I love getting into other people’s gardens. And when the gardener is also a professional designer, it’s an extra dose of fun. This weekend, Vanessa Nagel-Gardner opened her personal as part of the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon Open Gardens 2016. It’s a terrific opportunity to see fabulous gardens, and for a joining fee of $35, an absolute bargain. You can tour April thru October around Portland environs, so check your local listings for opportunities near you.

I’d like to take a moment to thank all you terrific gardeners willing to host these events. We all know how much work goes into it. Such generosity exists!

This year I had the good fortune to catch Vanessa between the thundering well-mannered hordes. We talked up a storm. My sweet-natured husband wandered the garden, took a few pictures, and then settled into a seating enclave to catch up on the daily news.

One of many intimate seating enclaves.
One of many intimate seating enclaves. There’s a peek of the head gardener, Vanessa her ownself.

Ever so often, Bill took a little stroll. I love love love the juxtaposition one that stone in the Carex glauca bed, and that’s not a bad photo of him either: man in contemplation.

Bill Wagenblatt, vintage racecar aficionado, being a good sport for a garden tour.
Bill Wagenblatt, vintage racecar aficionado, being a good sport during a garden tour.

“Don’t worry. Take you time,” Bill said, and meant it. (I can’t imagine me saying that at racing event, but then, I’ve long since learned that race-car photography is not a good tag-along sport.)

A 22' circle bed planted with Carex glauca.
A 22′ circle bed planted with Carex glauca. How’s this for a spectacular setting?

Circle beds are repeated throughout the garden. The first time I visited, I was so enthralled with the first two Carex beds, I missed the other three circles (other 3, I’m pretty sure.)

Pebble Mosaic by Jeffrey Bale PDX.
Pebble Mosaic by Jeffrey Bale PDX.

Vanessa inspired me to add a circle bed to my garden, and I’m busy planning for a second. It’ll go where the pots are sitting now, and I think I’ll put a tree there, perchance a Crape Myrtle. But the jury is still out–so many good tree options. Dear dog, tell me I can get myself out to Treephoria soon and pick out a lovely for fall planting.

(p.s. I do know my garden does not measure up in any way, shape, or form–but I’ve got some new hjinks to report soon. I’ve kind of lost my enthusiasm since everything is in disarray again. Doesn’t Pumpkin look like she’s struggling against a gale.)

My first circle bed. It needs to be bigger. And I'm already planning to move things.
My first circle bed. It needs to be bigger. And I’m already planning to move things.

Vanessa and I were so busy talking, I didn’t get as many wide shots as I would have liked. But because of her stellar design, it’s not as if you can see all at once anyway.

Suggestion of hidden treasure around every bend.
Suggestion of hidden treasure around every bend.

There are lots of twists and turns, and some new delight beckoning around every bend. That’s the beauty of seeing other peoples’ creations.

Moroccan Lantern
Moroccan Lantern

And lots of plants to like and want. Wild Ginger in a pot is brilliant–all that green and texture on texture.

Asarum maximum in a pot. Who’d a thunk. Fabulous.

A cute little version of Pineapple Lily, Eucomis ‘Freckles‘. How adorable its that? I’ll need several. Vanessa paired hers with Black Mondo Grass, and I already have lots of that in stock. Fabulous.

I need Eucomis 'Freckles'. Who the heck doesn't?
I need Eucomis ‘Freckles’. Who the heck doesn’t?

See what I mean. Just in looking at the pictures, I’m getting excited again about must-have plants.

I’m completely smitten with Persicaria ‘Painter’s Palette’. Vanessa’s is planted beside a wooden foot path to such great effect. Do I have a picture of the two side by side. No. But believe me!

Persicaria 'Painter's Palette' in Vanessa's garden.
Persicaria ‘Painter’s Palette’ in Vanessa’s garden.

And look, also in my garden, shared by Vanessa.

Persicaria 'Painter's Palette' in my garden -- from Vanessa's.
Persicaria ‘Painter’s Palette’ in my garden — from Vanessa’s.

Eventually, we’ll all have a little piece of each others’ garden–and won’t that be a happy day. The Beschnoria septentrionalis in the foreground is from Lance Wright at Garden Riots.

I plan to share Pennisetum macrourum with Vanessa this fall. My plants came from Scott Weber of Rhone Street Gardens. Okay, I take it back. I’m all excited about gardening again. Fickle girl.

Pennisetum macrourum aka African Feather Grass.
Pennisetum macrourum aka African Feather Grass.

I figured you’d want to see.

Kirengeshoma palmata aka Japanese Yellow Waxballs
Kirengeshoma palmata aka Japanese Yellow Waxballs

I noticed this Kirengeshoma palmata when I visited before, and this time, I got the name. I’m always torn about Abutilon because of its marginal hardiness. Yellow Waxy Bells might be a good alternative. Vanessa tells me it’s an easy, no fuss plant. Yep, I’m going to need more shade gardening space.

I’m a sucker for Chartreusy green. I think this is Carex ‘Everillo’ but forgot to ask. I know Vanessa suggested as a good alternative to Carex ‘Bowles Golden’ — which Pumpkin loves to eat. Not sure if C. ‘Everillo’ would solve that problem.

Carex oshimensis 'Everillo' -- you need at least three.
Carex oshimensis ‘Everillo’ — you need at least three.

No id for this terrific Calluna, but wish I knew. Great color and vigor. This goes in the category of never say never on entire genus.

Super groovy unidentified Calluna.
Super groovy unidentified Calluna.

Can’t wait to see what other posts pop up on this great garden. A joyful place.

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Cheers