Inspiration and The 9th Annual ANLD Designers Garden Tour

I love taking road trips with My Pirate.  We open the windows to let the wind blow through our hair, turn the radio off, hold hands, and let the scenery unfold around us.  Sometimes, I even tell him stories about the people and towns that we see. It’s our thing.  Or rather it was our thing, until we adopted, Barnaby, our fifty pound, four month old Great Dane puppy.

So on Saturday, I pretended that we were on a small road trip adventure as we visited seven different gardens on the 9th Annual ANLD’s Designers Garden Tour.  This was my very first garden tour and it lived up to my anticipation.  I won the tickets from Ricki Grady’s blog, Sprig to Twig. Thanks, Ricki!  

I was looking for inspiration and new doable ideas for my garden. And I met a couple of new furry friends along the way. The day was sunny and bright, so please forgive the poor quality of the pictures.
Vern Nelson's cat (Eddie?) kept cool beside some pots that lined the grape arbor.
Vern Nelson's column, The Hungry Gardener, in the Oregonian has inspired me for the past 17 years. I was thrilled to attend one of his classes with the OSU Master Gardeners, seven years ago.  His advice about using green fir boards in the garden inspired the design of My Victory Garden.  The minute that I stepped into his garden, I felt at home.  I only wished that I had a mug of coffee in my hand as I strolled through his garden.

My Pirate took this iPhone shot of Vern's patio made from reclaimed materials.
His garden was overflowing with edibles.  I loved his use of recycled materials and how he didn't overbuild his structures.  His grape arbor was simply constructed and strung with wire.  My Pirate took note.

I enjoyed eavesdropping on other visitors that were astounded by the dinosaur kale and other veggies.  I watched a lady fondle the cilantro while cooing, "I love cilantro so much...I could just bathe in it!"

And I turned away with a swallowed laugh, because I think that cilantro tastes so soapy, that you could bathe in it.  Note:  to avoid the soapy flavor of cilantro, just cook with the cilantro stems like I do.
Vern Nelson's grape arbor

Vern's new raised beds married sides of poured concrete and wood. The design allowed for a table and chairs in the center of his edible garden.  Not applicable to my yard, but still, very cool.
And after walking through his garden, I feel the urge to add blueberry bushes throughout my garden. (But, I won't.) 

Chaos greeted us at the Floramagoria garden and asked for a bite of cookie... 
right before I discovered the inspiration for next summer's big project!  I fell in love with their vegetable garden setup.  I'm going to add this to the side yard that we share with our neighbors.  This will work great over all the underground electrical lines.
I also saw a similar design in the Plant Passion Garden.
And I'll hang concrete wire above the troughs.  

We saw concrete wire used in multiple gardens and we loved it!
Floramagoria Garden, view from the back patio window
  The Floramagoria Garden was a stunning collection of plants, art, and hardscape put together in a cohesive and engaging manner.  I experienced the garden as a playground for a plant collector with a fun sense of humor.  I saw garden art from two artists that I've only seen in books and magazines.  It was fantastic.
Floramagoria Garden, side entrance
Beetle rain chain by Experienced Materials
The Floramagoria garden was filled with Experienced Materials custom artistic touches.  I've been debating between Gina Nash's gingko rain chain and the beetle rain chain.   My Pirate and I agreed that we are definitely going with the beetle rain chain for the water feature on our pergola. 

At the Pequeno Paraiso Garden, I was impressed by the eye hook and wire that  they had run under the eaves of the house for the clematis vine to grow on.  I will be adding this little project to our home soon. 

When we climbed into our truck after the last garden, My Pirate turned to me and said, "I feel so inspired.  We need to do this (take a garden tour) at least once a year."

Ricki, thank you so much for the free tickets.  I'm looking forward to many more garden tours in the future.  Woo-hoo!  I feel reinvigorated and ready to tackle the rest of our garden projects.

Now, I only showed you the projects and ideas that I picked from the garden tour for my garden.  To get a better view of each garden, please visit Sprig to Twig, Danger Garden, Rhone Street Garden, and Just a Girl With a Hammer.