More Chanticleer magic — the Tea Cup Garden

I really had no sense of the vastness that awaited me in all three of the gardens that my friend, Pam, of Digging, and I visited on our recent trip to the Brandywine Valley area of Pennsylvania.

Upon entering the third garden, Chanticleer, on the third morning of our trip, the sun was already high in the sky and the day was heating up. The entrance area is rather small – a covered outdoor area on a patio with a nice selection of planters and a desk where the staff politely welcomed us. We started where most people start, entering through the small Kitchen Courtyard Garden just beyond the entrance.

The initial courtyard is filled with creative planters as well as fresh flowers.

Each day, the gardeners scatter fresh-cut flowers in vases and containers like this throughout the garden. These float gently on top of the water in this pot.

Filled with an array of tempting tropicals, the next garden, beyond the ornate gate, is the Tea Cup Garden. It is said to change significantly from year to year or even season to season, as most of its plants don’t overwinter in the this cold-climate garden. Come on in, the weather’s fine.

Taken by this delicate display, Pam captures it with her camera.

Now, my turn!

I love the reflection of the light in the sky against the glass table top, adding another dimension to this vignette.

The namesake of this garden, a tea cup-like planter, provides the focal point of the inner courtyard filled with tropical plants.

Groupings of pots add interest around the perimeter of the courtyard on the right.

The left side of the courtyard includes a raised bed garden, filled with alliums, punctuated by two stunning ceramic planters with silver ponyfoot and bromeliads.

This marks only the beginning of the garden’s vast display of bromeliads. To add to the level of detail in both garden design and identification, Chanticleer’s website includes a meticulously created plant list for each garden. Which, by the way, changes with the seasons and the years. I assumed it would just be an alphabetical list, which would have made IDing plants complicated. Then I clicked on the link and found this
— amazing.

With a small collection of bromeliads, I can’t wait to get all my posts done and then take a good look at the plant list to start making my own wish list!

This delicate peach Brugmansia, ‘Charles Grimaldi,’ rests in a clever container, contrasting beautifully with the rich, eggplant colors of Begonia ‘sparks will fly’ and Neoregelia ‘Elwood.’
So, finally I get to the alliums.

My love affair with alliums began in 2009 at the site of the second Garden Bloggers Fling in Chicago. You can see my post about that tour here

I tried twice to grow them in Austin, but our weather heated up much too quickly for them (at least in the years I tried to grow them) and the foliage was fried to a crisp before they reached 1/2 of their mature height. I even planted varieties specifically known to grow in Zone 9, but it just wasn’t meant to be. So, they hold a special interest for me on garden tours to more temperate climates. I’ll have to settle for enjoying the onion blooms in my veggie garden.

Their kaleidoscope structure is even more intriguing up close and personal.

Naturally, Pam and I had to take a selfie with them, though they sort of look like they’re coming out of the back of our heads!

There were so many more beautiful plants and vignettes in the Tea Cup Garden — these are just the highlights. Next, we’ll venture further into the garden. If you missed my first two posts about our fabulous garden trip, you can find them here – Chanticleer’s Ruin Garden
, and here – Longwood Conservatory Garden post #1
(also filled with bromeliads).

I haven’t had time to post all week, but it feels great to “stroll” through my garden photos and share my memories with you. I’ll have another one soon!

Propagating new plants for a new year…

Before we get our first official freeze here in Central Texas, I went wandering through the garden and gathered up a box of cuttings from some of my favorite annual plants and then spent a few hours in the greenhouse.

I got my tools and materials together and set about prepping the cuttings, trimming leaves, making long, clean cuts and giving everyone a dip into the rooting hormone.

Nice and toasty warm, with plenty of humidity and a controlled temperature, the cuttings should grow happily in the greenhouse over the next few months of winter.

When spring arrives, I’ll enjoy having some great little starter plants to replace the annuals I lost through the winter, or to expand planting of some of my favorites.

Can you tell what I planted?

Some plants are easier to identify than others.

This one is an easy ID, but also one of my faves.

Now let’s see if I can keep them all alive all winter.  Fingers crossed!

Stunning San Francisco Fling garden tour of my dream garden…

The San Francisco Garden Bloggers Fling was an amazing adventure into a myriad of unique and beautiful gardens and micro climates.  I expected the weather in San Francisco to be cool and comfortable.  Not so.  As is often the case when I’ve traveled to the annual garden flings, they were having an uncharacteristic heat wave.  (The Texas bloggers have a theory that we bring the beat with us – a tradition we’d love to put an end to!) 

San Francisco was tolerable, though as we ventured further out from the city, it was hotter (103 one day walking through the gardens) and drier.  Of course the beauty of the micro climates is that it enabled us to tour a wonderful variety of gardens, all within driving distance. 

On the last day, we visited the Ann Nichols Garden in Oakland.  This was my favorite garden by far, filled with mysterious paths, babbling water features, unique artwork and an intricate garden of tropical plants and desert plants mixed with traditional plants.  (I have a soft spot for tropicals and I garden in the scorching heat of the southwest in Austin, Texas.)

As you arrive, the garden rises from the street in a succulent-lovers hillside of hot with the tropical colors of agaves, yuccas, phormium and cannas. 

Everyone ooohed and ahhhhed over this intricate spiral agave.  It can’t take our arid heat, so I won’t be searching for one to plant in my garden.

I finally tore myself away from the hillside to follow a delicate, almost-hidden path up to the house.  Lined with papyrus, aloes, ground cover and cannas, it led me to my ultimate destination — a stunning brugmansia, its bell-shaped blooms dripping over the path to envelop garden visitors in an apricot  canopy.

Winding on the other side of the house is another path, filled with ground cover, succulents and grasses, that leads you up into the back garden.

Along the property line is a fence/trellis/jungle creation that hosts bromeliads, tillandsias ferns and other exotic

But unlike so many side gardens that are just an avenue for reaching another area, this was a mystical garden of its own.  Flanked by layers upon layers of plants, the steps lead through a series of unique, artistic ponds that are part of a larger waterway system and all connected. 

 The water runs through channels from the upper lever water feature down to the other ponds.

Here’s a garden blogger capturing a photo in the garden…you’ll laugh at this one.  I was trying to remember who this was and I remember that I was wearing a peach blouse that day, wondering who else did.  Then I realize this is a mirror that was hanging on the fence and that’s ME in the picture!  Working on a creative photo shot, I captured myself and then promptly forgot about it.  In any case, the mirror, tucked behind a treasure trove of plants, was a delightful find for garden visitors.

Next to the gate at the top of the stone steps, a tile mural covers the wall as a backdrop for the pond.  Notice the cat in the mural – you’ll see him again in more art in the back garden.

Now onto the back garden.  There are 3 levels in the back garden.  Through the gate and continuing up the stairs, you pass another water feature as you’re drawn to another gate.

But wait, that’s a door, or is it.  No, it’s a gate… It’s a door to a building, painted to look like the gate, with our friend the cat perched on top and his friend waiting for him at the bottom.  So clever and entertaining.  (And there’s another brugmansia to the left…sigh…)

And then it’s off to the right and up another set of steps, flanked by glorious loropetalums in pots, and up onto the small patch of lawn.  In this lush setting, the grass itself is a focal point.

It was also a perfect gathering spot for the garden bloggers to share their thoughts on this amazing garden.  Ann Nichols even invited a few of us inside the house to view the back garden from upstairs, which is the perch from which I shot this photo.

 Then it’s up the stairs once more, through this Dr. Seuss-like allee of weeping sequoia, tied together and leading you on to the last gate of the garden, a replica of the first gate and the painted gate.

 There are several delightful seating areas in the upper garden, which is filled with fragrant roses, succulents and phormium.
And the look back down the hill, framed by the sequoias, to the back of the house and our friends enjoying refreshments and good company.

The back of the house is flanked by a lower-level patio area, filled with pots of suculents and a rock lined retaining wall filled with hot colors and wonderful textures.

You can see why I fell in love with this garden.  I’m sure I could have spent the entire day there and still not seen everything it has to offer,

Big goings on …

Lots happening here today. I called my buddy, Juan, who sent his guys out to do a lot of heavy lifting garden work around here today.

First, they took down this huge cedar tree in our front yard. Heaven knows why, but the previous homeowner put a pretty mulch ring around it and pretended it was a real tree. Texans will understand that this particular cedar is a trash tree — one that drinks all the moisture in the soil and robs other plants of water and causes our well-known cedar fever allergies. So — off with her head!
Wish I had thought to take a picture FIRST, but you get the point and you can tell how big she was by the trailer full of tree in the background as well.
Then, on to digging and pruning. They guys dug the big holes and I stuck to the little ones! The Brug finally went into the ground — you’ll remember I dug her up from a spot that was much too hot for her and now she will live in partial shade. It’s not shady there now, but in an hour or so, the oak tree behind her will shield her from the worst of the hot Texas afternoon sun. One of her babies, rooted from chopping off her head in the greenhouse last winter, also went in beside her.Also planted today (not by me) were two volunteer palms, the Mexican Bird of Paradise, the variegated agave from Tuesday’s shopping trip, and three Blackfoot daisies. Dang — the soil is just too darn dry here for me to get much into the ground and with tendonitis arms, it’s that much harder. So, I just save up the big stuff sometimes and add those chores onto a job list when I call for help.
I planted a little Bulbine today — two plants that have been waiting in the “hold indefinitely” area! This big one came in a plantable pot last summer and I finally got around to planting it in the ground because it was getting too hot on the table.
And this baby bulbine in a 6 inch pot found a home by the driveway. Cross your fingers that no one EATS them!
A couple more hours of work to go … I’m going to go back out and supervise and prune and weed a little. Oh – and I have 5 day lilies, some caladiums, some irises and some succents to plant, too…boy…I’d better get to work!

I did it!

Well, I did it.

Thanks to all the encouragement of my garden blogging friends, I took the plunge (and the pruners) and cut off the German Double Pink Brugmansia.

Yep – I whacked her off. And the good news it that I am trying to root threw new ones!

I took three shoots and planted them in good soil with compost and watered them well.

And I talked to them. I hope they all survive.  I know my tall Mama will be better off, because she will continue to grow.  

How fun would it be to have a cluster of them planted together?

So, thanks for all your words of encouragement and “get over it!”

Sometimes it’s just hard to cut new growth when you’ve just seen it come on and you feel lucky to have it in the first place!  
Since I dug her up for the winter, I was so afraid I’d hurt her roots, that I didn’t want to take any chances with her.
Cross your fingers for the babies!
I’ll keep you posted on their progress.  
By | 2017-11-29T23:27:49+00:00 February 16th, 2009|Blog, brugmansia, Sharing Nature's Garden|0 Comments

I need a Garden 12-step sponsor — help me please!

Ok, I’m coming clean. This is my German Double Pink Brugmansia. (See the unbelievably tall, skinny stalk that goes all the way to the ceiling?)

I know I should cut it down at least some and let it start again at a more reasonable height, but…

…I can’t do it.

I just can’t.

It will be unstable, I may not be able to get it OUT of the greenhouse, and it might break off in the gusty winds we have out here all the time if I leave it like this.

I know all this.

But I still can’t bring myself to cut off this new growth at the top.

I’m just so glad it survived my digging it up and potting it for overwintering in the greenhouse.

It seems so, well … mean.

So, I need the computer equivalent of a group chant:

Do it, do it, do it, do it!

Won’t you help push me over the edge?!

By | 2017-11-29T23:27:49+00:00 February 13th, 2009|Blog, brugmansia, Sharing Nature's Garden|0 Comments