Usually, when I get called out for a garden consultation, it is obvious the people need help. Occasionally, it’s just someone who just moved here, who want to learn what is growing in their garden. Other times, it’s someone who can’t think of what to do with their yard, or who needs help figuring out flow patterns, privacy issues, or why the plants they planted aren’t doing what they want them to do. You can usually tell, before you even get out of the truck, that they need you – in some way, or other. So, when I first pulled up in front of Marian’s garden, I first doubted my GPS, and then, – immediately following that – wondered if I had written the address down incorrectly. I hadn’t.
This is looking back toward the driveway through the entrance gate. Upon entering….
… you walk through this fabulous scrap metal and wood arbor. This marvelous construct replaced a massive Wisteria, and is the work of Laurel Hedge Landscape Design. Those of you who have seen the scrap steel I surround myself with, will not be surprised when I say that this made my heart beat a little faster – I realized I had found a kindred spirit!
Just look at those shadows!
Marian’s garden is beautiful, and it’s not your typical garden at all. It is full of out-of-the-box solutions (like the above-mentioned arbor, personally curated garden decor that reflects a fun, life-embracing attitude, and many, many wonderful plants. For a little while, that feeling of “Why am I here?” lingered – until I realized that she is even more like me than just having a thing for rusty steel and her affinity for the color red. Marian loves plants, and when she sees one she likes, she indulges her plant lust. She’ll figure out where it all goes later… and that – for the most part – was why she needed me. Marian is a fellow member of the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon, and this year, she had decided to open up her garden for their Open Garden Tour. When I first met her, the event was two months away, and she needed some plant ideas – and some help placing the plants she already had, some suggestions for replacements to fill some new gaps, as well as relocating a few pieces of garden art within the new layout. She has quite the collection – much of it found at the Cracked Pots Garden Art Show.
But, before I delve in – here is an overview: Marian and her husband Rick have been in their house for 25 years, and they plan to stay another 25 – at least. This is where they plan to live until the end of their days, but damned would they be, if they wanted to spend their golden years slaving away in the garden. Their 1/4 acre paradise has undergone a number of transformations over the years, but this last one was rather brutal, and all encompassing. Anything and everything that involved more than minimal work had to go. They took out a cherished dogwood tree, the trellised Wisteria I mentioned – and who knows what else. Areas were leveled and paths were put in, to enable sure-footed strolls in all types of weather. If need be, you could even maneuver a wheelchair down these paths.
At 1,100 sf, the house itself is not large, but each side opens onto generous outdoor spaces that in turn takes you further out into the garden. The large, composite deck takes you from the front gate to what over the years has become the dedicated front door – a glazed slider that is concealed in a facade of floor-to-ceiling glass expanses below the protruding eaves. Can you imagine how wonderful the view is from inside the house – even on a rainy day?
The bell, and a funny little bat-like gargoyle marks the entrance.
It was a gift from a beloved grandson. Love it!
The garden is sectioned off into several distinct areas, often serving as an extension of the home itself.
On the back side of the house, is a covered area with an outdoor kitchen/eating area, and some comfortable seating. The magnificent weeping Atlas cedar creates a visually stunning privacy screen toward the next door neighbor.
I could hang out in here all night!
They even have in-house musicians!
Are you indoors, or outside? Hard to tell sometimes…
Love the long, blue green starry foliage of the cedar against the weathered wood…
From one of the bedrooms, this quiet little sanctuary can be visually and physically accessed.
Immediately west of the house, there is a small, shallow pool for soaking in. To give you some perspective – the entrance to the outdoor kitchen and the seating area I mentioned above, is immediately behind the red umbrella on the left.
Big plate glass windows allowing for views in all directions.
The concrete surrounding the pool is bordered by these fun sedum-planted hypertufa planters, and decorative spheres in different materials. They are marking a level change, on the other side of which is….
…a lovely little teahouse, built for her by Marian’s grandson.
The interior provides a wonderful spot for pondering the mysteries of life – especially on a rainy day.
On the other side of the pool, the ground slopes up a bit. There is a path that leads up and away.
The path will take you up to the top corner of the property. Turning the corner and following the fence back down again, will take you through the vegetable garden, and eventually to the outdoor kitchen.
Speaking of the corner itself – love this little guy who is holding the fence up! 🙂
As you enter from the lower entrance of the veggie garden, you see five concrete plaques, featuring the names and hand prints of some of the children that have roamed the gardens over the years. Now, it’s the next generation’s turn to enjoy the magic spell cast by their visionary great grandparents. I hear the edible garden is one of their favorite parts to explore.
As sprung from the earth, and perpendicular to the edible garden, a creek is trickling down the hill in the direction of the pool. Its sides are planted with conifers, Nandina, Barberry, and grasses, and it culminates in a small waterfall.
A crane perpetually watches for frogs.
East of the creek is a small structure – a bell house. (Behind it is the path to the edible garden.)
I can just imagine the gong being used to put the call out that dinner is ready when the family gathers.
Here is looking up toward the top of the waterfall. From where this photo was taken, the entrance to the path up to the edible garden is immediately on the right.
Standing on the deck, looking southeast, you can see some of the most recent changes. This is where the huge Dogwood used to be. Once the tree was removed, the earth was terraced using rebar and sheet metal cut into wide strips. Simple and effective! The levels now feature grasses, a few shrubs and perennials, and river rock. The dark tree is a Katsura. Take note of the path visible on the top right.
Where previously there was a sloping lawn, a cut -and-fill and a low retaining wall to shore up the now leveled lawn, allowed for a generous gravel path to be installed along the entire length of the garden. On the downside of the path, toward the fence, is a mix of mature and new plantings, creating a year-round tapestry of color and texture.
Speaking of fence – isn’t this a lovely one?
There is plenty to see along the way. If you continue your stroll in this direction, eventually you will get to…
… Rick’s putting green, where he perfects his technique. When Marian isn’t busy tending her garden, or playing with the grandkids, she can sit on the bench and admire his skill.
Here is one of her most ardent supporters, keeping her company when she does.
There are his adoring fans, cheering him on.
If you turn around and look back the way you came, you see a large metal pyramid under a shading tree. At night, it lights up from within.
Here is looking back, beyond the pyramid, toward the Tea House.
The purple bench provides a restful spot of shade when the day is at its hottest.
Another view toward the Tea House – this time from the deck.
Here is a view of the aforementioned terracing (where the Dogwood used to be), with the entrance arbor in the background. The pot with the bamboo, and the silver ball is Rick’s brain child. Love it! Notice that green screen to the right of the silver ball? It was the subject of one of my Wednesday Vignettes a while back.
This garden is so full of great views and scrumptious details, it is hard to do them all justice. But, here is a view from about where the green pot is, toward the pool area.
Some plants need a clean background to be properly appreciated. This Sophora ‘Little Baby’ looks great in its black pot, silhouetted against the gray deck.
Others are hard to miss – they are so exuberant! Like this red Mandevilla.
Notice how the colors and textures of the various conifers contrast with, and enhance each other. Conifers and other evergreens are abundant in this garden – for good reason. They are easy to care for, look good year-round, and there is very little leaf litter. Perfect for a garden intended to spend your old age in. And, perfect for anyone seeking a low-maintenance garden, for that matter.
Here too, looking toward the Bell House. Conifers, broadleaf evergreens and Sedums. Easy peasy. And so very lovely!
A new addition to the garden – the fabulous, evergreen Stachyrus praecox. It will get big eventually, but is a baby now, so was put in a red pot, and elevated on a stand, for easier viewing. Such a cool plant, well deserving of the extra attention as beckoned by the red pot.
Here is what was featured on one of my most recent Wednesday Vignettes – put together a couple of weeks ago, for Marian’s open garden – Grevillea ‘Ivanhoe’, Echinacea ‘Green Jewel’, Carex testacea, and Lysimachia ‘Aurea’. I really like how she put it all in a green pot! Before too long, it will have filled out quite nicely, I think!
Love how the Cotinus ‘Grace’ holds its own in all the green!
One of several planted “islands”, and yet another Vignette I’ve featured before.
The focus of this garden is obviously on foliage, not flowers, but there still are a few, here and there. They are nice as an extra bonus, but personally, I don’t miss them at all. This garden is a stellar example of what can be achieved with foliage.
Another bench for weary legs – of course backed by a fabulous backdrop. This is what you see when you look due south from the main deck.
As evident from the many places to sit, this garden is made for gathering beloved family members and friends. There are plenty of areas encouraging socializing – both for larger groups, and for intimate tête-à-têtes.
The numerous paths direct your eye to vignettes – in every corner of the garden. Larger trees interspersed with tall and small shrubs create a dynamic interplay of shapes and forms – all tied together by that marvelous fence.
There is a story about what preceeded this green pot, but I will tell you about that in another post.
Rusted steel looks so good against the soft greenery of conifers, don’t you think?
The backlit chartreuse foliage is positively glowing!
There are lots of new friends to meet in Marian’s garden…
… but my favorite one is Marian! 🙂
I can’t wait ’til we continue the remaking of your front garden together! More on that to come…