The entropy grows. Two more stops were meant to be added to the last post but I ran out of room – a likely excuse in cyberspace! But I did run into a wall in my head – it’s hard to encompass this expanding universe sometimes. But to keep tabs, here are two garden stops we recently visited which are both garden visions.
I always gasp when I first walk up the aisle of the large hall-like gated entrance of Detroit Garden Works . That is, after drinking in the exquisitely designed and impeccably kept front-scape. When we were there on April 21, the tulips were as perfect as a still life painting. Walking on amounts to adding layer upon layer of delights in forms, textures, colors, and shapes.
Since the manager, Rob Yedinak and founder Deborah Silver, always find the most unusual and sometimes far-flung (as in Europe) places to purchase their stock, the store looks refreshingly different season to season. Last year there was a rustic, hand-made terracotta collection from Italy- which made me instantly decide to start such a collection. I thought I would come back the next year (which is now now) and add to my collection. While there was other charming terracotta, that particular type was long ago sold. Being an inveterate enthusiast of one-of-a-kinds from used to antique stores, I should not have been surprised. Their latest foray was to Chicago where they discovered a mother-lode of garden fascinations and came home with their truck brimming. One great find was a set of old faux bois planters with the sort of naive patina that gardeners love.
Another surprise there was an espalier theme – two tall rows of Linden trees perfectly trained to dramatic flat tiers, and scattered apple trees trained as fans against walls, pink buds about to burst.
Inside, I always look forward to again seeing the moss fountain wall – with its living music of water trickling over moss and shells – the perfect reminiscence of the affinities that moss and music share. There is another moss wall adjacent to this one with an eclectic table scape beneath it. There was no note saying “Don’t try this at home.” I’m taking that as a green light.
If you go, don’t forget to admire the shell encrusted cabinets where thousands of delicate shell details combine into one grand whole. These seem to carry on the overall subtle grotto theme – the coolness and moisture, surprises, fantasies and the romantic air of long forgotten renaissances.
Wavecrest Nursery, so aptly named – being within feel of the negative ion mists of Lake Michigan, is only a good hour’s drive for us. Lucky us. For it is in the genre of Detroit Garden Works, having that similar sense of place rather than being a tiresome trail of unrelated bits and pieces that commonly pass for plant nurseries.
The nursery itself is laid out like a garden, with well scaled uniquely shaped islands containing large specimens of conifers, shrubs, and trees, all artfully arranged. Grassy pathways guide the visitor in a meandering course throughout the plant islands, with surprises at every turn. Some of the sudden delights are stone or cast sculptures and one of a kind fountains. Above all this is a sylvan canopy of seemingly ancient trees, like the Dawn Redwood, all limbed up and providing a shade canopy that closely holds in those negative ion filled mists. The whole scene is breathable, see-able, and thoroughly enjoyable.
The rustic Barn Owl Gift Shop holds nature oriented objects like birdhouses, bird feeders, bonsai containers, and bamboo screens. Outside the back door is a terrace filled with smaller potted versions of conifers, shrubs, grasses, and perennials. Aside from the price differences, I like to take home these smaller versions because I can grow them on in Rootmaker Pots to develop a root system with many more feeder roots that adapt and grow into the landscape quickly. (More about these pots coming up.)
I have always admired Chamaecyparis Nootkatentsis ‘Pendula’ and decided on a little “Noot” as I fondly call it. I repotted it in a Rootmaker pot and plan to grow it on till next spring. I also fell for the lovely blossoms of Azalea x (Kurume) ‘Herbert’. There was actually some higher cerebral activity going on with this decision – I plan to intersperse some azaleas with Japanese Maples – on a terrace I am building by hand. (Really??? (remark to self)).
Lastly, a purely heartfelt purchase of two Primula Japonicas. They were on my mind after reading the delightful article accompanied by lush photos, on Primula auriculas in the April issue of Garden Design Magazine . See “Plant Palette” by Tovah Martin. These aren’t auriculas – Arrowhead Alpines is the place for those, but I have a spill-over appreciation for almost all primroses now. They seem underused. Later I passed by an 18″ Picea orientalis ‘Skylands’ which is now occupying my thoughts.
If you visit Lake Michigan at such rewarding destinations as Saugatuck and Douglas, be sure to look up this hidden gem nearby. My visits to these two destinations confirmed my cosmological belief that entropic forces can be stopped cold with the tightly woven threads of living art.