Consider this your first sneak preview of the Music in the Garden tour, 2014! The Barclay garden will be on the tour again, and Mr. Barclay suggested that his neighbours’ garden also be included. Said neighbours invited tour organizer Nancy Allen to visit and I got to accompany her. We both agreed the garden and the visit were an 11 (or more) on a scale of 1-10.
The property is five acres. Stephen and John have been developing the garden for only a few years. The land is part of the former Clarke family properties which means there already was a collection of old rhododendrons in place. Stephen and John have gotten to know plantsman and rhodo expert Steve Clarke who can identify every shrub and tree. The new owners are well versed in shrubs and trees themselves, much more so than I am! Any mistakes in plant names here are mine alone.
When the entry road was being built, the men with heavy equipment wanted to remove a tree that was in its path. It was a favourite kind of tree of Stephen and John and instead they had the road curve around it.
The house was designed by local architect Erik Fagerland, who has shared a slideshow of it here.
A courtyard between two wings collected runoff from the roofs. The architect believes gutters spoil the lines of the house, so the rocky swale is the solution.
The owners told us that sometimes the swale is not enough to process all the water. It just occurs to me as I post this photo: I wonder if it were planted with some cool water absorbing grasses, would it handle heavy rains better and still retain this clean, open look?
I loved the garage doors and rate them the most gorgeous garage doors I have ever seen. They are made of a special sort of glass.
In a bed to the west of the house are three beautifully displayed small rhododendrons with soft indumentum under the leaves.
They perfectly echo the colour of the house and remind me of one of my favourite gardening quotations:
People go through five stages of gardening. They begin by liking flowers, progress to flowering shrubs, then autumn foliage and berries; next they go for leaves, and then the undersides of leaves. -The Duchess of Devonshire
The east side of the house has a bay view. The lawn sweeps smoothly between their house and the Barclay house and on garden tour day, tour goers will be able to stroll back and forth between the two.
We talked about how the tour day would be set up, which musician might play, and Nancy reminisced about the amazing food that Mr. Barclay served on tour day 2010!
I missed tour day at the Barclay garden. I had pre-toured the gardens that year with then tour organizer Patti Jacobsen; on tour day itself I was taking photos of Doggie Olympic Games and only got back to a few of the gardens. I quite missed out on a feast of cheese and wine and more at the Barclay garden that day.
From inside the house, the tall windows bring the light and view into play from every angle.
Passing through the house, we began a detailed tour of the garden.
I fell in love with this perfectly mounded pale green plant:
They told me it is a Kohuhu, and I found it’s a Pittosporum, and on Monrovia there maybe be more information about this very one if it is indeed ‘Golf Ball’. I must have this.
On the north west side of the house, a bed is anchored by mounds of Hebe. Note on the left a big Limelight Hydrangea in the background. We will see it again!
I think the Elm is Ulmus x hollandica‘ Jacqueline Hillier’. Here’s a nice article about it.
They told us this rhodo is covered with flowers in spring, pale pink as I recall. What a perfect property for gardeners who already have a great love for rhododendrons.
If there ever was a tree that wanted a hug, it would be that one.
I am pleased to report that the patch of salal, below, is the last big patch left to be cleared. John and Stephen have succeeded in removing masses of the difficult and thuggish plant and this area will be next.
On the south side of the drive, John and Stephen have cleared, mostly by hand and chainsaw, alders and salal that were completely hiding the tree trunks.
They save every fern they find.
As you can see, they carefully clean up each fern of last year’s foliage.
One of the areas where big trees came down in the 2007 windstorm will be planted with hollies and another with hydrangeas.
At the northwest side of the entire acreage is the old irrigation pond for the nursery that used to be here. In the near future, Stephen and John are planning to begin landscaping the banks.
Beyond the pond is a meadow that provides a natural habitat for birds.
After this wonderful tour round the garden, we all walked back up to the house.
John and Stephen’s knowledge of trees and shrubs far surpassed mine. Of course, I told them that Back Alley Gardens in Gearhart is the go to place around here for cool plants from Xera. They already knew about and had been to Dancing Oaks in Oregon; I suggested Cistus, Joy Creek and Gossler Farms. For an area that used to be the nursery parking lot and is terribly compacted, I suggested the book Beth Chatto’s Gravel Garden might have some ideas, and that for meadows any book by Piet Oudolf offers beautiful visions.
I look forward to having more plant talk with these well informed and talented gardeners and to seeing their garden next spring when all those rhodos are in bloom.