Wednesday, February 25, 2015

2014 - Garden Bloggers Fling - Portland Japanese Garden

Our first stop on the second day of the 2014 Garden Blogger's Fling was at the Portland Japanese Gardens. It was another warm, sunny morning so the photography was a challenge again. Thank goodness for Photoshop.

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3_waterfall

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With the challenging light, I stuck to the shadows and focused on the details. And of course those wonderful details were plentiful in such a well-designed Japanese garden.

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Just as at the Lan Su Chinese Garden, I really enjoyed the pathways. While the Chinese Garden paths were composed of intricate stone mosaic patterns, the Japanese walkways appeared much more natural and embracing of the imperfect. The Chinese garden paths are all about pattern and geometry while the Japanese paths exemplify the concept of wabi-sabi, or that of embracing imperfection. I have to say I enjoy both styles equally.

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Other constructed elements were beautifully integrated into the landscape - from the tree-framed gravel garden to the simple linear bench perched upon a rock wall.

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Even natural parts of the landscape like the ponds and plants benefit from a bit of human touch such as some well-placed rocks or smoothly clipped azaleas. Even though Japanese gardens are high maintenance, those that maintain the gardens respect the wildness of nature and attempt to allow us to see that wildness more clearly by offsetting the perfect with the imperfect.

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That contrast creates a beautiful tension at the Portland Japanese Garden. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

2014 Garden Bloggers Fling - Westwind Farm Studio

Luckily, after the punishing sun at Old Germantown Gardens, a cloud cover had formed by the time we arrived at Westwind Farm Studio. As soon as we got off the bus, I had to run through the most beautifully golden, flower-bedecked meadow I have ever seen. It made me want to roll around in the grasses and do naughty things. 

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Closer to the private residence, I became fascinated with this vignette of grasses and bold-textured flowers. At every angle there was a new scene that had to be photographed. Indulge me while I share them all with you.

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I believe John Greenlee, grassman extraordinaire, is responsible for many of the updated plantings around the home. Avoiding the crowds I headed to the back side of the garden, and a pretty back side it was. 

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I came across this interesting, rustic-looking building which I assume is a guest house. 

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Then I began to get peeks into the main garden - 

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Why yes, I do believe this studio would be an excellent place to practice my deep breath. 

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And then looking back at the garden from inside the yoga studio - 

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So nice to see plants given enough room to spread out. I always see Helleborus argutifolius reaching for light or overgrown by other plants. 

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Pool with a view -

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A substantial outdoor fireplace, to say the least - 

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And a calm front entrance -

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I like this plant combo. Not sure what the coppery shrubs are though. 

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And finally a great view - 

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Westwind Farm Stuido was a lovely ending to our first Fling day. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

2014 Garden Bloggers Fling - Old Germantown Gardens

By the time we got to Old Germantown Gardens I was hot and tired. And I'm afraid my photos reflect it. I've posted the least bleary looking ones. Old Germantown Gardens is an amazing place - an expansive garden, sloping away from the house, quite sunny at first and increasingly shady towards the borders. I naturally headed to the shadiest spot I could find as soon as we arrived. 

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Eventually I emerged into the light, central garden space. The beds were bursting with profusions of color. I'm afraid the strong light was unflattering to my photos and I didn't linger in the heat long enough to get many decent photos. 

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This tree caught my eye, or maybe I should say caught my nose. I could smell it's deliciously scented flowers throughout the garden and finally tracked the fragrance to the creamy blossoms of this fairly tall tree. The bees had obviously tracked it down too and its canopy was vibrating with hundreds of bees. I asked the owner the name of the tree and wrote it down but have misplaced my note somewhere. If anybody recognizes the tree let me know! 

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To the side of the garden was the dry garden, even hotter, but full of well-drained-soil loving plants like Penstemons and Yuccas. I tend to like those scrappy, tough plants so I throughly enjoyed this section despite the heat. And the well-placed water fountain was a nice touch too. 

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Just up the hill from the dry garden was a seating area with a fairly tropical feel. It was a nice contrast to the dryness below and quite refreshing. 

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Closer to the house I found the greenhouse with lots of botanical treats inside. Some amazing old specimens looking fantastic against the clever, blue-walled backdrop. 

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I'd love to visit Old Germantown Gardens again, preferably on a cooler day. I feel like there were so many lovelies I missed. Such a spectacular garden, I would have had so many more photos if the weather had been kinder.