Monday, May 30, 2011

Chelsea Flower Show - where do I begin?

It was a whirlwind two-day trip to London. Day one was Westminster Abbey, a walk by Buckingham Palace and through Hyde Park. And then there was the never-ending Victoria & Albert Museum. The evening was topped off with the most popular food in England – Indian! Indian food eclipsed Fish & Chips years ago as the most-sold food in the country.

Crowds, along the vendor boothswhich
formed the main "avenue" of Chelsea.
But the real reason we were there was the Chelsea Flower Show. Tickets were a birthday gift from my wife. I'm not really sure where to begin with describing the gardens, or the production of the show itself. We were fortunate to meet up with Kathy and Mike Shadrack, of hosta book-writing fame. They were there "working" the show for Bowden Hostas, the owner is a friend of theirs.

But here's a few things I learned about the show, much from Kathy & Mike:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Spring DIY project Before & After

Not a big deal, but to be able to have the compost bin; big-ass, bright blue garbage can; and two recycling boxes organized, accessible, out of the way of snow and rain, and hidden from immediate view. Took an afternoon to build. I think it took longer to paint. I'll put some planters/plants on top or find something sculptural to top it off with. Now the garbage area doesn't look so trashy.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Spring walk-about

The spring potential has finally hit. Above is the wisteria which is just PACKED with blooms already. In another week it'll be maxed out.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

14 days difference -- I love spring

Taken today, May 14.
The diamond-shaped dwarf pear espalier is doing fine. The othe rhalf, to the left and off camera, were replanted last year, so they're not exploding currently. Next year they should all catch up to one another.

Taken April 30.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mexican Homes & Gardens 7 - Casa Pcaso

So this'll be my last post for a while on the Mexican homes & gardens we visited on vacation in Sayulita, Mexico, about 40 miles north of Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific coast.

But what a way to end -- here is Tom's fabulous house and garden. Tom calls it "Casa Pcaso," but the locals just call it "Tom's House." Tom used to own a nursery in Austin, named Park Place Garden Center. He moved to Sayulita about eight years ago. He purchased this house - and spent three years renovating it. He showed us photo of the house before it got the "Tom Touch." You would not recognize it now.

He's combined his love of plants (specifically palms & cycads), art, and architecture, with a good dose of fantasy & a little bit of Alice in Wonderland. You will never see a more joyous house anywhere. And you can live in it too! He rents out different floors, or even the whole house, to vacationing gringos! There's four different bed/bath suites. If you're interested in adding some color to your vacation, you can find out more about that here.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mexican Homes & Gardens 6 - Where plastic covered plastic flowers are a good thing

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Beach of the Dead -- sounds like a great zombie movie, but it's really the beach just the other side of the cemetery. And what a cemetery it is! It's the best use of plastic covered flowers I've ever seen. Built on a couple hills, the cemetery road provides the only access to a small family-oriented beach with mostly locals picnicking. Waves were minimal here, so it was a good beach for families with small children.

But what fascinated us was the colorful and architecturally interesting cemetery. Our friends we were visiting in Sayulita said they were here a for the Day of the Dead celebration (November 1 each year), when locals come to honor and remember their departed family & friends. At night the whole cemetery in the woods is lit by thousands of candles and there's great music & food, LOTS of flowers, color, and joyfulness.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mexican Homes & Gardens 5 - The casa around the tree

This house, owned by an American couple, is all about the tree. It was obviously here before they were. The tree, and house, is in an arroyo, a dry creek or wash. To respect the tree, the patio living area, the public part of the home, is basically the circumference of the tree. The garden itself is designed to even look like, and follow the path of, the arroyo -- complete with a "river" dry river rock running through it. The tree itself was some sort of fruit tree -- when it's fruiting, the owners said it attracted squirrels, birds & bats. Former-Austin-garden-center-owner-turned-Sayulita-Expat Tom helped in the execution of this garden too. I'll show his garden later in the week -- I think it would be fitting to show his unique garden on Cinco de Mayo!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Mexican Homes & Gardens 4 - Walking from one place to another

So far I've shown some of the Mexican homes & gardens we saw in Sayulita, Mexico, a small town about 40 miles north of Puerto Vallarta. But the trips between homes was just as beautiful. We went for a short walk one day through neighborhoods of fantastic homes, a longer hike through the forest & secluded beach another day, and went through town and stopped in the local cemetery to take some pictures. All have their charms. Here's some shots of those trips.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Mexican Homes & Gardens 3 - A Jungle Village Casa

This Sayulita home was one of our favorites. It was actually a compound of buildings, surrounding a large round palapa-roofed (thatched-roofed) outdoor living area. I didn't want to intrude with pictures of their living spaces – I really only wanted photos of the gardens, but it was so damn beautiful! Each "room" was its own building - living room, kitchen and four or five bedrooms. They were all distinct "cottages" surrounding the palapa. The owner was there and happy to have me take some photos.


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