A third and final (for now) day in Tim Vojt's garden in Columbus! Today he says, "I really don't have a lot of winter interest in the garden, although I am slowly trying to remedy that. I've never planted ornamental Kale before, but I think it will become a tradition. Fall was not especially colorful here, but a lot of annuals kept on flowering late into the season. The hummingbirds loved the old-fashioned red Salvia and I did, too. In the fall, the sun would strike the red flowers just right as I arrived home from work: they positively glowed!" It's been such a treat spending the last three days in your garden, Tim! Thanks so much! Have you bought your ticket for Seattle yet? Come on…….it's a sure cure for the winter blues!
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Come and meet up at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show this year!
I'm scheduled to give another GPOD talk (A few of you will be getting emails in the next two weeks as I put together the slideshow…), and a number of people have emailed to say that they'll be at the show, and that they'd love to meet up with a bunch of fellow GPODers!
The RSVPs so far:
Glenda Curdy (Nurserynotnordstrom)
May Kald (GrannyMay) – tentative
Catherine Campbell (CrannyCC) – tentative
Jeanne Cronce (Greengenes)
Chris Niblack (ChrisSeattle)
Kielian DeWitt (Annek)
Linda Skyler (Meelianthus)
So…who else is going to be there?? Let us all know in the comments, and we can start planning an outing! Perhaps after-dinner drinks one night at the bar at the Sheraton? I'll repeat this announcement for the next week or so, at least, and keep a running list of who's coming….enticement for even more people to come. Oh, and when you comment to say you'll be there, give us your real name so that I can plan name tags that include both that and your screen name…
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Sigh of appreciation...a flowing stream of Japanese Forest Grass... so very lovely and those touches of soft pink that the cooler temps bring out are delightful. The vibrantly colored kale are a wonderful addition, Tim, and look right at home with the other lushly foliaged plants you have. Here in TN, ornamental kales and cabbages can stay in good shape all through the winter. How about up in Ohio?
These past 3 days of pictures have been great and muchly enjoyed.
I, too, am enamored with the Japanese Forest Grass. For some reason, even though I usually have good luck with shade or semi-shade plants, I've not been successful with this grass. I'm in zone 6b. Any suggestions?
I'm probably closer to 6A. The only places in my yard where I've had trouble is lots of sun and/or dry hard soil. For me, it takes a couple of years to settle in and then it starts to clump up and eventually run. My soil is heavy. I have it growing places that are very well drained and just normally draining. Open shade to almost full sun. It really seems to love growing near stones or growing between paving stones. Maybe you just need to give it some time? Best of luck!
Nina and Tim, count me in the sad club of people who have failed (repeatedly) with having Japanese Forest grass survive and thrive. To read that yours actually develops runners ,Tim, and spreads...well, that just sounds amazing...ha,maybe that means unicorns really do exist! Sounds like good drainage is an important contributor to success...with that in mind, maybe I'll try again.
Tim, I enjoyed seeing your plant combinations. You aureola forest grass.... mine never shows any pink. Perhaps yours is in more sun... what do you think? The frost on the sedum is beautiful.
Hey, Jay. I think the sun theory might be a good one. I didn't really take note of the hakone grass in shadier parts of the yard this year, but the stream of grass flowing down the hill is in almost full sun this year. We had to take down an enormous cherry tree at the top of the hill, which used to keep the hakone grass in bright, open shade.
Thanks for the comments Tim. I'm not going to give up - mine probably had too much sun.
Again, Tim, GRAND photos! Hmmm.... I may have to try growing kale as well! A spectacular specimen of the Japanese Forest Grass! I notice too, that you have some nice rocks- did you "import" them, or just relocate them from your property? Thanks so much for sharing your photos! A delight!
Thanks, Margaret! Most all of the rocks in the front yard were rocks that I collected, over a period of years, from construction sites around town when grading was done. I did purchase a couple of large boulders. The first photos I ever sent into to GPOD were before, during and after pictures of the front hill. When I see the rocks sans plants in the early stages, I sort of miss the rocks that now take a back seat!
ROCKS and SEDUM!....sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!. Looks so cool. The frost has a nice artistic appeal too. And yet again, more forest grass rubbed in my face...ho hum, but I have my fingers crossed for the upcoming season. It looks great though - I like the way yours cascades down the hill. And I'm a big fan of the blue spruce. We bought one up in Pennsylvania years ago, and luckily has survived here quite nicely ever since...lucky placing I suppose.
Thanks for the extended days of photos.
Keep us posted on the hakone grass. I wager you'll find the right microclimate and then never be able to get rid of it as it sends out runners!
It's been wonderful visiting with you Tim, these Past few days and we end with some beautiful pictures! If I were to drive by your place I would say for sure that a true gardener lives there and i would so want to see the backyard! Well you have some great sedum growing. Here it seems that it just grows too fast and vigorous but I love the color of it. Great color on the grass! Isn't the Carex family a good addition to the plantings! And it's very interesting how the thyme grows over the rocks! Oh I love it all...Now for the Kale...gorgous! It's something that brings such happy, shocking color in the fall! Thanks for sharing with us these past few days! It's been fun and has encouraged me and Iam sure, others, to look into planting more for the beautiful and graceful butterflies! Stay warm!
Good morning, Jeanne. I was happy to wake up to a nice, insulating blanket of snow this morning because we are scheduled to hit some lows below zero this week. We don't get reliable snow cover here, just outside of the snow belt. The front and side gardens are the most well-developed, with the exception of a circular gravel garden in the back. I haven't quite caught a clear vision for the back yard yet.
Our neighbors to the west just had a beautiful cedar fence put up, so I have a nice new backdrop to part of the garden. Sadly, the contractors did not speak to me before they did most of their work standing in my garden....Gardens are always a work in progress, aren't they!?
Yes, our gardens are always evolving. I think that's the fun of gardening. It's like a creative outlet for us! And not to mention the ever increasing variety of plants! I did hear about the cold front moving in on your area. Brrrr...Here it was in the low 20 's and today it's in the low 50's. Such a change. Well have a wonderful year ahead and Iam sure we will all be looking forward to seeing your garden this year!
We seem to be in a similar roller coaster weather pattern Jeanne. 58 today, 27 tomorrow. Luckily we had a lovely blanket of snow for our recent polar blast, the roller coaster weather ride in Denver continues ;)
Lets hope the plants stay dormant! Enjoy the snow!
Actually, I was thrilled with the recent polar blast, especially when we got some snow. It had been so comfortably mild and because of our strong sun my crocus were 2 inches tall... poor babies. The big question for us will be if we get any spring blossoms at all, the record setting major freeze early Nov. potentially did some serious damage to plants, shrubs and trees. Gardening is pretty good at teaching us to be flexible... don't you think?
Many thanks, Diane. A friend and I have a running joke about the Angelina sedum. She purchased it several years in a row because she kept falling in love with it and not quite remembering she already had plenty. It's a great, four-season garden workhorse!
Whew, that front hill view is exquisite, Tim. What a perfect combination of hardscaping (each rock looked lovingly placed yet so natural) and plant material. The color combinations were so serene, I could see sitting on your porch and enjoying all your hard work. I'm sure passers-by thank you on a daily basis. Truly a fine garden!
Thanks. Truly, each rock was lovingly placed. During the summer of the rock thief, folks were surprised that I noticed rocks were missing. I pretty much knew the rocks all by name! The porch is the best feature of my house, but it isn't really a place from which to see the garden (except for the milkweeds!). That's good, though, because it draws me off the porch and out to the garden!
People actually took some of your rocks? Wow... what is happening to people? Up here in Washington we used to be able to drive up into the lower mountains and pick up large and small rocks. We did this to have our chimney made. It was fun and we would take a picnic lunch and sit by the river...etc. But now if you get caught its a big fine. But my husband and I just took a nice drive up to Port Angles and they have this wonderful Jetty or Spit and it is full of beautiful round and flat rocks, small boulders etc... and there wasn't any sign saying you cant take them. Its not even state land so... I love flat round rocks. I even found a heart shaped one! Sorry... I get carried away when it comes to rocks!
Crazy, I know. My neighbor even saw a lady stop, toss a rock in her van from my front yard and drive away. Only happened one summer. Maybe her rock garden is finished now! We must be twins-separated-at-birth when it comes to rocks. In this part of the country, concretions are the spherical rock of choice. I have one that is a gift from a friend. It is perfectly spherical (some are sort of squished), very heavy and the size of a small cantaloupe. Allegedly the spheres form around a fragment of fossil. That rock lives indoors because it is far too precious.
That is fascinating! Between GPOD and Google, one can get a great eclectic education. I looked up concretions and now need to ask you Tim, are you not the least bit curious as to what your concretion might contain?
Not too curious. It's a gift from a geologist friend and he says it's pretty hit or miss as far as what you might find inside. I love the stone so much it has squelched my curiosity!
It's a great species and seems to grow rather quickly. One of my absolute favorite plants! I labelled it as Thymus minus; it is actually Thymus minus 'elfin'.
Gorgeous again Tim! My favourite photo, if I had to choose, is the Thyme minus flowing over the rocks below Sedum 'Angelina'. That looks like a particularly decorative Thyme. The frosty combination of Sedum and Thyme is lovely too. Of course a mature Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' is always spectacular. Do you remember how long yours has been growing there to get to that stage? Also love the Carx comans 'Bronzita' and your marvellous placement of rocks ties it all together. Thanks for a wonderful three days!
Thanks, May. That thyme really keeps performing well. I get some dieback, but it has such excellent drainage draping over those rocks that it performs well even without full, hot sun. I put the hakone grass in when I landscaped the hill the summer of 2009 and planted quite a bit of it. I surrounded it with black edging material about four inches deep. The past few years it has been sending runners out under the barrier and popping up in unwanted places outside of its stream.
Sheila Schulz had asked about the Carex. My tag says Carex comans, but internet search has said Carex flagellifera. Whatever it is, I hope hope hope it survives the winter!
I'll keep my eyes open for a Thyme that looks like yours. Mine all seem to be very flat, not textured. Oh, your hakone is trying to be invasive, and mine, wherever I have put it, keeps sulking and refusing to grow, a situation not at all helped by the bunnies nibbling now and then. In fact they totally ate up several I had put in by the road. The only ones that grew really well last year are in containers. I'll have to be patient with the others and keep my fingers crossed.
Sorry about the bunnies. Cute but destructively hungry. The hakone grass does tend to sulk for me for a couple of years before it really puts down roots and starts to run and spread. It seems to particularly love to spread through cracks and crevices between stones and flagstone. cheers.
I'm not giving up yet, just trying to find spots that might work, even if I have to put the dreaded chicken-wire cages around them for a year or two as I have started to do again with some other young plants. :(
PS: It's Thymus minus 'elfin'.
Thanks Tim. Now added to my enormous wish-list. What colour are the flowers?
Thanks Tim for the view of your wonderful garden. I looked up the article in Fine Gardening and I admire all your hard work, moving and placing all those rocks and the soil to support it. The Hakonechloa is amazing cascading down the bank. Do you cut it back each year? Thank you for answering all our questions as it does take time but we do appreciate it.
Catherine, I am really loving stopping work to read comments and chat. I probably shouldn't, but I do! Almost missed your post with the two "Grannies" one after another. Thanks for the compliment. I love rocks, plants and butterflies. The order changes by what is in my hand at the moment! I do cut the Hakenochloa back in spring. Right now it looks pretty nifty peeking out from under the snow. I took this on my way to the car this morning.
I love that word! I think of it a lot when planting low growing things tightly together.
Tim, I've loved your front slope from the moment I first saw it in FG, it was and is perfect in my eyes. I love how the plantings have matured over the past 5 years. They are like a gentle stream finding it's path through the stones.
I completely understand one of your comments about missing some of your stones as the plants mature... When the rocks and boulders were positioned in my gardens by my friend who we refer to as the 'rock whisperer,' she said that it is always difficult for her to see her beautiful rocks a few years down the road because most have disappeared completely underneath the plantings. I don't know about you, but I spend a great deal of time pulling and pruning my plants to make sure the stones are still exposed. It's kind of a labor of love.
I do pull and prune to try to balance, but my other big issue is my ambivalence about the patina a lot of the rocks develop. Since my hills are north-facing, I get a lot of lichen. I LOVE the lichen, but then many of the rocks look alike rather than the different colors that they were at the start! Trading one aesthetic for another.
You definitely live in roller-coaster-weather land! Everywhere we have lived, people have said, "Don't like the weather? Wait five minutes and it will change." The only place it was true was Denver!
Yeah, I'd be hard pressed to eliminate any lichen. I get very little but treasure each and every piece, heck I even get downright giddy when I get a tiny patch of moss! I guess the colors and textures you've got going with your plantings make up for the more uniform color of the lichen colored stones. There are always aesthetic concerns with our gardens and rocks aren't there?
More wonderfulness! That magenta kale just glows! And the rivers of grass and thyme are wonderful. Love sedums, salvias, blue spruce, rocks...it's all great! Thanks Tim, and it would be wonderful if you could get to the NW Flower and Garden Show - you'd love it! It's only money...and time away from work and...But it would be great. Dream on. I have so enjoyed these visits to your garden. Thank you.
I am crazy about the kale. I placed the bright curly one facing the front door so we can look out and see a bright spot of cheer! I would so love to come to the NWFG show. So fun to be among like-minded people. But, there are plants to buy, art to buy, a house to fix, and most importantly a non-gardening spouse to consider!! :)
I'm so sad that we'll be out of town during the flower show - I would have loved to hear Michelle's talk on GPOD, and have the chance to meet many of the wonderful gardeners from GPOD. :(
Tim, I've loved seeing all the photos of your garden, particularly the ones that show the tapestry of plants on your rockery area! Lovely! I can appreciate the difficulty of gardening on a slope and trying to find what works best, because that's what much of my gardening involves! I'm also a big fan of your Hakonechloa and use it extensively throughout my garden - I love how fluid and graceful it is flowing down a hillside.
Thanks, Peggy. It's funny how what used to be a real challenge (the slope) can become a great asset. I'm sure that you've found that some plants actually look best cascading or flowing down a hill, and if the slope is steep enough, you have plants right at eye-level!
Hi Tim, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for the well written article, "Taming a Slippery Slope" in the August issue. I have poured over those pages again and again. It gave me the inspiration to write our woodland garden's story for the 2015 March/April issue! I am SO excited.
We have obtained many rocks and boulders from our property and have also experienced their disappearance as foliage swallows them annually. It's just one more reason to change-it-up, right? Also I have noticed that time (perhaps acid rain?) dulls the colors of boulders and flat rock we have laid for pathways. Alas my power washer! Done carefully in the early spring, colors are revived.
Terie, I'm so excited to see your print article coming out this year. How exciting is that? You have such a great garden and good eye that I am sure we are all going to learn something and be inspired!
I think even normal rain, dirt, lichen and other sundry things must build up on our stones. I've noticed in my gravel garden that when I disturb it to plant new things and throw some new pea gravel on, it is such a different color, but eventually time and weather evens it up. I do have to remind myself that I am not the kind of person who needs any excuse to 'change things up'!
Rocks and mantis, what more could you ask for. Wonderful mixture of greens. If the black striped rock by the kale ever disappears, you may find it in Mississippi. Hee, hee.
I've got my eyes on you, Elizabeth!! :)
Hi, again, Tim, while watching this short video about agaves, I thought of you (and Jeff) so I thought I'd pass along the link. Man, this hybridizer is certainly creating some breathtaking beauties.
Michaela, this video would excite agave lust in anyone! I would not want an entire garden of them but there are some gorgeous specimens. I wonder if any would survive our wet western WA winters? Thank you - they are beautiful.
I have to admit, Shirley, that agaves were never on my radar until some of the gpod-ers activated my interest by their expressed enthusiasm. I had no idea they came in such interesting variegations. Glad you enjoyed the video.
Isn't that a great video? Do you read Loree Bohl's blog, Danger Garden? That's where Jeff Calton and I got the saying 'If you look hard enough, there is always an agave.' She has a ton of agaves out there, as well as documents other PNW gardens, highlighting agaves. The climate out there is definitely mild enough for a lot of species, but winter wet is a killer. People in PNW have great success by either creating excellent drainage and/or by giving them cover during the colder, rainy months. I think both Cistus nursery out west and Plant Delights nursery in NC describe which hardy agaves are most tolerant of wet.
Thank you for the information, Tim. Another thing I love in plants is variegation and some of the agaves are spectacular. Hmmm, maybe a large pot with fast draining growing medium, and a roof over it for the winter?
Love the variegation, too. Sounds like some potted, variegated agaves are in your future! I have about 10 agaves in pots that winter indoors and two that stay out planted in the ground all year. cheers and happy gardening!
I just spent a little time (waay too little) on Loree Bohl's blog and I want to thank you, Tim, for the head's up on its existence. . Her photos are awesome and her writing style is very informative and entertaining. Here I go with another blog that I will be typing in my info for automatic delivery...sometimes there seems to be too little time time in the day for immersing myself in all that I want to. And, here in east TN if the sun is out, there can still be gardening "enjoyed" all through the winter...mostly weeding (I will never win the battle against bittercress) and mulching on my part. OK...back to the Danger Garden for me!
Well, one good temptation deserves another! Loree is pretty witty, has a great garden and visits/profiles many other great gardens and plants. Have you found your way over to Plant Lust? Loree runs that along with two other partners in crime. It's a great resource to search out plants with multiple plant descriptions from different vendors, vendor lists, and multiple photos for a better view of the plant. It's dangerous, too! Cheers!
Oh, Michaele. The depths to which you have sunk. Tempting me to buy more plants that I have to overwinter indoors! Tsk Tsk! This is such an amazing video that I think I will set aside my work and watch the video over and over again. I'm dreaming of a greenhouse in my backyard, just slightly warmed to keep the temperatures above 25 degrees and dry, so that I can have giant-sized agaves in the ground. I have several of these agaves in pots and have really admired Kelly Griffin. My newest agave about which I am so excited is Agave parrasana 'Fireball' with that great artichoke-form and the little variegated edge. There's something about that symmetrical shape that is so beautiful to me, the same way that I love a full, double, symmetrical camellia (which I also can't grow here!). Have you seen Aloe polyphylla? If you haven't, look it up. The shape is amazing. Don't have one. yet.....
Oh, my, Tim, the geometry of the almost endless spiral is mesmerizing...esp. when it occurs naturally in nature...I did a google image search on the Aloe polyphylla and to see the page filled so many different pictures of that amazing perfection is positively hypnotic. Hmmm, come to think of it, isn't a moving spiral thingie a tool of hypnotists? Like a scene from a corny old movie and the spiral is twirling and the hypnotist is saying "you are getting sleepy...very, very sleepy". Glad you enjoyed this particular video and maybe you had already seen it since you are a fan of Kelly Griffin. The world of agaves is new to me so I'm an eager student in learning about them.
Hope your greenhouse dreams come true at some point. I have never thought of the idea of having a greenhouse structure being used such that plants like agaves could live naturally in the ground but have protection from killing temps...."veddy interesting".
I had not seen the video. Despite my teasing, I am really grateful that you passed it along. I am going to subscribe to Debra's stuff to see what other cool things she is posting. Cheers! Please get my direct email from Jeff, Sheila or Michelle. I'd love to have you pass things on that you find!
I love the movement and flow of your garden Tim! Sheila is right on in liking it to a gentle stream. It also has a very serene quality that I love. Your garden is definitely full of fall interest and there is quite a bit of color as far as I can see even if you don't think so. How I wish I could add rocks to my own garden! Please return with more photos soon. Thank you.
Thanks, Cherry. A stream is definitely what it is. Here's a photo of most of the rocks in place, but almost no plants. You can see the stream clearly defined. Good eye!
Cool design! I can only imagine how many times you moved those rocks around till it satisfied your inner vision. Or are you one of those rare people who just "know" and get it right on the first try?
I seem to be checking email a little too frequently these days... :)
Thanks for the compliment. I'm a little bit of both, but probably the biggest factor was how many rocks there were to choose from. The fewer rocks left, the harder it was to find what I wanted. Since I had a general design in mind, it was more like putting together a puzzle. When it got down to all sky pieces, it was much harder! :)
OK - final comment, I promise! I now totally see why you would want to have the rocks visible, not hidden by plants (maybe just hidden a bit is OK) and not changed by lichens. My rock-garden was in place when I moved here. The giant boulders were not placed the way I would have chosen to do it, but I could not afford to change anything. Now I do like to have certain ones show, but am happy the overall design is hidden.
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