At My Kitchen Sink – Orienpet Lily ‘Silk Road’

I love lilies, many types.  And after my recent trip to Portland, Oregon for the Garden Blogger’s Fling, (#gbfling14) I love them even more!  Many of these premier gardens featured the most beautiful lilies I’ve seen.  I can’t wait to add more to my garden…

But in this moment, I’m enjoying Orienpet lily ‘Silk Road’ from B &D Lilies.  I cut this beautiful stem so that I could enjoy it up close and personal throughout the day.  The fragrance fills the rooms of my main living area but is not overpowering after a couple of days.

How about you?  Do you love lilies?

silkrd1 silkrd3 silkrd5

2014 Boise Garden Tour – The Finale – See It Here!

The June Boise Garden Tour is always a delight!  And I’m not the only one that thinks so because it has been going for 28 years! This is a wonderful way to get out and see what is growing locally under the hand of home gardeners and professional designers.

This is my final post detailing this year’s tour and with this I provide a look at the last two fine gardens.  (They were fifth and sixth on my route.)  If you would like to see the other gardens of the tour click:  Garden 1, Garden 2, Gardens 3 and 4.

Garden #5

Fun and Floriferous! There is loads of flower power at this garden (you see it as soon as the home comes into view) and I love it!  This garden keeper is a kindred spirit when it comes to the notion “there need be no bare spots – no “dirt” showing!”

This cottage-style garden is packed in both the front and back with bright, colorful plantings that “pop” even under a brilliantly shining sun.  The plants look extremely healthy and happy and you can tell this garden has been a vibrant place for years.

Nancy Day is the home owner/garden keeper here and she also owns a garden business called Cottage Gardeners Inc.  As you can see she really walks the walk of cottage-style gardening! It is so very cool to see that she not only creates gardens for others, but holds such a passion for plants, she has created an amazing garden of her own to enjoy!

I really loved looking at the plants in this garden.  In talking with Nancy, she shared one of her secrets –  compost, compost, compost!  O.K. maybe not so much of a secret to us gardeners, but a great reminder that you can never really add too much compost to soil that is low in organic matter. :)

There are SO many great things to see in Nancy’s garden, please take a tour at your leisure and then let me know what stands out to you.

The Front Garden:


The Back Garden:

 Last but certainly not least!  Garden #6 

One of the things that is so much fun about the Boise Garden tour is seeing first-hand the great diversity of garden styles. It is lovely to see how people enjoy a garden in so many different ways although they can be located in close physical proximity.  Gardens #3-6 were all within walking distance to each other.

This last garden on my route was in my opinion by far the most modern and on-point with current trends.  You could see a garden of this style at one of the infamous garden shows this year.  (Northwest Flower & Garden Show, San Francisco Flower & Garden Show)

The infrastructure really stands out, especially the use of stone.  A definite urban vibe is picked up, but overall, I feel a thoughtful, peaceful, restorative ambiance.  Take a tour of this urban oasis and see if you are drawn in the way I was.

The front garden is lush with trees and shade plantings somewhat concealing a stylistic modern residence.

BGTH6colI absolutely love the rain chain design and since I’m adding two new rain chains to my own back garden, I may just have to implement this idea.

Here is a shot showing the mixed use of stone in the front area.  This continues in the back garden. Love that curved stone wall!


Walking into the back garden  you see an inviting patio area, a quiet water feature and a simple fire pit for two.  I found the design easy on the eyes and I love the combination of urban and natural worlds with the use of rock, cement, iron and wood.





In keeping with current trends, this outdoor space is not only a place to relax, it is productive and bountiful.  Look at this awesome raised veggie plot!  These gardeners know how to get an early start on the edible season.  I’m sure this soil begins to warm quickly in the spring.


Not only do they grow veggies, the garden keepers grow a couple of types of berries too. Look at this cool trellis/fence design.


Here is a shot of the homeowner/garden keeper/landscape architect that came up with the vision for this wonderful space.  His business is Ivy Design and I’m thinking if you live locally and are looking for a professional that is well-versed in current garden design this is a connection for you. :)


And now take a look at some of the artful plant highlights of this garden. They definitely soften the space adding to the relaxing feel.


I’ll end with a favorite shot of the curved rock walls that were such a stand out feature of the front and back gardens.  Love them, want them!


Thank you to all my readers who have taken a look at the private gardens of Boise, Idaho.  I hope you have come away with some great ideas to add to your garden spaces and a feel for our great garden community.

Thank you to Idaho Botanical Garden for making the garden tour happen and for hosting many  fun and educational events throughout the year!


2014 Boise Garden Tour – See It Here! (Gardens 3 & 4)

The Boise Garden Tour happened a few days ago.  It was a fun day seeing lots of different styles of gardening in our lovely, livable city.  Click to see Garden #1 and Garden #2.

Today’s post features the third and fourth gardens on my route.

Here is a look at Garden #3.

I would describe this garden as quaint and very merry.  Lots of colorful, classic, cottage-style plants greet passersby from behind a white picket fence in the front garden.


Stepping in, one of the first things to catch my eye was this cute stake system.


Next, I was drawn into the delightful vegetable plaza that ocated between the front and back gardens. Look at that lettuce!


Near the vegetable plaza, I noticed these cute plant/object creations. Looks like lots of fun happens here in the veggie plaza area!


Next, I walk into the back garden and see lots of color, along with places to have a seat and a drink!  And not just for adults!  Check out that cute sand box for kids!


I didn’t get a chance to visit with the garden keepers here but I know they are artists.  In fact, they have a small pottery studio. Here is a shot of the entrance to the studio.


These beautiful glass garden ornaments are also part of their artistry.  The colors are exquisite.


Ahhh, very nice.  I went away with a little extra spring in my step as this garden seems to percolate happiness and good cheer!

Now, for a look at Garden #4

As we arrived at this little bungalow I noticed how lush green textures seem to hug the front of the residence in such a charming manner. The lavender just ready to bloom looked splendid!


Walking around the front to a gate leading into the backyard, I saw this great custom iron trellis with climbing hydrangeas growing on them.  Love the design and scale!


Once inside the entrance there is a long narrow bed and a path leading to the back garden.  I saw this awesome plant along the way and the garden keeper told me the name but I am unsure I remembered it accurately.  I believe it is a type of Hydrangea, maybe ‘Vanilla Strawberry.’ If someone definitely knows this plant, please comment.  I would like to know.


Once in the back garden I found it so intimate and restorative.  The large boulders designed in a semi-circular pattern combined with the mature-looking plantings exude privacy and beckon one to sit for a bit or awhile.  This area has a very natural vibe giving you the feeling of a private peaceful spot in the forest.  I loved the stone (both large and small) chosen for this area and the unassuming fire pit as well.


BGTHouse429Walking a bit further I came to a cushy, patio dining area, a gorgeous fountain and some other lush, simple plantings.  Notice how even the BBQ is camouflaged by lush green plantings.  Love it!



I loved this small garden with it’s natural ambiance and intimate mood. Although it was organic in feel, it was packed with modernities we love to enjoy such as an outdoor eating space, a BBQ, fire pit and even a hot tub. I could have spent a lot more time here but I knew more gardens were waiting.

My friend, Kecia Carlson (owner of Madeline George Design Nursery) , worked with the garden keeper/home owner to create this lovely sanctuary.  My hat is off to the two of them as I feel it turned out wonderfully rich and a perfect complement to the home. Bravo ladies!

How about you?  Do you like seeing the diversity of garden style?  Do you have a specific garden style?

Stay tuned for Garden #5 and #6 coming soon.  Happy Gardening!

2014 Boise Garden Tour – See It Here (Garden #2)

As mentioned in my last post, the Boise Garden Tour was held just a few days ago.  Six lovely gardens were open to the public for a one day tour.   Here is a look at the second garden I visited.  (This is #2 in terms of the route I took to visit the six gardens.)

Garden #2

To be honest, I can’t remember the front of the residence.  I’m sure it was lovely but when I stepped through the opening leading to the back garden I was amazed and intrigued.  So much color, so much depth, so much fun!

This garden definitely deserves its own post because there are so many layers of creativity and passion to observe.  It is a one of a kind and the workmanship placing the infrastructure, plants, signage and objects is impeccable!  All the credit goes to the garden keepers (homeowners) as they created every inch of this appealing retreat.

Here is my first view of the garden. Wow!


There is much to discover, let me take you a bit closer…


This cool little spot is one of the primary attractions.  It is located in the center of the back wall of the main garden area.  As you can see, it is an enjoyable spot, perfect for a little shade and contemplating the detailed fabric of this garden.  Here is what you see as you look back towards the home.


Another lively seating area close to the house and lots of happy yellows to guide the eye.  Here are some close-ups of this seating area.


Maybe have a cold beer after a long, hot day in the garden right?  Pull up a stool, but be careful where you sit.  Cacti rule this spot!


A great sign/design nearby…

Here is another view from the cool little spot. (Drug Store)


Getting closer there are lots of plants, textures and paths to observe, all meticulously cared for.


Now if looking slightly right of the cool little spot (Drug Store), here is some more plant fun and another great resting spot.



Oh man, so many places to sit and ponder.  How do the garden keepers keep this place so spot on!

One more area I must show…walking through an opening I found this most beautiful vegetable garden designed and cared for with the same level of passion as the main garden.  It is an L-shape formation bordered with large river rock for great definition.  Garden envy happened here!



This garden was really a treat to see.  The longer I stayed, the more I saw and the more comfortable I became in the environment.  The creators have taken this space (which I was told was overgrown brush and dying trees just a few years ago) and created a garden that embodies talent, creativity and passion!  Ooh la, la!

A few more of my favorite visuals:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Stay tuned for Gardens #3 and #4 coming soon…


2014 Boise Garden Tour – See It Here!

Last Sunday I enjoyed a close-up experience admiring six lovely gardens in the Boise area.   It was a day filled with lots of oohs and aahs, a bee sting and honestly a good dose of garden envy!  You know what I’m talking about….you visit someone else’s garden and upon seeing their plant combinations, resting spaces, veggies plots, etc…you want to run home and rip out your entire garden to start over!!! I want a “DO OVER” you shout inside your head!

Although garden envy happens, it is usually short-lived. Once back in your own garden for a bit, you see the highlights and begin to feel better.  This is really when the value of the tour comes into play. Once feeling positive and motivated, some of those fabulous ideas gleaned from the tour can be used to improve the “low lights” of your space.

I must say the “good” of the Boise Garden Tour (BGT) far outweighs any bad personal  garden moments. This event is a fundraiser for the Idaho Botanical Garden and helps support many community programs focused on gardening, education and enjoying the greater outdoors.

The BGT happens every June and is composed of private residential gardens that open for a day of public touring. The gardenkeepers (homeowners) are usually present and you can visit with them. This year’s selected gardens were very diverse, keeping the senses engaged and the camera clicking.   I really enjoyed the vast difference in style of each garden.

Here’s a look at Garden #1.

This residence included three outdoor gardens all very different from each other.  The front garden seemed to have been “freshly created” but included a gorgeous, old cherry tree as a focal point. A beautifully designed, dry stream bed with plantings of daylilies, salvias, lupines and low maintenance evergreen plantings comprised the rest of the front area.  The rock used in this area was very appealing and as the plantings mature they will soften the edges giving a nicely balanced aesthetic.

BGT H114


BGT H103

A comfy gravel path takes one around the front garden to a light, bright, side garden that has been fenced and turned into a cute veggie spot.

BGT H104

BGT H105


BGT H107

BGT H106There are three raised beds made of wood and stone. I liked how the beds were built to accommodate a slight slope. This area must be great for growing veggies as the fence not only provides shelter but reflects light and heat for the plants.  Happy yellow dahlias add a little more brightness to this area as they line one side of the path that runs through the veggie plot to the third garden space.

BGT H112

Oh yeah!  When the mercury rises, you can watch it from this back yard spot and then with a skip and a hop do a cannonball into the pool to cool down in a hurry!  Yes, this is the back yarden and it looked very inviting!

BGT H113


The pool and beautiful waterfalls are most definitely the focal point but plants are not far behind.   Large pots filled with luscious annuals, a “wall” of trellised clematis and simple plantings such as Spanish lavender quickly meet the eye.  A covered seating area and fire pit are also nearby.  Ahh…it’s time to relax and enjoy summer.

Stay tuned… Garden #2 coming soon….




Summer Lush-Ness

Good Day!  It’s early summer with lots of fun activities and opportunities awaiting, so of course, it is a good day, right?

While I’m sorting through pictures of the Boise Garden Tour, I thought I would share some of the luscious blooms from my garden.  One morning last week, several plants had ‘popped.’ I got their first blooms on camera. :)


Rosa ‘The Impressionist’


Clematis ‘The President’

Clematis ‘The President’ and Rosa ‘The  Impressionist’ grow up the same trellis.  However, they have not become friends, getting comfy and winding around each other.  They’ve only been together a year so time will tell…


Asiatic lily ‘Blackout’

DSC_0875Poppy hybrid ‘Pink Heirloom’

Stay tuned for more garden lushness as I provide a view of the gardens visited on the Boise Garden Tour over the next week.  Happy Summer and Happy Blooms To You!



Experience A Private Garden Tour

Ahhh…early summer, it’s a great time of year.  For me, the kids’ school year has wrapped up and we (kids and parents) are somewhat used to the less structured, more laissez-faire summer days.  It seems as if everyone in our family has some breathing room and a little time to be self-indulgent, enjoying something pleasurable just because we can…

I will take this opportunity to enjoy a full day of garden touring!


Shots from previous Boise Garden Tours…

Yes, I spend quite a bit of time in the garden so you may be thinking, “Don’t you want to enjoy something entirely different? Perhaps, a day out boutique shopping or getting a lovely manicure/pedicure?”  And truthfully, the answer is yes, those things sound fun, but private gardening touring sounds amazing!

In fact, I know from attending the last few years…the Boise Private Garden Tour is fabulous!  It is an event like no other in our community.

Image Bg

Come out this Sunday and see what’s behind this door!

The chance to see and visit with other gardening folks, viewing their creativity and talent growing plant life in our local area is really cool!  It opens up possibilities and spurs ideas in areas you may have already decided not doable. Beyond all that, gardeners are such a nice lot of people it would be hard to not enjoy this event!

I have used several ideas gleaned from the Boise Garden Tour in my own garden over the last couple of years.  Sometimes, something as simple as color combinations can provide inspiration to give a new look to your outdoor space. Or maybe seeing first hand, how edibles and ornamentals can be planted together for a beautiful, yet food-valuable garden can provide inspiration to break new ground.

So get out with a friend (and maybe a camera) and enjoy some leisurely creative time in gardens in your local area this summer.  I promise inspiration will abound!

For Local Readers:

If you have never come out for the Boise Garden Tour, (in its 27 years) this is a great year to start.  The 2014 tour includes six private gardens near downtown and in central Boise. The tour happens this Sunday,  June 22, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., rain or shine.

To learn more and get tickets for the tour call:  208-343-8649 or go to

The Idaho Botanical Garden is an amazing community resource and the Garden Tour benefits many of its programs throughout the year.