Sunday, December 09, 2012

Hosting Danger Garden

Any of our readers who also follow Loree's excellent blog, Danger Garden may have done a double take last week when instead of photos from gardens and places in and around Portland, Oregon there were photos from our garden!

Loree had come to visit the UK with her husband and as well as visiting great public gardens such as Kew or the Chelsea Physic Garden (despite being easy for us to visit we still haven't been to the second), Loree dropped us an email and asked to visit, or in her words "A (hopefully polite) inquiry from me and the next thing I knew they were offering to take a day off work to accommodate my vacation schedule. Yes, just to have a crazy American visit their garden."

We spent ages chatting in our garden, and of course in the time honoured British fashion over tea and cake, before heading into the nearby country side for a pub lunch and then a trip round a local village as well as to a typical local garden centre. Now back home in Portland, Loree has posted two blogs about her visit to our garden.

It was strange to see Loree's photos of our garden, seeing it through another bloggers eyes, with different angles or compositions to the photos. I think sometimes I take photos of our garden to record how it changes, sometimes to illustrate a particular plant or project, but I don't often take photos to illustrate the garden as a whole. Seeing a visitors photos of the garden, taken with a different objective gave us a real insight into our own garden. I hadn't anticipated this. Ahead of the visit being published on Danger Garden I was eagerly awaiting the articles to see what was featured, what had caught our "crazy American" visitor's attention. I hadn't really expected to learn things about our own garden.

There were many photos Loree took, I understand there were a couple of hundred or so from which she selected a smaller number to publish. Do check the links at the end to see her posts, but I wanted to highlight just a small number.

The photo that jumped out the most for me when I saw it was this one:



It is not a vista in the garden I take many photos of, and those I have taken do not capture the spirit of the garden as well as this. I have spent quite a lot of time looking at this photo, seeing the plant combinations and composition with a new slightly different emphasis. Obviously I have walked down this pathway and sat on that bench many many times, but normally I notice jobs that need doing, or the shed beyond the bench. In this photo you cant even tell there is the large Jungle Hut just 3 feet behind the blue bench.

I would normally notice that I need to sweep the leaves or cut something back, maybe a weed has come up or ivy from the neighbours garden is taking a hold on the fence. Perhaps like many gardeners I look through my own garden with a far too critical eye, perhaps sometimes I need to learn to try and see it as a visitor would view the garden. Looking for that perfect composition or angle. 

We shared this photo on our Facebook page and were impressed by how many "likes" and "shares" it got. It seems it wasn't just Mark and I that loved this photo but other people too.

This photo also made me pause for thought:



This spot looks to be deep in the middle of a jungle, yet just a few inches to the left hand side is a brick wall, and just beyond the dark green bamboo in the background is the neighbour's fence. Sometimes I don't always look at the plants in the garden individually,  this Trachycarpus, for example, has got big almost without me noticing it do so. It was planted as a very small plant from B&Q, if I recall correctly it was about £12 or so back in 2005, so it was quite a baby plant really with hardly any trunk. It was planted with a lot of compost into an area that was once a small pond (liner rather than natural) created by one of the former owners of our house. When we cleared the area and removed the badly damaged liner we filled it in with a lot of compost mixed in with top soil. It had a good start! This area hasn't had many changes made to it since 2005, most of the ferns have been there since then, and only a few additions over the years. Yet now 7 years later the palm is really starting to take off and the local urban environment is completely hidden. 

We built the jungle hut veranda in 2009, before we started this blog although captured it in photos at the time. See here for the photos. I loved using natural bamboo in the balustrading and must have taken dozens of photos that illustrate it, however I don't think I took any like this one, a simple photo but also a lovely composition picking up the natural splits in the bamboo poles with the plants firmly on the other side.



Don't forget to look up! At the far end of the garden near the existing small koi pond we built a pergola, over the last few years a grape vine has covered it (although somehow we managed to select a wine grape so not a very good taste to eat). Again it has featured in dozens of photos over the years but I love the way Loree captured the green enclosed feeling of the space.





As I said earlier it is great to see the garden through someone else's eyes, to see what they pick out and feature. We visit many gardens each year and always look to take interesting photos of vistas, or features that capture our imagination. In our own garden perhaps we become comfortable with it, we know what is there so maybe don't always look at it the way someone does who is less familiar.

One photo not taken by Loree was over lunch in a local country pub:
Cheers! We  didn't manage to get a photo of the three of us, Mark is behind the Camera

We had a wonderful time hosting Loree, despite it being the first time we had met it seemed like we had known each other for a long time, hopefully one day we will get the opportunity to visit Portland!

To see more of Loree's photos of our garden check out the following links:
Danger Garden's visit to Alternative Eden Part 1
Danger Garden's visit to Alternative Eden Part 2

Gaz

25 comments :

  1. Very informative and interesting to hear how you saw Loree's views of your garden. We do tend to be a bit tough on our own gardens. It's refreshing to see it through a different lens.

    Your garden is fascinating because it is so dense and lush for a city garden. Through Loree's tour I saw the shape of the garden is different and much larger than I had thought.

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    1. Hi Shirley, seeing our garden through different perspectives does gives us an extra sense of appreciation of our own place :)

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  2. It's always constructive to see what you are so familiar with through somebody else's eyes. Your garden looks like a peaceful sanctuary. Good always to meet fellow bloggers too :)

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    1. It is indeed, and you do learn something new from it :)

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  3. It's great fun to share one's garden with another gardener and to see it through her lens. Glad you had a good time with Loree!

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    1. We did indeed :) would love to do it all over again if distance wasn't an issue

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  4. I forgot to mention the fabulous tea and cake! I'm not much of a tea fan (not enough flavor, to watery) but that tea was amazing. I've raved about it to Andrew several times since (he's a tea fan).

    I think it's a wonderful opportunity for any of us when we can see our gardens fresh, with a less critical eye than we normally use. And I'm glad you spoke a little about that photo with the Trachy, I couldn't remember exactly what direction I was looking in when I took that photo!

    Thank you again for such an amazing experience. I should start taking notes about what I want to show you when you make it to Portland someday!

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    1. It was an absolute pleasure and you're very welcome! A visit to Portland is definitely on the cards, watch this space.... :))

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  5. I had soo much fun reading about Loree's visit to your garden. It is soooo beautiful!!!!

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    1. Thank you Louis, most appreciated :) although Loree's superb photography skills has to be commended too!

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  6. You are right I think as gardeners we can be rubbish at enjoying our spaces, I know where other people see something beautiful I see a ensemble that isnt quite right and some weeds. your garden does look fabulous!

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    1. Indeed Clive, garden owners tend to get too critical of their own space, when sometimes one must just learn to relax, be more self forgiving and less focused on the things that one is not satisfied with. And thank you too for the lovely words :)

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  7. Oh my gosh you guys your garden is incredible! It is really cool to see it through another's eyes and perspective! Her photos are incredible and I have only read part 1 so can't wait to get to part 2. Sounds like you had an amazing visit!

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    1. Thank you Candy, and yes it was an amazing visit, every moment of it :)

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  8. They got some great shots. It's always interesting what others see instead of what we see and appreciate most in our own gardens. I can definitely understand why they would want to visit your lovely gardens though.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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  9. Hi Gaz, i can relate to what you said about the owner and his garden, seeing a lot of things to do and not appreciate the most wonderful ones! But being in a real tropical country i can say you are very successful, as if I am truly looking at one. That is exactly a scene in our area, that one with the palm looks like the place near us!

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    1. Thanks Andrea :) I'm so glad we have at least one palm that is truly hardy which helps immensely in imbibing that tropical feel, even in the depths of winter.

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  10. That photo with the bench at the end of the vista is just gorgeous. I know what you mean about looking at some area and thinking "oh, I need to pull that weed", or "I need to rake those leaves", or something like that, but sometimes it's nice to just SEE the garden instead of looking so hard. So glad Loree could show you a different way of seeing your garden. Just from what I see in photos, it is an amazing garden and you have done a wonderful job. And how nice to be able to visit with another gardener! Our hobby really does connect us all, no matter where we live.

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    1. Thank you for the lovely words Holley :) isn't it amazing, the power of the Internet that we are able to meet up with fellow gardeners from different countries altogether! Hopefully someday we'll be able to meet up too! And that photo is now a personal favourite of mine :)

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  11. It's pure magic when garden bloggers meet. Wonderful to read Loree's acount and then yours.

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    1. Indeed Denise, we had such a lovely time :)

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  12. Always good to get a different perspective - and those photos would not look out of place in a posh gardening magazine. You should be really proud of what you have created. I think we are often our garden's harshest critic, it is really good to be made to take a step back and see it though someone else's eyes.

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    1. I agree with that Janet, it's valuable to get input and perspective from somebody else every so often to better see your own garden. And thank you for the kind words, most appreciated :)

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  13. M. D. Vaden Portland Landscaping and Tree8 January 2013 at 23:09

    One thought from your topic, for tonight, is to have some tea outdoors among my landscaping. Not quite a garden yet, but getting there. But I've never had tea out there yet.

    Then one photo you posted with small logs, has me thinking of what can be done with a Douglas fir that needs removal. It's right next to power lines, poorly planted years ago by a previous owner of the property. But rather than sending all the wood away as firewood or something, there must be half a dozen ways to used the wood.

    MDV
    Oregon

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