From dandelions to pink Angeliques

My garden …

Consider for a moment the lowly dandelion, universally despised for its aggressive personality. But look closer … can you imagine a happier, sunnier shade of yellow? And the blossoms … not unlike pom-pom mums, with tiny tubular petals. The tender young greens are edible in salads, and although I’ve heard of dandelion wine, I do wonder why it’s not available in stores. With their ease of propagation, it’s really a shame these little annuals don’t get more respect. What if someone discovered that extract of dandelion is the cure for diabetes or hypertension, or contains the secret to effortless weight loss? What if dandelions were our nation flower … would we cultivate a lawn of dandelions instead of grass? Give Mom a dandelion color bowl instead of a hanging fuchsia basket?

bouquet of dandelions tied with white ribbon

While dandelions can only dream of such redemption, I’m on a season-long mission to eradicate the little yellow bastards from my yard.  I thought about counting them as I dug them out, but I can’t count that high. What to do when weeds get the better of you? Go visit someone else’s garden—one where they have a staff to do the weeding—and indulge in a weed-free fantasy!

Lakewold Gardens …

Every spring, Eric and I gather with a handful of friends to tour some of our local gardens. We call ourselves the Pink Angeliques … although I don’t know why. This Sunday we converged on Lakewold Gardens in my old stomping grounds of Lakewood, Washington, where the pink Angeliques were in full bloom.

Pink angelique tulips

Lakewold, a Georgian-style estate on Gravelly Lake, was built in 1917, and opened to the public in 1989. This year we were able to tour much of the house (which is usually off-limits) because the American Society of Interior Designers was hosting a design showcase. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take photos of the interiors, but I did get some color inspirations for when we get around to repainting the living room. (Yet another task on our very long to-do list.)

Luckily, we had a dry day to explore the gardens! This is the back of the house, seen from the lake side. Yeah, I could live here …

Back side of Georgian mansion and lawn

and float in the lovely quatrefoil pool.

Quatrefoil-shaped swimming pool and planters

Mt Fuji cherry trees line the brick walk to the gazebo. I need to learn how to train our Mt. Fuji so it will grow horizontally like this. Of course we won’t be around to see it grow this old … but maybe someone will.

Mt. Fuji cherry tree with spreading horzontal branches

A view from the gazebo down the long brick walk to the house. Lots of weddings happen here.

View from Gazebo toward house

This ancient, huge wolf tree (a Douglas fir with low, spreading limbs) shelters a shade garden.

Wolf tree and shade garden

My favorite trees on the property are these Shindeshojo Japanese maples with their brilliant magenta new leaves, set off by purple rhododendrons.

Magenta-leaved maple with purple rhodies

I love these little checkered lilies. I also love their name: Fritillaria.

checkered lilies: fritillaria

This rustic table has hosted picnics by the lake since the 1960s.

picnic table and benches made of hewn logs

And the French stone hound has graced the driveway since 1917. Bon chien!

dog with flower basket sculpture

Then it was home to our own little weed-and-mole infested garden, which I’m trying to imagine in its full summer glory. Meanwhile, in the backyard our Japanese garden is bursting with color, if not a few dandelions. If only I didn’t have to spend all day at work, I’d have this place whipped into garden-tour shape in no time! I NEED to retire!

springtime in our backyard garden

Win a garden trowel!

For a chance to win a $50 Sneeboer garden trowel from Garden Tool Company, check out!



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