Wednesday Vignette – finally!

Not sure what took me so damn long, but I finally got to visit my friend  and fellow blogger Dale’s beautiful garden. And, of course I picked a day when snow was coming down, but it fit in with my other daily meanderings, so I shamelessly asked if I could come over.

I first met Dale on Instagram. Turns out, the landscape company he works for were maintaining a garden I designed, and when I posted a photo of it, he recognized it. That was two years ago. I ask again… what took me so long??? (Sheesh…)

Over the past year or two, I have seen photos of his progress, ranging from raising and extending an old patio 5″ to eliminate a step down from the door, to building a dry river bed snaking through berms, installing huge boulders, laying pathways, building a scree garden, erecting a fence, and so on…. And then there are of course the plants. MAN, does he have some KILLER plants!

Dale's garden - wide shot

Looking from one corner of the garden toward the other. I love the strewn boulders delineating the pathways, and the “islands” that are formed between them. As Dale says: “Plant geek islands”.

Fence and Ribes speciosum

That wonderfully textural shrub between the fence and the Euphorbia ‘Tasmanian Tiger’ (?) is a Ribes speciosum, which in bloom sports the most wonderful red little lantern flowers. It’s high on my swoon list. The fence was once stained black, and has since faded to a wonderful bluish gray that works wonderfully with the dark gray of the pathways…


…and incidentally also perfect with the now bare furniture frames. It ties it all together so perfectly! And don’t you love that ‘Electric Flash’ Dracaena? So cool…


Amidst gargoyles and deranged gnomes, architectural beauties like Yucca rostrata, Euphorbias and Manzanitas hold court. I also like how the decomposed granite ties in with the yellow house color. And it’s no doubt great for improving drainage. These plants do NOT like their feet wet!


I like how the upright basalt boulders add verticality and height. Grevillea gaudichaudii carpets the ground in fab foliage, and Agaves emerge through it. I think that’s some kind of Eryngium on the left, maybe E. agavifolia.


I have a few pitcher plants, but I don’t have this one; it’s a Darlingtonia. So weird and wonderful! Dale said it has lived like that for the last three years. Pretty fantastic!

Scree garden

The scree garden where, according to Dale, some things do great, and others are struggling a bit. It’s a new experiment under continuous supervision and tweaking. Dale made me laugh when he said the Saxifragas are on the “shady side”. It all looks like full sun conditions to me, but then again,  I am a shady character.


A long shot toward the shed. That’s where work will resume in spring. The project at hand is building a ramp for easy access to the shed. Surrounded – of course – by plants. Note the Shefflera between the windows and the Hakea in the center. As it grows, the Hakea will become a rather translucent screening plant, strategically placed to enhance a roomier feel for the seating area. As they fill in, there are select shrubs that will do the same on the other side of the patio.

Geranium palmatum

Learned of a new (to me) Geranium today – G. palmatum. Hopefully the size of the glass balls can convey the size of those leaves. Luckily it seeds around some, so come spring, I might be able to get my hands on one of those seedlings. Hooray! As you can also, see, Dale shares my love for old, gnarly, rotting logs. He has started building a stumpery up near the Ribes you saw in the second photo. This is one of the projects which will start up in earnest again, come spring and warmer weather. I’m also spotting a spotlight – I bet this garden looks stellar when lit up!


The man himself rescuing Yuccas from a coating of decomposing Tetrapanax leaves. I asked if the Tetrapanax had managed to bloom. Dale said it did. The seasons are barely long enough here for that to happen, so that can be considered a major score!


Another shot back toward the house. At this point, it had started to snow!


You can see all that white stuff coming down better here. We decided to go inside.


A while later it stopped, and the garden was lit by this glorious light. As you can see, none of that white stuff stuck around long.


Anyway, it was time to leave, so we walked out the front door. And, in that same golden light, was THIS! Gorgeous, and with gargoyle. I’m guessing it’s Sedum ‘Angelina’ and possibly S. ‘Dragon’s Blood’. Whatever it is, it’s a fabulous combo!


More of the same, but including a Yucca that didn’t make it into the previous frame. So very nice…


S. Angelina, Graptoveria, and Graptopetalum – and of course a demon gnome.


A parting shot of the bed in near totality. How’s this for a lesson in Gardening for Winter Interest? Sooo, so good!

There are tons of other plants strategically placed in Dale’s garden that I failed to get a decent shot of. A few that come to mind is Hakea, Poncirus trifoliata, Rhamnus alaternus ‘Argenteovariegata’, Metapanax delavayi, and many, many more. Granted, they are still rather small, but still… Such a great, curated selection! Leave it to me to pick a winter day to see this wonderful garden. On a cold January day, there were still SO much to see here. I can only imagine how fabulous it looks at the height of summer… Gonna have to come back for some of 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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28 Responses to Wednesday Vignette – finally!

  1. How wonderful to be able to see the development of your design. Do go back in the summer.

  2. Tina says:

    Lots of interesting textures and gorgeous color in that garden. Love the scree garden. I chuckled at the ‘some things do great, and others are struggling a bit’–isn’t that the gardener’s bane? Anyhow, nice post and would love to see updates in the future. My little WV and thanks for hosting!

    • annamadeit says:

      Oh, you can bet I will do my best to go back in summer. Knowing Dale, it will have developed even further by then. And yes, it’s totally what gardeners deal with constantly. I have things out there I know are dying to be moved into better spots, or have their soils amended.

  3. bergstromskan says:

    Beautiful, charming alive, Thank you Anna

  4. Alison says:

    What a fun garden Dale has! I have zombie gnomes in my garden too. I met Dale at the spring plant swap last year, I had a feeling he had my sense of humor.

  5. Ah, thanks for the look at Dale’s garden!

  6. Kris P says:

    I have an unreasonable affection for gargoyles so I appreciate seeing glimpses of them here and there in Dale’s garden. I love the well-placed basalt boulders and the closing shots of those well-lit succulents were just perfect. Another visit in better weather is definitely called for.

    • annamadeit says:

      You and me both, Kris. I love gargoyles! I don’t yet have any, but I always appreciate them. Maybe it’s time to invest in some…? They are kind of magical…

  7. hb says:

    That’s a fabulous garden. The stone is really well done, which is not common. In my climate it would make a garden unbearably hot, but not so much an issue for your climate.

    • annamadeit says:

      It’s good, isn’t it? He’s done a fantastic job! I imagine it would make it hot, but a lot of the plants he is growing like it that way. I can’t wait to see it as the plants fill in some…

  8. Definitely a plant lover’s garden. G. palmatum is new to me as well. Thanks for the tour!

  9. tonytomeo says:

    Not many landscapes include Yuccas, even here where they should be right at home. I noticed more of them in New Mexico. They really should be more common here than they are. I think that part of the problem in town is that there is not enough space in urban parcels to put them out of the way where they will not impale anyone. Most people live in town, which sets the trends.

    • annamadeit says:

      They are stunning plants, and – I think – quite common up here. They don’t get quite as big here as they do where you are. At least I’ve never seen them very big. So they fit quite well into our little urban gardens. 🙂

      • tonytomeo says:

        Well, our most common Yucca is the giant yucca, so gets quite large. There are species that get big, but they are rare. Yours might be terrestrial sorts that do not develop much of a trunk. Yucca gloriosa develops a trunk, but does not get very tall.

        • annamadeit says:

          It’s showing some trunk, but only a few inches yet. It will be interesting to see how far it will go…

          • tonytomeo says:

            It does not look like any of the species that get very big, although it could be Yucca recurvifolia, which can get quite tall. Most are grown for foliage and bloom, which is nice down low anyway. The giant yucca is nice when it gets big because it so sculptural, but of course, the bloom is not very impressive, so it is not missed when it is up where no one sees it.

          • annamadeit says:

            I think I need to take a trip to California, so I can see Yuccas at the size they can truly reach. Feeling like I don’t really “know” them, based on what I see here.

          • tonytomeo says:

            You probably know the important ones. Giant yucca is from central America. It just happens to do well here. There are not many yuccas that are native here. There are many more in Texas and Mexico. they are quite variable.

          • annamadeit says:

            Well, I know the ones I see here. I’m sure there are many, many more to explore. 🙂

          • tonytomeo says:

            There are about 50 species, and several cultivars of those species. I know that because for a while, I had all but one of the species, and the one that was lacking may not be a real species.

          • annamadeit says:

            I remember you told me about your collection and that – sadly – you lost it. If I ever have yucca questions, I know who to ask. 🙂

          • tonytomeo says:

            Yuccas tend to take care of themselves, and don’t give one much to question.

          • annamadeit says:

            Which is one of many reasons to like them, IMHO.

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