Saturday, July 30, 2011

Seattle Garden Bloggers' Fling - Dunn Gardens

Last week, I and over 70 garden bloggers from across the US, Canada and the UK joined coordinators Lorene Edwards Forkner, Debra Prinzing, Marty Wingate and Mary Ann Newcomer in Seattle, WA to tour, photograph and write about oodles of gardens, private and public, for 4 glorious days. This is my third post and we haven't even gotten through Day 1!

After touring the neighboring Birrell and Tucker gardens on the first day of the Fling, we hopped back on the shuttle bus and headed off to Dunn Gardens, a 10-acre Seattle garden on the National Register of Historic Places. After a delicious box lunch on the grounds arranged by the Fling coordinators, the docents gave us a tour and filled us in on the history of the gardens.
Docents at Dunn Gardens

The garden plan was commissioned by Arthur Dunn from renowned Seattle landscapers the Olmsted Brothers in 1914; Alfred implemented the plantings himself. The Dunn family moved into their "summer house" at Dunn Gardens every year until Alfred's death in 1945.
Plantings near the Lower Lawn

The docents had an interesting story to tell about this fallen tree in the Triangle Bed on the way to the Great Lawn, but sadly, I've forgotten it.
Fallen tree in the Triangle Bed

Arthur Dunn specifically requested the Olmstead Brothers include a number of non-native deciduous trees into the landscape, such as this European Beech.
Fagus sylvatica "European Beech"

The Puget Sound is still partially visible from the Great Lawn, but the cover from these 150 foot trees now hides the Olympic Mountains from view. Douglas Firs, Scarlet Oaks, Northern Red Oaks and native Western Red Cedars ring the Great Lawn.
View of the Sound from the Great Lawn

In 1947, the Dunn's second child, Edward, made his permanent residence on the property, and created a 2.5 acre woodland garden there. Edward was regarded as an expert on native Pacific Northwest plants, particularly native rhododendrons, trilliums, erythroniums and flowering trees.
Looking toward the Tennis Court Lawn

Before his death in 1991, Edward set up the E. B. Dunn Historic Garden Trust to ensure the preservation of the gardens. Resident garden curators Charles Price and Glenn Withey manage the gardens under the direction of the Trust's Board of Directors.
The Curator's Garden

Two descendants of the Dunns still reside on the property today, making Dunn Gardens the only Olmsted residential landscape regularly open to the public in the Northwest.


Private home on Dunn Gardens

Check out more photos of Dunn Gardens on my Flickr page. Whew -- three posts on the Seattle Garden Bloggers' Fling, and I'm not done with Day One yet! More to follow...

Words and photos © 2009-2011 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Seattle Garden Bloggers' Fling: Tucker Garden

I just got back from the Emerald City, Seattle, WA, where I and over 70 other garden bloggers from across the US, Canada and the UK joined coordinators Lorene Edwards Forkner, Debra Prinzing, Marty Wingate and Mary Ann Newcomer in the Emerald City to tour, photograph and write about oodles of gardens, private and public, for 4 glorious days.

Tucker Garden

Artist Shelagh Tucker's garden is a study in contrasts. Part Mediterranean-style rock garden, part English cottage garden, sun and shade, green lawns and stone paths -- there's something for everyone to enjoy.

Front garden

The path to the front of the house opens up onto a circular rock garden, inspired by the Gravel Garden of fellow Englishwoman and gardener extraordinaire Beth Chatto. This spot was very inspiring to this drought-stricken Texan!
Mediterranean-style gravel garden

This patterned half-circle stone step echoes the circles of the gravel garden.
Patterned stone step

An arched garden gate divides the xeric front garden from the more traditional back garden.
Thru the garden gate

A small round fish pond with a round fountain greets visitors just beyond the gate.
A moment by the pond

Around the back of the house lies a lushly landscaped patio between a blue garden shed and a glass-walled conservatory.
A lush backyard patio

From the patio, you can see the bright blue garden shed of Suzette and Jim Birrell, who live directly next door.
A view from the back patio

I loved the waves of this planting near the greenhouse.
Garden greenhouse

A serene cat keeps watch along the stone path circling the blue shed,
A serene cat keeps watch

and more cats sit in windowsills overlooking clematis, dahlias and day lilies. (A real live cat was spotted rolling in catnip, but he declined to pose for photos.)
Plantings along the blue shed

I hated to leave, but we had three more stops on the day's schedule.
Lush plantings abound

Stay tuned for Dunn Gardens, the Soest Garden at the Center for Urban Horticulture/UW Botanic Gardens, and Ravenna Gardens.


Words and photos © 2009-2011 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Seattle Garden Bloggers' Fling: Birrell Garden

I just got back from lovely, cool Seattle, where the high temperatures are in the 70's, the lows are in the 50s, the soil is moist and the gardens are lush! I and over 70 other garden bloggers from across the US, Canada and the UK joined coordinators Lorene Edwards Forkner, Debra Prinzing, Marty Wingate and Mary Ann Newcomer in the Emerald City to tour, photograph and write about oodles of gardens, private and public, for 4 glorious days. Here's some highlights from the first day.

Birrell Garden

Suzette and Jim Birrell's unassuming single-story brick home is surrounded by green lawns and lush gardens.
The Birrell's front yard

A stone pathway winds along the front garden, thickly landscaped with roses, lilies, poppies, clematis, ferns, sedums and hostas galore.
Along the hill toward the front of the house

Lush garden bed

I spied blueberry bushes in a bed near the driveway.
Blueberries!

Along the side of the home, a small brick patio under a pergola provides a shady spot to sit and enjoy the landscape.
A shady place to enjoy the garden

The backyard opens onto a large green lawn punctuated by a bright blue garden shed. (Croquet, anyone?)
Croquet, anyone?

Edging the lawn are huge beds full of color and texture.
Layered colors and textures

A colorful garden bed

A large vegetable garden lies between the shed and the back patio.
The vegetable garden>

These artichokes look good enough to eat.
Artichokes

In a shady spot between two tall trees, this hammock beckons the weary to take a break. Alas, more gardens await!
A hammock in a shady spot

See more photos of the Birrell garden on my Flickr page. Next up: the Tucker garden.


Words and photos © 2009-2011 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Flowering plants for a summer of exceptional drought

These are the only shrubs in my garden that look really good right now. I'm posting photos of them now, because by the time that Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day comes around, these blooms will be gone. Even the salvias are looking peaked; it'll be time for their summer pruning soon, to ensure a new round of blooms in the fall.

Known as "Barometer bush", Texas sage, or cenizo, Leucophyllum frutescens is picking up on a slight uptick in Austin's humidity this week. They're in bloom all over Austin. My little dwarf variety is in full bloom for the first time.
Dwarf Texas sage

Esperanza (Tecoma stans) is full of yellow bells, but is already forming seed pods.
Esperanza (Yellow Bells)

Other flowering plants going strong in Austin gardens:
Crape myrtle (Langerstroemia indica)
Flame acanthus (Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii)
Mexican oregano (Poliomintha longiflora)
Pride of Barbados (Caesalpinia pulcherrima)
Red yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora)
Retama (Parkinsonia aculeata)
Turk's cap (Malvaviscus arboreus)

What flowering plants are knocking your socks off in your garden this summer?

Words and photos © 2009-2011 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.