Sunday, January 1, 2017

Vista and Vignette: a fond look back...

East ridge at Arilbred iris season

I have published rather too many pictures over the last few years--mostly of plants in solitude, like Walt Whitman's stolid live oak. Live oaks in fact--like everything on the planet--are very much a part of a web--and the plants in my garden are very much tangled in a mesh of other plants on top of plants--and I seem to keep cramming more in. Last year many hundreds joined the rabble. And it is the rebellious madness of all these jostling plants which comprises the garden. 

Iris 'Mariposa Skies'
 Even  a diva like this Tall Bearded iris gains relevance with all the plants gathered around it....a vignette--but a vista is just beyond. There's not a lot of commentary below: during much of the growing season, it's simply the weaving of plants together (often quite randomly at their own behest) which gives me the greatest pleasure. I hope you'll enjoy the cacophony (or rather cacoophany) as much as I do!

Melica ciliata gone crazy
This last year nay be the LAST year of this bit of excess: the designer may approve, but the Melic grass is too spready for a collector's garden. There may not be a show like this ever again.

All those white specks are Erigeron flagellaris (Whiplash fleabane)--spreads like wildfire then disappears.

Prickly poppy (Argemone munita)

The orange is my hybrid swarm of Glaucium acutidentatum x corniculatum x flavum. One of my many signature weeds.

The white is Orlaya grandiflora, firmly entrenched annual in the garden.

Oh yes. The Verbascum bombyciferum: Believe it or not, I've contracted the display a lot the last few years: I still have a few on the ridges, but I've exiled more and more out to the fringes of the garden (see below). 2017 will be the last year they strut their stuff on the ridges--better come visit with PPA (Perennial Plant Association). Next year there will be something new!)

On the corner by the alley where they will rule the roost henceforward.

I think I have fifty photos of the fernleaf peony--one prettier than the next....

I do not recommend Papaver dubium: essentially ineradicable. But cute!

This photo taken at dusk

Same shot in daytime: the Oriental poppy is self sown.

A corner of the woodland garden

Two more signature weeds: Psilostemon afer was everywhere in the mountains of Greece (the thistle) and the little Erigeron divergens lower right self sows all over the garden--native to the spot)

The Campanula is C. formanekiana. The rock garden is the high altar of the garden!

The steep meadow section of the rock garden--without rocks!

The shady slope of the rock garden

Rock garden in peak bloom in early May

The xeric West Ridge in full bloom...

Ranunculus gramineus and Iberis taurica dancing together!

The swirly green is Silphium laciniatum: it never gets watered and the flower stems are barely five feet tall: I call it variety alpinum.
Thanks for dropping by. I hope you have a great 2017!


  1. You should host an artist. If Monet was a live I am sure he would have come.

    1. You are too generous, James. If Claude dropped by today he's be horrified. But Andrew Wyeth might not be!

  2. Looks beautiful as always. Your garden is always a source of inspiration and seeds :) 2016 was an amazing year

  3. I think I get more from YOUR garden than you do from mine, Mike. I have a pretty nice series of pictures from your garden this year...I am tempted to string them together like this. Your garden* has become the fountainhead of cutting edge plants for our region (and BEYOND!). Glad we're neighbors!

    *The one on Jersey. Let's not even TALK about the one near Hahn's Peak or the little areas you have a hand in at York.

  4. Thank you for promoting the PPA annual in Denver next July! Your garden will be one of the highlights for me. Thank you for all you have done with the local site committee!! Jennifer Brennan

  5. Thanks for sharing this-gratifying for me to see many familiar plants.

  6. So many inspired plant combinations, bold and pleasing, seems that my gardens are lacking strong verticality, need bigger plants like Psilostemon, Asphodeline, and the mighty bomby mullein. The charming vignette of Ranunculus gramineus gracefully floating over bed of Iberis demonstrates how to deal effectively with this otherwise hard-to-position buttercup. Cheers.


Featured Post

A garden near lake Tekapo

The crevice garden of Michael Midgley Just a few years old, this crevice garden was designed and built by Michael Midgley, a delightful ...

Blog Archive