Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Garden Walk Weekend

We were off and running with the Green Bay Garden Walk on Sunday.  It was a very hot, muggy day with on and off rain showers.  At least  there were no downpours and the attendance was very good.  There were people everywhere.

When we arrived at the first garden in the country, there was an audience across the road observing us.  This had to be the most interesting weekend for them, too, since they got to watch hundreds of people come and go.

This garden was up on a hill a long, long way from the rural road, so they provided transportation for guests. 
Carl is talking to the driver and the lady in the passenger seat is wondering why she volunteered to drive silly people like us all day long.  (No, I'm kidding, I don't think that's what she was doing.)
You can see their driveway on the right...we're about halfway up to the house at this point.  On the left is their campfire area next to their gorgeous one acre lake.
The beautiful home was surrounded by many lush beds filled with flowers...there I am reading over the handout on the history and what to see in this garden.  I like when garden owners have signs and handouts and things, it's very helpful to answer visitor's questions and guide you through the garden.  I'm going to use this idea for upcoming tours around here. 
They made all their own fountains, isn't this one pretty?  Love the arbor, too.  They are very do-it-yourself gardeners. 
There's Carl heading down to the potting shed/garden cottage by their manmade lake.  The owners had the lake dug to their own specifications and did all the rockwork surrounding it. 
Visitors enjoying the potting/shed/cottage.  The homeowners used all recycled materials to build this charming building.
There's another of their handmade birdbaths.  Looks fantastic in the hosta bed, doesn't it?
Oh, just look at the view from the potting cottage...Wow!  I think I'd move down to the cottage just for the view.
Not the greatest picture (there were so many people on the tour) but here's the interior of the potting shed...I hate to admit it, but this is nicer than my house!
The water for this pond comes from a nearby quarry and it's continually flowing so they have an inflow and an outflow:
This is a long way from the house, but is very picturesque to see as you come up their driveway.

All too soon, it was time to move on to the next garden.  
There I am, entering the next Garden Adventure.  (Not my best side, again, lol, Joel was the photographer)  I loved all the hanging baskets and can only imagine how lush and full they'll be by summer's end.

These gardeners had a chicken in their city garden:
 If my girls were to see him, they'd run and hide.  He's a big boy. 
Carl always wanted one of these barn vent/cupolas but they're kind of hard to find.  This garden had many different 'rooms', it almost felt like a tropical resort, but we couldn't really capture the true essence of it since it started to rain rather heavily while we were here.  We really enjoyed our visit, though.

The next garden was so cute, the homeowner has only been working on it for four years and has completely transformed his small lot from hard clay soil and a sparse lawn to this:
This is the cutest house and garden I think I've ever seen.  There is so much color packed into the gardens and the layout was wonderful, complete with the white picket fence.  The gardener has made wonderful use of recycling in his garden, though I don't have a good photo, he reused his concrete driveway pieces to make retaining walls (called it poor man's flagstone) and if he hadn't had a sign pointing it out, I wouldn't have noticed.  I think broken cement makes a wonderful wall and wonder why it isn't done more often.  It's flat and it stacks so well and stays put.  Marvelous idea!

 I loved the deck with it's pretty seating area, complete with sheer curtains.
Flower beds tucked into the lawn were so well laid out.
 Four Season Window.
I loved the cupola on top of the garage.  He used the old windows from his remodeling project of his house to build it.  Such a thrifty recycler.

The last garden we toured had a very unusual but wonderful garden feature:

There's Carl and I, on the right, heading into the next adventure.
 This garden had a lovely series of ponds with a gorgeous stream that ran down a gently sloping backyard.  It was so well done and look natural.  I love the sound of water in the garden.
We had a 'babbling brook' for a few years, but took it out because it was too much maintenance.  Ours was nothing like this one, though.  This one is beautiful. 

But what caught my eye right away is what the homeowners did with a massive silver maple after it was destroyed by a tornado several years ago:

They had a chainsaw artist come in and carve the remaining stump into this fanciful statue.  It is very large and very impressive. 
You can just make out the people in the upper right-hand corner for size comparisons.  I was so impressed by this sculpture and the color just stands out so nicely in the garden.  What a wonderful way to deal with a much-loved tree's stump after it's demise. 

For the end of the day's tour, we decided to go over to the Green Bay Botanical Garden and see what's happening over there.  The garden walk ticket proceeds go toward the building of the botanical garden which has been expanding nicely.
Entrance to the Visitor's Center, and yes, they smelled as good as they look.  They were dianthus, but not sure on the cultivar.  We have gained so much inspiration from the botanical garden which is a good thing, since they exist to inspire people as well as provide beauty.  Everything just grows so much bigger in this garden, check out the frog:
But then again, they have tiny things, too!  (Hope the gigantic frog doesn't hop over to this neighborhood.)

Everything is fairy-sized.
I'm thinking this would be a good-sized garden for me a few years down the road.
Now that's a garden I could probably keep up with and the stonework would be really manageable.

Such a wonderful kaleidoscope in the garden:

This mosaic is what the purple ageratums and other greenery look like through the viewer as you turn:
Joel and I took a little break to watch the fish in the crystal clear water.
Carl was running around taking pictures of the benches.
I see more wheels turning in his head, just what he needs, more ideas.  We have gotten lots of ideas from this garden....does this look familiar? 
The Belvedere is such a landmark and something we loved from the start.  I had pictures saved from thirty years ago for a 'dome' project of other gardens with small gazebo-ey dome-like structures. 
View from the inside, looking up.  I always loved this view...but we made ours solid so I have a place to duck into when it rains, lol. 
Ours is just a much tinier ( read: cheaper) imitation with no gorgeous pillars and no pretty silhouettes. 
 I swear I didn't steal the entire idea from them; hey, we stole the idea from several different sources, lol.

 Then there's another idea I stole (from several different places, I'm such a thief):
The English Cottage Garden at the botanical garden.
 And the start (since 2005! I know, I know, what is taking so LONG?!) at our house. I wasn't intending for ours to look exactly like theirs, though.  For one thing, we don't have the talent (or the money) to make it that pretty, and for another, I think we're going to go with more windows and a different-looking roof.   And hey, in my defense, we had leftover stone and no place to go with it, and I had always loved little round houses since they look like silos.  Speaking of silos, so many people ask if our dome roof is off of a silo (it isn't, lol) and then they ask if the stone house is a ruin of a silo (it isn't) but come to think of it, heck, why not?  Yup, it's a Ruin!  (It will be a true Ruin if we don't finish it soon.)

The Botanical Garden built a ruin intentionally:
But they don't need to worry, I won't be copying this one.  (On second thought, I'd love to have this building in a non-ruinous state, wouldn't you?) 

Ok, enough tours for one day.  I hope you enjoyed the ideas and my true confessions, ha.  Time to get back to work on our mess here. 


Sandy said...

Karen, that was quite a garden walk! I would love to have joined you all.... Thanks for your visit and the house is indeed quiet right now......10 family members can make quite a racket....lol. But I loved every moment! Sandy

FlowerLady said...

That last photo and cow comments cracked me up!

What a wonderful tour. I think your dome is absolutely gorgeous and you guys made it yourself.

Your gardens are also fantastic and are worthy of tours.

Happy Summer Gardening ~ FlowerLady

Beth said...

This was a fun post, Karen! Interesting to see two bloggers' takes on the garden walk! I love your cow cartoons - hilarious, Karen. I also love the mosaic you made. That is just stunning and so unique. Have a good week! Going to get up to 100 this wknd down here.
Hugs, Beth

HolleyGarden said...

Fun post! The gardens were amazing - I can see so much inspiration in each of them. I love your domed arbor, and now I'm interested to see how your english cottage will look like! It's great that you've taken wonderful bits and pieces and made them your own in your own garden to love and enjoy. Thanks for the tour! They were all wonderful!

myomyohi said...

Thanks for sharing. Loved the tour and your wit!

Toni - Signature Gardens said...

Oh, thanks for taking us on the tour with you! Wish I could have been there. I might have to try to make it to the Botantical Garden when we are visiting next month. How funny, when I saw the picture of the dome on Larry's recent post about the Botanical Gardens, the first thing I thought of was your dome!! Yours is just as spectacular -- and you made it all by yourselves and hoisted that thing up there all by yourselves, which still amazes me that no one got hurt in the process! And your stone "silo" is going to be so cute -- I know you can do it! Down in Galveston, TX, a few years ago when a hurricane came through it tore down many, many huge, old trees. A carver came in and made gorgeous carvings out of all of those tree trunks! If you google "Galveston tree carvings," you will be able to see them. Such a wonderful thing to preserve them. Down here, that's about the best thing that could happen to a silver maple -- they are considered "trash trees" here.

Tufa Girl said...

Love, love, love the kaleidoscope. BTW, I like your quarry pond better.

I was looking and looking for the silver leaf maple - (they don't get that big here - the heat gets them) when I realized it was the statue. Amazing.

I feel so much better knowing I too may have a great garden in only 4 years. What a great tour! Thanks for taking us along.

Alison said...

Thanks for taking us along on your garden walk. This was a real treat! There are so many amazing gardens near you. Your little stone cottage is going to be so cool when it's finished. I love your gazebo domey thing, you made it yourselves, and didn't you reuse old railings for the scrollwork? That sculpture from the old tree trunk is really remarkable.

Missy said...

Thanks for sharing all those gardens - so many great features and so much inspiration. I'm sure Carl could make one of those seats. They're charming.... and you'd look great in those earrings ;-)

africanaussie said...

No wonder you had to take inspiration from those gardens! I fell in love with that huge pond, the stream with the bench alongside, then I saw the butterfly seat and bench. Oh my! That was such a lovely post - thank you for sharing. Your little round house is going to look lovely when it is finished.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Karen what a great tour! Those birdbaths are wonderful, wish I could find one of those.


Rosemary said...

Karen, what a wonderful tour, so many ideas, each garden is a terrific reflection of the gardeners vision.The potting shed cottage so envious of and that view , amazing. I think the fairy garden is one I like the best simply because size wise is one that best fits my yard.......
Again loved your post and the cow commentary.

Zoey said...

I am still chuckling over those talking cows--steal the earrings--LOL!

Love the silver maple art piece and the kaleidoscope. It sounds like a fun day. I am glad you and Carl got away from all your work to enjoy the garden walks.

I like that ruin...geez, I liked everything! I mean, what's not to like in those gorgeous gardens?

Thanks for the fun tour!

joey said...

Delightful tour and awesome photos. Thank you, dear Karen.

Lona said...

I am so enjoying these garden tours. This was an amazing one. So much to rave about. The Butterfly seat is just the cutest.The Fairy house is so pretty. Everything there is just beautiful. Some people are very fortunate to be able to have so much beauty around.