Archive for Jun, 2010

Because I love dogs so much that I had to work garden touring around the simultaneous D.O.G. event in Long Beach, here’s a gallery of the doggie event.  You can attend with or without your pooch on June 15th and 16th, 2012.:

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The Toepfler garden in Klipsan Beach neighbourhood. Large. Gardened by CPNs (Certified Plant Nuts.) Seems to me to be planted for drought tolerance. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome.  I toured it twice, one on June 6th with Patti, and again on the Music in the Gardens tour day.  It is one of my favourite gardens, not only of the Peninsula tour but of the many garden tours I’ve attended over the years.

outside the gate

You can tell the garden will be interesting by the exterior fencing.

fence detail

street view

peeking in

more fence detail

Ok, enough tantalizing peeks through the fence (which is in itself enough to make this a favourite garden of all time); let’s go inside.

through the gate

Now, supposing we had entered the driveway gate, we would turn left and see this path:

left of the driveway

through the arbour

looking back at the driveway

Walking down the path, we find a wooden sculpture.  I never would have guessed what this is: A deconstructed whiskey barrel planter!

deconstructed planter

And past that…Oh!  a purple horse!

Have you ever seen a purple horse?

the purple horse


While art created by the garden owners creates a buzz throughout the garden, it also abounds in good plants.

a collectible rhododendron

also, I think! a rhododendron

a Katsura with chocolate foliage!

a well displayed fern

a planter with Diascia and Eucomis

to the right of the driveway

Turning right from the driveway entrance, we find another horse sculpture.

left: Allan talks with Kent Toepfler

to right of driveway

stone mulch

This garden is not about lush plantings covering all of the soil.  Each plant tends to be featured on its own and set off with found objects and, in this case, a mulch of small stone.  It’s a style different from what usually makes me swoon, but swoon I did throughout this fascinating landscape.


a bird


and the classic beach boat…


a bird


The garage has its own decoration.

A glimpse into the home’s front window reveals Puss and books.

rabbit sighting

stumpy guy

approaching the house

the front porch

back garden ensemble

Coming around the house into the back we found, indeed, music in the garden.

Music in the Garden

It was magical.

back garden near musicians

frog backed with birdhouse tree

metal tree with birdhouse ( I think we were told it’s from a shop on Hwy 30 east of Astoria)

in the back garden

against the back fence

a sheltered sit spot


deck between house and outbuilding

The north side of the garden is backed with a neighbour’s woods, creating a peaceful borrowed view.  To the west side of the house stands the pièce de résistance of the garden’s sculptures, this one created by the owners from big spools that are used to lay cable.  I think the spools were acquired from a cable tv installing storage facility…or something like that.  They were not easy to transport. With some bicycle wheels, they have become a one of a kind…arbour?  gazebo?

cable ring thing

Driftwood and a bronzy foliaged Hypericum complement the artistic creation.

Here is one of those gardens that keeps one going around and around to check everything out for a second or third time.  And one that stays clearly in my mind as one of the ideal landscapes.  A good lesson:  Not every vertical object needs to have a plant clambering over it. And look at every found object with an artist’s eye, and, more to the point, use it.  The garden did not feel at all cluttered with things, nor was there anywhere to be seen a pile of rusted unused ingredients.

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Christina’s garden, Seaview

In early June, I helped tour organizer Patti Jacobsen check out all the 2010 tour gardens.  I really wanted to get back to this one on tour day, as I suspect it had all kinds of extra special touches, but in trying to attend Doggie Olympic Games and revisit my favourite gardens of the pretour, we ran out of time.  All my other favourites were up at the north end, so I missed out on seeing this one again (and Allan missed it altogether).

You would not guess from the naturalist landscape outside the fence that such a floriferous garden hides behind a house in historic Seaview.  This is a true secret garden.

view from the back porch looking west

The lawn beds had not popped into colour yet, but by tour day three weeks later, I bet they had.

The beds against the warm south wall of the house had plenty of flowers on show.

on the porch

all decked out in roses

poppy in house garden

roses in house garden

another porch view; note side garden with blue basket

looking southwest from porch

side garden with blue basket; tour prep in progress

Lady’s Mantle and Astrantia

At the foot of the lawn, a gate leads through to a second lot to the west of the house.

peeking into the next garden area

There a fence keeps the deer out of a flower bed.

a protected raised bed

more rustic deer fencing

Oriental poppies in the western garden

birdhouse with beach decor

poppies and rambling rose

At the end of the western lawn, an interesting old building.

We departed from the gate whence we entered.  If Christina’s garden looked this good three weeks before the tour, I can only imagine how much tour goers must have enjoyed it.  Why must the D.O.G. fall on garden tour day, I ask you.  Gardens or dogs…what a dilemma.

Inside the garden gate

(Note:  In 2012, the tour will be in late July, so the dog vs. garden conflict will not be a problem.  D.O.G. will take place on June 15th and 16th, the Music in the Gardens tour on July 21st.  Oh, and our new garden will be on the 2012 tour.)

On the way north we stopped at Patti’s garden nearby and I just must share with you how fine it is:

Patti’s veg garden

view from Patti’s living room

Patti’s pond patio

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I’ve always wanted to have a neighbour who was passionate about gardening.  If you can find a copy of a book called Gardening from the Heart: Why Gardeners Garden, you can read the chapter about two such neighbours that instilled in me that dream.  Meanwhile, on the Long Beach Peninsula garden tour we got to tour two such gardens next door to each other in Ocean Park.  The Door House (Lailer garden) and its neighbour, the Gruetter garden are owned by  two gardening families that share space and plants back and forth.  I toured these gardens with Patti Jacobsen on June 6th and will Allan on the official garden tour day, June 26th.

The Door House

First, the pretour, which is of course less perfectly decorated, as most gardeners will be working up till the last minute to make their garden as fascinating as possible for a garden open day.

6 June

Patti checks out the Door House garden, 6 June. To her right, by the big tree, is the entrance to the neighbouring garden.

driftwood decor in side garden, 6 June

And now…..the excitement builds, and it’s TOUR day!

We were greeted by this little darling who loved having lots of company.

tour day!

I had always wanted to get a closer look at the Door House.

garden tour treats

south side of garage


garage wall

garden bed against a neighbour’s garage

the gate between two gardens

entering the Gruetter garden

a clever fence made of paddles, posts, and wire

looking back to the Door House

The Greutter Garden

Just inside the gate we found this little beach….

a little beachscape

and ahead of us, a small firecircle with bright chairs.

fire circle, two views

If I’m not mistaken (and I think I remember discussing this with the gardener), that is a stunning restio behind the red chair.  You’d have to be a plant nut to seek out one of those.  In fact, the Greutter garden would have stood up very well on a big city horthead garden tour.

Restio by fence?

In a space much tinier than the large Door House yard, this garden packed much interest into its small lot: two sit spots, the porch and the fire circle…


and a hammock which they actually use; that’s the advantage of a small garden.


The owners have the equipment to recycle glass into cool coloured mulch which both they and their Door House friends feature in their gardens.  Glass is a theme in the Greutter garden.

glass bottles and mulch by outbuilding

glass edging

edging with bottles

a glowing edge


glass in the garden

by shed or guest house, glass mulch

I love the colour echo of paint and plant

bottles, glass mulch, and more oars

an exuberant border by the fire circle


For the gardening neighbours, this garden offers coziness and intense detail, and the Door House has a more expansive fire circle and room for kids and dogs to run.  I imagine parties with groups going back and forth.  It seems like an idyllic life.  Don’t we all want to have the perfect place to hang around with our very best friends?

As we left via the Door House garden, we noticed that the neighbour to the north had joined in with an excellent sweet pea patch.

another gardening neighbour

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I saw some of the gardens of the 2010 Long Beach Peninsula garden tour twice because I went round them on a June 6th pretour with organizer Patti Jacobsen.  My mission then was to help her write up a blurb for each garden.  On June 26th, the actual tour day, we attended The Doggie Olympic Games and then Allan and I made a return trip to my favourite gardens.

Barclay garden on the bay

Whalebone House, Ocean Park

Whalebone House rose and poppy


Hensen garden on the bay

  The approach to the Hensen garden promised good things.

a lovely approach

Patti ponders the garden.


garden to be

I would love to see the garden beds filled in as they must be when I write this in 2012.  The owners had plans to further develop paths and sit spots in the bay side area (right).   This garden called to me to bring Allan back on tour day so that he could enjoy it as well.

tour day

paths on south side of house

How very clearly we can tell when a place is owned by passionate gardeners.  We enjoyed walking and talking with them and we hope this garden is featured again on the Peninsula Garden Tour.

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Actually continued to feel poorly during most of the Hardy Plant Study Weekend, although I loved the garden touring with friends Sheila and Maggie, and the lectures were excellent: Adrian Bloom, Joe Eck and Wayne Winterrowd, Withey & Price, Rosalind Creasey and more.   Now I am seriously out of steam, taking the day off.  Allan is getting the horrid cough and cold now so I have a feeling work is going to continue to be difficult for at least another week.

I long to feel well enough to this to my two large contorted filberts (from the Fairbrook garden near Olympia, my favourite garden of all the tours):

beautifully pruned

beautifully pruned

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Here’s the sort of thing you might find when you let the Garmin take you down quiet roads through towns: This “art yard” in Centralia inspired Allan to do a U-turn. Here’s an article about it, and here are a whole bunch of photos I took either prowling the outside or through holes in the fence, because the yard closes at around 3 PM. We were astounded.  I include these plantless photos for your entertainment.  If you are looking for gardens, the  weekend of garden touring stopped with the Fairie Gardens. I met Rich himself when he came out to walk his dog; unfortunately we had miles to go to get home before dark (without freeways), so had only a brief but pleasant visit.

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