Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens - Captivating views


In late afternoon on the last, very full, day of the 2017 Garden Bloggers' Fling, we arrived at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens.  We were scheduled to attend a dinner in the garden's Atrium at 6pm, which left us with relatively little time to tour the property's 95 acres.  Susie of pbmGarden and I practically sprinted in the direction of a scenic overlook that stood atop a spiral mound in the distance (point 14 on the map found here), admiring some flowers along the way.

This long bed, bordering a wide section of lawn, was dominated by plants favored by pollinators

Echinacea purpurea, Daucus carota and other plants I won't try to identify

Inula helenium maybe?

A little further along the path, we found a large collection of beautiful daylilies.  All the Hemerocallis seemed to be at their peak in the Capital Region during the Fling.

This rustic pergola marked the scenic overlook at the top of a spiral path leading up a lawn-covered mound


The spectacular views from the top of the mound and back down at its base are what I remember most clearly about my visit to Meadowlark.

This gazebo stood at the end of a wooden boardwalk extending into one of the lakes

Facing in another direction, I could see across 2 lakes, surrounded by more rolling lawn


Back down on the main path, we skirted around the lakes, briefly stopping to snap a few photos of what I think was the Toddler's Tea Garden.

However, it was absent of toddlers when we passed by


Along the edges of one of the lakes, we found lotus in bloom.

You can find lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) in Southern California but they're not common.  The sight of them always takes my breath away.


I was enamored with the geese we saw on the lake and at its edges but, based on the comments I heard from those around me, I think I may have been the only one in the vicinity who liked them.

My impression was that many of the locals held views of Canada geese similar to those held of the wild peacocks in my own community, where the birds are loved by some but despised by many


My favorite vista was one looking back across the lake toward the lotus.

The sky, trees and even people on the lake's shoreline are neatly mirrored in the lake's surface.  I'm tagging this as my Wednesday Vignette this week.  For other WVs, visit Anna at Flutter & Hum.


Having little time left, Susie and I headed back in the general direction of the Atrium, stopping for a quick spin through the Korean Bell Garden.

Clockwise from the lower left: the entrance to this garden, one of the decorated walls surrounding it, the view from the structure within which the bell stands, and the Bell of Peace and Harmony itself.  (You can find a better view of the bell here.)


We enjoyed a great dinner.  I even won a bottle of wine (based only on discovery of a ticket taped to the bottom of the chair I'd selected), which I asked the catering staff to open so my table companions could share it.  I've no photos of the wine or the wonderful dinner but suffice it to say that it was a great way to end the Fling.

I've covered just a portion of the venues we visited during the course of the Fling.  I'll pick up others now and then but I thought I'd take this opportunity to formally thank Tammy Schmitt, the Director of the Capital Region Fling; the rest of her team, Michele Shaw, Wendy Kremer, Teri Speight, and Peggy Riccio; all the gardeners who generously opened their spaces; and the sponsors.  Well done all!


All material © 2012-2017 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

Monday, July 24, 2017

In a Vase on Monday: 'Loverboy' gets married


The question is: Is the marriage a good one?  Dahlia 'Loverboy' has been blooming his heart out for over a week now, outstripping the other Dahlias in my cutting garden, so it was a natural choice for inclusion in a vase this week.  However, with its vivid red color, I was at a loss as to which plants to partner with it.  I have other reds in my garden, mostly in the form of foliage, but those generally have yellow-brown undertones, while this Dahlia has purplish-blue undertones.  Eustoma grandiflorum (aka Lisianthus) fit the purple-blue spec but I'm not sure the marriage is entirely happy.  You can judge for yourself.

If I had a plentiful supply of props like our host, Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, I'd have paired this vase with a wedding cake.  I guess I could have scrounged up a couple of rings but that was an afterthought.

This photo shows that Eustoma grandiflorum deserves the comparison with roses it often receives - could there be anything closer than a blue rose bud than this?  I almost prefer this view of the back of the vase to that I selected as the front.  A lighter touch with the Dahlia blooms may have been a good move in composing this vase.

Top view

Clockwise from the upper left, the vase contains: Dahlia 'Loverboy', Aloysia citrodora (aka lemon verbena), African Blue Basil, blue Eustoma grandiflorum, Eustoma 'Rosanne Black Pearl' (which is a LOT smaller than it appears in this photo), and a very dark purple-red Pelargonium peltatum.  My husband sniffed and asked "what's that smell?" when I was preparing this vase and his tone wasn't positive.  I think the combination of the lemon verbena and the basil is lovely but tastes clearly differ.


The first sunflowers bloomed in my cutting garden late last week so I cut the head off the tallest one while I could still reach it without a ladder.

Helianthus annuus 'Lemon Queen' needs little accompaniment but of course that didn't stop me from cutting all kinds of accent plants

Back view

top view

Clockwise from the upper left, the vase contains: Helianthus annuus 'Lemon Queen', Coreopsis 'Redshift', Jacobaea maritima, Leucadendron salignum 'Chief', Pennisetum advena 'Rubrum', Phlomis fruitcosa (flower), Phlomis seedpod, and Tanacetum vulgare


Two very different vases!  Visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden to find more.



All material © 2012-2017 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

Friday, July 21, 2017

Linda Hostetler's Garden - Just beautiful!


After touring Tammy Schmitt's garden as part of the 2017 Garden Bloggers' Fling, we headed to Linda Hostetler's garden, arriving along with the 3 other buses of camera-ready bloggers.  The crowded venue and mix of sun and shade had me struggling to capture the beauty of the place.

I never managed a good photo of the front of the property.  Most of my shots focused on plant vignettes.

There were a lot of Japanese maples in this garden, all beautiful

The maples in this area of the front garden were placed in full sun at mid-day, something I could never do in my own garden.  The face plaque shown on the right was sited at the middle front of the bed shown on the left.

This large bed occupied the middle of a lawn area

Another good-looking Japanese maple, surrounded by other colorful foliage and flowers, with the house just visible in the background

There were nice patches of shade along the margins of the front garden, like this one

and this more formal section


Heading back along the side of the house brought us to a patio.  My immediate focus was the stream and the pond it flowed into.

I loved the fullness of the planting around this stream

The stream fed into this pond, which was an integral part of the patio on the side of the house

And here's one of the pond's resident amphibians

The area next to the pond was also densely planted

A wider view of the area surrounding the pond, caught as I was on my way back to the bus at the end of our visit

Although I didn't get a good photo of the patio itself, I snapped a few close-ups of the features surrounding it, including a Japanese maple under-planted with Japanese forest grass, a cute table topper featuring frogs, and bunnies guarding a conifer


Beyond the pond and the patio was a good-sized shed, complete with adornments of its own.

3 sides of the shed are shown here


My only clear shot of the house was this one from the back.



Beyond the wide gravel area behind the house was a huge backyard, already chock full of bloggers when I made it to this point.

A wood arbor marked the entrance to the back garden

This stacked stone wall with its own seating area was just to the left as I walked through the arbor, if I remember correctly

This is the far end of the wall and seating area shown in the prior photo

Another colorful planting scheme, accompanied by equally colorful ornaments

This spiral flagstone circle was much larger than the segment captured in this photo.  Edged by lawn, it created an area for the eye to rest in what was otherwise a densely planted garden.

Shady areas lined the area along the fence on one side of the property and we once again encountered a stream


Cobalt blue features appeared throughout the back garden.  They stood out against all the lush green but also contributed to the tranquility of the space.

Blue arbors marked transition points in the garden and blue umbrellas and furniture provided places to sit and enjoy the view.  There was also a blue birdcage, occupied by a spiky agave. 


But the centerpiece of the back garden, at least in my opinion, was another pond.  There was a gazebo within easy viewing distance but I didn't get a photo of that either.

View looking across the pond, which had a small wood bridge crossing the stream that fed it

I didn't have a chance to look for more frogs here


At about this point in my rounds of the garden, the call rang out to head back to the buses for a trip to the Stone Tower Winery and lunch.  I managed a few more shots as I hurried to catch up.

This plant combination stood just beyond the bridge over the stream leading to the pond

And this seating area was tucked into a corner


I enjoyed this garden tremendously.  To wrap up, here are just a few close-ups of some of the stunning plants I saw:

Clockwise from the upper left: Cercis canadensis 'Rising Sun', Curcuma alismatifolia (I think), Filipendula?, yellow and burgundy Hemerocallis, Hydrangea, Asiatic lily, and Iris ensata?  (Other than the daylilies, these plants don't generally grow in my area so some of my IDs are guesses.)


I've covered only about a third of the gardens I saw during the Fling.  I plan to cover the rest but my remaining posts are likely to be strung out over a longer period.  In the meantime, if you're interested, check out the posts of other Flingers, the links to which can be found here.

Best wishes for a great weekend!


All material © 2012-2017 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Casa Mariposa - So Very Tammy


On the morning of the last day of the 2017 Garden Bloggers' Fling, we were lucky to have the opportunity to visit Casa Mariposa, the personal garden of Tammy Schmitt, the Capital Region Fling Director.  As I've followed Tammy's blog for as long as I've been blogging myself, the garden was instantly recognizable and, although I'd never met Tammy in person prior to the 2017 Fling, I felt very much like I was entering the garden of an old friend.  Tammy's been a regular commentator on my blog - in fact, she was the very first commentator who wasn't a relative or a local friend.  She even sent me her collection of Amaryllis belladonna bulbs in 2015, certain that they'd find my zone 10b garden more hospitable than her zone 7a garden.  (This remains to be seen as I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of the late summer blooms now that our prolonged drought is officially at an end.)

Despite the time absorbed in organizing the Fling while maintaining a full-time job and her disclaimers about the condition of the garden, described as "a study in improvisation and imperfection...dogscaped to meet the needs of her canine crew," it looked just perfect to my eyes.  The front was neat as a pin.




But decorative elements surrounding the front steps made it clear that this was Tammy's garden.

Birdhouses are a theme in Tammy's garden and the metal sculpture (lower right), one of at least 3 I found while poking around touring her garden, is a perfect expression of Tammy's joie de vivre


The signs of her effervescent personality became all the clearer as we approached the back garden through the side entrance...

Did you notice how "Be the Good" is highlighted in the sign?

I remember Tammy's story about the creation of this arbor from an old blog post, a great example of her improvisational skill


Tammy is an avid organic gardener, focused on the use of native and other ornamental plants that support pollinators and other wildlife.

This meadow-like scene is one of the first things I saw as I stepped into the back garden.  All those tiny clay pots had numbers linking back to a plant list.  Unfortunately, I didn't take the time to note the numbers as I explored so I'm not going to hazard identifications here.

View looking toward the back of the house from the lawn area, showing just a small number of the 50 or so people that were wandering through the garden from buses 3 and 4

A partially shady section of the back garden adjacent to a neighbor's property

A section of the aforementioned dog run utilized by Tammy's "canine crew"

Why can't my shade area look like this?


But perhaps the most immediately recognizable element of Tammy's back garden were the steps off the back of the house.

I somehow managed to get a shot of the back steps without legs or feet in it!

A closer shot of the large pot collection that surrounds the back steps


That's a LOT of pots, right?  But that wasn't all of them by any means.

Tammy sows a huge number of seeds for annual plants each winter, as part of her ongoing effort to avoid the systemic neonicotinoid pesticides used by so many growers


There were quintessential Tammy touches embedded throughout the space.

More birdhouses (!!!), along with other fun decorative items


And there were lovely plants everywhere.

Daylilies were a constant in the Capital Region gardens - how I wish I had that orange variety in my own garden.  The plants in the middle row, Echinacea, Rudbeckia and Stokesia generally aren't happy in my area of Southern California.  Those in the bottom row, Persicaria, Plectranthus scutellarioides (coleus) and Verbena bonariensis do better but don't look nearly this good.


I don't think Tammy's garden could be mistaken for anyone else's.

Tammy answering questions about her garden with Genie's assistance


Thanks, Tammy, for inviting a horde of bloggers into your garden and for organizing a truly wonderful event!


All material © 2012-2017 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party