Friday, January 18, 2013

A Visit to Dancing Oaks

Dancing Oaks Header copy
Well, I must admit, I've been a negligent blogger lately. Since I don't get home until after dark, I have to take enough photos during the weekend to have anything to blog about...and sometimes that just doesn't happen! Luckily, I still have a backlog of things from last year to fill in the gaps.

As I blogged about last October, Heather (of Just A Girl With A Hammer) and I made a trip down to Wind Dancer to indulge in some plant-shopping. Since we were so close, we decided to hit up Dancing Oaks as well.

sunny border  3008
Sadly, by the time we made it to the nursery (enduring the Trail of Tears that Dancing Oaks calls their road), we only had 30-40 minutes to look around the garden, let alone shop for this will be a very brief tour!

Bladder Senna
The sun was perpetually in front of me, so every photo in this post will be DRAMATIC! This is Colutea x media (aka, Bladder Senna)...which was utterly jaw-dropping in the late afternoon light.

bladder senna  3010
Just look at those cool seed pods! If it had to guess, I'd say this small shrub was fairly innocuous for most of the year...but WOW...if I had room, I'd definitely get one of these!

Stipa gigantea
Of course, my eye always goes for the gorgeous grasses, like this Stipa beaten gold, this one.

As lovely as the blooms of Nigella damasca are, the seed pods are even better (IMHO). There is something fabulous about them...and that feathery, finely-dissected foliage is so nice.

Maple & Helianthus
At first, I thought the burgundy foliage in this shot was a Hibiscus...but in looking at it now, it is probably some form of Acer...what unbelievably saturated perfect during autumn.

Bells of Ireland
I've never been a huge fall of Moluccella Laevis (Bells of Ireland), finding them more of a novelty than anything else. The dried seed heads, however, are gorgeous...don't you love how those papery bracts catch and diffuse the setting sun?!?

Lobelia Tupa
Another gorgeous plant that demands a bigger space than I could give it, Lobelia tupa...I can't put my finger on what it is that I love about this plant...probably because it's EVERYTHING!

Another long-time love of my, Echinops (Globe Thistle). Again, I just love how the backlighting gleams off every surface of these.

Catananche caerulea - Cupids Dart
I stopped in my tracks at the sight of this large patch of Catananche caerulea (Cupid's Dart)...the silvery seed heads seemed to glow from within...utterly stunning!

Catananche caerulea - Cupids Dart2
Yup...another gorgeous!

Aster & Solidago
At this point, an employee reminded us they were closing we rushed about, looking at the plants for sale. I'm sad to say, we didn't have nearly enough time to search through them nearly as well as I would have liked...but I guess now there's even more reason to return this year :-)


  1. Argh, I forgot how cool that Bladder Senna was! It's so great to see the photos finally (though it makes me miss summer).

  2. Hi Scott,

    Beautiful photos; I love those seeds! So many lovely ones! I'm almost considering trying Cupid's dart again...

  3. I was just thinking about taking a trip there, they aways come up when I am searching for plants. In fact some of them are on this post, thank you!

  4. Great tour! Your speed visit sounds a lot like our last trip out there, I couldn't decide if I should wander the display garden or shop the greenhouses. I pretty much just ended up running around in circles like a mad woman.

  5. The Bladder Senna is, indeed, jaw-dropping. You caught all the plants in amazing light. Perfect day and time to capture them at their best.

  6. You're fortunate to have such fabulous nurseries, Scott. Slim pickings here.

  7. Wow, I'm afraid that you probably lost valuable shopping time, taking so many gorgeous pictures... but THANKS for that! Very inspiring. :-)

  8. You find, and share, the coolest plants. The Cupid's Dart is really pretty..and the seedhead of the Bells of Ireland is really neat!! Thanks for sharing.

  9. ...and I am always wondering, why if it is your photo, it is always so lovely! I wonder why i cannot do the same, even if i have longer time to spare!

  10. As usual Scott you've turned me on to some great plants, some of which I can even grow! :)

  11. Dear Scott, Your visit was brief, but well spent! Love the seedpods of Nigella damasca! P. x

  12. So very lovely when all I can see is snow. :(
    I have my houseplants,the internet and seed catalogues to keep me going.
    Thanks for sharing your lovely photos and experiences.


  13. What a great post to enjoy on this Winter's day... I have been busy with some decorating and craft projects this week and behind on reading my emails and posts. So glad I stopped in to enjoy your site!

    Thanks for sharing!
    God bless....Brooke
    My home and garden site...
    My Vintage Art and Printables site...

  14. Thanks for the tour! Those Bells of Ireland are just glowing in that photo.

  15. So frustrating to land somewhere like that with only a short time. I'm promising myself a day trip to Dancing Oaks this summer (or maybe fall, after this post).

  16. Scott, Such beautiful plants and you've captured them wonderfully. I want them all in my garden! Of course I would have to take down all my trees and replace the soil to say nothing of the weather! Thank goodness I can visit your blog to see them! Wonderful tour. gail

  17. You take pretty pictures! I'd never seen Moluccella Laevis dried seed heads before and they're quite lovely. How frustrating to have to speed shop. Someday I'll get down to Dancing Oaks.

  18. There's really not a post on this blog that doesn't send me into a frothing, horticultural frenzy. You are very bad for my wallet, sir. I'm starting to tell my wife to blame you for my many internet impulse buys!

  19. I feel in love with Lobelia tupa during my trip out there last summer. Apparently it's definitely a no-grow for me but that may not stop me from trying. You were smart to leave yourself a reason to return to Dancing Oaks. We spent hours there-lots to take in and a surprise around every corner.

  20. Thank you so much for the SUNSHINE. I'm sorry you didn't get as much time as you wanted to look around. It really does take at least 4 hours, I've found. The time slips by way too quickly. I can't wait to make another trip this year.

  21. Sounds like my kind of trip! Shame you didn't have more time for some serious shopping. Christina

  22. It seems someone is missing summer there... Well I am tooooo!!!! :-)
    That Colutea is really cool and you took some really good pics in general... all of them made me sigh and I'll tell you something: I have a soft spot for molucella! I love green flowers...

  23. How would you ever choose? How do they drag people out of there? I'd grown Catananche and they'd pooped out after 7 years or so, seeing how pretty they look with the sun behind them (how often do you think that would happen, oh, who cares, even if it's for 10 minutes) I'm going to include them on my seed list again this year.

  24. It was the Stipa gigantea that caught my eye. How often have I tried this beauty in our garden. Never thrives though, I have a feeling that it likes a little more Summer warmth than we can provide.

  25. Scott, you've really captured the beauty of a fall garden. All those gorgeous seed heads and grasses, goldenrod and mums, and that bladder senna - so cool!

  26. Love the Bells of Ireland photo, may have to try a drift of these this spring for fall impact later. Merci mon ami.

  27. Scott these are gorgeous pictures of gorgeous plants at the end of their cycle .. I love seed heads too !
    Did you say you saw one of the new brunnera on line in a Canadian on line catalog ?
    Would you let me know which one ? I am very curious and might just indulge if it isn't too crazy a price !
    Joy : )