Laura’s Pirate cove

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. 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!

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.

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.

Here’s the Pirate handing me a Hand Salad – a bite-sized, portable flavor bomb. So good!

Here are the ingredients. Try it - I highly recommend it!

Here are some of the many possible the ingredients. Try it – I highly recommend it!

The Datisca cannabin looks so fantastic with the Rosa rugosa.

The Datisca cannabina in the front bed looked so fantastic with the Rosa rugosa.

Here is a close-up!

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 ornamentals. Of course the Tetrapanax steals the show in this photo, but look up a little to the right... See the fig?

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.

Big leaves abound! Here is the Pirate, for scale.

It's even bearing fruit!

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 before you plant this beauty in the ground, though - they are about as easy to remove as horsetails. It is a fantastic plant to admire in someone else's garden!

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, though, even though its name is February Plum Daphne. I'm pretty sure 'Plum' refers to the scrumptious dark foliage.

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 Sadie...

When I walked around the back, I was greeted by the lovely Sadie…

... and Barnaby, the 180 lbs baby of the family.

… and Barnaby, the 180 lbs baby of the family.

When you reach the back, you understand why most of 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.

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?

See what I mean?

My visit came on the heels of a gusty wind storm. This big trunk had blown down the day before. Luckily nobody was hurt...

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.

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.

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!

Heck, if you wanted to, you could even lay down for a nap!

Yup, I could totally rest here awhile!

Yup, I could totally rest here awhile!

At one end of the garden is a secret door, beckoning.

At one end of the garden is a secret door, beckoning.

There are a number of raised planters adorning the garden.

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?

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.

Foliage reigns supreme in this garden.

IMG_0041

And, there is always something for the birds.

And, there is always something for the birds.

IMG_0078

Sure, there are flowers here and there...

Sure, there are flowers here and there…

... but rich, layered foliar textures provides a quiet but constant thrill.

… 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 fabulous leaves!

This one is my new must-have, although I have to figure out what it is first. Such marvelous leaves!

See the bamboo 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.

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!

Probably the biggest lap dog in the world, wouldn’t you say?

And that, my friends, concludes my visit to the coolest Pirate Cove north of the Caribbean. :)

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. Oh well, there is still time, I suppose!

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…

 

 

About annamadeit

Born and raised in Sweden, my aesthetics and outlook on life are strongly shaped by a culture rich in history and tradition. I care a great deal about environmental responsibility, and my aesthetic reflects the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia. I was trained as an architect at the University of Cincinnati and as a color specialist at the Scandinavian Colour Institute in Stockholm. I'm obsessed with plants and gardens, and aim to take my skill set a step further by designing gardens as well as interiors. As someone so aptly said: " Architecture is the skin that separates the exterior from the interior". So true - you can't successfully focus on one without incorporating the other. I'm also an avid cook, and I love to ski. In addition, I put time and efforts into trying to rectify things that I feel are wrong in my immediate community. As you will see, The Creative Flux will touch on all these things, and more. For sure, it's all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blog!
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23 Responses to Laura’s Pirate cove

  1. Alan @ it's not work, it's gardening! says:

    Some wonderful bigness in this garden, both in the foliage and overhead in those trees. So nice! Also, Snapseed is a great photo editor. 🙂

    • annamadeit says:

      Trust me – it’s a really nice place to lose yourself in for a while! 🙂 And yes, Snapseed is cool. I just haven’t mastered it yet. I think that’s why this post took so long – I felt the photos all needed to be tweaked and revised. Then finally – half a year later – I just said screw it – it’s never going to happen unless I write it now. So, the photos are, for the most part, entirely as they were taken. I’m such a procrastinator when it comes to learning new software…

  2. Peter Herpst says:

    This special garden reflects the warmth and whimsy of Laura and her pirate! Who wouldn’t want to sit a spell and play with those adorable dogs? Thanks for the tour and for the introduction to Snapseed.

  3. Alison says:

    Thanks for this great look at Laura’s fabulous garden. What a fun day that must have been! The little hand salad looks delicious. I hope my fig tree is as big and luscious some day. I’m wondering if that unknown plant is a baby Trachycarpus?

    • annamadeit says:

      Hmm… I don’t know what it is. It didn’t really look like it, but I could of course be wrong. The undersides of the leaves are whitish, and those crinkles are to die for. So scrumptious!

  4. FlowerAlley says:

    This looks like heaven to me! Lucky you.

  5. rickii says:

    Thanks for this look at the pirate cove and its inhabitants. It’s as lush and lovely as I would have expected.

  6. Wonderful post, wonderful garden, and you did a great photographing it.
    Here in NY state in mid march we are desperate for green, with which this garden is filled.
    Love all the foliage and euphorbias…my kind of garden!
    Thanks.

  7. Thanks for the tour of Laura and the Pirate’s garden, it’s just as fabulous as I thought it would be! Oh and the unknown plant it is a Curculigo sp. JSM – I wonder if they bought it when we all went to Far Reaches a few years ago? That’s where mine came from.

    • annamadeit says:

      You’re welcome! Sure looks like it could be a Curculigo. I bought one too, when we went to Far Reaches. But mine died in the ground that winter (probably stupid to leave it out), and Laura’s is happily in the ground. So, I’m puzzled… since it’s generally colder in Vancouver than here in PDX…. But hey, I will take your word for it! I will need to get a new one.

      • Danger, thanks for identifying the mystery plant! I picked it up from Darcy Daniel’s last year. It overwintered for her. I meant to give it to you, but those leaves seduced me. It produced yellow flowers at the base. Would that make it a curculigo capitulata? It died back but has a few firm stems. I’m crossing my fingers that it returns. If it does, I’m going to going to add more to the garden.

      • I kept mine in a container the first winter or so but then eventually planted it out, it’s doing fine, but the last two winters haven’t been too bad if it’s in a good location. I bet yours was planted out for the harsh winter of 2013/14? It is of questionable hardiness so I’m sure that would have done it in. And yes Laura, mine has produced yellow flowers too. Did Darcy say where she got it?

        • annamadeit says:

          Yes, I planted it on the lee side of the house right after our Tacoma trip, so mid-September 2013. Well, it is definitely worth a repeat. I love it!

  8. Kris P says:

    What a voluptuous garden! I love the front area, and the shady sitting areas, and all that foliage. As a recovering flower addict, I could learn a thing or two about foliage from Laura. Despite your quote on Barnaby’s weight, I didn’t realize just how big he was until I saw him in the photos with his human companions – wow! He looks like a sweetheart too.

  9. What a beautiful garden! I love it! Where does the green door lead to?

  10. rindymae says:

    Thanks so much for the tour, now I want to see it in person even more!

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