Posts in Garden Tour Ideas
Podocarpus Icee Blue

Podocarpus Icee Blue I am in the throes of landscaping my back garden this spring. One of my favorite new additions is the Podocarpus Icee Blue or also called Icee Blue Yellow-Wood, Podocarpus elongates "Monmal'. I love not only the striking blue-gray foliage, but the upright columnar form which is so distinct. I first saw this Podocarpus Icee Blue in a private garden in Oakland, California on a garden tour. Wow, it knocked my socks off. Notice how beautiful the blue-gray foliage looks against the brown color stucco of the house.

This is a slow growing conifer with fabulous upright structure. It thrives in USDA Zones 9-11, in partial to full sun. It likes regular watering, and more in extreme heat. The Podocarpus Icee Blue is slow growing to 15-25 feet, and 15-25 wide if you don't prune it. I find the Podocarpus Icee Blue readily available in local nurseries.


I have tall house edges I want to soften and necessary drain spouts that I want to hide. I wanted an upright tree that looked dynamite. Since it is so close to my house, I am planting these trees with root barrier material, as a precautionary measure, so I don't have to worry about the roots affecting my building foundation. I'm planting these trees against my white stucco home, which has a wine-colored trim appropriately called "Wild Raisin." I know the color combination is perfect for my home and garden setting.

The homeowner in Oakland planted her two Podocarpus Icee Blue in a container, as an option.


Please share if you have a special tree in your garden that you particularly enjoy. Please share if you have a Podocarpus Icee Blue in your garden.

Garden Bloggers Gather

What do garden bloggers like better than writing about gardening and plants? They like gathering in verdant places like Seattle, The Emerald City, experiencing new gardens. and joining the "sisterhood of garden bloggers" across the country. Okay, there were a few fellas in the mix, too.

This year's garden blogging conference, dubbed Seattle Fling, was a compilation of nearly 80 gifted garden writers who pen their passions about all things gardening. A "Who's Who" of multi-talented voices naming off plant names like a foreign language.

It is a diverse group, not just for the climatic regions they represent, but how they hail their expertise. Some are Generation X, with soon-to-be-released garden books under their belts. Some are forefront blog sensations who can proudly say they have almost a decade of posts and writing in their arsenal. Some are veteran garden writers and speakers, well known in this country's garden circles.

This phenomenon of garden bloggers and writers gathering together magically happens once a year, usually in July. Last year it was in Buffalo, New York, serendiptously coinciding with Buffalo's Garden Walk. Next year's 2012 event is tentatively planned to be held in Asheville, North Carolina.

Garden bloggers attending this year's Seattle Fling 2011, experienced a well-planned and orchestrated itinerary of private and public gardens, retail garden shops and nurseries, a David Perry photography workshop, West Seattle's Sunday morning Farmers Market, and a spoiling by garden-related sponsors.

Garden bloggers were treated to this unique concrete "ruin creation" by Little and Lewis in a wooded private garden. The concrete leaf fountain now moss-aged with water and time, was originally molded from an actual Gunnera leaf.

A trip to the picturesque waterfront Olympic Sculpture Park featuring 21 works by world-renowned artists was both captivating and breathtaking, capturing the essence of Downtown Seattle on one side, and the beauty of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound on the other.

VintageGardenGal wishes to thank everyone involved in this year's Seattle Fling 2011, and embraces her fellow garden bloggers.

This Frog Doesn't Ribbit

Last weekend, I experienced this year's  Secret Garden Tour of La Jolla, and was thrilled at the homes and gardens showcased on the tour. Each home had an Artist in the Garden, Designer in the Garden, and Musicians in the Garden, which elevated the garden settings to poetry.

At one of my favorite homes on the tour, this historic 1925 home was decorated in tasteful architectural salvage. The table display, and Designers in the Garden, were Etceteras in La Jolla. I loved their entire table vignette, but was absolutely smitten by their vintage frog place card holders. I had never seen them so small and dainty. A perfect anchor for a name card.

The entire place setting with the pewter cups, peacocks, fruit, woven  twig place mats all  worked  together to create a warm and inviting table.

Vintage flower frogs are fun to collect, and can re-purposed for holding table place setting, cherished photos, bills, business cards, and even their original purpose--flowers. Vintage flower frogs can be found at shops like Etceteras, fleas markets, garage sales, and online.

VintageGardenGal Tidbit Thyme...

Attention Chicken Lovers! Spruce up your chicken coop for VintageGardenGal's Annual Chicken Coop Photo Contest. Send in your photos this month to

Mailbox Delivers Garden Tools

I love going on garden tours because there is always something new I learn, something new I've never seen, something clever someone has done with their garden.

On a recent garden tour this spring, this was the case, with the garden owner using a mailbox to store her garden hand tools. Look closely and you can see the whimsical "bluebird blue" mailbox, which is now functioning as a safe haven for garden tools.

This garden which has been in the making for over twenty years, is simply gorgeous to mention first, with meandering paths, and filled to the brim with mass plantings of roses, native shrubs, vines, and trees. There is no place for a potting or storage shed in the middle of this garden. The garden owner blended and styled a mailbox into her garden, so as to save steps, and have her tools handy.

This is all about garden economizing. Saving your energy to reach for the mailbox to deadhead that rose, rather than running all over. Hand tools are close by, and stored together when they are needed. It is the concept that I want to point out to you. You can adapt this concept to your style and garden.

Yes, that is Larry Himmel, a local news celebrity, in the garden. His crew was filming this delightful garden the same day. Please share if you have a special container to keep your garden hand tools. Please comment on where you store your tools for your garden.

VintageGardenGal Tidbit Thyme...

Attention Chicken Lovers! Spruce up your chicken coop for VintageGardenGal's Annual Chicken Coop Photo Contest. Send in your photos this month to

Wine Box Container Gardening

On the recent tour of this year's Encinitas Garden Festival, one of the private gardens had a beautiful white-picket fence enclosing an immaculate raised bed vegetable garden. Adjacent to the vegetable garden was an open area with a pathway and fruit trees. In addition, there was a fabulous focal point of creative staggered containers, using wine boxes, galvanized tubs, and burlap bags. Something so simple, with a "wow" factor. It is structural, functional, beautiful, clever, and unique all in one. Hats off to this homeowner, and their herb garden.

This is reminiscent of an idea in Rosalind Creasy's new book, Edible Landscaping, where she describes how to stagger and arrange different size half-wine barrels for a perfect container grouping.

Most of these containers can be found in local farm and garden supply stores, such as Grangettos, Home Depot, or even flea markets for the weathered and rusty look. Look around your garage, sheds, utility areas for possible containers you might already have. Wine boxes can be found at wine shops, wineries, and friends who are in wine clubs.

It is still important to create holes for drainage in the case of the galvanzied tubs, and line the wooden wine boxes with heavy plastic, small rocks for drainage, and then your preferred soil. Eventually burlap bags will break down exposed to weather elements, but will hold up through a few seasons. Gardener's burlap is strong, yet very reasonable, coming in ready-sewn bags, or longer sheets of material.

With very little expense, and a lot of creativity, you might be able to create a unique container focal point in your garden, too.

VintageGardenGal Tidbit Thyme...

Attention Chicken Lovers! Spruce up your chicken coop for VintageGardenGal's Annual Chicken Coop Photo Contest. Send in your photos this month to