Garden Bloggers Fling cottage-style garden of Casa Mariposa

Long, hot days and late nights aside, the 2017 Garden Bloggers Fling, held two weekends ago in the Northern Virginia/DC area, had it all.  Surrounded by friends old and new, we toured botanical gardens, private gardens and the many gardens along the National Mall in D.C.

The Fling team did a fabulous job of hosting and things ran like clockwork.  Our chief organizer and hostess writes a garden blog at Casa Mariposa.  We were all excited to see her garden in person.

This quaint arbor and gate mark the entrance to the back garden.

The back garden was overflowing with a rainbow of blooms .

The back was a pollinator’s paradise,

Sweet birdhouses dotted the garden.

A collection of pots and garden art lined the back steps into the house.

A dry creek helps with drainage and provides a hardscape contrast to the delicate flowers.

The shady parts of the garden are brightened by variegated plants.

Bloggers, bloggers everywhere!

I may have to steal this clever idea.  Since dogs always want to run the fence line, we need to work with them, not against them! A cleverly concealed little fence gives the dogs room to run to their hearts’ content without tearing through the beds.

I loved all of the complimentary and contrasting colors in her garden.  I think this combination was my favorite. Opposites really do attract!

Stayed tuned for many more posts about the beautiful Fling gardens.

A sure sign of fall…

Whether the temperatures cooperate or not, fall announces itself in the garden.  One of the harbingers of the changing seasons is the arrival of my Oxblood lilies. 

Passalongs from my friend at Zanthan Gardens, they pop up like clockwork, even if the sun is still scalding us.  Small and delicate, they always bring a smile to my face, knowing that the cooler days of fall are just around the corner.

Fall.  And a whole new palette in the garden.

Seattle’s Best … Gardens, that is…

Day 1 of the Garden Bloggers Fling, held in Seattle this year, was even more than I could have hoped for.

Our tours today took us to two private gardens, one private/public garden and the Washington University Center for Urban Horticulture.

Come take a stroll with me through the first garden, lovingly created by Shelagh Tucker. This garden was full of little vignettes and pockets of secret gardens around every turn.

The recent rains and cool temperatures in Seattle made all of the plants lush and ready for our visit.

There was a lot of old stonework in this garden, steps and benches and intricate inlaid details that added charm and an old-world feel to the garden.

All the borders and beds were filled to the brim with layers upon layers of plants – complimentary and contrasting colors, shapes, sizes and textures – creating a rich and beautiful palette.

And within each vignette are wonderful little pairings like this one. Her eye for plant combinations made this garden a delightful journey of discovery.

Shopping and planting and puttering…

Today I went with a friend to two Hill Country nurseries that specialize in Cacti and Agaves and Succulents.

I had a list (in my head) and wanted some things for pots and the rock path and a few other empty spots. I came home with this very interesting Agave americana var. mediopicta f. alba.
I also came home with the really big rust/burgundy glazed pot. The lovely toile-looking distressed urn-pot was a thank you gift from my shopping companion for giving her tickets to Rent last weekend. Isn’t that a nice thank you? And it came with a soy candle and sweet-smelling almond soaps, too. So I bought this adorable Flapjack Kalanchoe to put in it — with something else I don’t have yet…I also got the tiny Echeveria, and the curly-edged Rose Kalanchoe.
When I got home, I dug into the holding area by my garage, read: Diana’s nursery of stuff waiting to find a home, and found a spot of this Kangaroo Paw – Cape Amazon – that I bought a few weeks ago. Being native to Australia, I hope it likes our hot climate here. I put it in a non-irrigated area, but in a spot where I spray frequently with the hose by hand.

This little Agave and her even smaller pup went in the same area as the Kangaroo Paw, and are passalongs from Lori, of The Gardener of Good and Evil.
These are some orange daylilies that I dug up when I organized a eighborhood entryway cleanup with some of my neighbors. They were crowding other plants and in full shade, so I rescued them to my garden. How con-VEEEEN-ient for me!
So, here’s what’s left in the holding area: Two volunteer palm trees that I dug up around our giant palm. A Bulbine, A Mexican Bird of Paradise Tree, and some irises and Sprekelia bulbs.
And here we have chocolate mint, two purple Alyssum and a pot of moss along with a volunteer Crape Myrtle tree that I dug up in the front bed.
And here are some passalong irises and the Avocado tree that will make its home in that big new pot.

Those are my “to-do” lists for the near-term. Along with WEEDING every bed except the veggie garden, which I did last week. I will be so happy when some of these newer and sparse beds fill in more so I have fewer WEEDS!

Rain wreckage and a new day…lily, that is!

Today the first of my Daylilies opened in the lily bed. This is the Spider Miracle Lily — from Olallie Daylily Gardens.
Just another reminder that I am not in charge. I carefully researched color and bloom times to plan my daylily garden. This was supposed to be an AUGUST bloomer! Of course, it’s the first one to bloom in the whole bed.

According to their catalog, this is the biggest lily they have, measuring up to 8.5 inches wide and 32″ high. They are tall and regal, nad a beautiful lemon-lime color.
These little yellow blooms are sad today, though. The torrential rains we got yesterday (1.5 inches — yeah!) were a little hard on the Euryops — they were all lying on the ground this morning when I got up.
And look at poor Maggie. Trashed. Looks like someone had a heck of a party in the garden last night. Since I don’t think Maggie drinks beer, I’ll have to give her the benefit of the doubt and blame it on the storms. But with this drought, we needed the rain, even if it means a little mess in the garden.


Don’t these look yummy?

They were!
I went out to work in the garden today (it was 80 degrees), and stumbled upon a handful of these ripe, red, shiny, glorious strawberries.  I left them there until Kallie came home, so she could come to the garden and be surprised.  And then we ate them for our dessert tonight.  I can’t even begin to describe how sweet and juicy they were.  NOTHING like a grocery store strawberry.  Even Kallie said so.  Too bad we never have more than one little handful at a time!

But there are more coming, soon!

Sadly, one of my chores today was to cover the new daylilies in the SAFE back yard.  It is safe from deer, but not safe from bunnies or dogs.  sigh.

This fencing goes around the yard on 3 sides.  But the back of the yard is wrought iron with wide posts – wide enough for an entire family of bunnies to come crashing through.  Which I am assuming they did as they ate the lilies down to the nubs.  

Here’s Mr. Burpee Big Boy tomato – growing like a …. oops, tomato!
See Mr. Radish, who popped his head up yesterday to see the sunshine?

See the lovely HOLE that Dakota dug in the back yard?  I think she wanted me to plant something there and thought she’d be helpful.
Helpful, scattering little clods of clay dirt all over my rock and granite path, so that I could sweep and hand pick clods out of the granite.  

So helpful!