Through the eyes of a visitor

We showed off our best weather to visitors from Baltimore last week, as I guided folks from the Ladew Topiary Gardens around to see our own gardens here.  They were amazed at what they saw — and I don’t mean the Experimental Music Project.  Lots of plants they can’t grow, although I know Richard and Joel have tried most of them.  In Daniel Sparler’s garden in Seward Park, they got their first taste of our growing love for hebes of all shapes and sizes.  ‘Great Orme’ was a dazzler, with its 5-inch-long pointy, pendulous, pink inflorescences.  Daniel’s garden evokes a tropical feel using temperate plants — or, mostly temperate plants.  The leaves on the banana (Musa basjoo) must’ve been 5 feet long!

            Cactus at Linda Cochran’s, along with quite an array of New Zealand plants that were succulent or pokey.  Such great shapes and textures.  An intense class in the importance of foliage at Tina Dixon’s — who needs flowers when you can get that effect?  Rock and stone are showcased at Shelagh Tucker’s garden, with hardscape designed by Phil Wood.  In front, Shelagh took inspiration from Beth Chatto’s book The Gravel Garden and we learned just how beautiful no supplemental water can be.

            I loved answering questions from the Ladew folks, and listening to their reactions.  I enjoyed seeing our Pacific Northwest landscapes through new eyes:  I knew we had fabulous gardens, but it’s always nice to hear other people say so.


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