Hosta Fanatics

I like Hostas. They’re a great garden plant, grown mostly for their foliage, hardy, colorful, and easy. Well, they’re easy if you don’t have deer. Since we have deer in our garden, we’re not currently growing any Hostas ourselves.

Earlier in August I had the opportunity to visit two fantastic woodland gardens south of Buffalo, New York that each feature over 1000 varieties of Hosta. I think that’s just a little crazy, but the gardens were a delight. Of course, they don’t just grow Hostas. Even with the great variety of shade of green, gold, and white, Hosta foliage alone won’t carry a garden. But think about how these plants can light up a shady border, form a groundcover, or be an accent.

This video slideshow illustrates some of the many ways Hostas can be used in the garden.



Photographed with a Sony A6300 camera, lightly processed in Adobe Lightroom, and slideshow created with Animoto. What you can’t see are all the other GWA: Association of Garden Communicators members who were visiting these gardens at the same time.

Who’d a Thought Buffalo Would Have Great Gardens?

The fine folks in Buffalo, New York certainly do know how to garden. And they share their gardens with friends, neighbors, and garden lovers from around the world. They have a long-running Garden Walk Buffalo on the last weekend in July each summer. This year, several of the gardeners kept their gardens open for some 350 members of GWA: The Association of Garden Communicators as we visited their fine city for the annual GWA Symposium.

This video slideshow, which runs just shy of five minutes, showcases some of my favorite garden views in the Cottage District, Elmwood Village, and Lancaster Avenue neighborhoods. These were all walkable neighborhoods with largish old homes on narrow but deep lots. Most of the gardeners made use of nearly every square inch of space.



For the technically-inclined, I photographed these gardens with a Sony A6300 mirrorless camera and 16-70mm lens, mostly on a tripod. What you can’t see are the busloads of other garden photographers, writers, and on-air talent who were also visiting these gardens at the same time. Patience (and a little “would you please move a little”) goes a long way.

Mountains for the Hilltop

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A few months ago my friend Tom Kilpatrick, who owns the Hilltop Restaurant on Guide Meridian just south of Axton Road, called me to inquire about a couple of new pieces of mountain art for the restaurant. I prepared a preview gallery and Tom picked a couple of favorite photos. I snapped pictures of the walls in the restaurant so I could show him how his choices would look and to help decide on the right size. We came to agreement on the size and price and I got printed ordered.

Today I took two beautiful canvas prints out to the Hilltop with my tools and got them on the walls.

Hilltop Restaurant, Bellingham, WA. © 2017 Mark Turner


At the back of the restaurant, where you can enjoy it from the moment you walk in the door until you leave, is a photo of Mt. Baker I made at sunset. It’s a panoramic image, shot on film with my Fuji GX617 camera almost 20 years ago. The finished print is 28″ tall and 80″ wide. Continue reading

A Visit to Noisy Creek

Trail through old-growth forest

April hikes in the North Cascades have to be at lower elevations unless you want to break out your snowshoes or skis. On a rainy Sunday it made sense for my friend Brian and me to choose the East Bank Baker Lake Trail and head to Noisy Creek. Neither of us had hiked this section of trail before.

At only 800 feet elevation, spring was in full swing along the trail. We inhaled deeply as we entered the woods, sucking in the sweet scent of moist humus and conifers. Much of the forest is old growth, the usual mix of Douglas-fir, western hemlock, and western redcedar, the understory a tangle of mossy logs and thickets of vine maples, salmonberries, and huckleberries. Without a trail it would be tough bushwhacking. Continue reading

Wildflower Road Trip Madness

Brittlebush and More
Brittlebush, Fremont Pincushion, Desert Dandelions, Burrobush, Ocotillo early morning in Coyote Canyon, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California.

I’m sure you’ve seen the bumper sticker, “I Brake For Flowers.” Well, I don’t just brake for them — when conditions are right I’ll drive thousands of miles for wildflowers. That’s just what I did in mid-March when I confirmed that the predicted “superbloom” at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in southern California was actually happening.

A little back story: most of the wildflowers in the desert are annuals. Their seeds remain dormant until conditions are just right. When there’s enough rain at the right time during the winter and temperatures warm up not too fast then the desert can burst into spectacular masses of flowers. Most years only a few flowers bloom, but in 2017 conditions were just right for a massive bloom, which lasts for only a couple of weeks at peak. I couldn’t stay home. Continue reading

Look Twice

APLD_Spring2017_cover
As photographers we can easily fall into a rut of always seeing and photographing our world just one way. We find something that works and repeat. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with that, and done well it can be an important aspect of your style. But if you’re always photographing from eye level with a 50mm lens you’re missing out on alternative ways to tell visual stories.

The spring 2017 issue of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) magazine, The Designer, features examples of my photography that show alternate views of the same garden. The story was written by Katie Elzer-Peters, a garden writer colleague I’ve known for several years. Continue reading

2017 Northwest Flower & Garden Show

Herbed Butter display garden

It may not have felt much like spring on Thursday, February 23 as I drove to Seattle for the 2017 Northwest Flower & Garden Show. There was a bit of fresh snow on the ground as I drove down I-5 for my annual fix of gardening inspiration. I’ve been going to the NWFGS for 20 years, sometimes as a speaker but more often just to enjoy the display gardens.

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Larrabee State Park

Eroded sandstone at Larrabee State Park

One of my favorite places to explore the saltwater shoreline near Bellingham is Larrabee State Park . It’s just a few miles south of town on Chuckanut Drive, aka Washington highway 11. Larrabee is Washington’s oldest state park, established in 1915. Originally just 20 acres, the park now includes 2,683 acres from Bellingham Bay to forested upland ridges.

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