Sunday, December 2, 2018

Snow, Party, More Snow

 Here are some photos that Lorna took in the garden this afternoon.

We got the first blast of snow yesterday, then it cleared enough to shovel to get to an Oakwood party in Donovan's garage. Then this morning we awoke up to another 6" and a second chance to spend time with Mr. Shovel. 

"Garage" implies grease-stained pitted concrete, and an odor of lawnmowers and dog kennels. This one has heated terrazzo floors, a mini kitchen, refrigator ... just in case a party might break out. This was a typical Minnesota "BYOB and a dish to pass" gathering. It was all good; Oakwood has a very strong sense of community which ruled the evening. 

- Gunnar

Sunday, July 15, 2018

2018 Art and Garden Tour

On Friday evening and Saturday we were a stop on  the Art Center Garden Tour fund raiser. We were fortunate to host Carine Rofshus, who will be attending the School of the Art Institute of Chicago on a scholarship in the Fall. A good draw. 

Friday started out raining so we set up her pictures in the entry and kitchen on steel grid easels. It cleared up and we had a good late turn-out. Saturday was sunny, hot and very humid. We set her easels up outside in the entry garden. We had a great turn-out, over 200 visitors. Some visitors even came back both days which was gratifying. 

After checking and reviewing Carine's work, the guests came down the hill past the rock garden and turned to walk under the arborvitae archway into the hidden garden.

The guests all seemed to enjoy the bicycles on the trellis, which surprised me. After enjoying the lushness of the hidden garden a number of visitors went through the trellis arch in the walkway through the prairie flowers down to the lake.

Then back up through the "weed" garden to the more formal garden again.

Then then a right turn back through the arbor arch past the Growlery (with a stop to look at bird photographs and hopefully buy one to support the Art Center. 
       Lorna's sister's house next door framed by the arch.

People experienced art, saw some gardens .... and at 1410 they bought some photos for the Art Center and some paintings for Carine's college expenses. A good day. 

- Gunnar B.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Yellow Peony

I have both tree peonies and herbaceous peonies in the garden. The tree peonies have woody stems, bloom earlier and have larger, silky flowers (and more $$$). My garden is pushing the coldness zones a little for the tree peonies. This year they bloomed when we had that spell of silly 95 degree weather and the flowers only lasted two or three days. Jeez.

The old fashioned herbaceous peonies are tougher than nails and are the plants that what most people think of peonies. The limits of herbaceous peonies are that the flowers can be too heavy to support and they are limited in color. I have modern crosses with smaller flowers, but all of the herbaceous peonies fall somewhere between white, pink and dark red. The tree peonies have some that lean into a purplish and others that are clear yellow. 

There were thousands of attempts to cross tree peonies with herbaceous peonies. In the late 1940s a Japanese horticulturist, Toichi Itoh, managed to pull it off, but he didn't know what he had because he died before they bloomed. All of the yellow herbaceous peonies in existence are intersectional crosses that trace their heritage back to Dr. Itoh. And damn they were expensive - hundreds of dollars apiece. Someday they may be as cheap as old fashioned peonies, but I am 73 and if so, they will have to be on my grave. Eventually the prices have come down some, still expensive, but within my range. 

This year one bloomed. - Gunnar

Monday, July 24, 2017

Water Feature

I tried taking a video of the water, but it was impossible; so here are a handful of sequence stills.

This began twenty years ago with a small galvanized "cow tank" to which I added a small pump and fountain, mostly for the birds. Over time rocks were stacked and plants were added. Now the tank is behind rocks and a row of hostas. The back half of the tank is under rocks and some creeping plants; the front of the top is an access to a pump and filter.  Eventually I think I can completely conceal the entire tank.

The pump pushes water  up the hill in a concealed pipe and enters the rock garden "spring" under a fairly large Creeping Yew.

 It flows out of the mini grotto, down a shallow stream birdbath ...

and spills over a tiny waterfall ....

... into a sunken pool, over a piece of petrified wood into a lower pool under the rocks and spills down into the tank.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Lilies, Coneflowers, etc

Drop by; if we are out just walk down, find a bench and sit a spell - or if you are doing the lake walk, walk up through the weed garden. - Gunnar