Niki and I left cold and snowy Cleveland for the “tropics”. It was in the forties and fifties in Portland, Salem, and Seattle. Of course, when we returned a week later, snow and ice were frozen on the windshield.

Camellia in bloom

Camellia closeup

As we walked around Portland, I was amazed to see huge camellias in full bloom as well as cherry trees that had moss covered bark. With all the rain and humidity, there is moss everywhere.

Fence and walk design

I’m delighted to say that even though I spoke during the Super Bowl to the Salem Hardy Plant Society, over one hundred people attended. That evening, we stayed with my APLD friend Colleen Hamilton and I had the opportunity to observe her designing mind. She has remodeled her new home and landscape. She has transformed an ordinary wooden fence into a stepped fence that allows her to borrow the view of her neighbor’s park-like property. Then she created a stone and gravel path that echoes the fence design.

Monday morning, I spoke to the Oregon chapter of APLD about the way in which perennial garden design has changed since I started designing forty years ago. I was delighted to see so many friends I’ve met at APLD conferences and to make new ones. That afternoon, my next hostess, Vanessa Nagel, took us to the Japanese Garden to see the new section and then back to her house to see her garden.

Bamboo fascines on hillside

The most interesting facet of the Japanese Garden was the method they were using to control erosion on a virtually unplanted hill. They were using fascines, a term with which I was not familiar. These are horizontal bundles staked into the hillside. Theirs are made of bamboo but they could be made of any material. Behind them are masses of brush and leaves wrapped in netting that are also embedded in the hillside.

Detail of dragon circle

Drain tile pedestal

Vanessa is very creative. Her garden is very meditative and has used a series of circles to engender this sensibility. Around one of them is a dragon circle made from pebbles that she designed and helped build. In another area of the garden, she used old drain tiles to create a pedestal for a lovely terra cotta pot.

Bobbie on stage at Container Wars

I had a ball in Seattle at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show. Although I was declared the winner in my bout of Container Wars against Brenda Adams, I really she thought she won. That afternoon, I lectured about integrating the design of house and landscape and the next day about the artful garden. I was delighted to receive thoughtful and complimentary feedback.

Chihuly Persian Ceiling

Color echo of glass and red bark of maple

Friday was a free day that we used to visit the Chihuly Museum and Garden. It was fascinating to see his evolution as a glass designer and then to see examples of the work he does for gardens. I love his work but it is prohibitively expensive for most of us so Niki bought me a jigsaw puzzle of one section of the garden. It will definitely be a challenge. I loved the Persian Ceiling – have to figure out a way to make that into a garden design.