Thursday, August 14, 2014

Garden Blogger's Fling, Portland: Westwind Farm Studios

Day one of the Garden Blogger's Fling was a very busy day--the busiest of the three. We started with book publisher Timber Press, then headed to the Lan Su Chinese Gardens. Two giant buses hauled all 80 of us to Cistus and Joy Creek Nurseries, then over to Old Germantown Gardens. Some of these places I will post about in the coming weeks so stay tuned for more Fling photos.

For now, let's visit our final stop on day one, which was Westwind Farm Studios, a welcome respite to a very hot day in Portland. A lavender farm and much more, this 40-acre site is what summertime is all about, and a place I had not previously known.


Part meadow, part lavender farm, part woodland and all stunning, there's a bit of everything atop this gorgeous Portland hillside. If I had to distill it down to two plants experienced here, it would be these two, lavender and bee balm, which was simply buzzing with hummingbirds jockeying for position and ownership of large swaths of color.


 The bees were especially fond of all of this fragrant lavender.


 Bordered by woodlands, this is a very special place.


 Portland and its surrounding cities off in the distance roll along on the Willamette Valley hills.


 Looking south down the valley.




 Good spot for a picnic!

Thus far we have seen the meadow areas surrounding the perennial borders, now let's look at some blooms:


  The borders are wonderful collections of breezy plants and grasses as well as evergreen shrubs attracting all kinds of pollinators - bees, hummingbirds and a variety of insects.


 Here's a hummingbird magnet. I don't think I got a photo of any humms, but they made their presence known.




 Residents of Westwind Farm Studios.


 Fellow Flingers exploring the many corners of this vast property. The gardens seemed to roll along within the surrounding landscape. Here's a fine example of good hardscaping mixed with loose plantings.



Some wonderfully placed garden art framing the views beyond by well-known Portland artist Lee Kelly. The sculpture's title is Window to the Gone World. Lovely. 


 And guarding someone's cocktail. Yes, they served refreshments, too.


 The plant combinations were breezy, reminiscent of meadows which made for a very relaxing effect.




 Fellow Flingers cooling our tootsies off in their saltwater pool. This pool was a smash hit with us, tired and ragged from a day of serious garden-touring, photographing, shopping and learning.


Getting to know each other . . . there were Flingers from the U.S., Canada, one from Spain and several from the U.K. so we had stories to tell and friends to make.


 Path and greenhouse, I'm sorry to report I did not make it up that far because I was so entranced with the surrounding gardens. I believe the veggie garden is up that way.




 Beautiful color on this heather.


 Arctostaphylos in full glory looking great in this summer light.




 Eryngium giganteum and phlomis.


 That road leads to Narnia, I think. Or maybe Beaverton.


This row of trees in an orchard works so well for me, the contrasts in dark to light foliage, the formal repetitive shapes of the trees set in a wild and wooly meadow. If I ever have acreage I will try to replicate this feel somehow.


Garden fireworks.


Westwind Farm Studio is many things: a sound studio, yoga studio, a mid-century modern home (designed by the late Portland architect Pietro Belluschi of Portland Art Museum fame), a farm where veggies are grown and often donated to local charities in need, a place of rest, wonder and spiritual healing. It is a garden of glorious splendor. It is owned and lived in and loved by Maryellen Hockensmith and her husband/architect Michael McCulloch. You could feel their love of the earth, this place and the gentle mark they leave on the land. They had help designing the garden, you can read more about it here in a Garden Design magazine article.

Leaving Westwind Farm Studio? I was not ready. I could have lingered for hours. Days perhaps. It felt like a place one goes for vacation or a little getaway. The landscape is a beautiful balance between wild and landscaped, between formal bones and soft plantings. My impressions and images of this place probably differ from other bloggers who had the pleasure of hearing grass guru John Greenlee speak about his landscaping, which I missed as I was busy shopping in the mini-nursery, plant-sale area. I also did not explore as much as others did, as I was so taken with the small area I did explore. Having said that, I think we all agreed it was a special place and I would encourage anyone in the area to definitely visit when they have open garden days.

Next week, we'll visit some other gardens from the Fling.
Thank you for reading and until next week: Happy gardening!




18 comments :

  1. Thanks for sharing your Fling photos from this garden, I enjoyed them. I'm hoping that this garden may be part of next year's Hardy Plant Study Weekend, which I think I might attend.

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    1. You bet, Alison :) I hope you can go - it's a very special place.

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  2. Thanks for sharing your fling photos Tamara, and refreshing our memories of a fab long weekend once again! Seeing that pool, I'm slightly bothered that I never took the chance to sit on the edge of it and cool off my legs...

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    1. You're welcome, Mark and Gaz. Yes, doesn't it seem like a million moons ago? I'm still reliving the moments via the photos (everyone else's photos too) and you missed out on the pool, it was divine :)

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  3. Some really nice shots, and you certainly captured views that I did not. I don't know why I didn't bother spending any time in the lavender fields! You should have gone down that road a bit (not Narnia, although I perhaps didn't venture far enough) as the view back up at the house was wonderful!

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    1. Your photos are great, Alan! I wish I HAD gone down the road to Narnia. Bummer!

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  4. Such natural beauty.

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  5. Great photos and commentary Tamara, I kind of feel like I was there with you all. Hate that I missed this one but will definitely watch out for an open garden in the future.

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    1. I'm so sorry you weren't able to attend, Loree. If you ever get a chance!! If they do have an open garden I'll tag along :)

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  6. Beautiful Fling garden photos and the Willametti valley hills are stunning, love the views on the lavender fields.

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    1. Thank you Janneke, the Willamette Valley is really beautiful, a much different beauty from the Netherlands. I like your views a lot too!

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  7. Great post Tamara! Brings back fond memories of being in this special place. I also was shopping in the sales area above and didn't hear Greenlee's chat but am very happy with the plants that I bought!

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    1. Thanks, Peter - we were both shopping..they had some fab deals! We are addicts, admit it :)

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  8. Not easy to capture the spirit of this garden, but your words and pictures do it proud.

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    1. You are so kind, Ricki! And, by the way, thank you for my plant! I have the perfect spot for it...you're the best!

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  9. Wonderful photos. You have an artistic eye. I really enjoyed that place; it was so restful and relaxing.

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    1. Thank you Hoover Boo! You are very kind. I did enjoy it too, it felt very calming which was perfect for the end of a very busy day.

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