The Food, the Shade, and the Formal – three totally different gardens

Next weekend the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon is yet again partnering with the Garden Conservancy for the annual Garden Conservancy Open Garden Tour. The tour is a fundraiser for a couple of good causes – it supports both organizations’ grants and scholarship funds, and it shows off the late summer glory of a few select gardens. Sometimes it pays off to spread your opinions liberally over the inter webs; this time all of us local blogging opinionators got invited to a preview of the tour, in return for writing a post on it. Of course I jumped on the opportunity. One can never visit too many gardens, right?

The first garden was that of Nancy and Gordon Prewitt in Beaverton. Spoiler alert: I took plenty of photographs of all three gardens, so if you’d rather be surprised – stop reading now. If you prefer I don’t spoil the surprise, I will leave you with the suggestion that you go see for yourself – these gardens are radically different from each other, and well worth your time to go visit. So now that I’ve warned you – here we go!

Bloggers everywhere - here documenting the front garden.

Bloggers everywhere – here documenting the front garden.

Front garden vignette...

Front garden vignette…

... and another one.

… and another one. The Crape myrtle is in full bloom.

#Garden Conservancy Open Garden Tour #Prewitt garden

#Garden Conservancy Open Garden Tour #Prewitt garden

I really liked this pergola. It directed your eye down the path to the vegetable garden. And, boy, what a fabulous edible garden it was!

#Garden Conservancy Open Garden Tour #Prewitt garden

#Garden Conservancy Open Garden Tour #Prewitt garden

Big, bold foliage punctuated the pathways here and there.

Lovely textural combinations made you stop and look along the way.

Lovely textural combinations made you stop and look along the way.

I should have asked them if they keep their Abutilons outside over winter, Some of them were really big!

I should have asked them if they keep their Abutilons outside over winter, Some of them were really big!

At the gate to the vegetable garden. Love the gate!

At the gate to the vegetable garden. Love the gate!

#Garden Conservancy Open Garden Tour #Prewitt garden

I’m not a vegetable gardener, but whenever I see the massive leaves and cool textures of certain edibles, I feel a little remorse. Hell, I would totally grow brussel sprouts just for the fabulous foliage it provides. It is that large blue-green marvel to the right of the hoop house.

Here is a close-up of the brussel sprouts. They look kind of cute where they are clinging to the mother trunk.

Here is a close-up of the brussel sprouts. They look kind of cute where they are clinging to the mother trunk.

#Garden Conservancy Open Garden Tour #Prewitt garden

#Garden Conservancy Open Garden Tour #Prewitt garden

The herb garden.

A great pairing - Sage and Lemon Thyme. Isn't it pretty?

A great pairing – Sage and Lemon Thyme. Isn’t it pretty?

A stand of Garlic chives, with Zinnias glowing in the background.

A stand of Garlic chives, with Zinnias glowing in the background.

Asparagus and Marigolds - what a wonderful, wispy sight!

Asparagus and Marigolds – what a wonderful, wispy sight!

Here it is again - from a distance.

Here it is again – from a distance.

Massive amounts of tomatoes. I wondered why the leaves curl like that. I forget the whole answer, but apparently it is not caused by leaf curlers, and totally irrelevant to production. I can see that - I can't even imagine packing another tomato onto that burgeoning plant - weighed down under its own prolific crop.

Massive amounts of tomatoes. I wondered why the leaves curl like that. I forget the whole answer, but apparently it is not caused by leaf curlers, and totally irrelevant to production. I can see that – I can’t even imagine packing another tomato onto that burgeoning plant – weighed down under its own prolific crop.

Plums, anyone?

Plums, anyone?

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Take note of this bamboo grove.

It totally helps to have a large supply of bamboo stakes when all those veggies need help staying upright.

It helps to have a large supply of bamboo stakes when all those veggies need help staying upright.

#Garden Conservancy Open Garden Tour #Prewitt garden

These people aren’t messing around! They have REAL beds in their garden!

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Like I said – bloggers with cameras everywhere!

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Planting annuals like Zinnias will help you bring pollinators to your garden. And if you want a good crop, you’ll need their help. 🙂

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Loved the rose hips!

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Nice vignettes were abundant.

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The massive Agave next to the water – spouting bubbler made me smile. A study in contrasts, for sure!

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There were lots of fun little sedum plantings in the Prewitt’s garden.

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An impressive succulent arrangement.

An Echeveria (I think) and Aeonium 'Schwartzkopf'.

An Echeveria (I think) and Aeonium ‘Schwartzkopf’.

A succulent wreath was hanging on the pergola.

A succulent wreath was hanging on the pergola.

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The terrace off the house had so many hanging fuchsia and begonia baskets that it almost felt like stepping in to a flowering cave. A wonderful feeling!

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This Begonia flower looks just perfect, resting on the Colocasia leaf.

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The perfect pear.

Our second stop was the home of Chris and Jim Mitchell. Their front yard was mostly evergreen in some of my favorite colors – chartreuse, green and silver. Very nicely done, I thought – the colors and textures were marvelous! Jim told me they are trying to cut down on flowering perennials. Perennials do take a lot of work, and the happy couple are not planning to leave this house until they are carried out in a box. So, like Marian, who I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, they are editing their garden to make it as easy as possible to take care of. They are off to a beautiful start, don’t you think?

I knew I would like this one as soon as we pulled up.

I knew I would like this one as soon as we pulled up.

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Ah – both colors and textures make me weak at the knees… In case you’re wondering – the plant with the big gray leaves is a Senecio, now renamed Brachyglottis. It sounds awfully guttural for being so lovely, don’t you agree?

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I guess the Rudbeckias and the Cleomes were spared this time around. I totally understand why – they are lovely!

#Garden Conservancy Open Garden Tour #Mitchell garden

Check out the tall candles of the Verbascum. Love their big beefy, silvery leaf rosette as well. Such a cool plant, but absolutely a weed. Use with caution!

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More fab textures!

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Love the fringy petals of the Inula (I think) contrasted with the pine needles.

Rudbeckia and Crocosmia seed heads glowing beautifully together.

Rudbeckia and Crocosmia seed heads glowing beautifully together.

#Garden Conservancy Open Garden Tour #Mitchell garden

What a fun bit of lawn! I bet it’s just there for color contrast.

#Garden Conservancy Open Garden Tour #Mitchell garden

The Mitchell’s garden came with towering Doug firs. To have any chance of growing anything, they built low raised beds around the massive trunks. The beds define the pathways, and are filled with a wonderful collage of shade plants. So lush and pretty!

The towering firs made you feel like you were standing in a cathedral.

The towering firs made you feel like you were standing in a cathedral.

Just look at those trunks!

Just look at those trunks!

Chris cuts back the Mahonia every year, to control its size.

Chris cuts back the Mahonia every year, to control its size.

Lots of textures. The Hostas had a wonderful fragrance!

Lots of textures. The Hostas had a wonderful fragrance!

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Quicksilver Hebe and Silver bush – what a stellar combo!

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Hardy Curry plant and Berberis ‘Orange Rocket’ (I think). Lovely combo, in my opinion!

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The colors in this bed ranged from orange to pink. That marvelous silver held it all together.

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Theucrium?

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It wasn’t just colors that provided contrast. Check out that massive Gunnera leaf!

There were sunnier spots too.

There were sunnier spots in the garden too.

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A sweet little spot to rest your legs. I like how they put paver down like an area rug.

The built-in blue bottles were a great accent to this little vignette!

The built-in blue bottles were a great accent to this little vignette!

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The Thinker

The color scheme changes as you move out into the sunny part of the garden. The oranges remain the constant that ties both parts together.

The color scheme changes as you move out into the sunny part of the garden. The oranges remain the constant that ties both parts together.

You can see it better here.

You can see it better here.

Flowering Hakonechloa.

Flowering Hakonechloa.

A Pagoda Dogwood, or Wedding cake tree in the background - a fabulous tree!

A Pagoda Dogwood, or Wedding cake tree in the background – a fabulous tree that I wish I got a better picture of…

View toward the house.

View toward the house.

Jim and Chris standing in front of one of the many wonderful vignettes that makes up this garden.

Jim and Chris standing in front of one of the many wonderful vignettes that makes up this garden.

After a tear-filled goodbye (well, at least from me) –  with this, we moved on to the third garden of the day – the garden of Leon Livenhood and Zachary Baker. This garden surprised me. It was not at all what I would have expected to see surrounding the lines of a 60’s ranch. Once in the back yard, you felt transported back to colonial times, when formality was the rule. The garden was organized along a main axis, and divided into several spaces.

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Half of our merry gang standing outside our third stop.

Flowers, flowers (and bloggers) everywhere!

Flowers, flowers (and bloggers) everywhere!

The central axis.

The central axis.

Behind you, as you look toward the obelisk, was a cozy area for relaxing, and sipping cocktails.

Behind you, as you look toward the obelisk, was a cozy area for relaxing, and sipping cocktails.

Boxwood hedges delineated the spaces.

Boxwood hedges delineated the spaces, and marked the edges of the beds.

Looking back toward the lounging area.

Looking back toward the lounging area.

I liked their chicken run!

I liked their chicken run!

A lovely fountain surrounded by Hydrangeas, Phlox and Colocasias provided background sound.

A lovely fountain surrounded by Hydrangeas and Colocasias provided calming background music.

I liked the copper leaves.

I liked the copper leaves swimming in the pool.

Another seating area, near the house.

Another seating area with lush plantings, near the house.

Looking back toward the fountain, through the wrought iron gates of the last space.

Looking back toward the fountain, through the wrought iron gates of the last space.

There was an abundance of annuals in this garden. I like the yellow balls of the Marigolds - they were everywhere!

There was an abundance of annuals in this garden. I liked the yellow balls of the large Marigolds – they were everywhere!

More lovely foliage textures, scattered with blossoms.

More lovely foliage textures, scattered with blossoms.

Adiantum and Begonias look so good together!

Adiantum and Impatiens look so good together!

This is my favorite part of a Zinnia. What a fantastic looking bud! It would look great decorating a fence post.

This is my favorite part of a Zinnia. What a fantastic looking bud! It would look great decorating a fence post.

Admittedly - some of the Zinnias are pretty fantastic once they open, too.

Admittedly – some of the Zinnias are pretty fantastic once they open, too.

I thought this combination was beautiful - Hydrangea 'Annabelle' and Rudbeckias.

I thought this combination was beautiful – Hydrangea ‘Annabelle’ and Rudbeckias with some sedum thrown in as well.

As we walked out to the front again, we saw a birdbath surrounded by Daphne in bloom.

As we walked out to the front again, there was a birdbath surrounded by Daphne in bloom. I like that idea – like an extra layer of protection from neighborhood cats. I should try that – mine is a hunting beast.

Out by the street was the oddest maple I have ever seen. Leon and Zachary told us that they had planted it thinking they would get an upright tree, but it never made it past a foot and a half. Now, years later, it is still growing horizontally. Strange, but I found it oddly peaceful and very intriguing, as it rests one of its long branches on the rock beneath.

Out by the street was the oddest maple I have ever seen. Leon and Zachary told us that they had planted it thinking they would get an upright tree, but it never made it past a foot and a half. Now, years later, it is still growing horizontally. Strange, but I found it oddly peaceful and very intriguing, as it rests one of its long branches on the rock beneath.

About annamadeit

Born and raised in Sweden, my aesthetics and outlook on life are strongly shaped by a culture rich in history and tradition. I care a great deal about environmental responsibility, and my aesthetic reflects the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia. I was trained as an architect at the University of Cincinnati and as a color specialist at the Scandinavian Colour Institute in Stockholm. I'm obsessed with plants and gardens, and aim to take my skill set a step further by designing gardens as well as interiors. As someone so aptly said: " Architecture is the skin that separates the exterior from the interior". So true - you can't successfully focus on one without incorporating the other. I'm also an avid cook, and I love to ski. In addition, I put time and efforts into trying to rectify things that I feel are wrong in my immediate community. As you will see, The Creative Flux will touch on all these things, and more. For sure, it's all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blog!
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20 Responses to The Food, the Shade, and the Formal – three totally different gardens

  1. mattb325 says:

    Wow! I love it – particularly #2 …so much so that I’ve bookmarked this! The colour scheme of silvers, greens and yellows. All under towering trees is my kinda heaven 🙂

    • annamadeit says:

      Yeah, that was by far my fave too. I’m a sucker for silver foliage. Those two had done a beautiful job laying out their spaces and composing vignettes. It was a pleasure and a privilege to be able to experience their garden for awhile. 🙂

  2. Alison says:

    Wow! You wee fast getting your post up! They look like a bunch of marvelous gardens. And it looks like it was fun getting together with a bunch of bloggers too. I love that blue bottle pergola.

  3. Loree says:

    I really fell for that combo of the Asparagus and Marigolds too, beautiful! As is your photo of the Curry plant and Berberis ‘Orange Rocket’ – I’m saving that one as a reminder to work that in somewhere here. Fun morning!

  4. rindymae says:

    Holy mother, you are QUICK!!!! I love that you captured photos of things I don’t even remember seeing. I liked all three, but the numerous conifers at the second garden had me swooning and fantasizing over more space. I’m anxious to get my photos off the camera now…hopefully Monday! 😉

  5. FlowerAlley says:

    I will be looking at this over and over again. There were so many lovely photos. Thanks for sharing this.

  6. Amy Campion says:

    I missed the watering can gate. Too cute!

  7. My favorite is the food garden, though I am not much of an edibles gardener myself.

  8. Oh I enjoyed this ! I’m all about the preview since I live down yonder in Norcal and cannot attend. I really need a Bracyglottis, and if I don’t have one I will droop into despondency.

    • annamadeit says:

      They are so drought tolerant, you’d think they would be all over CA, but if you can’t find it, try Xera up here in Portland. That’s where I got mine. Glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  9. Kris P says:

    Wonderful gardens and, as you said, markedly different from one another. Events like this always make me rue the distance between LA and the PNW – I wish I could see the gardens in person! Your comment about the zinnia bud made me laugh – it was so you, seeing the form in everything and letting it lead your mind in all sorts of directions.

  10. Great photos! And I enjoyed your photo blurbs. Well done.

  11. Pingback: Saying hello to Jim! | Flutter & Hum

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