Pink flower ka-power


Several rosy-cheeked flowers are standing up to the Death Star during this hot midsummer. The ones I’m enjoying most, because the plant is new in my garden, are these satin-petaled, carnation-pink flowers that appear every couple of weeks on a mammillaria cactus.


A spiny stoic cactus, just enduring. And then — boom! A crown of pink flowers with golden stamens appears overnight like a floral halo. Hello, you beauties!


The watermelon-pink crepe myrtle in the back garden is blooming its heart out too. True, a parade’s worth of confetti-like flowers litters the deck stairs below it. But the mess is worth it, to have something looking so happy about our 101-degree days.


A few in-ground bouquets of candy-pink rain lilies (Zephryanthes ‘Labuffarosea’) have also popped up lately, starry-eyed over trace amounts of rain, or maybe just the smell of it in the air.


These pinkies are helping me get through summer. What color is your summer garden?

I welcome your comments; please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading this in a subscription email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post.
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Get on the mailing list for Garden Spark Talks. Inspired by the idea of house concerts, I’m hosting a series of garden talks by talented designers and authors out of my home. Talks are limited-attendance events and generally sell out within just a few days, so join the Garden Spark email list for early notifications. Simply click this link and ask to be added.

All material © 2006-2017 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Color-blended garden retreat of designer Barbara Katz: Capital Region Garden Bloggers Fling


Opening the summer issue of Country Gardens magazine a few days ago, I felt an immediate jolt of recognition at seeing, on pages 10-13, one of the gardens we toured during last month’s Capital Region Garden Bloggers Fling. It’s the garden of Bethesda, Maryland, designer Barbara Katz, one of the first private gardens we toured and one of my favorites.


Barbara’s front flower garden, a deep curving border around a small oval lawn, is a traffic-stopper — or at least a stopper of 50 eager garden bloggers. But just wait until you see the back garden!


But before we head to the back, let’s explore the front. My eye went straight to variegated yuccas (‘Bright Edge’?), their lemon-yellow stripes echoed by yellow yarrow, yellow-and-white lantana, and tawny Mexican feathergrass (I think) — a combo that would be at home in Austin.


A curving stone walk leads past shrub plantings to a front porch with red Adirondack rockers…


…and two plant stands with eye-catching succulent combos.


A variegated spineless prickly pear and Agave desmettiana fill one planter.


In the other, a spiny euphorbia stands tall with a paddle plant and Portulacaria afra (thanks for the ID, Diana!).


There was much to see out here, but I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss out on the back garden, so I headed along the side-yard path. No throw-away space here but rather a golden shade garden with hostas, sedge, and a redbud tree (maybe ‘Hearts of Gold’). Dark-green shrubs in the background make the golds pop.


Foliage detail


A few blogger friends stopped here to admire the plant combos too, including Gail, Tracy, and Jennifer.


Entering the back garden, where a generous stone patio bridges house and garden…


…you’re led to a small pond and waterfall…


…that stair-steps down from the top of a 12-foot slope, where a gazebo roof entices you to climb up and explore.


What an oasis…


…and not just for goldfish.


Barbara told us that she’d created this garden for clients who later decided to move. Spontaneously, she and her husband purchased the home in order to acquire the garden. She laughingly told us that in this way she was able to get a professionally designed garden — her own — without having to pay for it.


I doubt she ever sits down in her garden, but this comfortable seating area in the shade of a tall tree is inviting.


Barbara pays careful attention to color combinations, both flowers and foliage. One side of the back garden is planted with an orange, white, and purple color scheme.


Caramel-tinged heuchera, New Zealand sedge, and an orangey peach echinacea. Update: Barbara kindly identified the sparkly white flower as a catmint (Calamintha ‘White Cloud’).


Rusty orange coleus matches a rusty orange planter.


Even the garden art plays into the color scheme.


The other side of the garden features yellow, pink, blue, and maroon plants.


Which is your favorite?


Purple-leaved loropetalum and a purple-pink daylily


Now let’s climb the steps up the slope…


…stopping to admire the falling stream, which looks completely natural…


…and beautiful planters on the steps.


I enjoyed Barbara’s playful garden art, like this lizard seemingly sunning himself on a boulder…


…and this “bottle fly.”


You enter the upper garden via a perfect circle of emerald lawn, a calm counterpoint to the lush garden beds. Behind the pink hydrangeas on the far side of the circle (near owner/designer Barbara in the orange tank top)…


…a path leads to a nearly hidden stone patio and bench. Here are Garden Design publisher Jim Peterson and his wife, Val, chatting with Barbara’s husband.


Tucked amid the hydrangea blossoms, a woman’s face peeks out.


A more-traveled path beckons across the top of the slope…


…leading to a woodsy gazebo.


From here you enjoy a view of the house and lower patio and an upper pond with a bubbling fountain.


This plume poppy (Macleaya cordata) stands tall in a pot near the gazebo (see the gazebo picture, above), so pretty against a burgundy Japanese maple.


Stokes’ aster ‘Klaus Jelitto’ in full bloom alongside a shady birdbath. On her Facebook page, Barbara recently wrote that the aster is “still going strong after 22 years in the exact same spot, with zero maintenance.”


A closeup


A lilac-and-blue lacecap hydrangea harmonizes…


…as do these cute little plants growing in the cracks of a mossy stone path — rose campion?


Looking back to the circular lawn — what a stunning space!


There’s not an inch of this garden that didn’t wow me. I’m thrilled to have been able to visit.

Up next: Scenes from Brookside Gardens and a Patrick Dougherty twig sculpture. For a look back at the whimsical woodland garden of Ellen Ash, click here.

I welcome your comments; please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading this in a subscription email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post.
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Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events

Book Giveaway! I’m giving away a copy of a fun new book, Potted, that’ll inspire you to DIY your own uniquely cool garden planters for porch, patio, or deck. Just leave a comment on my giveaway blog post to enter (click the link and comment there), and good luck! The giveaway ends Friday, July 14, 2017.

Get on the mailing list for Garden Spark Talks. Inspired by the idea of house concerts, I’m hosting a series of garden talks by talented designers and authors out of my home. Talks are limited-attendance events and generally sell out within just a few days, so join the Garden Spark email list for early notifications. Simply click this link and ask to be added.

All material © 2006-2017 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Peg Bier’s woodland garden of discovery: Capital Region Garden Bloggers Fling


Near Tyson’s Corner, Virginia, during the recent D.C.-area Garden Bloggers Fling, we toured the garden of Peg Bier, who’s been designing and experimenting with plants here for 40 years.


Peg’s charming yellow house comes into view at the end of a well-screened driveway. Plenty of sun gives her the right conditions for a flowery cottage garden on a small slope leading down to the lawn.


I love her “chemical-free lawn” spangled with clover blossoms.


At the back corner of the house, this surprising sight greets you: a sunken garden with timber-framed retaining walls and terraced planting beds. If I recall correctly, this accesses a walk-out basement, and what a pleasant view it must make from indoors. It was all very nicely done.


A geometric cut-stone path takes you, slowly, past cobalt pots of angel wing begonias and lush ferns…


…toward a deck where a rusty Japanese maple echoes those red begonia blooms.


The deck seats a table for 10 (wow!), with room to spare for a pair of cushioned armchairs.


A cooling, white-and-cream container combo


From cool to hot! Peg amps up the heat and drama with containers of angel wing begonias and big-leaved tropicals, accented with red ceramic spheres, at the entrance to a woodland patio away from the house.


What a show-stopping display.


The red patio, as I think of it, is set for company with a mix of red Adirondacks and robin’s-egg-blue metal bistro chairs and a table. Widely spaced stones in gravel segue…


…into a tightly fitted stone patio.


From the shady seating area you look out on a defined, oval lawn.


I love spheres of all kinds in a garden, and this mossy concrete orb immediately caught my eye.


Even better, here’s a triangular wedge of dwarf mondo grass accented with several spheres, which acts as a subtle divider and focal point where multiple pathways come together.


Peg’s garden has a primordial feeling, with sky-scraping trees and lush undergrowth and old stumps that look like fairy haunts.


It’s an expressive place, and surprisingly colorful despite the deep shade thanks to flowering begonias and color-echoing pots and garden art.

Up next: The Southern Gothic garden of designer Jeff Minnich. For a look back at the gardens along the National Mall, including the Smithsonian Gardens and U.S. Botanic Garden, click here.

I welcome your comments; please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading this in a subscription email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post.
_______________________

Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events

Get on the mailing list for Garden Spark Talks. Inspired by the idea of house concerts, I’m hosting a series of garden talks by talented designers and authors out of my home. Talks are limited-attendance events and generally sell out within just a few days, so join the Garden Spark email list for early notifications. Simply click this link and ask to be added.

All material © 2006-2017 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

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