You know how you blink, and then half a year has gone by? Yeah, me too… Early last fall, my friend and blogger pal Laura asked me to help her during the upcoming Master Gardener Conference. This would involve learning to use a photo editing app called Snapseed. She promised she’d teach me the ropes, so one sunny morning, we met in her garden. Little did she know the challenge she was in for, teaching this old dog new tricks. Anyway, the setting for our lesson was quite idyllic, as you will see.
The first time I drove to Laura’s house, the road seemed to go on and on and on. I started to wonder if I had gone too far. And just as I had thought that thought, I saw THIS! Now who – other than a gardener with a flair for the dramatic, would line their driveway with Euphorbia, Tetrapanax and Petasites japonica? Voluptuously, the textures spill out over the concrete. I knew I had arrived!
If you look down the sidewalk, you see a number of raised beds where the hellstrip used to be. This is the neighborhood food supply – courtesy of Laura and her Pirate.
Here’s the Pirate handing me a Hand Salad – a bite-sized, portable flavor bomb. So good!
Here are some of the many possible the ingredients. Try it – I highly recommend it!
The Datisca cannabina in the front bed looked so fantastic with the Rosa rugosa.
Here is a close-up of those marvelous dangles!
Take your time going through the gardens – there is plenty to look at and learn from. Laura has this great knack for mixing ornamental edibles in with the regular (and not so regular!) ornamentals. Of course the Tetrapanax steals the show in this photo, but look up to the right… See the fab foliage of the fig?
Big leaves abound! Here is the Pirate, for scale.
The fig is even bearing fruit!
Here is the Japanese Coltsfoot – Petasites japonica – which incidentally is also an edible. The Japanese call it Fuki, and dip the crunchy stalks in a dipping sauce. Beware of planting this beauty in the ground, though – they are about as easy to remove as horsetails – as Laura and her Pirate are well aware by now. Mind you – it is a fantastic plant to admire in someone else’s garden! 😉
I doubt this one is edible – even though its name is February Plum Daphne. I’m pretty sure the ‘Plum’ part refers to the scrumptious dark foliage.
When I walked around the back, I was greeted by the lovely Sadie…
… and Barnaby, the 180 lbs baby of the family.
When you reach the back, you understand why their edibles are in the front. The back of the house is dominated by these wonderful, tall tree trunks that reach for the sky, and cast their shadows over the patio.
See what I mean?
My visit came on the heels of a gusty wind storm. This big trunk had blown down the day before. Thank heavens nobody was hurt…
Okay, ALMOST all their veggies are in the front. You WILL find a stray Lacinato kale here and there, even in the back. After all, that foliage is so cool…
There are seating areas here and there throughout the garden. This shade sail and the misters felt wonderful on this particular day.
Heck, if you wanted to, you could even lay down for a nap!
Yup, I could totally rest here awhile!
At one end of the garden is a secret door, beckoning.
There are a number of raised planters adorning the garden.
This one was recently constructed and planted, but the purple cone-shaped ones in the background are my favorites. Guess what they are? They are re-purposed freeway light fixtures – love it! The one in the distance looks a little tipsy. It was hit by that big branch I showed you earlier. 😦 Right behind it is Barnaby, wondering what in the world I’m doing.
Foliage reigns supreme in this garden.
And, there is always something for the birds.
Sure, there are flowers here and there…
… but the rich, layered foliar textures provides the quiet but continuous thrill.
This one is my new must-have, although I have to figure out what it is first. Such marvelous leaves!
See the bamboo barriers that Laura has put up around the garden? It’s part of the ongoing training of Barnaby, the rescued, human-sized Great Dane, whose life and adventure you can follow on Laura’s beautiful blog – Gravy Lessons.
Probably the biggest lap dog in the world, wouldn’t you say?
And that, my friends, concludes my visit to the friendliest Pirate Cove north of the Caribbean. 🙂
Oh wait, you say… What about the Master Gardeners Conference? Well, it happened, and it was great. Here are some of the participants, learning to use Snapchat:
Ironically, I – who was supposed to help them learn, has by now pretty much completely forgotten how it works, even after Laura’s tutelage. It’s a very cool free app, and it really is not that difficult. All that’s required is a little time to tinker with it, and in my case, and enthusiastic coach. One of these days, I WILL relearn it, I swear…