Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fun and Funky at the NW Flower and Garden Show

Cloudy drippy skies greeted me this morning when I awoke and I couldn't have been more pleased. Today marked the first of the 2010 Northwest Flower and Garden Show, a five day feast of extravagant and ecclectic gardens for gardeners from around the region to oogle over. This show almost faded last year when its previous owner, Duane Kelly, announced plans to close the 21-year exhibit if he didn't find a buyer. Eventually, Portland-based O'Loughlin Trade Shows came through with a purchase. 
So, fast forward to today and voila!, here we are on opening day to glimpse more than 20 display gardens. My first impressions are the gardens seem much more funky and fun this year. There also seems to be a bit more whimsy in the gardens, not to mention more invitation for spectators to get into the displays. Bravo! There's definitely a heavier influence of urban gardening and farming, which couldn't make me more happier.

"Keeping It Real"
Real simple is just what I'm looking for right now. And this just shows that simple can be just as show stopping.

"There's No Place Like Home"

I'll definitely return for a closer look at this display themed around "The Wizard of Oz." Not only was this a just plain funky garden space, it incorporated a living rooftop, animal habitats, water-wise irrigation, an edible landscape and living fences. Fabulous.

"Wormhole: A Garden Game"

A lovely display that reminds us that gardens can be about form, function and just plain fun.

OK, I hung out here awhile. But hey, I have a toddler so I was soaking up many ideas.

The worm in question, perhaps?

"Fofo" Rhododendron
Yes, there were flowers at the show.

"Crops For Clunkers"
This is just a snippet of the edibles growing in, on and around a small pick-up that is the centerpiece of this mobile design.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Flashbacks of Summer, Part 2

The sun is shining this morning and I'm anxious to get outside for some more garden cleanup and maybe take those pictures that so failed me yesterday. It was nice going back through summer photos of last year's garden and seeing how many things were lush and thriving. It's funny how when you're in the throes of gardening, you sometimes lose sight of how far things have come. At times I feel like there are giant holes in the garden, and plants seem to be pathetic and puny. But going over the photos I found myself saying, "Hey, that's not that bad!" I guess we are our toughest critics, eh? So, until I get outside I thought I'd share some more shots of last season's garden and all that I look forward to seeing again.
Trumpet vine filled the side yard with sweet aroma. It's said to attract hummingbirds but I've yet to spot them hovering around this woody plant. This creeper can be quite a thug, but is kept in check by some heavy handed pruning.
A new Dahlia added in our backyard garden to share space with a Japanese Maple, Japanese Willow and Nandina. It's vibrant red petals hold up under the glaring rays of sunshine that Pacific Northwest enjoys, despite rumors of constant rain!
OK, a cabbage moth isn't ideal, but it is part of summer. I had fun trying to capture this little thing as it flitted around  the Catmint.
One of my favorite perennials in the garden is Rudbeckia, or Black-Eyed Susan. While the flowers faded this winter, the scratchy foliage hung on through a couple cold snaps. 
A mass of ruby red Snapdragons planted around a blueberry bush. These little flowers are fun for little ones to play with because you can make them "talk."
Gaura 'Siskiyou Pink' resembles butterflies fluttering around the garden. I've had this shrubby perennial reseed rather aggressively, which is good for filling in space. But can become overwhelming in some spots. Still, its delicate profile is a welcome addition to the garden.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Flashbacks of Summer

There are times when things don't work out quite as you'd planned. I find that can happen quite often in gardening. And even more so when taking photos of my garden. Today I'd actually gotten outside this morning and happily shot various plants, including the perked up Hellebores, emerging Poppy foliage and just blooming sarcoccoa. However, my camera had other ideas and didn't seem to retain any of these pictures. Now, with my little guy underfoot I have lost the window of opportunity to photo my garden's current state. But another has opened to flashback to summer and share photos that otherwise may have been lost due to my months long hiatus.
Daisies were were some of the first flowers I planted in our garden. They never cease to impress with their simple lines and cheerful faces. This particular plant has been divided up several times and spread throughout the garden.
Tree mallow (Lavatera) that I yanked quite literally out of the garden and potted up just a portion. This is a lovely flowering perennial that in my garden reseeds somewhat aggressively and has been popping up all around the yard. I rather enjoy it's hollyhock appearance but would rather it stay put as it develops quite the root and trunk system that can be overwhelming.
The unidentified Hydrangea flowered last season but they weren't the usual blooms that often grew larger than softballs. I'm guessing it was just settling into its new spot in the woodland garden and hope for a better showing this year.
Representing edibles in my garden: Corn! I was so pleased to finally grow corn again last year. Dear hubby built a new bed along the house on the southside where the heat loving plants like this and tomatoes grew quite well.
Sweet Flag planted among pavers around the deck. Nothing spectacular, but I enjoy the plant's chartreuse leaves and the bit of dimension they add around the deck.