Her garden...


'Her garden'
~ by Catrin Welz-Stein ~
All Rights Reserved

The hazy idea for a post about my garden was brewing for a few days.  You know how that is, when you can't quite pinpoint what it is you'd like to say - or how.  I keep a bookmark called "Inspiration" for just these moments and that's where I went, looking for some clarity.

The image above, 'Her garden,' wowed me the first moment I saw it.  And there it was, safely bookmarked, wowing me again.  I immediately wrote to Catrin Welz-Stein to ask permission to use it as the lead photo for my garden tale.  Such a metaphor for so many things.  Hauntingly beautiful...perhaps a tad disturbing...breathtaking...definitely otherworldly.  A world of bounty revealed.  Or so it is to me anyway.

Have a look for yourself - for more of Catrin's amazing digital art, see it here.  

*  * * * *
Disclaimer: the following post is written from
the viewpoint of a confessed flower floozie.
Continue reading at your own discretion. 

Autumn, and the garden is winding down.  As it readies itself for a rejuvenating winter's sleep, I've been taking stock.  There's time to think, tending to the multitude of late season chores and I've been remembering the bountiful displays and all the joy my plants  brought this season.  

So I thought a little pictorial celebration might be in order in honor of this, my first garden at my first home.  Assembled here are a few of the pretties that, well, how shall I describe it, put on their best dresses.

Camas lily 
Camassia leichtlinii

Last fall I planted several patches of these bulbs - they came up splendidly in June.  They naturalize when they're happy so I'm keeping fingers crossed the little colonies will multiply.  Native to the island where I live, they are no longer a common sight due to all the usual environmental reasons.  Once an important & abundant food source for the Native Americans, they are now hard to find.  Trying to change that at Chez Sweetpea...

Rudbeckia 'Cherry Brandy'
Rudbeckia hirta

Fell in love with this little redhead!  I'd never met her before but I'm definitely having her back again next year...she was a knockout. Bloomed her silly head off the entire summer.  And she's not entirely gone.  There's a tidy little packet of snipped redheads tucked into the freezer drawer awaiting a dye day.

Heirloom sweet pea 'Marion'
Lathyrus odorata

Oh, the scent from these beauties was indescribable!  Grew about 16 plants on a 4' wide by 6' tall willow teepee and what a sight they were, what with their delicate purple edged ruffled-ness.  Growing to EIGHT feet tall, the mass of them was positively intoxicating.  My nom de plume...

Coneflower 'Tiki Torch'

Planted some Tiki's in front of dark purple salvia 'Caradonna' - they were good companions, showing each other off in that opposites-on-the-color-wheel way.  With so many new coneflowers on the market these days in an ever widening choice of (bizarre?) colors, I was charmed right up to the checkout stand with this one because Tiki is -- are you ready for this -- f-r-a-g-r-a-n-t.  Sweet, like honey & citrus.

Pincushion flower
Scabiosa 'House Hybrids'

One of my cottage garden faves and an outstanding bee magnet (so important in North American gardens) ta' boot, this House Hybrids selection sort of blew me away with their stature...we are talking flowers atop three foot stems!  And it's the middle of October and they are still blooming.

Hummingbird fuchsia
Zauschneria garrettii 'Orange Carpet'

What an orange carpet this was, a non-stop bloomer for the entire summer and every hummingbird within miles must have dropped by for a swig.  The House Hybrids are at the top, peeking out just to right of center. This photo was taken at the end of August, when the variegated Sea Holly was also in her full glory...

Variegated Sea Holly
Eryngium planum 'Jade Frost'

'Jade Frost'...now wouldn't that be a tantalizing name for an ace female detective in a Miss Marple mystery? 

Poppy 'Black Peony'
Papaver somniferum

Excuse the underside but is this poppy not *magnificent* from under here?!  The color was somewhat like burnt grape juice -- a purple/red so dark it truly was almost black -- with blooms about five inches across, what a statement.  In tandem with those glaucous-blue stems & leaves, these petals stole the show...however briefly.  Almost ephemeral, no friend to wind, the windfall blew right into my freezer  :>}

And one more, the brightest beacon of my fall garden...

Dahlia 'Orange Hybrids'

A species dahlia that needs no staking and gets no mildew and greets you every morning with a very loud, "HELLO."  Did I mention the foliage is bronzey?  If you think you might not be able to live without one, Annie's can send you one of your own.  

I used to work there back when dinosaurs roamed the earth so I can say these things...

So if you've made it this far, I thank you for joining in the celebration with me.  And thanks again, Catrin, for inspiring with your beautiful work.


  1. i made it to the very last word, thankyou so much for the invitation to wander around your garden, it was a floral delight. BTW those poppies look like a variant of the op..m poppy. I've been steam eco-printing with them and the results are very moody, black/purples. byee, k.

  2. Hey Christi,

    It wasn't until we became friends on FB that I fully understood your gardening inclinations. Another thing that we have in common! I LOVE these images from your garden. They remind me alot of my father's garden, back home in the UK. He has always been a dab hand at building rockeries, and is also a bit of a borders man - delphiniums and bergamot, and the likes - there were always lots of bumblebees in the Summer months. I especially like the image with the Hummingbird Fushia (I've seen something like that used here in CR), the Rudbeckia (what a great variety name) is delicious against the lavender! And the Achinacea with that rich purple (don't know what that purple plant is?, one of my favorite garden palettes, yellow anad purple! Thanks for sharing these delightful views. What talent!

  3. Thank you for this peek at your Western garden! Of all gardens, I love the wildly abandoned, conrolled ones. Your flowers are magnificient and make me homesick for the lush beauty of the coast!

  4. what great photos and descriptions, christie! a treat for me, because i can't grow anything to save my life. how glorious your garden must be adorning the yard of your first home.

  5. Oh my gosh -- how did you ever convince yourself to go inside while all this abundant beauty was outside? I probably would have moved outside, found a quiet nook, popped up a pup tent and not come back in until... well considering many are still blooming perhaps I wouldn't go inside until December! Thank you for sharing all this loveliness!

  6. Oh dear.... lovely - you've inspired me to see if I can get some bulbs in this fall after all! We had SUCH a drought this year that things just petered out and it was hard for me to watch things die. I hope we have some balance next year. In the meantime, I'll plant bulbs!

  7. 'Wow' is about all I can manage. Thank you for inviting us on this leisurely stroll through your lovely garden. Flowers can be symbolic of so many different thoughts, and you have woven together the top image with your own flowers and words beautifully. This was a real delight. I might just say 'wow' again. There.

  8. Can I say WOW too!
    As I scrolled down I kept thinking ..."this I like" then "Oh This is really like!" etc etc

    It all amazingly wondrous... What a garden! Sweatpea...of this you can be VERY proud!

  9. Oh! That Black Peony Poppy is so beautiful!

  10. Mmmmm - gorgeous images from a gorgeous garden - thanks so much for sharing! That dahlia is glorious ... so wonderful to still have colour at this time of year. My calendula are still going strong, and the 'sanths are flowering ... so cheering to have colour when everything is grey.

  11. Thank you so much for your comment on my blog - I can't believe how amazing your garden is! If only mine could look half as nice I would be very very happy :)

  12. Dearest Sweetpea,
    your garden is a delight as was your comment. Those pesky Salvation Janes, Patterson's Curse or as the Scots call them Viper's Bugloss, are not welcome here. They have rough little prickles that filter through your clothes and irritate the skin and breathing passages quite dreadfully. Their beauty does not outweigh the fact that they severely suppress pasture growth and bring out my darling daughter as well as grandchildren in shocking welts/I find them beautiful in the Flinder's Ranges but not at home. Should you like some seed, I would be more than happy to send you some They do well in poor soils and I would much rather not be an echiomillionairess.

  13. Wow, your garden is incredible. I stopped to smell the beautiful aromas and gaze in wonder at the beauty.



  14. Your flowers are beautiful, you obviously get tons more sun than I do in your PNW garden....just gorgeous.