Friday, January 29, 2010

Hellebore Days

The Village Green Resort is hosting it's 2nd annual Hellebore Days on February 20th along with Northwest Garden Nursery. The event offers overnight stay, dinner entrees for 2, a bottle of house wine or sparkling cider, Winter Interest Garden Tour, evening presentation on Winter Gardens, full buffet breakfast, and a self guided tour of Northwest Garden Nursery to see (and buy) their outstanding hellebores.
Cost is just $89 standard room or $109 for a deluxe room. Cost covers 2 people. Bring a friend and split the expense.
For reservations, call 1-800-343-7666

For other retreats, click on the moss chairs in the sidebar.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

High Five For the High Line

What do you do with a defunct raised railroad bed? Make it into a nature park, of course! That’s exactly what New York City did with their High Line elevated railroad. Being too expensive to tear down, it sat there unused until Mayor Bloomberg gave the go-ahead to make it a park.

Situated in the Chelsea district, it is a lovely little oasis of green in a sea of concrete. Natural plantings of grasses, trees and native wildflowers give New Yorkers a nice place to stroll, relax or people watch (indeed, the Standard Hotel received the nickname of “The Eyeful Tower” when hotel guests started treating night-time High Liners to their own little exhibitions).

Old flatcars have been made into chaise lounges for sun soaking and many of the old rails are still in place and artfully incorporated into the design of the garden.

I’m always delighted when I see something big and ugly become something big and beautiful, but what I’m especially happy about is that the High Line has created habitat for wildlife where there was none before. The grasses and wildflowers are a rich seed source for many small birds. The trees create a mini forest in the city. The only addition I would suggest would be nesting boxes for birds in the spring.

At the far end is an amphitheater facing huge glass windows that look down on 10th street.

Sitting in the amphitheater watching people go by on the street was fun, but being on the other end and looking up to see them all watching you was a little strange.
Currently the High Line runs about a half mile, but on completion of the next phases, will extend 2 kilometers. Good Job, New York!

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Oregon Garden - A Pleasant Winter Walk

Any day without rain is a pleasant day in the Pacific Northwest, so when I found myself working up at the Oregon Garden Resort, I made sure I took time to stroll the lovely setting of The Oregon Garden below the resort. Even in the dead of winter I found much to inspire. The Golden Yucca below was quite vivid.

I have always enjoyed the silhouettes of trees...

...even if it is just so that bird nests are easier to find.

Winter Jasmine in a pot livens up the doorway.

Lightening-like white branches accentuate the shape of this weeping birch.

The Gate in the Children's Garden is entertaining in any weather.

A train chugging along through the Children's Garden delights visitors of all ages.

While I was browsing through the books in the Visitor Center, I picked up information on their annual Quilt Show - Stitches in Bloom - that is being held January 27th and 28th, so it looks like I might be taking a trip north again for the quilt show and another stroll through the gardens. For more information on the Quilt Show or The Gardens, click here.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Winterthur Children's Garden

The Children's Garden at Winterthur was one of the most charming that I have played in. I visited it in September of 2009 with my daughter and neice, and even though none of us were children, we still have child-like hearts and enjoyed the garden to it's fullest.

This whimsical sign warned us to stay out of the fairy ring...

...but when Bryn (my daughter) disobeyed, she got sprayed with a jet of water.

We looked for Trolls under the Troll bridge, but they must have been out for lunch.

The Thatched Cottage was right out of a fairy tale.

Bryn sat on the throne, pretending to be a princess.

This little Fairy Door opened... you could peek in the window at the fairy kitchen.

A giant nest proved most enticing... Bryn and Nina who first "Hatched"...

...and then begged to be fed.

for more information on this great garden, click here.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Virtual Stroll Through Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens has always been on my wish list of gardens to visit and last summer my daughter and I were lucky enough to spend a week in Pennsylvania, touring gardens and taking in historic Philadelphia. Longwood proved to be even better than I expected.

One of the first sights I saw was this beautiful and intensely fragrant arch of Brugmansia.

The Conservatories at Longwood are spectacular (and massive).

There is a stunning indoor Children's Garden. It is centered around water and there were many little ones playing in the water and having a grand time. These storks blow bubbles in their basin.

The conservatories are climate controlled so it is very comfortable to spend the entire day here, which you could easily do.

The Orchid Room smelled heavenly.

Longwood has the most pristine waterlily and lotus ponds I have ever seen. Dead foliage and flowers are removed daily and the water is dyed black so it is more reflective and also inhibits algae growth.

The Gardens are famous for their huge fountains and shows go on all day long.

However, I preferred the smaller Italian Garden and it's lovely formal fountains.

There are 3 tree houses in the garden and they are all wonderful. One had a glass beehive in it with a volunteer who explained the life cycle of bees.

We spent all day in this fantastic garden and could easily have come back for another day or two. I highly recommend a visit.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Before and After - The Sitting Garden

I sometimes get jaded and feel like I'm spinning my wheels. That is the time I bring out the "before and after" pictures to show myself that the world is turning and the flowers are growing and all is well.

The Sitting Garden - Before

The Sitting Garden - After

The Sitting Garden in 3 Stages of growth

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Fire and Form in the January Garden

January doesn't have to be a blah month. Brighten it up with these colorful and shapely choices.

Coral Bark Maple with Hoar Frost.

Mahonia 'Charity' makes a great winter companion for Red Twig Dogwood.

Vibrant in both color and fragrance, Witchhazel 'Ruby Glow' is a favorite.

A combination of Red Twig Dogwood (in the back) and 'Mid-Winter Fire' Dogwood (front) creates a dazzling display even on the darkest days.

Cyclamen give a ground-level glow to the winter garden.

Flame Willow adds a stylish complement to conifers.

The winter plum coloring of Cryptomeria japonica 'Elegans' makes it a show-stopper.

The stark white pollards at the Getty Garden in Los Angeles give a bright dimension against the brilliant blue sky.

Weeping Pussywillows can become quite ragged and blobbish unless cascade-pruned.

Take advantage of winter to appreciate the silhouettes of Japanese Maples.

Ghostly Birches stand guard in the Oregon Garden.

Some of these pictures have been used on other posts on this blog, but I have used them again for emphasis on January. Please forgive.