Archive for Jan, 2011

This garden is, as you know, for sale.  (Oh, and the cottage, too.)  For the amazing price of only seventy five thousand.  Okay, I’ll stop with the direct sales pitch and take you on a garden tour from the lower garden gate to the upper gate.  I thought “Why make another blog post about that garden-for-sale when the last two entries have slide shows which say it all?”, but neither slide show really explains the layout of the garden. So if you like, come with me for a long walk through the garden.

In we go at the lower gate.  In the summer, the entry arch and the driftwood and wire fence to the left of it are covered with three different white rambling roses, including the large blossomed ‘Bobbie James”.  An akebia and a clematis and some golden hops also twine through, along with the unusual lavender blue rose ‘Veilchenblau’.  The roses provide a succession of bloom from early May through fall, because one of the old fashioned white ones is a late bloomer.

entrance: lower gate

In summer, peeking through the gate offers this enticing view:

peeking through the gate

As soon as you step through the gate, you are enveloped by sunny garden.

stepping through the gate

A stream runs through the garden, and over it: two rebar arbours with a garden bed on each side.   Some climbing roses, an ornamental grape vine and a clematis make a bower; you can walk through the stream on stepping stones if you step carefully.

stream path

The stream used to be seasonal but has run year round the last two years.

Each garden bed on either side of these arbours  is anchored by a large contorted filbert, ‘Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick.’  These shrubs show off their form best in winter, and have interesting dangling catkins in the early spring.  Here’s what one of them looked like last week:

Harry Lauder in winter

I pruned the other one even further up to reveal the twisty trunk (also photographed last week):

pruned Harry Lauder

You can see to Harry’s left the purple garden shed.  Let’s walk past it further up the south side of the garden.  If you had taken the alternate path, over to the northeast corner, you’d have passed this lovely sunny bed, and a mini-pond where the stream water can gather before leaving the garden:

northeast sunny garden corner

But we are moving up the south side of the two Harry Lauder beds, past the purple garden shed (which has a convenient large door out on the street side, and a smaller door on the west side).

looking back after passing the purple garden shed

We’ve now come almost to the big spruce tree at the centre of the lower garden.  If you look to your right, just past Purple Shed, this crosspath will give you a choice of how to circumnavigate around the tree:

crosspath below the spruce

The little stream runs along the path, then turns in front of the bench and goes through the stream arbour.

If you walk up the south side path around the big spruce, you’ll see the little stream and hostas and a Hydrangea quadricolour, hardy Fuchsia ‘Pat’s Dream’ and the original old rhododendrons. The north side is a fairy-like walk through hardy fuchsias that are taller than you are.  Below, having reached the center garden, just past the tree, looking back on the south side path, with Fuchsia ‘Pat’s Dream’:

south side path

Below, looking back along the path on the north side through the grove of pink and red hardy Fuchsias:

Fuchsia walk

During one garden tour, I hung cards with garden quotations among the fuchsias, and had a great time watching people read them.

Now we have reached the open space at the centre of the garden, a good area to create your own shady sit spot under the big tree.

your own sit spot in centre garden

If you stood facing these chairs, just behind you and to the right would be the large silver metal shed, high ceilinged and approximately 120 square feet.  Garden shed? Work shop? Guest house?  You decide.  And there’s even an open, ungardened space behind the shed to store something like a rowboat or kayak.

silver metal shed

On the south side of centre garden, just across from here, is a semi shady bed with a paperbark maple, a Descaisnea fargessii (Chinese Blue Bean shrub, the only one I have seen here on the peninsula) and more hardy fuchsias.

across from the silver shed

Foreground: red spikes of Persicaria superba.  The charming little stream runs along behind the paper bark maple.  On days when gardening enthusiasm waned, I always found I could get it back by puttering along the little stream.

another view of the useful silver shed

Now we are going to leave the centre garden and walk through the willow arch to the pond garden and our first good view of the house (possibly your future home?). But first, have a look to your right; there are a couple to steps down to a patio outside a little green painted travel trailer with an eccentric attic storage or sleeping space.

looking through arch from centre garden

The white flowered shrub is a spectacular spring-blooming double file viburnum.

When you step through the arch, you’ll have the sensation of leaving an enclosed space and coming out into the open. Ahead of you is the house, to your right is a large garden bed with a lot of choice shrubs and small trees that, happily for the future new owner and sadly for me, are just too big to take to our new garden!  And here is a wintertime view, from past the arch, of the wacky, eccentric trailer, which someone who appreciates odd little structures might enjoy:

green trailer

A rose ‘Paul’s Himalyan Musk’ planted at the corner of the trailer can either be sternly controlled…or allowed to clamber over the whole structure as it used to do.From spring to summer, foliage makes the trailer patio quite a secret spot.

flower pot water wheel

The flower pot water wheel, a feature of the trailer patio, was still working as of this posting.

Back to the pond path, which goes between pond and big garden bed; a little wooden bridge crosses the stream to the “island”:  a gravel patio overhung by a dappled variagated willow and more hardy fuchsias.


My mum on the island on garden tour day, 2008

In the foreground, the pond water with water lilies.

Here’s the view my mum would have had of the house, across the pond from where she sat.


view from island

Here’s what you would see in summer if you were standing right where I took that photo of my mother:


pond garden view

To your left, the pond.  To your right, the garden bed with some good evergreen shrubs, making the winter view from the living room window or dormer window green and interesting even in January. To the right lower side of the house, a half greenhouse/walk-through arbour sort of structure.

Let’s turn to our left and have a good look at the pond, probably my favourite feature of the whole garden.  It’s spring-fed (which is probably why the road going past the house uphill is called Spring Street).  We were told by the previous owners that it was the site of a turn of the century Chinese worker’s dormitory and that when they dug out the pond, the previous home-owners found Chinese bowls and opium bottles.


pond in summer

fishing float in winter pond

pond and garden in winter


fish, January 2011

A school of fish awaits a new caretaker.  You can see the mossy rock plunging into the pond.  The dark area in back is where the spring water flows always.

Looking back down the path in spring, you can see how gorgeous that viburnum is, and how the green trailer patio has become a secret hideaway.


pond garden path

One of the most remarkable things about this garden is the change in elevation once you get past the pond.  The expanse of a huge and ancient rock drops from the upper  entry gate till its mossy base is submerged in the pond.  It is my third favourite feature of the garden (first the pond, then the stream, then the amazing giant rock).


looking over rock to pond and island

Above: the view from halfway up the stone steps that lead from the pond level, alongside the big rock,  up to the house.  But we are going the other way, around the basement side of the house into the back yard.  Here’s what the house looks like from the base of those stone steps:


looking up from base of steps

To get to the back yard, we walk through that half greenhouse/half arbour made from salvaged windows.  It has a couple of benches and a space to stand and work on potting up plants. We’ll walk past the door to the half-daylight stone-walled basement and come around the corner into the shady back garden.


back garden

Two gorgeous small trees back here, the Salix magnifica (a remarkable willow with long spring catkins and huge glossy leaves) and the golden Robinia are too big for me to move…Lucky new owner.  Here is also room to expand the house if you wanted to.

Walking up a slope to the left of that birdbath, you come to a rock wall and some stone steps to the upper garden….so there are two stairways to get up there, one at the front of the house and one at the back of the house.


back yard rock wall

Just to the left of this photo are the steps going up.

Below: Here we are on the upper patio, on the same level as the main floor of the house.  Looking even further up we can see a little wooden deck with a painted wall that I think says “love, health, long life”…or something like that.  No one has been up there for awhile so test it for sturdiness if you do climb the wooden stairs to that deck!


topmost deck

The upper patio is made of brick and pavers, surrounded by a dramatically sloped garden, and offers two distinct areas to make your own outdoor living spaces.


upper back patio

Above: The back part of the upper patio (decorated for a garden tour), which has its own private feeling and even an old wood stove where you might dare to have a tiny outdoor fire on a damp day.  (After all, the roof of the house is metal!)  This area is below that wooden deck with the red wall.



There will be many the plant that I haven’t moved to my new garden, like these trilliums along the upper patio which will surprise and delight you in springtime.

middle upper patio

Above, the middle section of the upper patio, beside the bay window.


entry patio

Above, the patio just past the front door of the house.


entry patio in winter

There’s room for a table and chairs outside the front door…and another working (as of now!) little water feature behind the sitting area.


front door

Let’s go in the front door and have a peek inside the house as it was when we lived there.


living room

dining table and bookshelves

You can see the stairs to the loft behind the dining table.

The house itself used to be in the boatyard, then was brought up to its present site and bolted to a stone foundation.  Although we don’t have a precise measurement, we think it is about 600 square feet.  I lived there quite cosily for 16 years, and the main reason I decided to move was because the garden was completed, done, had attained perfection (if only for a moment!), and I wanted a new challenge.

From the living room’s arched window, you get a great view of the pond:


arched window view

If you climb the stairs into the loft, there’s a dormer window which provides spectacular views of the garden.


dormer window view

a rare snowy day

garden tour day from dormer window


dormer view, December 2010

The dormer itself has a built in table where you can sit, think, dream, and overlook the garden (and you can also watch the boats being hauled in and out of the Ilwaco boatyard).


dormer table

The upstairs has a sleeping area under the peaked roof; from there, you’ll have  a view of rustling leaves and hummingbirds.


sleeping nook

As we leave the house and return to the upper patio garden, have a look down the stairs to the sit spot halfway down.  The big rock is on the other side of these stairs.


halfway stair sit spot

I always thought that right here would be a good spot for a deck.

Three or four steps take us up the to gate which leads to outside the private, walled upper patio.  If we turned to look back at the house, we would see the view that greets us upon entry:


from entry gate

Outside the upper entry gate is where you would probably park your car.  There is a choice Stewartia tree right outside the gate which I haven’t decided yet if I dare to move to my new garden!


upper entry

If you walk a few yards up rustic Spring Street, you’ll see our quirky “stockade” fence made of old garden tool pieces.


topmost fence

Right inside there is that topmost wooden deck, so I suppose you could put a gate through for easier access to the most remote sit spot of the garden.

To any soul who has made it through this whole garden tour:  Thanks for taking time to walk and remember with me, and if you know anyone who wants a unique garden and a tiny house, this might be the place for a very special person.  If you want to read more about the town where the garden is located, check out the Discover Ilwaco page on Facebook.  Here is the real estate listing for the house. And I promise that, finally, my next post will segue to our NEW garden.

Read Full Post »