A xeric garden to die for!

Had it not been so hot, I probably would have had to turn down the invitation to see Greg’s garden, but thanks to the timing of a miserable heatwave, the event was moved to the cooler hours of evening. Yeay! In anticipation of this treat and dripping with sweat, I closed up shop a little early, and headed home. Still, it wasn’t until after a long, cool shower, and drinking half a bucket of water that I could even imagine going back outside. Damn the heat – it makes me grumpy, short-tempered, and it turns me into a first rate bitch, wallowing in the angst I feel when I think about the kind of world we have created for our children. As you can tell, I was prime party material as I arrived.

I got there right at the Golden Hour – the sun was setting over the tree tops, and the slanted rays hit the garden just right. Luckily, this sudden exposure to beauty along with friendly faces melted my angst faster than you can say “cold beer”. The heavenly hellstrip was practically glowing in the evening light.

Pretty magical, huh?

Pretty magical, huh?

Not sure, but I think that tree with the awesome leaves is a Katsura.

Different angle – still magical.

Can you imagine that none of this gets any supplemental water in the summer? Euphorbia rigida with those wonderful red bracts + something that looks like Sedum 'Blue spruce' = rockstar combo.

Can you imagine that none of this gets ANY supplemental water in the summer? Euphorbia rigida with those wonderful red bracts + something that looks like Sedum ‘Blue spruce’ = rockstar combo.

Another Sedum in flower against the backdrop of Artemisia 'Seafoam'. Totally drool-worthy (although not in need of any supplemental fluids either).

Another Sedum in flower against the backdrop of Artemisia ‘Seafoam’. Totally drool-worthy (although don’t bother –  neither is in need of any supplemental fluids).

The cheerful yellows look so great against all that cool, blue-gray foliage.

The cheerful yellows look so great against all that cool, blue-gray foliage and the bright greens.

Same here - cool blue and yellow - here all in one package. I have no idea what this is, but it is lovely!

Same here – cool blue and yellow – here all in one package. I have no idea what this plant is, but isn’t it lovely?

That awesome Euphorbia rigida again, rocks, and some kind of Agave (I think).

The entire front yard is a study in silvery, blue-gray-green tones, with sparks of white, yellow and other bright colors. That awesome Euphorbia rigida again, sedum, cactus,  rocks, and some kind of Agave (I think). Sigh…

Love the dramatic forms and textures...

Love the dramatic forms and play of textures…

Wouldn't you agree?

Wouldn’t you agree?

That silvery sheen against the netted framework of the Corokia-looking shrub (almost sure it's something else) with the little white flowers glowing against the gray is delicious!

That silvery sheen against the netted framework of the Corokia-looking shrub (almost sure it’s something else) with the little white flowers glowing against the gray is delicious!

This grass gave me heart palpitations with sheer plant lust. What is it? Not sure, but I think it's Stipa grandis. Please correct me if I'm wrong...

This grass gave me heart palpitations with sheer plant lust. What is it? Not sure, but I think it’s Stipa grandis. Please correct me if I’m wrong…

C'est tres jolie, n'est ce pas? I wish my E. rigida will self seed in such a perfect spot, too.

C’est tres jolie, n’est ce pas? I wish my E. rigida would self seed in such a perfect spot, too.

I have a soft spot for anything with red bark.

I have a soft spot for anything with red bark. And this one has those cute little flowers too…

By now, I'm starting to feel like I probably should move into the back yard before it gets dark. This Opuntia is a marvelous reason not to fall of the front porch. Beautifully flanked by a Arcthostaphylos and a thready wonder I have no name for. So cool...

By now, I’m starting to feel like I probably should move into the back yard before it gets dark. This Opuntia is a marvelous reason not to fall of the front porch. Beautifully flanked by a Arcthostaphylos and a thready wonder I have no name for. So cool…

What in the world is this? It's beautiful!

What in the world is this? It’s stunning!

xeric plant combo

Great combos abound!

That darn grass was amply represented. Damn, that's beautiful!!!

That darn grass was amply represented. Damn, that’s beautiful!!!

The world's most fabulous artichoke. My friend Laura lamented that people in her neighborhood who walk by, "help" her weed, by pulling these out. Wha...????

The world’s most fabulous artichoke. My friend Laura lamented that people in her neighborhood who walk by, “help” her weed, by pulling these out. Wha…????

Eryngium giganteum

Eryngium giganteum

Love this red Callistemon!

Love this red Callistemon!

A flowering Silverbush Lupine! (Lupinus albifrons) A girl can dream, right?

A flowering Silverbush Lupine! (Lupinus albifrons) A girl can dream, right?

How cute is this? Of course with the blue-green foliage...

How cute is this? Of course with the blue-green foliage…

Get some height with this brown (!) Digitalis. Great narrow leaf rosette, too. I'm very intrigued...

Get some height with this brown (!) Digitalis. Great narrow leaf rosette with white edges, too. I’m very intrigued…

Did I mention I love this grass?

Did I mention I love this grass?

Hot and frosty - all at the same time. Such a photogenic grass!

Hot and frosty – all at the same time. Such a photogenic grass!

Someone remarked that even the veggies grown in this garden have that blue-gray tone. Made me laugh...

Someone – I think it was Christian – remarked that even the veggies grown in this garden have that blue-gray tone. Made me laugh…

By now, it was time to put away the camera and have some more civilized fun. From the left; Matthew, Alan, Lance, Laura, and Charlie.

By now, it was time to put away the camera and have some more civilized fun. From the left; Matthew, Alan, Lance, Laura, and Charlie.

The resident charmer Polly who kept everyone in check.

The resident charmer Polly who kept everyone in check.

Last but not least - the supreme plant nerd himself, and the mind behind this wonderful haven.

Last but not least – the supreme plant nerd himself, and the mind behind this wonderful haven.

Before coming here, I spent the day fretting over plants drooping under the penalizing rays of the Death Star. It is becoming quite clear that some more traditional garden staples are no longer really climate appropriate, judging from pending water shortages, imposed restrictions, paired with steadily increasing temperatures. The ones in Greg’s garden were all sun-loving, drought-tolerant plants, but I know there are a plethora of shade-tolerant xeric plants in the world as well. While I do love the forms of the sun-lovers, now that I know what a Euphorbia rigida really is supposed to look like, I realize mine isn’t getting enough light. I’m excited to learn more about what shade-loving xeric options are out there – and I know where to ask. Greg is one of two co-owners of this wonderful local nursery called Xera, where they grow all these cool plants – for sun as well as shade. You should check them out – but be forewarned – it’s very easy to go a little crazy. It’ll pay off in the end, though… Can you imagine not having to worry about watering – ever? You know, just hang out in the hammock, with a good book and a cold drink? Yep – I could definitely get used to that… 🙂

 

 

 

 

About annamadeit

I was born and raised in Sweden, By now, I have lived almost as long in the United States. The path I’ve taken has been long and varied, and has given me a philosophical approach to life. I may joke that I’m a sybarite, but the truth is, I find joy and luxury in life’s simple things as well. My outlook on life has roots in a culture rich in history and tradition, and I care a great deal about environmental stewardship. Aesthetically, while drawn to the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia, I also have a deep appreciation for the raw, the weathered, and the worn - materials that tell a story. To me, contrast, counterpoint, and diversity are what makes life interesting and engaging. Color has always informed everything I do. I’m a functional tetrachromat, and a hopeless plantoholic. I was originally trained as an architect working mostly on interiors, but soon ventured outside - into garden design. It’s that contrast thing again… An interior adrift from its exterior, is like a yin without a yang. My firm conviction that everything is connected gets me in trouble time and time again. The world is a big place, and full of marvelous distractions, and offers plentiful opportunities for inquiry and exploration. I started writing to quell my constant queries, explore my discoveries, and nurture my curiosity. The Creative Flux was started in 2010, and became a catch-all for all kinds of intersecting interests. The start of Flutter & Hum at the end of 2013 marks my descent into plant nerd revelry. I occasionally contribute to other blogs, but those two are my main ones. For sure, topics are all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blogs!
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18 Responses to A xeric garden to die for!

  1. Pauline says:

    A good example of having the right plant in the right place. The plants are totally different from what I can grow here, they wouldn’t like my soil at all. I don’t water my garden here except for new plantings for the first year, the plants have to get their roots down deep and find water. The garden is far too big to water and also we are on a water metre so have to pay for every drop that comes out of the tap, we have to manage on what we can save in the water butts.

  2. mattb325 says:

    Such a beautiful garden – is the mystery tree the Mexican bird of paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima)? All those silver-foliaged plants are just stunning!

    • annamadeit says:

      Wish I could tell you what it is, Matt, but I don’t know. I have a big soft spot for silver plants already, but seeing this made me lust for more. 🙂

  3. Mark and Gaz says:

    It pays to have a waterwise, drought tolerant planting. These plants can be very beautiful and maintenance minimal. Beautiful shots, the planting and lighting to take those pics are fab!

  4. Alison says:

    What a sweet treat, getting to see Greg’s garden, and with garden blogging friends! I love a good xeric planting. But I’m hoping this summer is an anomaly, and not indicative of the new normal for the PNW. I want my cool rain back. I really don’t want to have to rip out all the tropicalesque plants in front.

  5. Scott Weber says:

    I so wanted to go on Sunday…but the heat was just too much for me…hopefully he’ll open again this year 🙂 I believe your mystery grass is Stipa barbata…which they do sell at Xera…but in very limited quantities.

    • annamadeit says:

      I totally know the feeling, Scott. The heat makes me so cranky… Thanks for the plant ID. I have to make sure I get one of those – they are incredible!

  6. Chris Maciel says:

    Wonderful, wonderful garden, and great presentation. The plants are mostly succelent, and who doesn’t love these wonderful workhorses of gardens. It’s good to see people responding to the need to cut back on water use. Hopefully, more people will start using more native plants which have adapted to natural conditions in California.
    Thanks.

    • annamadeit says:

      Thanks – glad you enjoyed it! Actually, I was struck by how few of the plants were succulent. The range of plant types was wonderfully widespread, and the way they were put together was masterful! A very inspiring garden indeed!

  7. rickii says:

    Hard to hold on to heat-induced grumpiness in the face of such beauty…and so glad you recovered so you could share it with us.

  8. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Great garden visit! I just can’t imagine you being bitchy but I’ll take your word for it. Looks like the beautiful garden and delightful company made up for the heat.

    • annamadeit says:

      Oh, you should take my word for it – I have a very mean streak… 😉 But there was no way I could sustain that mood in such a lovely setting – simply not possible.

  9. Kris P says:

    Thanks for sharing your visit – I’m glad you overcame your heat-induced malaise to make it to the garden. The light was perfect for photos.

  10. Pingback: Greg’s garden – on gardening with xeric plants | Flutter & Hum

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