|Shoreline at Ecola State Park|
But you want to see the gardens, right? So instead of beginning at the beginning, let's start at the end of the first day of the Fling.
|Sunlight falling on Old Germantown Gardens|
Let me set the scene for you: bright and early at 8 AM, eighty garden bloggers congregated in the hotel lobby to begin a short walk toward Timber Press and later to the Lan Su Chinese Garden. Then we boarded buses for a visit first to Cistus Nursery and then to Joy Creek Nursery. More on all these places later, but I will say that I valiantly resisted the urge to buy any new plants, partly because many of them were hardy only to zone 7 (I'm 5b/6) and partly because I didn't know how I would fit them in my suitcase for the flight home.
|Looking toward the house from the back of the garden at Old Germantown|
Alas, we were too far out for cab service, so I boarded the bus again, resigned to sweltering the rest of the day. And am I glad I did! If I had missed the last two gardens of the day, I would still be kicking myself. Instead, my only regret is that when we arrived at Old Germantown Gardens, I decided to take only my phone so that I wouldn't be encumbered by my camera case. Thus, the photos of this garden don't do it justice.
Old Germantown Gardens is located on a two-acre wooded hillside. According to our guidebook, it contains "a wealth of garden diversity," which was quickly apparent as we strolled up and down hilly paths past perennial beds crammed with unusual and familiar plants, woodland plantings, a rock garden, and a dry hillside.
Portland gardeners are fortunate in that it seems they can grow almost anything from perennials commonly found in the Midwest and Northeast to succulents and cacti normally associated with the Southwest.
One of the trees that caught my eye--well, actually, my ears and nose noticed it first--was this unidentified specimen. A sweet fragrance wafted on the air, and the sound of swarming bees made many of us stop and look around for a beehive. No beehive was to be found, however; instead, the tree was just swarming with bees enjoying the sweet-smelling blooms. It looked somewhat like a viburnum, and yet none of us were quite sure what it was.
A greenhouse next to the patio containing pools was filled with tropicals. The owners said that other than the patio and other hardscaping, and I assume the greenhouse, they had created the garden completely by themselves, including the terraced paths and beds. Although they have lived here for 23 years, I just can't imagine all the work that went into this garden--amazing!
So much to see, I know I must have missed something. But we were invited to the house once we had viewed the garden and get another view from the deck overlooking the garden. Can you imagine looking out over this as you enjoy your morning coffee? Absolutely stunning!
This garden reminded me of one of my favorites from the Asheville Fling, and others who had also attended that Fling agreed with me. The Gentling garden in Asheville was also on a wooded hillside, and although there are obvious differences, the total effect on me was the same--a beautiful piece of paradise. To top it off, Jerry and Bruce welcomed us inside to enjoy a respite from the heat along with some refreshing lemonade and the best ever chocolate-almond cookies warm from the oven--delicious!
|Check out the Garden Bloggers' Fling Facebook page for some fantastic photos of this field.|
The main garden, however, was down the hillside and behind the house. Swaths of daylilies bloomed alongside many native plants.
One of the more intriguing plants for me was this Fireweed Chamaenerion angustifolium. I had seen this plant growing in masses along the roadside as we drove to the coast earlier in the week and wondered what it was.
The name Fireweed comes from its tendency to grow in disturbed soil, often the first plant to appear after forests have been cut down or burned. According to one source, it grows to 4 feet in height, but obviously it can grow much taller!
This is a garden for wildlife. Near the house deer-resistant plants have been chosen. But beyond that, in the meadow plants were chosen for the birds, bees, coyotes, and even deer. The 'Jacob Klein' Monarda was a favorite of the hummingbirds. Many of us were captivated by the numerous hummingbirds dancing about these flowers. I spent a lot of time trying to capture a photo of one with no luck, and I finally gave up and just enjoyed the delightful show they put on.
At the end of this long, hot day, many of us found the perfect place to enjoy the view--a salt-water pool. I didn't take nearly as many photos of Westwind as I would have liked, but I'm not sure they would have done it justice anyway. Instead, I simply enjoyed the beauty and serenity of this peaceful place.
And when I say enjoying the view, this is what I'm talking about--looking down through meadows and woods upon the city, a world away.
Three hours earlier, I was ready to head back to my cool hotel room. But when it was time to leave Westwind, I was tempted to miss the bus:) I would have been content to spend the rest of the evening...and the next day here! It was a long day in the heat, but I am so glad I didn't miss these two fantastic gardens, Old Germantown and Westwind Farm Studio.