual blooms reached out to me in many places throughout this garden.

Something new and unique waited around every corner and down each path.

Ah, a lovely place to rest and enjoy the garden.

 But I didn’t dally here – too much more to see!

The woodland garden was a treat for me – the cool, shady path provided a welcome relief from the hot sun and in Austin, Texas, a garden like this is rare.

 I’m always delighted by the conifers in the Pacific Northwest.

Another path leading to more garden goodies.

I saw these plants in the nursery in Portland and on someone’s blog post.  The color combination absolutely wowed me. 

And there were daylilies everywhere.  Tall daylilies, short daylilies, bright daylilies, pale daylilies.

Then there was a drier garden, fille with plants that I recognized.

And some tropical colors started appearing in the garden.

Doesn’t everyone need a waterfountain in the middle of the garden for a refreshing drink while you are weeding?!

Ah – Eucomis – I have one at home and bought one at the nursery the previous night.  Love them.

And another familiar sight – cacti with beautiful blooms.

 And then there were the real tropicals – love these hot, popping colors.

 And a greenhouse full of special plants.

It was a delightful garden with so much to see and enjoy.  The best kind of garden for a tour – one in which every path leads to a new garden adventure.

Hot art and design spice up Portland De Sousa Fling garden

Full to the brim with ideas and a mile-long wish list of plants that I know I can’t grow here, I’m reacclimating to Austin and my own garden after 6 glorious days in Portland, OR.

My seventh Garden Bloggers Fling beckoned last weekend – with an agenda full of great friends, gardens, nurseries, and gift shops. 

The whirlwind started early and ended late and wowed me all day long every day.  Because there were so many gardens in every imaginable style – I just closed my eyes today and blindly picked one to begin my posting.

The JJ De Sousa garden was one of my favorites.  Hot colors created a riot of interest in the garden – plants and art and seating everywhere shouting “look at me, look at me.”  The rich and sophisticated hues of tropical colors were designed to brighten the shady spots of this garden and to celebrate the hot, sunny spaces.

 This whimsical gate welcomes visitors.

 The colors of the tropics permeate everything in the garden, plants, pottery and decor.

 The plants looked happy and healthy everywhere I turned.  Ah, the benefits of some rain in the garden.

 Pots and gazing balls coordinate and contrast.

 The side garden ends with a fabulous wooden gate — which leads to another pocket of paradise.

 Come on in, the party’s in here!

 More whimsical art sets the mood for this garden.

 Every little nook and cranny was filled with some sweet something designed to delight the senses.

 This precious little statue is squirreling away succulents instead of seeds.

 This regal Egyptian dog statue comes down to earth with clematis and nasturtiums trailing all around.

 These tall, elegant vases, capped with aeonium, added a little note of sophistication.

 One of many seating areas that welcomed visitors to sit a spell.

Color joined texture in this garden — smooth ceramic pots, gritty gray concrete and the sleek look of the corrugated tin made a cool combo.

 Ahhh – I could sit here for hours!

 And, a little humor.  Chicken nesting boxes now home to hens and chicks … ha ha.

And just past the shrimp plant in this bed, a colorful stock tank water feature with a metal shrimp  sculpture and glass globes.  Look up whimsy in the dictionary — this is the photo you’ll find.

The same burst of colors that enriched the shady front garden, with a drier, sunnier twist.

 More whimsy around the corner.

 This Buddha statue, hidden among the trees, looked just like a giant gummi bear.

 There were little vignettes like this everywhere.

More color, radiating everywhere.

And back through the gate again.

This was one of many Portland gardens on the tour to feature trendy tropical-style colors and decor.  But beyond the design, this hot garden would brighten any cloudy day.  It certainly brightened mine.