Cor-ten potager beauty in Rhonda Fleming Hayes’s garden: Minneapolis Garden Bloggers Fling


I’m dubbing this summer Escape to the North. In the space of two months I’ve made three trips to the northern, cooler half of the U.S., starting with the Philadelphia area; then Providence, Rhode Island; and finally Minneapolis, where the 9th annual Garden Bloggers Fling was held July 14-17. And for once, the gazillion Texas bloggers who attend the Fling each year didn’t bring the heat with them — yay!


It’s hard to know where to start when you take pictures of dozens of gardens over the course of three days, so I’m going to just jump in with blogger and author Rhonda Fleming Hayes’s personal garden.


Rhonda blogs at The Garden Buzz, and lots of the Flingers were already fans of her work.


Rhonda also writes a gardening column for the Minneapolis StarTribune, and she has a new book called Pollinator Friendly Gardening.


Generalizing from her book title, I expected that she might have a meadowy sort of butterfly garden, but it was actually quite manicured and even a bit contemporary in design. Of course I’m sure it’s pollinator friendly as well, but it’s different from what I was expecting — and I loved it!


Starting out front, the house has old Craftsman charm, although we were told that it’s relatively new construction. A generous front porch overlooks snowball hydrangeas with blossoms the size of snowmen’s heads.


The traditional front garden is lovely, but the side yard is where the action really is. What might have been a sterile swath of lawn or a green mustache of foundation shrubs has been converted to a stylish potager of raised Cor-ten steel beds and a handsome stone patio shaded by a striped umbrella. Willow edging in the veggie beds helps protect against incursion from…


…Peter Rabbit, who I spotted hopping through her other side yard.


Cottage favorites like zinnia and cosmos add color to the beds, and vines on tuteurs provide welcome height.


Gravel makes a practical, affordable, and water-permeable paving around the Cor-ten beds. Imagine seeing this view as you pull into your driveway at the end of each day.


The Cor-ten beds lead to an elevated stone patio that bridges the space between house and garage. As you step up and turn the corner, you see this…


…a contemporary Cor-ten steel pond with a flat, blade-like fountain. A smaller rectangular trough, just in front of the planters of autumn sage (upper level), spills water across the metal blade, which juts like a diving board over the steel-edged pond. It’s a wonderful design, compact but eye-catching.


String lights hang over the space for nighttime enjoyment. The doors behind the fountain open into a stylish potting room…


…with a deep sink, shelves for supplies, and gardening tools. What a beautiful pass-through, too, between the garage and house. Rhonda had kindly set up refreshments for us here.


She has only to step out on the patio to harvest tomatoes, here planted up with petunias, zinnias, and what looks like cypress vine.


Even the garage wall is gardened up.


There’s no back yard to speak of, so Rhonda has cleverly made the most of her sunny side yard. The elevated stone patio is bordered by a handsome stone wall (which doubles as additional seating), with a water-wise mix of liatris, coreopsis, sedum, and grasses enjoying the reflected heat from the driveway.


Another view


What a wonderful space, and full of lawn-gone inspiration!

Up next: The colorful Springwood Gardens daylily farm.

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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All material © 2006-2016 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Garden marries home at destination nursery/garden shop Terrain


Anthropologie meets Flora Grubb Gardens? Yes, please! While in the Brandywine Valley outside of Philadelphia earlier this month, I was eager to visit Terrain, a nursery, home and garden shop, and restaurant located in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania. (There’s a second location in Westport, Connecticut.)


Founded by the company that owns Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters, Terrain is an upscale eden of lush plants, beautiful garden furnishings, and tempting home goods arranged and displayed with the same creativity and attention to detail that makes Anthropologie stores such a delight to shop in.


My traveling companion, Diana/Sharing Nature’s Garden, and I arrived after our visit to Winterthur.


From the moment we walked in, I was wowed by the plant arrangements and displays, with everything layered on stands and tables so you can really see it.


Love these grapevine tuteurs


A smoke tree underplanted with pretty companions


Signs cleverly advertised potted succulents for Father’s Day.


Hanging lights and lanterns are displayed throughout the nursery. I like these metal-strap orb lights.


I think I’ve seen these Moroccan-style metal lanterns at Barton Springs Nursery here in Austin.


Or how about a plant “picture” for your walls?


An even bigger vertical garden fills a shed wall near the parking lot.


Display gardens are set up to tempt you before you even get out of your car.


After oohing and aahing over the entry diplays…


…let’s explore the nursery grounds, which are extensive, with plenty of room for event-space rentals. People even get married here.


Beautiful seating areas are set up throughout the grounds. I can imagine someone coming in and saying, “I’ll take the whole room.”


This casually perfect arrangement evokes a Swedish garden, don’t you think?


Wooden pots filled with creeping Jenny line an outdoor dining table.


Little pots of sunshine


Multiple rustic outbuildings add charm to the display gardens, including this one adorned with old funnels planted with asparagus fern and white lantana. (The painted sign alludes to Styer’s, a popular nursery that formerly occupied the site. When Terrain took over, they kept Styer’s as part of their name for this location.)


Each funnel row is planted with just one type of plant.


Isn’t it fun?


I love it when stores display their Fermob furniture this way, in a rainbow of colors across a wall.


‘Bonfire’ begonia and lantana baskets for summer color


So many plants for sale


Check out these massive fire pits.


Terrain has a potting bar where their stylists pot up cool table displays.


You can also buy the supplies you need to make your own.


“Potting stone” — i.e., colored glass to top off your pots.


And then you step into the garden and home shop, where rustic wooden walls, glowing lights strung across the ceiling, and beautifully merchandised tables and shelves invite you to open your wallet and just hand the whole thing over.


And this is just the entry room! The biggest part of the shop is still to come.


Above the register, a chalkboard sign advertises events at the nursery.


Orchids in glass goblets


A candelabra makes a pretty place to hang jars of sweet peas and baby’s breath.


Succulent platters


Terrariums


Tillandsias too


More “potting stone” in a range of pretty blues, white, and green


There is so much more, but we were hungry, so we popped into the cafe for dinner. Terrain’s Garden Café serves lunch and dinner, farm-to-table style.


Diners were seated in the greenhouse dining space, and you’ll notice it’s all women. I did see one man eventually, when the place had filled up, but clearly Terrain appeals most to women.


Everyone else seemed to know to BYOB, but we didn’t realize that Terrain doesn’t sell alcohol, so we were sadly without wine. Even so, dinner was absolutely delicious, with service that was attentive and knowledgeable.


What a wonderful way to end our first garden-touring day! How I’d love to see Terrain open a store in Austin — or even Dallas or Houston. But perhaps it’s best for my wallet if that doesn’t happen.

Up next: Longwood Gardens’ formal spaces, including the rambler rose pergola and the dancing fountains in the Italian water garden. For a look back at Enchanted Woods, the children’s garden at Winterthur, 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

Do you review? Have you read my new book, The Water-Saving Garden? If you found it helpful or inspirational, please consider leaving a review — even just a sentence or two — on Amazon, Goodreads, or other sites. Online reviews are crucial in getting a book noticed. I really appreciate your help!

All material © 2006-2016 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Dining, dancing amid flowers on Field to Vase Dinner Tour


A jug of wine, a loaf of bread, and thou may be pleasant enough. But add Crayola-bright fields of flowers, a big blue barn, tables adorned with festive bouquets, chef-made dishes, a western swing band, and the starry skies of the Texas Hill Country, and you have an event not to be missed.

Two weeks ago, on Saturday, May 21, I attended the American Grown Field to Vase Dinner Tour in Blanco, Texas (officially listed as Austin), about an hour west of Austin. Debra Prinzing, the Seattle-based author and founder of Slow Flowers (not to mention co-planner of the 2011 Seattle Garden Bloggers Fling), invited me to the dinner as her guest, along with a few other Texas-based garden writers, and I was delighted to accept. My friend Jenny Peterson carpooled with me to the event.


Winding, scenic highways lined with orange and lavender wildflowers led us to Blanco and, just outside of town, the Arnosky Family Farm. We were warmly welcomed and invited to have drinks and appetizers behind the barn.


But first — wow! — I had to admire the dining set-up in the barn. Later I learned that the original plan was to set up the tables in the flower fields, but with a possible thunderstorm in the forecast, they moved everything into the barn. With doors and windows open to the fields and string lights twinkling from the rafters, the barn made for a wonderful, open-air, yet sheltered dining experience.


Fresh-picked bouquets from the farm — homegrown favorites like orange marigolds, black-eyed Susans, crimson zinnias, moonshine-yellow lilies, and bold sunflowers — corralled in blue-glass vases, lined the center of each long table.


Burlap-wrapped poles rose above the tables to support strings of glass globes, into which were tucked succulents, moss, and battery-operated tea lights.


Bouquets perched on windowsills overlooking fields of zinnias and marigolds.


It was all so beautiful.


Photo credit: Whitney Devin for Field to Vase Dinner Tour
Frank and Pamela Arnosky have owned and operated their farm for 26 years. Their Texas Specialty Cut Flowers are sold in HEB grocery stores and other commercial outlets as well as in their own Blue Barn Farm Market.


Photo credit: Whitney Devin for Field to Vase Dinner Tour
The Field to Vase tour, which will be hosted in 8 cities across the U.S. this year and into 2017, was launched last year to promote American-grown flowers, tapping into widespread interest in buying fresh, local, and sustainably-grown food and flowers.


Photo credit: Whitney Devin for Field to Vase Dinner Tour
“With approximately 80 percent of flowers in the U.S. being imported today,” according to the tour press release, “this popular pop-up dinner series puts a floral twist on the farm-to-fork concept, making locally grown flowers the center of the evening’s discussion.”


Photo credit: Whitney Devin for Field to Vase Dinner Tour
The dinner also features local floral designers, locally grown food, and locally produced wine and beer, making each stop on the tour a distinctively regional experience.


Photo credit: Whitney Devin for Field to Vase Dinner Tour
In addition to the family-style dinner, attendees receive beautiful bouquets to take home. I enjoyed mine for more than a week after the event.


Photo by Jenny Peterson
When we were able to stop exclaiming over the flowers and decor, we naturally took a few selfies in front of a wall of flowers. Here I am with Jenny Peterson and Debra Prinzing.


The always-photogenic Jenny was farm-fresh in gingham and turquoise.


As appetizers and drinks were passed around on trays, Frank Arnosky led a tour of the farm.


I’m never very good about sticking with a tour, and I wandered off to commune with the flowers on my own.


The sunflowers were soaking up the rays on that warm afternoon.


Zinnias stretched for the sun too.


Photo credit: Whitney Devin for Field to Vase Dinner Tour
Amid golden marigolds, we garden writers posed for a group shot: Jenny; Debra; Ann McCormick, a columnist at the Dallas Morning News and blogger at Herb ‘n Cowgirl; Jay White of The Masters of Horticulture; and me.


Inside, a four-piece band led by Austin mandolinist Paul Glasse (standing) began strumming toe-tapping tunes.


It was the perfect accompaniment to a festive Texas dinner.


Photo credit: Whitney Devin for Field to Vase Dinner Tour
The menu promised plenty of deliciousness to come…


Photo credit: Whitney Devin for Field to Vase Dinner Tour
…like baby field lettuces with beets and watermelon radish…


Photo credit: Whitney Devin for Field to Vase Dinner Tour
…and grilled pork chops with peach relish.


Shared family-style, the food brought us together, turning strangers into new friends.


Photo credit: Whitney Devin for Field to Vase Dinner Tour
The woman in the black-and-white dress, pointing to the menu, is my friend Andrea Fox of the blog Grow Where You’re Planted in College Station, who was dining with her husband. It was a fun surprise to run into her there! I also saw Linda Lehmusvirta there earlier that afternoon, filming for Central Texas Gardener, so look for that episode to air next season.


Debra spoke briefly, reminding us to buy American when it comes to flowers, supporting local farmers like the Arnoskys.


Photo credit: Whitney Devin for Field to Vase Dinner Tour
Hats off to everyone who put this one-of-a-kind event together, and especially to farmers Pamela and Frank. It was a delightful experience!


After dessert, the tables were whisked away, the band kicked into high gear, and couples began two-stepping around the dance floor.


Frank and Pamela, who share on their website a story of falling in love on a dance floor — “I ran across the dance floor and slid to her on my knee and asked for a dance. We’ve been dancing ever since” — were there too, spinning in each other’s arms…


…clasping each other close in this wonderful place they’ve created.


As the sun dropped behind the hills, party lights set the night aglow, spilling out of the barn along with the lilting music. It was a perfect Texas evening.

If you’d like to attend a Field to Vase Dinner, check the schedule for a location near you — or make plans to travel to one! Dinners resume August through November in Boulder, Colorado; Quakertown, Pennsylvania; Sonoma, California; and Woodland, Washington. And for the adventurous, you can even attend a dinner in Homer, Alaska, in July 2017.

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

Do you review? Have you read my new book, The Water-Saving Garden? If you found it helpful or inspirational, please consider leaving a review — even just a sentence or two — on Amazon, Goodreads, or other sites. Online reviews are crucial in getting a book noticed. I really appreciate your help!

All material © 2006-2016 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

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