Thursday, May 14, 2009

Stealing time for things you love


In front, Disporum sessile 'Variegata', with Primula Sieboldii ’Alba’ and Fritillaria meleagris 'Alba' behind.
K
Somehow I feel that I'm getting less and less effective with things I don't especially love to do. Like moving between houses. Of course, I'm excited about getting into a new home, and my brain is already working on a plan for making the garden more "mine", but I still would already like to be at the stage when all those boxes were not staring at me demanding attention. I've always been a pretty effective person while moving, sorting out things and getting 90% done within the first two weeks, eager of creating an illusion of normality around me. But now that energy seems to be eluding me; I start my days with good intentions, but loose myself to daydreams about plants and writing that I would love to be doing instead of unpacking things.
K

Last Thursday, while I should have been packing the last things for the movers to take with them on Friday, I visited Marian's garden. And some time later, came back home, happy and refreshed and with over 140 pictures in my camera, many of plants that I've so far only seen in foreign gardening books and magazines... I still can't quite get over the huge possibilities for growing things here in the Pacific Northwest. Marian's garden is such a wonderful place, an acre of winding paths and a stream of water running besides it. The plants just seem to enjoy themselves so much, they mingle with each other and behind every nook there is somethings special and rare to see. I was laughing on myself when I saw thousands of Anemone nemorosa 'Vestal' flowering here; this rarity has actually become a bit of a thug in Marian's garden. We were wondering about the claimed sterility of these white ladies; here they seem to be much more promiscuous than their namesake virgins... And there are so many other Anemones; the yellow A. ranunculoides that I remember from my childhood gardens in Southern Finland, A. n. 'Monstrosa' (above) with frilly green sepals, A. n. 'Robinsoniana' with lovely pinkish-purple flowers.


Polygonatums, Solomon's seals, have for a long time been one of my favourite woodland plants, but Marian had some close relatives with name Disporum sessile 'Sunray', now called 'Kinga', that very really lovely too, with their greenish-white flowers hanging from the "joints" of the stems. Other beautiful Disporums in her garden were D. sessile 'Variegata' (first picture of this post) and D. cantonense, my photos of which unfortunately did not turn out well.

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Trilliums, the handsome woodland plants many of which are native to this region, didn’t seem to like getting their photos done, especially the dark velvety red T. chloropetalums just seem to sulk in them, but all of them looked lovely in the garden. The yellow ones with beautifully freckled leaves are called T. luteum. There was even a double variety, T. grandiflorum 'Flore pleno', shining in the shade with its clean, white flowers.
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The Arisaema's were flowering too; greenish white ones, and ones with dark maroon, striped blooms. I have to learn more about them, as they are not hardy in Stockholm, I haven't been paying them too much attention so far, but they really make an exotic looking addition to a woodland garden. Above Arisaema sikokianum.
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Two very interesting new acquaintances were Cardiocrinum giganteum, the Giant Himalayan lily (first picture above), several of which were showing off their lush, shining heart-shaped leaves shooting up from the bulbs, and Podophyllum pleianthum, the Asian Mayapple (second picture above), which was hiding it's rounded flowers under the umbrella-shaped leaves, both of which I had never seen before. I can't wait to see the large trumpet-shaped flowers of the Giant Himalayan lily to show up later in the season, and it will be so interesting to get to smell them for the first time!
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Fritillaria pontica, the Balkan fritillary (first picture above), had spred itself freely around, with it's nodding yellow and greenish flowers. Fritillaria acmopetala had alread flowered, so I took no pictures, but as all Fritillaries, they are a wonderful springtime addition in a garden. I had tens, if not hundreds of the common Fritillaria meleagris, both purples and whites in my garden in Sweden, and the combination of them coming up from a sea of Forget-me-nots was one of my true spring time favourites there. A yellow flowering Magnolia, 'Elizabeth', was still in flower in the shade of the bigger trees, spreading its branches above a sea of Anemones.
K

Some of the paeonies were already flowering or even past flowering, but more of them later... I just decided to show one more interesting small plant friend, namely a small, delicate Bergenia omeiensis, that I also hadn't seen before. Marian told that the flowers start as little bells, and open up to resemble pinkish white geraniums. As Bergenias are one of the few hardy and evergreen perennials in Scandinavia, this might be an interesting choice to grow there.

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It is just amazing to see all these plants in their woodland surroundings in the middle of the suburban Eastside of Seattle... And I can't help thinking of and admiring the amount of work that has gone to get everything in place and keep them thriving; years and years of interest and dedication; composting, mulching, weeding, and then planting, re-planting and dividing them to keep them growing. Marian's garden is a real pearl, a document of a true gardening life.
K
Read about my first visit to Marian's garden, the magic carpets of spring here.

6 comments:

Camellia said...

A truly beautiful garden. Lovely flowers, but also lovely combinations and variation of foliage.

Good luck with your unpacking, don't worry, you'll get there eventually – and why not enjoy the pleasure of garden planning. You're allowed!

Carol said...

I am completely stunned... what a truly unique and lovely garden... Wow! Wonderful post!

Karen said...

I am with you all the way - the process of moving is tedious and painful, I would have escaped too for a visit to such a lovely woodland garden! Will you still go back to visit Marian even though you will no longer be neighbors? I hope so! What an incredible array, it's almost nicer than the UW Arboretum. Does she do it all by herself?! Good luck with the rest of the boxes!! Hey, are we going to Bloedel?

Northern Shade said...

It looks like a great woodland garden to visit. What a good assortment of Trilliums, such charming woodland plants. I just picked up an Arisaema sikokianum this month, and it is a very eye-catching plant.

Bay Area Tendrils Garden Travel (Alice Joyce) said...

Simply breathtaking.....

Carol said...

Funny, I am coming back to this post a year later... from your more recent post on Wake-robin... I had not fallen for it from your photos here in this amazing garden but so glad you linked back to Marian's garden. Stunning!! So many treasures.