Spring is around the corner…

There is something comforting in sameness…You know winter’s wrapping up when the YGP show comes to town. And you know that each year, there will be largely the same vendors as last year. Since the economic crash a few years back, however, there has been a definite reduction in nursery representation but, ever the hopeful optimist – I make my way down there, nearly drooling with anticipation. And every year I have to laugh because – like clock-work – I run into my equally plant-geeky friend Jane.

Having someone to geek out with makes it all the more fun! Here is Jane, lounging in a chair the shape of an autumn maple leaf.

Having someone to geek out with makes it all the more fun! Here is Jane, lounging in a chair the shape of a bright red oak leaf.

There were some fun ideas - like this wall of wood with a moon window through it.

There were some fun ideas – like this wall of wood with a moon window through it.

Here is a variation on the theme - but with a sedum wall providing focus above the bench.

Here is a variation on the theme – but with  the moon window filled in with a living sedum wall, providing visual focus above the bench.

Another creative seating solution was a circular seat fashioned from two corrugated window wells that had been bolted together and a board resting across the void.

Another creative seating solution was a circular seat fashioned from two corrugated window wells that had been bolted together with a board for seating, resting across the void.

Every year, there space is dotted with sculptures – some more “corporate business park- looking” than others. Perhaps not something you might expect in your average residential garden, but the visual punch and the structure they add is always interesting, so why not? The great thing about garden design (in my humble opinion) is that there is always room for play. Regardless of what you think about these particular sculptures, they all serve as a great reminder that the most engaging gardens are much more than just plants. Adding some contrasting textures, materials and surfaces is a wonderful way to create focus and interest. And I loved the firewood storage wall with the moon window below… So fun!

The idea of vertical gardening and green walls is particularly relevant in an increasingly crowded world. You know, those modules could hold edibles as well as sedums…

This large sculpture made of brushed and welded steel squares served as a grand focal point near the entrance.

This large sculpture made of brushed and welded steel squares served as a grand focal point near the entrance.

Red bars

Helix

From a distance, I thought this was the result of some creative lighting but, according to the makers of this display, the tree had been hand-brushed with something they called "Children's Dye". Supposedly, it does not harm the plant, and will come off with the next rain. For a short-term splash of color and panache, I thought it was pretty cool!

From a distance, I thought this was the result of some creative lighting but, according to the makers of this display, the tree had been hand-brushed with something they called “Children’s Dye”. Supposedly, it does not harm the plant, and will come off with the next rain. For a short-term splash of color and panache, I thought it was pretty cool!

The play on shapes and textures in the displays is always fun and inspiring!

The play on shapes and textures in the displays is always fun and inspiring!

Who says that your decorations have to be static? A pond of Koi is its own form of jewelry box where the swimming gems provide an endless source of enchantment.

Who says that your decorations have to be static? A pond of Koi is its own form of adornment, where the swimming gems provide an endless source of enchantment.

And then, there are of course the plants! And then more plants… This is why I come! Even though I may have become a bit jaded in that I think I know what to expect from the vendors that show up each year, there is always something to make my heart beat a bit faster. The good people from the Rodgerson’s Clematis Collection always have interesting things to show, and the displays from the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon always thrills me.  From winter fragrance, to berries, seed heads and stems that break the monotony of gray winter days – what they offer is always uplifting for my weary soul.

The pearly buds of the plum tree (I think) and the somewhat frail appearance of the light pink flowers always impresses me. How can something so tender looking be in full bloom in February?

The pearly buds of the plum tree (I think) and the somewhat frail appearance of the light pink flowers always impresses me. How can something so tender looking possibly be in full bloom in February?

The hairy buds of the magnolia trees make me think of seal pups, and makes me lust for the day when they will break out in their leaf-less bloom.

The hairy buds of the magnolia trees make me think of seal pups, and makes me lust for the day when they will break out in their leaf-less bloom.

Magnificent!

Magnificent!

Flax och björk

The fuzzy flowers of the fragrant witch hazels at their best. But I figured out from the Hardy Plant Society's samplings that I like the form of the Hamamelis species' flowers better . The tree here is 'Arnold's Promise', which is another favorite.

The fuzzy flowers of the fragrant witch hazels at their best. But I figured out from the Hardy Plant Society’s samplings that I like the form of the Hamamelis species’ flowers better . The tree here is ‘Arnold’s Promise’, which is another favorite.

Some of the designers working these gigs do a great job juxtaposing colors and textures, in my humble opinion.

Some of the designers working these gigs do a great job juxtaposing colors and textures, in my humble opinion.

Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide' - one of my favorite camellias of all time. As opposed to most others, it does not drop the entire blossom when it's done. I suppose that means that this is the kind of camellia one might  be able to find in a Samurai's garden. The ones that loose their 'heads' were always regarded as a bad omen, and were never used in a warrior's garden.

Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’ – one of my favorite camellias of all time. As opposed to most others, it does not drop the entire blossom when it’s done. I suppose that means that this is the kind of camellia one might be able to find in a Samurai’s garden. The ones that loose their ‘heads’ were always regarded as a bad omen, and were never used in a warrior’s garden.

I always love the Alliums' seed heads. This one was the largest one I have ever seen. Of course I couldn't resist buying one. So cool...

I always love the Alliums’ seed heads. This one was the largest one I have ever seen. Of course I couldn’t resist buying one. So cool…

These large Hawthorne berries would light up any winter garden. I imagine they are popular with birds, too.

These large Hawthorne berries would light up any winter garden. I imagine they are popular with birds, too.

These impressive, prehistoric-looking seed heads reminded me of a T-rex scull I once saw. They are the size of a child's fist.

These impressive, prehistoric-looking seed heads reminded me of a T-rex scull I once saw. They are the size of a child’s fist.

Okay, it’s President’s Day. I guess I’ve spent enough time geeking out over others’ lovely garden arrangements. Looking out my own windows, I see it is time for some restorative and some preventive work in my own yard, in anticipation of spring. Pruners, here I come…

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About annamadeit

Born and raised in Sweden, my aesthetics and outlook on life are strongly shaped by a culture rich in history and tradition. I care a great deal about environmental responsibility, and my aesthetic reflects the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia. I was trained as an architect at the University of Cincinnati and as a color specialist at the Scandinavian Colour Institute in Stockholm. I'm obsessed with plants and gardens, and aim to take my skill set a step further by designing gardens as well as interiors. As someone so aptly said: " Architecture is the skin that separates the exterior from the interior". So true - you can't successfully focus on one without incorporating the other. I'm also an avid cook, and I love to ski. In addition, I put time and efforts into trying to rectify things that I feel are wrong in my immediate community. As you will see, The Creative Flux will touch on all these things, and more. For sure, it's all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blog!
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8 Responses to Spring is around the corner…

  1. Wonderful post, Anna! I really value seeing the show through your talented and educated eyes. You show me so much more than I see by myself. And it was such fun to hang out there together!

  2. Scott says:

    I was SO tempted by those giant Allium seed heads too…but figured since I planted so many last fall, I should probably wait to see what comes up…there’s always next year, right!

    • annamadeit says:

      Hi Scott! Yes – they are stunning, aren’t they! Can’t wait to see it in bloom! Did you plant the huge ones last year? I only planted one, but I’m hoping it will self-seed prodigiously! 🙂

  3. matthew g says:

    What is that prehistoric-looking seed head? I saw some in my backyard last weekend and have been trying to figure out what they are!

    • annamadeit says:

      It was labeled “Cardiocrinum giganteum” and was part of the Hardy Plant Society’s display. Hope that helps!

      • matthew g says:

        Thank you! Mine are smaller, about 1″ x 2″. Must be another variant.
        I can attest to its hardiness since it is on my back slope which gets an occasional sprinkling during our hot, dry LA summer and is otherwise neglected.

      • annamadeit says:

        Lucky you! Other than how large they are, they remind me a little of beech acorns. So cool, and great for making wreaths!

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