Friday, May 29, 2015

A Tale of Two Landscapes and a Single Weed

Do you have a neat and tidy front landscape?  One where plants are pruned neatly and at the right time of year.  Where drip lines are covered up and where there is never a weed in sight?

Or maybe you would describe your front garden space as somewhat natural and untamed.  Where plants are late in getting pruned (if at all), drip tubing is exposed and where weeds can be found lurking in hidden corners?


Today, I'd like to share with you a story of two landscapes - the 'neat and tidy' neighbors have a perfectly lovely landscape filled with a combination of flowering plants and succulents.  There is always something blooming in their garden in all seasons.


They even planted the outside of their side wall with pinky muhly grasses even though they don't see this area of their landscape.

Now, let's look at the second set of neighbors who have a 'natural and untamed' garden...


While this landscape is also filled with flowering plants at all seasons, you'll notice a weed or two next to the purple trailing lantana, exposed drip tubing and a smattering of dead leaves from the nearby tree.


The plants in the 'natural and untamed' landscape aren't always pruned right away and sometimes grow into nearby plants before being pruned.

If you look carefully, you'll often find a weed (sometimes two or five) hiding alongside shrubs and underneath groundcovers.

Despite their differences in their landscape maintenance practices, the neighbors are good friends and have lived near each other for over 10 years.   

Now that I have created the setting, I'd like to share with you something that happened this week that made the owner of the 'natural and untamed' garden absurdly happy.


As she was driving by her 'neat and tidy' neighbor's house, she noticed something definitely out of place.



At first, she could hardly believe what she was seeing - a weed!  It was something that she had NEVER seen growing in her neighbor's landscape.

And it wasn't just a little weed - it was a really big one!

The sight of this unwelcome weed brought a smile to her face as she drove a couple of houses down to her 'natural and untamed' landscape filled with more weeds than she would care to admit to hiding among the rambling shrubs and groundcovers.  

This tale of two landscapes and a single weed leads me to ask you this question:

Which type of landscape does yours resemble?

Neat & Tidy or Natural & Untamed

************************

As you may have guessed (or recognized my landscape), one of the neighbors in this story is me and before I wrote this story, I got my neighbor's permission to show their single, solitary weed.

While I like the idea of having a neat and tidy garden, I am frankly so busy helping others with their landscapes that I don't always have time to tend mine as much as I would like.  

Maybe someday, we will have time to cover up the drip tubing, get rid of all our weeds and prune our plants at the right time of year.

But, I wouldn't hold my breath....

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Drought Tolerant & Beautiful: Texas Olive (Cordia)

Do you like plants that flower throughout most of the year?

How about a plant with foliage that is evergreen throughout the year in zone 9-11 gardens?

Would you prefer a plant that requires very little pruning?



If you answered "yes" to these questions, than Texas olive may deserve a spot in your garden.

This beautiful southwestern native deserves a spot in our 'Drought Tolerant & Fuss Free' category.


Despite its common name, this is not an olive tree.  However, it can be trained into a small tree or large shrub depending on your preference.

In my opinion, it deserves to be seen more often in the landscape with all of its outstanding qualities mentioned earlier.

My favorite characteristics are its large, dark green leaves and white flowers that decorate the landscape.

Want to learn more about Texas olive and how you can use it in your landscape?

Check out my latest plant profile for Houzz.

If you want more ideas of great plants to add to your drought tolerant landscape, you can check out my other plant profiles here.


*****************************

As you can see, it's back to regular blog posts after my Northwestern road trip posts.  I hope you enjoyed them and were able to share in our adventures.

However, I still have more to share with you about the some very special gardens we visited. I promise to share with you soon!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Road Trip Day 8: City Traffic, Border Crossings and a Farm House Garden

The last full day of our Northwest road trip began with a ferry ride yesterday.



The ferry was to take us from Victoria to Vancouver.

When we arrived for the ferry, approximately 60 minutes early, we got in line with our car - it looks like a bunch of cars stopped on a freeway.  You then turn off the engine and sit in the car or lock it up and head over to the rest stop, complete with restaurant and shops until you are notified to start boarding the ferry.


We felt a bit more experienced this time with the process of bringing our rental car onto the ferry (as it was our second time) and walking upstairs to the passenger levels.

What we weren't prepared for was how huge this ferry was.  There were 3 levels for cars, busses and even semi-trailer trucks.



Food options consisted of a large cafe and coffee shop.



There was a very large gift shop AND a video arcade - my kids would love this!


You could also venture outside to see the beauty of the islands we passed by.

After docking just outside of Vancouver, we promptly headed toward the city.


We were somewhat surprised at how much traffic there was and it took a very long time to arrive at our hotel downtown.


This morning, after a quick breakfast, we were going to take the city trolley tour so that we could hop on and off to see the many attractions of this vibrant city.

However, we were informed because of the ongoing transit strike, that the tour was delayed.  So, we decided to go out on our own.

We headed toward Granville Island Public Market, which is located in the downtown area.


It is a fun and creative place with artist studios where you watch art being created before your eyes - a definite draw for both locals and tourists alike.


Stores offering unique wares are scattered throughout the small island.


If you have pets, this shop in a railroad car likely have just the right thing for your 4-legged friend.


When I travel, I like to find stores that sell handcrafted items made from local residents.  I found a beautiful Christmas ornament in this little store made by an 80-year old woman.


As we walked through the streets of the public market, there was a small dog that was walking about in its own.

He was obviously at home and comfortable with his surroundings.  He paid no mind to us or any other passersby.


Now before you think that this is a lost dog - think again.  He belongs to one of the local vendors and has free reign of the market.


Our attention was drawn to a nearby lake where a family of Canadian geese were swimming.


On shore, we met up with another feathered family.  I found it symbolic that on our last day in Canada, that we would see Canadian geese.

We had hoped to see more of this beautiful city, but there was so much traffic due to the transit strike and it took a very long time to travel small distances, so we made the difficult decision to cut our visit short by a few hours and head back toward the States.


On our way out of the city, we spotted this community garden.

Vancouver is quite close to the U.S. border and we  soon found ourselves sitting a long line to cross over the border.  We settled ourselves in for a long wait.


As we inched our way closer, we saw this archway at the actual border.  I like this wonderful statement about our two countries.


People anxious to visit the United States took turns taking pictures next to this sign while waiting for their cars to go through the border crossing.


It's almost our turn!

While we had a wonderful time in Canada, I didn't like having to pay for an international phone plan, which had extremely limited data (which I went over).  

While waiting in line to cross, once we got within feet of the border my phone suddenly got a  'No Service' signal and then once we crossed, my regular carrier took over and I was so happy to be able to use my normal cell phone allowances again.


Since we had some extra time to fill due to our shortened visit to Vancouver, we stopped by the Fairhaven historic downtown neighborhood in Bellingham, WA.  


Many of the stores had garden themed products and while I have no plans on seeing the 'Fifty Shades of Gray' movie, I may need to read this book :-)


We spent about an hour shopping, spending time in a clothing boutique, checking out the local bookstore and admiring some really lovely handmade woodwork.

The last night of our road trip is to be spent in Mount Vernon, WA before we leave in the morning for Seattle where we will fly home.

Mount Vernon is known for being the largest producer of flower bulbs.  They also have the Skagit Tulip Festival every April.

Choosing Mount Vernon for the last stop of our trip was largely due to its proximity from the Seattle airport AND a small garden that we wanted to visit.


LaConner Flats Farm & Garden is an 11-acre display garden of a large family-owned farm.

The gardens are free to visit and you are welcome to walk around on your own.


The centerpiece of the garden is made up of circular beds of rose bushes surrounding a gazebo - an ideal place for a wedding.


The backdrop for the roses and gazebo are formally shaped shrubs underplanted with flowering perennials.


However, it was what was behind the formal garden space that really interested me...


Behind the formally-pruned shrubs were the more informal areas of the garden.


Trees, shrubs and perennials were planted in a carefree mixture, tied together by pathways of green grass.


To be honest, there were plenty of weeds intermixed with the flowering shrubs and plants.  But, it is this untamed, natural type of garden that I like best.




Several, large flowering shrubs provided vivid displays of color.

As we were admiring the flowers, we rounded the corner and came face to face with four little goats...


They were busy eating the fresh green grass and initially paid no attention to us.


A little robin stood in our path and was quite friendly.



He didn't move until we got quit close and then hopped to the fence. Robins are rare in my neck of the woods, so I always look forward to seeing them when I travel.


The goats finally noticed our presence and came over to see if we had any food to share.  Sadly, we didn't.


I crouched down to take a picture of the friendliest goat and didn't realize how close I was until he licked my camera's lens.


Even though we didn't have any food for them that didn't stop one of them from following my mother as we walked along the path.


The pathway along the goat's enclosure was just on the other side of the formal garden, which was separated by large shrubs.


Alongside the pathway, I saw a plant that I have rarely seen before - holly!


As we neared the end of our tour of the garden, I looked back toward our cute little friends and was trying to figure out how I could possibly talk my husband and HOA into letting us have goats ;-)


This garden is surrounded by fields of wheat and the Cascade mountain range can be seen in the distance.


It is well worth the visit if you ever find yourself traveling in Northern Washington State.

We have had so many wonderful adventures during our fifth annual road trip.  But, I am excited to come home and see my husband, kids, grandkids, dogs, garden - you get the picture...

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails