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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...the Judy Montoure and Dorian Sanchez garden, Olympia

We began our day’s tour with a city sized garden in Ruston and after several large acreages we’ve returned to a garden which could be achieved without enormous wealth.  Other garden tourists would have traversed our route in reverse order as these same gardens were open on Friday for people driving up that day from the south.

                                                                      a city-sized garden

tropical hideaway; owner Judy said the bananas were usually much taller by now, but it had been a tough winter.


gold standard



in the corner…

a gleaming modern water feature

and hot colour echoes.

orange shout out to orange

and so we depart

with a last look back…


and so we depart…

We had arrived at this garden with less than half an hour before the official tour’s end and still had a short drive to our rendezvous point with Allan, who was driving down from his father’s house in Seattle.

I now had several firm ideas to take home:  make a river of Geranium ‘Rozanne’, plant tall alliums in clusters, prune my contorted filbert up high, and create some kind of homage to the flint rock walls of northern England.  Also, dividing row of Dutch iris (even though I normally would never plant bulbs in a tidy row), bridges, ponds, guest houses….marry into money?  Oh dear.

We met Allan in the parking lot of the Fairie Gardens nursery in Tumwater.  He had found it online as a potential rendezvous spot.  While I still coughed and rattled from bronchitis or whatever had plagued me all weekend, he quickly loaded my plants from Sheila’s car to ours so she could take off to her Oregon home.  We bid our farewells, and then Allan and I entered the nursery.  After all, we still had room for a few more plants.

Fairie Gardens Nursery, Tumwater

What a find!  I found out later when looking through the Fairie Gardens website that the owner had a hand in the Stanford garden, the one with the 130 tons of boulders recreating the feel of the Edinburgh Botanic garden.

the nursery

From the street, it looks like you’ve found an avid gardener’s home, until you pass the very small sign at the entrance.

entering Fairie Gardens nursery

And it is a gardener’s home but a nursery as well.

“This way to the magical garden and nursery.”

We could see some weeding was in progress and we well know how hard it is to keep up.

street corner beauty

love in a mist

farther in

a little pond

a shady path

another pond view

a joyous quotation

Allan admiring the sunny border

And behind the house,  we found the plant sale tables, where we found all sorts of great, collectible plants…not your usual fare.  I even found a Geranium ‘Rozanne’ (although I would need many more to make my rivers of it).  It is fairly common in city gardens but not as easy to come by at the beach.  Since then, I’ve gotten all I need from The Basket Case Greenhouse.

ah, cool plants for sale

I liked the nursery, the gardens, and their owner a great deal and would shop here regularly if I lived anywhere nearby.

We stayed on to buy plants till the nursery’s 5 PM closing time. I asked Allan to program our Garmin to avoid freeways….I was desperate for a quiet way home via Pe Ell after a weekend of city freeways.  Our quiet poky route led us to one more fascinating….non-garden…on the way home.

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Hawkins garden, Olympia

Owner Joyce told us that this garden is only six years old; she took up gardening after retirement, and I think she told us it was after her son built the ponds and she decided she should landscape around them.

In talking to her, it turned out she is originally from Ilwaco and is the sister or sister-in-law of someone whose ornamental grass border I helped install. Imagine that!

guest book with Adrian’s entry

She showed me in her guest book where ADRIAN BLOOM (one of the weekend’s speakers) had come through the garden….There is his entry, “Adrian Bloom, Foggy Bottom” (the name of his famous garden) and he writes “Excellent!” I would be so thrilled. Nicholas Staddon also signed; he is British but now a plantsman for Monrovia nursery, also a speaker for the event. I wonder if they made it to all the gardens, and if Adrian got a kick out of one being called “Froggy Bottom.”

a formal bed

I was absolutely thrilled at this point in the tour to be finally done with jogs on and off the freeway. This and the next garden would be connected just by local roads, not “drive seven miles” (south) to the next exit. By the way, without the Garmin GPS, Sheila and I would have been lost many, many times.

The ponds were the main feature of this garden, although there were new beds around the edges waiting for more plants.

room to grow

the first pond

bridge and gazebo

pond garden


the bridge

another view

deep water


I believe she said her son built these ponds. The tour guide brochure says “All she had in mind at the beginning was a half-whiskey barrel….and now she has two huge ponds with waterfalls and 75 enormous multicoloured koi.”

the second pond

another view


Behind the ponds, the biofiltration system built by Joyce’s son.

woodsy beds

We leave the garden past woodsy island bends with only one more garden to see before our rendezvous with Allan.  I’m amazed we have managed to fit them all in.

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Phantom petunias

Now for another top favourite:  Cindy and David Fairbrook’s garden, Shellridge Road, Olympia. Love the name Shellridge Road. It’s near Steamboat Island Road; used to love to shop at Steamboat Island Nursery when it was open to the public. First thing we saw were these petunias, ‘Phantom’, which I deeply covet. [2012 note: These were hard to come by in 2010 but common now.]  Due to a family emergency, these had not been planted in their destined pot.

entering the garden from the car park area.
path leading round the back of the house
beside the house
entry path
at the greenhouse
looking from greenhouse to porch
We walk back to get a closer look at the porch.
coming around the side of the house
the terrace
back garden with llamas

And above:  The moment when I saw the view from patio to a pasture with llamas and this became my favourite garden of the whole weekend.

Or maybe this view is when it became my favourite.

(from brochure): “These gardeners have been inspired by a trio of greats: Rosemary Verey (the potager), Christopher Lloyd (the plant combinations and containers) and Giverny (the iconic little green bridge and pond with water lilies.”

bridge with wall

I was utterly smitten with the capped flint wall that reminded me of the north of England.  If the garden had not already attained favourite status, the wall would have pushed it to the top.

birdbath backed with stone wall
that wall!
wall and little bridge in background
The birdbath area is to the left of the big terrace.
I loved how they pruned their contorted filbert.
“Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick”

I felt inspired to go home and prune both of my big contorted filberts just like that….(but never did as I moved to a new garden four months later and could not take them with me).

a look back at the greenhouse
an overview
paths of brick and gravel
round and vertical
a swirling knot
echoed wall

Just look at the witty echoing of the line of the stone wall with a straight row of Dutch iris separating the intricate garden beds from the lawn.

Iris “wall” with llama pasture in background
rustic bench by the lawn
woodsy path

Past the lawn, this path went on and on from the edge of the highly cultivated garden; owner David said it goes through the woods and ends up below the llama field. Of course, we would have loved to have time to explore the entire path.  The property is ten luscious acres; the cultivated garden, maybe an acre?

We had two more gardens to see after this one so we abandoned the woods and headed back toward the gardens above the llama field.

a garden rich in details
path back to main terrace, lawn on right
raised beds
above the pasture
below the terrace

The garden fell in narrow terraces and paths down to the edge of the llama field.

the llama pasture
pasture and barn
terraced garden
terraced garden
terraced garden

We could not get enough the this garden and kept going round and round and round….David Fairbrook was a kind and informative host.  I was sorry Cindy had been called away and did not get to see in person the great joy her garden brought to its visitors.

on the patio
at the edge of the brick patio
so many paths to choose from
and another glimpse of llamas
curved edge of patio
a last look at the terrace from the other side
side garden

Walking through the side garden (the other side of the house from the greenhouse) we felt we had not given full attention to the entry gardens so we spent some more time on the porch side of the house.

the porch side again
delightful golden windowbox
a medley of golden foliage
and a missed path…

We knew had to leave as had two more gardens to see before 4 PM, and then Sheila had to drive all the way to a town near Albany, Oregon, but as we were getting in the car we saw this path we had not yet explored. Argh!!

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