Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Casa Mariposa - So Very Tammy


On the morning of the last day of the 2017 Garden Bloggers' Fling, we were lucky to have the opportunity to visit Casa Mariposa, the personal garden of Tammy Schmitt, the Capital Region Fling Director.  As I've followed Tammy's blog for as long as I've been blogging myself, the garden was instantly recognizable and, although I'd never met Tammy in person prior to the 2017 Fling, I felt very much like I was entering the garden of an old friend.  Tammy's been a regular commentator on my blog - in fact, she was the very first commentator who wasn't a relative or a local friend.  She even sent me her collection of Amaryllis belladonna bulbs in 2015, certain that they'd find my zone 10b garden more hospitable than her zone 7a garden.  (This remains to be seen as I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of the late summer blooms now that our prolonged drought is officially at an end.)

Despite the time absorbed in organizing the Fling while maintaining a full-time job and her disclaimers about the condition of the garden, described as "a study in improvisation and imperfection...dogscaped to meet the needs of her canine crew," it looked just perfect to my eyes.  The front was neat as a pin.




But decorative elements surrounding the front steps made it clear that this was Tammy's garden.

Birdhouses are a theme in Tammy's garden and the metal sculpture (lower right), one of at least 3 I found while poking around touring her garden, is a perfect expression of Tammy's joie de vivre


The signs of her effervescent personality became all the clearer as we approached the back garden through the side entrance...

Did you notice how "Be the Good" is highlighted in the sign?

I remember Tammy's story about the creation of this arbor from an old blog post, a great example of her improvisational skill


Tammy is an avid organic gardener, focused on the use of native and other ornamental plants that support pollinators and other wildlife.

This meadow-like scene is one of the first things I saw as I stepped into the back garden.  All those tiny clay pots had numbers linking back to a plant list.  Unfortunately, I didn't take the time to note the numbers as I explored so I'm not going to hazard identifications here.

View looking toward the back of the house from the lawn area, showing just a small number of the 50 or so people that were wandering through the garden from buses 3 and 4

A partially shady section of the back garden adjacent to a neighbor's property

A section of the aforementioned dog run utilized by Tammy's "canine crew"

Why can't my shade area look like this?


But perhaps the most immediately recognizable element of Tammy's back garden were the steps off the back of the house.

I somehow managed to get a shot of the back steps without legs or feet in it!

A closer shot of the large pot collection that surrounds the back steps


That's a LOT of pots, right?  But that wasn't all of them by any means.

Tammy sows a huge number of seeds for annual plants each winter, as part of her ongoing effort to avoid the systemic neonicotinoid pesticides used by so many growers


There were quintessential Tammy touches embedded throughout the space.

More birdhouses (!!!), along with other fun decorative items


And there were lovely plants everywhere.

Daylilies were a constant in the Capital Region gardens - how I wish I had that orange variety in my own garden.  The plants in the middle row, Echinacea, Rudbeckia and Stokesia generally aren't happy in my area of Southern California.  Those in the bottom row, Persicaria, Plectranthus scutellarioides (coleus) and Verbena bonariensis do better but don't look nearly this good.


I don't think Tammy's garden could be mistaken for anyone else's.

Tammy answering questions about her garden with Genie's assistance


Thanks, Tammy, for inviting a horde of bloggers into your garden and for organizing a truly wonderful event!


All material © 2012-2017 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

26 comments:

  1. You captured Tammy's garden perfectly! I know how crazy it is to both put together an event like the Fling and open your own garden, despite her warnings to the contrary her garden was indeed just perfect.

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  2. Tammy's garden is as exuberant as the woman herself. It's a pleasure to see her garden through your lens as I too am a fan of her blog. Amazing the amount of energy and bravery she had in working full time, organizing the fling, and having her garden visitor-ready. Fabulous person - fabulous garden!

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    1. She has energy to spare, that's for sure!

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  3. Wonderful vibe to go with Tammy's wonderful energy - thanks for the tour! So sorry I missed the DC Fling... :(

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    1. I'm sorry you missed it too, Anna. I'd have loved to meet you in person! I'm plotting a trip up Seattle way next February, hopefully to coincide with the NWFGS, so perhaps I can meet you then. Now all I have to do is convince my spouse that the trip is a good idea...

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  4. Working full time, plus maintaining a large garden, plus organizing an event? Puts me to shame!

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    1. Tammt said she'd been planning the event for 3 years so at least she had some room to breathe - I hope!

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  5. Tammy is a pistol that's for sure ! I loved her garden, and her back garden was not all that much larger in size than mine so it felt really accessible.

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    1. It was a wonderfully comfortable space. I'd have loved to have just sat around awhile to enjoy it.

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  6. I enjoyed Tammy's garden very much, especially her daylilies, which I noticed where nicely paired with other flowers that had echoes of some of the same colors. You got some nice shots and captured the garden and her fizzy personality perfectly.

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    1. The beautiful daylilies we saw everywhere in touring the Fling gardens have me all worked up with ideas of planting more here, not that mine have done all that well this year.

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  7. Wow, talented hard working lady. The art works are cute and add that personal touch. What a great property she has and sooo full of plants and flowers.

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    1. I loved her little artistic touches - they were charming rather than intrusive and such great reflections of the gardener's personality.

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  8. Nice recap, Kris. Tammy's garden was the one I was looking forward to visiting the most when I signed up for the Fling and it did not disappoint. And no, I did not notice the Be The Good highlighted in the sign.

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    1. I didn't notice the "Be the Good" at first either, Sue. It adds a second dimension to the sign.

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  9. Really beautiful garden, and gardens do reflect the gardener, don't they?

    Why doesn't your shade garden look like hers? 22-30 extra inches of rain per year!

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    1. Yes, rain, there is that! It was so very green out there...

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  10. Mrs. Schmitt's garden is really beautiful,so green and exuberant. I love all the pots and the little garden gnome among them! so cute!

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    1. "Exuberant" fits Tammy Schmitt to a "t"!

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  11. Thanks so much for such a kind write up!! :o)

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    1. I was just being honest, Tammy! Your garden is beautiful, and clearly well-loved.

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  12. I'm a fan of Tammy's quirky blog too, and enjoyed your overview of her garden.

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  13. I borrowed several of your photos for my blog post but gave you full credit!!

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    1. I'm honored you liked the photos, Tammy!

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I enjoy receiving your comments and suggestions. However, with apologies to bona-fide commentators, due to a significant increase in spam, I've eliminated the option to post comments anonymously.