9 Aug 2012

A Return Engagement: Marie Holt



Another example of a flower that seemingly makes taking a mediocre picture next to impossible! Of course witnessing a certain obsessed plantaholic [and where Anemonopsis macrophylla is concerned, obsession is taken to an entirely different level!] strewn on the lawn like a drunken sailor looking for a ‘harlot’ might actually distract the untrained eye from the beauty in its presence….. no people, not the harlot! [Alas I digress and share an inside joke with Marie at the same time!]

DSC_0107 I’d received word the week before, by a personal visit to the garden centre no less, that two of my favourite plants were in bloom: the aforementioned Anemonopsis macrophylla, of which I’d never seem a patch as large as the one Marie lovingly cultivates, and Vitex, of which I believe the species is negundo, a delightful woody [I love the response those last two words elicits from those unfamiliar with the term! LOL!] that grows more like a large shrub or small tree! I have always wanted to grow Vitex but could never find it for sale. On a previous garden romp, Marie had pointed out that it was just starting to make its presence known. That was on the 28th of June! And to see it now! It is known as being an herbal tonic for women and its fruit are known as chasteberries.

DSC_0110A close up of its flowers remind me of those of another favourite, Caryopteris, yet its overall appearance and habit could easily be mistaken for Buddleia – but no, it is a much more valued treasure in the garden – yet another member of the card carrying Zonal Denial club! Texas, Orgeon – you know, those places where their favourite garden number is 8 or higher! Marie’s plant is thriving! Yet one more plant that goes on the Must Have list!

DSC_0108  ‘The simple pleasures in life’ is a phrase that comes to mind when I visit this magical property. Of course, with gardens of this size and magnitude, one supposes that when it comes to weeding that it may not be such a simple pleasure! Witnessing this delightful Gentiana septemfida var. ‘Lagodochiana Select’ was for me a sublime pleasure! It would appear that even my camera has favourite subjects. Ignore the drunken sailor sprawled on the edge of that border, but do pay close attention to the blue beauty just to the left of where his head has fallen!

DSC_0113 DSC_0112Few annuals – I can count them on one hand – reside on my property [he is such a snob!] but one that I adore, though come to think of it, I failed to add this year, is Verbena bonariensis. Marie has strategically placed a row if it in front of Calamagrostis ‘Overdam’ to stunning effect! I was immediately reminded of Dutch plantsman and revolutionary garden desiginer Piet Oudolf who has made this combination one of his signature pieces!

DSC_0105 DSC_0106 DSC_0123 In my personal estimation, all garden romps should occur during the Gloaming, that magical time of day when everything seems to glow with an inner magic! I do not know the name of this plant, I think it might be Erisium, [its an annual you know!] but even from a distance it beckoned for its own photo op!

DSC_0125Alstromeria, a floral designer favourite, always reminds me of Larry Davidson, plantsman and garden designer extraordinaire, who offers it on the benches of his magical woodland nursery Lost Horizons! If I recollect the write up in his catalogue correctly, its all about ensuring that they are planted deep enough during the first two years in the garden.

DSC_0126  Phytolacca americana ‘Silberstein’, a delightful variegated form of Pokeweed will one day make a spectacular vertical presence in a bed that had been recently renovated after a tree was felled. Wine infused stems and large glossy [though poisonous] berries instill a tropical presence wherever this plant is found!

DSC_0128 I should like to say Carex muskingumensis, but I might be mistaken! It reminds me of Amsonia hubrechtii with its pinnate, variegated foliage that results in a three dimensional appearance! I must look this one up again as it was growing in a moderately shaded location at Marie’s! Did I mention the size of her property? Her shade borders are absolutely to die for! No, Seriously!

DSC_0131 DSC_0132 More gardeners need to be willing to embrace their shady side! I am so grateful that my Grandparents introduced me to mine at such an early age! There are only delightful results such as these when you embrace it full on!

DSC_0133 DSC_0136 Of course, the perfect balance of green and contrasting/complimentary colour representations in a garden help to guide the visitor along at a leisurely pace.  I think we’ve stumbled upon a sea of Echinacea!

DSC_0141 DSC_0146 Contrary to the notion that ‘he’s just blowing smoke!’ Phlox paniculata ‘Blue Paradise’ does in fact have flowers that change colour over the course of the day, opening a delightful smoky [how appropriate!] blue before deepening to a mauve colour, and then, during the Gloaming, returning back to that heavenly blue once again! The photo doesn’t show it, but this clump was magically changing back to blue again! Seriously it was! You can ask Megan! Second thought, she was the one who accused me of blowing smoke out of my you-know-what!

DSC_0153AHA! The proof I need. We all know that photos don’t lie! [Well at least not in this particular situation!] This is the same plant, in a different location [against the side of the barn] snapped not four minutes after the photo above! Who’s smoking now Megan? LOL!

DSC_0149  I’ve never been a fan of orange or yellow, but the flowers of Ligularia ‘Britt Marie Crawford’ do titilate do they not?

DSC_0154 I love visiting this garden! There are moments when Marie mentions something like, ‘and you know that Phlox that doesn’t open? Feelings or something similar?’ and I immediately know exactly what she is talking about. For me it takes me back to my LH days. It truly is a Phlox that doesn’t open, but its magical just the same!

DSC_0159 DSC_0155 Time flies and before you know it the light has faded to a point that taking photos is no longer an option. As always, it was a thrill and pleasure Marie and Rick. I hope my drunken stumbling and falling down [or the appearance of it at least!] didn’t sully my image! Thank you both, and to Megan, partner-in-crime, thanks for the company and transport to and from this magical rural sanctuary! Oh, and one last photo! [Some would say I’ve saved the best until last!] This is Clematis ‘Lake Baikal’ and she made me squeal with joy when I reviewed the four photos I snapped in the fading light!



Marie said...

The mystery plant explained: That would be Lysimachia atropurpurea 'Beaujolais'. It has gorgeous silver blue-grey foliage and exceptionally long-lasting blooms. It's one fault is that in my zone 5, it is an annual. So sad!

Look here: http://www.perennialresource.com/encyclopedia/view/?plant=1146

We had a lovely fun-filled visit indeed. Somehow we always seem to laugh until we cry!

Sue said...

As I've been fortunate to experience it in person I whole heartedly agree that Marie's garden certainly is a magical place!