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Posts Tagged ‘Astoria garden tour’

from the program:  Ultimate Party Garden:  Ferry Captain Fritz Elfings 1921 Wicks-designed home has been greatly enhanced by Kent and LJ’s energy and affection for historic preservation and gardening.  Beds in front of the welcoming color-rich front porch feature weeping gold chain and a vibrant rock garden including weeping blue atlas cedar, mature dahlias, tree roses and lilacs.  Shady old azaleas lead to the back gate where repurposed sap pots adorn an azalea just inside.  Woodstoves encircle the flagstone patio for party comfort within a lovely cornucopia of firs, maples, contorted filbert, black-eyed Susans, and trellised Fiona’s sunrise jasmine.  Long-established silverberry bush and cotoneaster dominate the upper back corner.  Near the home’s rear entry is a healthy urban herb garden.  Follow the waterfall down steps to a stunning water lily koi pond guarded by Gunnera and curly willow. Mature dogwood, camellia, peonies and daylilies grace the lower garden with a bay tree, nine-bark, grasses, and a profusion of potted beauties.

house with before picture

house with before picture

rock garden by front porch

rock garden by front porch

porch

porch

perfect use of red geraniums

perfect use of red geraniums

back garden entry patio with before picture

back garden entry patio with before picture

We walked past the upper entry patio with the post-tour food display to check out the koi pond first, entering dapped shade which made photos difficult.

Next to this porch, steps went down to the pond.

Next to this porch, steps went down to the pond.

the back porch

the back porch

at the top of the stream

at the top of the stream

3 before pictures at the top of the waterfall

3 before pictures at the top of the waterfall; stairs down are at left…
pond construction photo

pond construction photo

Only when I have opened my own garden on tour have I seen such well displayed before photos.  It is so much more effective to have them mounted at the right spot in the garden instead of in a photo album or computer slideshow.

looking down the waterfall

looking down the waterfall

The bright sun made this hard to see even not through the camera, but here is the top of the stream and waterfall.

water beginning

water beginning

It descends down a steep slope to the koi pond.

It descends down a steep slope to the koi pond.

deck

Stairs take one down next to the waterfall to this lower deck.

Stairs take one down next to the waterfall to this lower deck.

Slightly below the deck is this lawn.

Slightly below the deck is this lawn.
A large gunnera in the koi pond

A large gunnera in the koi pond

before picture

before picture

Gunnera

Gunnera
pond

pond and deck

friendly koi

friendly koi

garden tour-ers enjoying the deck

garden tour-ers enjoying the deck

under the porch at the foot of the stairs: all the amenities

under the porch at the foot of the stairs: all the amenities

Here Allan examines the porch and you can see how the hot tub area relates to the koi pond.

Here Allan examines the porch and you can see how the hot tub area relates to the koi pond.

Despite the bright sunlight, I made every effort to show how the stream comes down to the koi pond:

at the top

at the top

head of the stream

head of the stream

stream

flowing down by the stairs

flowing down by the stairs

waterfall

waterfall

waterfall2

While I have never craved a pond with koi, even though I admire them, this sort of waterfall stream is so much like what I would have wanted to do in my old garden with its descending levels and natural pond.  I never had time and  money at the same time, but when I see something like this garden had, I wish I had stayed there long enough to achieve it.

enormous koi

enormous koi

view of house from other side of pond deck

view of house from other side of pond deck

Now we’ll go up the back side of the garden to return to the top patio.  Here we look back at the koi pond deck and see the workings of the pipes and so on.

the pond works

the pond works

a side spur of the path back up to the top

a side spur of the path back up to the top

further up, wood for those party woodstoves and a secret sit spot

further up, wood for those party woodstoves and a secret sit spot

two shady stairs near the top of the stream

two shady stairs near the top of the stream

a bench in the shade

a bench in the shade

mag

looking from shade to sun down to the koi pond

looking from shade to sun down to the koi pond

shady grove

shady grove

Now, back to the sunshiny upper patio (and soon, an overview of the delicious refreshments).

before picture

before picture

another before

another before

and another

and another

This vine was in dappled shade by the patio. I wish I could recall its name.

This vine was in dappled shade by the patio. I wish I could recall its name.

I could not, but someone on Facebook helped me while I was writing this blog entry:  It is Abutilon megapotamicum,

flowers

The last garden on the Astoria tour always includes the raffle and refreshments.

raffle

some raffle items

some raffle items

Now we’ll get to all the refreshments that we passed by in our eagerness to tour the garden.

Just inside the front gate, punch was served, and the hosts let me put our Peninsula garden tour poster out for all to see.

punch bowl just inside entry gate

punch bowl just inside entry gate and our poster

(By “our” tour, I mean the Peninsula; Nancy is the organizer of the Music in the Gardens tour and I help out with the Facebook page.)

a patio table laden with food

a patio table laden with treats

more delicious refreshments

more delicious refreshments

food

food

food

food

food

garden party hat

garden party hat

beautiful decoration

beautiful decoration

enjoying the garden party!

enjoying the garden party!

A little lawn beside the patio

A little lawn beside the patio

corner by the little lawn

corner by the little lawn

by the patio

by the front gate

on the mini-lawn

on the mini-lawn

one of the party warmth stoves filled with plants for the summer

one of the party warmth stoves filled with plants for the summer

The small lawn provided a great view of the party.

The small lawn provided a great view of the party.

party

garden party

Some people took their plates downstairs and gathered around the koi pond and some settled in the shady sit spots beside the patio.

a quieter retreat

a quieter retreat

We left before the raffle drawing so that we would have plenty of time to shop at a couple of nurseries down the coast, but before we go, here are Allan’s charming photos of the party and the flowers surrounding the patio.

flowers

He really liked the abutilon flowers.

He really liked the abutilon flowers.

perfect garden party attire

perfect garden party attire

party

flowers

party

At the very last, he went up on the front porch (which it had not occurred to me to do!) and took this photo showing the view north east to the river.

from the front porch

from the front porch

And next…our apres-tour nursery expedition and a gorgeous community allotment garden.

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from the program:  Eagles’ Aerie:  Enchantment is afoot in this garden’s diverse array of dazzling flora.  Along the front walkway are bright tansy and lady’s mantle amid Mahonia, lavender-like curry plant and Phlomis, with borders of ornamental oregano, rosemary and mint.  Note the many salvias and other deer-proof plants such as Penstemon, dahlias, yarrow, poppies, peonies, Mexican orange, and Euphorbia.  Also flourishing here is lamb’s ears, catmint, Inula, hyssop, calla lilies, London pride, Astrantia, and wild fuchsia.  Delight in the plentitude of fern varieties by the back gate and along the back of lawn mixing with lungwort, hellebore, astilbe, daphne, creeping ginger, Gunnera, yellow violets, a white heather ‘stream bed’ and an abundance of azaleas.  A luxurious green and white bed by the flagstone patio is graced by a cherished sculpture.  You may climb to the viewing deck to ponder the edge of the continent and listen for eagles’ cries above.

approaching the house from below

approaching the house from below

As we approached, I did not see a hint of how good the garden was going to be so I was happily surprised (having, as usual, just skimmed the program description).

We drove past that bank of ivy and parked on the east side of the house.  As soon as I walked to the north side, I was gobsmacked by the view.

Astoria-Megler bridge from "Eagles' Aerie"

Astoria-Megler bridge from “Eagles’ Aerie”

The bridge work is why there are what a friend of mine called “big diapers” on the bridge.

Crocosmia 'Lucifer'

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’

view

view

Consider how much wind this north facing garden must get, most of it salty from the ocean.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

You could watch all the ships and boats go by.

You could watch all the ships and boats go by.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Look how beautiful the garden is with well chosen plants that can take such intense conditions.

the hilltop garden, looking east

the hilltop garden, looking east

flowers

ornamental oregano

ornamental oregano

The plants are indeed deer resistant.  The garden owner told Allan (and I heard the same thing said elsewhere during the tour) that more deer are coming to Astoria gardens because of the destruction of woods south of there where big box stores are being built in Warrenton.

Against the north wall of the house is a spirit house.

spirit house

side

in the spirit house

in the spirit house

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

We walked back around to the south side of the house to find a completely different feeling: enclosed and sheltered from the wind.

back yard

back yard

This porch must be a good wind shelter.

This porch must be a good wind shelter.

The back yard is up against a steep hill so would also be sheltered from south and southwest wind.

window shelf

window shelf

In the corner of the back garden, a patio with water features:

patio

a cunning water feature

a cunning water feature

water

the artist

the artist

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Just behind the water feature patio area, a sign protected a steep pathway from tourist foot traffic.

sign

dead end

dead end

looking northeast over the back garden

looking northeast over the back garden

a sit spot

shady corner

shady corner

We did go back up onto the free standing deck.

on the hillside

on the hillside

The path was easy, first, generous steps and then a gentle path.

looking back down

looking back down

on the way up

on the way up

path to deck

path to deck

a fairy door

a fairy door

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

the view from the hillside deck

the view from the hillside deck to the mouth of the Columbia River.

The hills across the water, above, are in Washington State.

telephoto

telephoto

back yard

back yard

from the hillside deck

from the hillside deck

Against the hill grew large shrubs and behind them in the deep shade a fence probably tall enough to keep deer out.  But they could jump the entry picket fence for sure.

at base of hillside to south of back garden

at base of hillside to south of back garden

inside the picket fence

inside the picket fence

I’m left with the memory especially of that impressive north side of the house garden in the full wind.  I wonder how strong it gets up there.

The hillside in the back yard reminded me of the possibilities of packing plants up against a hill as shown in this amazing West Seattle garden.  I had big plans to make a dense planting against my hillside when I returned from that West Seattle tour, but instead…I moved to the flatland.

Only one more garden to go on the Astoria ’13 tour (plus a post-tour nursery trip).

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from the program (the garden of Frank Jagodnik and Liz McCall):  Shakespearean Cottage Garden:  The owners’ passion for theatre inspires old-world wonder introduced by a dramatic front arbor spilling over with vigorous Clematis evergreen and sausage vine.  Unique fragrant lawn of Roman chamomile tolerates low traffic and dogs.  A nursery garden to the west includes lavender, asters, forgot-me-nots, peonies, sweet peas and anemones.  Chinese wisteria entwines hydrangea vine to frame the front porch.  A woodland haven of sweet woodruff,  Brunnera, ferns and bluebells lures you to the back garden inspired by flora-filled scenes of Ophelia, Oberon and the like.  Beds and bowers display English daisies, nine daylily varieties, blue potato vine, chocolate vine, climbing roses, honeysuckle, creeping Jenny, nasturtiums, Dianthus, leopard’s bane and sea thrift, bordered by old brick found on site.  A kitchen-handy herb garden thrives near the beautiful grape-covered gazebo.  A Sargentina crabapple tree, chives, pincushion flowers and cosmos take center stage, surrounded by lush chamomile.

from the street

from the street

over the fence

over the fence

from the inside looking out

from the inside looking out

front windows

front windows

front door

front door

Fleur Haven House

Fleur Haven House

I absolutely love quotations in the garden and this particular garden had mine beat in sheer number of well displayed signs.  I think I found and photographed every one of them except one turned out blurry so I will never remember what it said.

by the front walkway

by the front walkway

sign

weed

sign

sign

just inside the side gate to the front garden

just inside the side gate to the front garden

Inside the side gate to the front yard, we were pleased to find a fairy garden.

fairy door

fairy door

door

Here is where we lingered for a little while as we both took photos.

rabbit

village

village

We then made our way into the back garden, which as I recall meant stepping back out onto the sidewalk and in another gate.

inside the back gate

inside the back gate

I had not carefully read the description (I usually don’t read them thoroughly till later in my eagerness to see the gardens), so I was surprised and pleased by the chamomile lawn.

a fragrant chamomile lawn

a fragrant chamomile lawn

Allan found out that they maintain it with a strimmer rather than a mower.  (Note: from now one I am going to use the much nicer UK word for string trimmer AKA weedeater.)

on the lawn

on the lawn

a curving path

a curving path

some wilde thyme

some wild thyme

a little friendly bird

a little friendly bird

floriferous corner

floriferous corner

sign

rose

an even more floriferous corner

an even more floriferous corner

sign

sign

sign

back porch

back porch

I went up the back porch steps to get an overview.  They were interestingly made out of concrete blocks and were very stable.

view from porch

view from porch

gazebo

gazebo

digression:  I like the colour of green on the neighbours' house.

digression: I like the colour of green on the neighbours’ house.

The little bird was sitting on the bench just beyond that arbour, above, and in the corner hangs the basket of nasturtiums.

looking down to the patio

looking down to the patio

thyme-softened patio

thyme-softened patio

wall fountain

wall fountain

patio bench

patio bench

bench

by the gazebo

by the gazebo

inside the gazebo

inside the gazebo

and a view from the gazebo

and a view from the gazebo

another view of the chamomile lawn

another view of the chamomile lawn

on the house wall

on the house wall

sign

I like gardens that reflect the owners’ particular interests and this garden certainly did that.

Next: a garden with a phemonemal view, and meanwhile, another reminder that the excellent Peninsula garden tour is coming up this Saturday, July 20th!  I hope some of the Astoria people will come to our tour.

a reminder

a reminder

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Bob and Helen Bohnke Garden

from the program: Eclectic English Garden: 11th Street is a happier place for the Boenkes’ splendidly restored home and well-loved garden. This 1895 Italianate, formerly known as ‘the ugly sister’, was built by David Warren of Warrenton fame as one of three identical professional rentals. Snug around the house, beds overflow their borders with lush abundance as diverse grasses and ferns complement roses, daisies, lilies, carnations, African iris and heather, as well as coastal favourites such a hostas, hydrangeas, rosemary and lavender. You’ll find carefully transplanted forest floor plants and delightful pots full of dahlias, geraniums, lobelia, begonias, and fuchsias, all interspersed with driftwood, found objects and sculptures galore. With a ‘live and let live’ credo, the red Japanese maple thriving within the front walking path demands careful skirting. Until recently there was no rear garden and now flora charmingly buffers the driveway. Don’t miss the whimsical flowerbox fence lining the shady south side.

I got breathless with joy as soon as I saw the colourful house.

Bohnke house

Bohnke house

the colour!

the colour!

Crocosmia 'Lucifer'

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’

wow! zip! pow!

wow! zip! pow!

colour coordinated mailbox!

colour coordinated mailbox!

looking up from the sidewalk

looking up from the sidewalk

a beautiful tour sign

a beautiful tour sign

sign

I was backing and forthing down on the sidewalk and had to explain to the owner of the garden that I was just so gobsmacked I had not got around to climbing the steps yet.

owner Bob Bohnke

owner Bob Bohnke

Bob Bohnke was the cover guy on the garden tour issue of the Daily Astorian!

cover guy!

cover guy!

from the e-edition

from the e-edition

I finally went up the steps and started around the north (downhill) side of the house. You would think from the garden description that it might be a larger garden than it is, but no…it is a narrow city lot, densely planted. My house in Seattle had equally narrow sides (and my grandmother had had them equally densely planted). I felt right at home.

front porch

front porch

historic register

historic register

side of front porch

side of front porch
Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

a porch photo by Allan

a porch photo by Allan

north side path

north side path
driftwood planter along the path

driftwood planter along the path

along the path

along the path

ogre

Canna leaf

Canna leaf

duck

duck

Allan's view

Allan’s view

Around the corner, we came to the back porch.

so colourful

so colourful

At the back corner of the house, just before turning to the south side: cookies and lemonade served by Helen Bohnke.

treats

treats

pouring us some delicious lemonade

Helen pouring me some delicious lemonade

I went down the south side chomping my cookie because the cunning planter top to the fence (or is it a retaining wall?) so captured my attention.

looking back toward the cookie tray

looking back toward the cookie tray

Here, I look toward the front of the house along the south side. I so love this fence.

planter topped fence on south (uphill) side of house

planter topped fence on south (uphill) side of house

looking back again as I admire the planters

looking back again as I admire the planters and Allan gets some lemonade

compost pile!

compost pile!

I loved the tiny little compost pile. Bob Bohnke told us it had been much bigger before the tour.

Coming around the corner and back into the blazing sun…

return to the front garden

return to the front garden

the precariously situated little maple

the precariously situated little maple

front porch again

front porch again

by front steps

by front steps

further ogling of the front porch

further ogling of the front porch

I turned back to return to the back yard, figuring I could find a more dignified exit than inching my way down the steep steps to the sidewalk. I carefully stepped around the little maple; owner Bob had expressed concern that its one sideways branch would survive the tour.

the maple in question

the maple in question

I hope it did!

another detail

another detail

enjoying the south side path again

enjoying the south side path again

We skirted past Helen’s lemonade area to get to the parking lot behind the house where we could get a good view of the back.

east side of house

east side of house

back garden

back garden

The back garden, said to be new, looks well established.

back garden detail

back garden detail

looking up to the back porch

looking up to the back porch

To the south and below the garden is a lawn where we were able to walk back to the sidewalk.

south side of house

south side of house

perfect roses

perfect roses

Allan remarked that the roses had no blackspot!

rose

front porch from south lawn

front porch from south lawn

porch

side garden at eye level from below

side garden at eye level from below

eye to eye with the gnome

eye to eye with the gnome

I hope you enjoy looking at the porch as much as I did.

I hope you enjoy looking at the porch as much as I did.

I crossed the street to get a photo of the front of the whole place. I could easily have walked round again, especially the south side with the planter wall.

the whole shebang

the whole shebang

I have tried to analyze why of all the lovely gardens this was my favourite, and in posting these photos I have figured out that it is because I adore brightly painted houses. Painted Ladies, Daughters of Painted Ladies, and A Gift to the Street are books that I own and treasure about painted Victorian houses. I also realize now that the narrow side gardens remind me of my beloved Gram’s garden on its small Seattle city lot (although her front and back yards were bigger than this).

Brief Intermission

One of the Lower Columbia Preservation Society volunteers at this garden told us that she, too, has a purple house. Allan must have commented to her about the big one up the street from this garden. She kindly gave us the address so that we could go see it and it was well worth the side trip into a different neighbourhood.

a cottage of purpleness

a cottage of purpleness

I love it! Next: a garden full of something I love: quotations in the garden.

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Although it was not far between the second and third garden, we found so much to share that we need to make a whole post about this interlude.

We had parked at the Nybakke garden facing uphill on the road to the column and drove up there because there was nowhere else to safely turn around.  Because we did not pay the $2 fee, I felt I should not get out of the car and take these photos of the spectacular view, so here are some car seat shots.

looking west

looking west

view

I should straighten the horizon but am anxious to get back to the garden tour.

The Astoria Column

The Astoria Column

The $2 would have entitled us to climb to the top, but with my acrophobia I could not do that if you paid me $200 dollars.

looking south to Saddle Mountain

looking south to Saddle Mountain (telephoto)

Allan, who is not acrophobic at all, took the trail all the way to the summit of Saddle Mountain last fall!

looking south

looking south

Back down the long hill to the neighbourhood of beautiful houses, I was smitten with the terraces on this hillside garden.

terraced

terraced

a handsome house with veg.

a handsome house with veg.

Oh!  A purple house!

Oh! A purple house!

another foursquare

another foursquare

The purple house was up a block and a half and around the corner from the next garden.  Allan walked up and took some close up photos of it.

gorgeous!

gorgeous!

purple

window detail

window detail

porches

porches

Just uphill from the next garden, a house had this enticing side garden with a good use of red geraniums.  I have friends who turn their noses up at red geraniums (pelargoniums), a favourite plant of my Grandma’s, and I rarely use them myself.  In the right setting, they are perfect.  Later on in the tour, I will show you another photo of perfectly placed red geraniums.

a narrow city side garden

a narrow city side garden

Now, on to a garden that took my breath away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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garden two:  Nybakke Garden

from the program:  A few grand native fir trees, salal and wild huckleberries welcome you to this thriving garden, a tribute to its generous owners.  Before the gale of 2007,  this 1.3 acre plot was basically a natural forest garden.  Destruction of nineteen old growth firs opened the canopy and the Nybakkes created new garden beds, terraces and stone steps where stumps were removed.  A central vintage basketweave patio invites exploration of diverse paths around the house and lower gardens.  Profusions of flowering plants abound, including lilacs, rockroses, cranberry bushes, peonies, daisies, daylilies, fuchsias, carnations, irises and chrysanthemums.  Bird feeders and baths help make this a sanctuary for feathered friends.  Striking foliage of Japanese maples, spirea, grasses, lady’s mantle, thyme, moss, rosemary and lavender enhance dazzling floral displays.  Down pas the shed beside the rolling lawn, meander through another lovely garden with ferns, ajuga, new and recovering rhodies, firs and fruit trees.

We parked at the bottom of the road that leads up to the Astoria column and walked up this driveway.

garden entry

garden entry

rock wall by driveway

rock wall by driveway

A few trees remained after the storm.

A few trees remained after the storm.

The flower and shrub gardens wrapped all around the paths, lawn and patios.

two

At the end of the driveway, we came upon this path into the garden:

path

path

I wondered why there were paving rocks on top of other paving rocks.

interesting

interesting

From this path, one could either walk forward to the house or sideways into the garden.

side path

side path

Monarda

Monarda

looking over the garden to the house

looking over the garden to the house

in the midst of the garden

in the midst of the garden (house in background is downhill neighbours, I believe)

Here is a lawn photo for Tom Hornbuckle.  The lawn was surrounded by flower beds and lay to the south of the paver path.

garden tourists

garden tourists 

mixed border

mixed border; garden shed is below

bench

next to the lawn, the basketweave patio

At the west end of the lawn, people gathered on the basketweave patio.

by the patio

by the patio

by the patio

patio table

patio table

The books reveal the owners' particular garden interests.

The books reveal the owners’ particular garden interests.

more books

another path in the gardens on the same level as the house

another path in the gardens on the same level as the house led to…

a pretty little patio

a pretty little patio

fragrant thyme

fragrant thyme

The garden dropped in levels down the hill to the south.

descending

descending

The steps were well placed for easy descent.

The steps were well placed for easy descent.

At the foot of the mixed border that fell away from the house, I came to another lawn next to a garden shed.

by the shed, looking uphill toward the house gardens

by the shed, looking uphill toward the house gardens

Below the shed, a large lawn area rolled down hill next to another garden bed.

lower garden bed

lower garden bed

a river of gold

a river of gold

I could tell that the garden is being expanded here and look forward to seeing it again on a future tour.

garden in progress

garden in progress

looking back uphill

looking back uphill

walking back up toward the house

walking back up toward the house

back to the luscious house gardens next to stairs going up

back to the luscious house gardens next to stairs going up

stairs going back up to the house

stairs going back up to the house

beside the stairs

beside the stairs

back to the patio

back to the patio

dahlia

Allan had not noticed dahlias with dark foliage before.

Allan had not noticed dahlias with dark foliage before.

We walked around the east side of the house by a small back door garden bed.

east side bed

east side bed

Cotinus 'Golden Spirit'

Cotinus ‘Golden Spirit’

Note to self:  I need to get a new Cotinus ‘Golden Spirit’ as I lost mine in the move from my old house.  The author of one of my favourite blogs, The Miserable Gardener, calls that “transplantosis.”  My plants suffer a lot from that disease.

looking south to that garden bed with the Cotinus

looking south to that garden bed with the Cotinus

We find another big lawn on the south and west sides of the house.

We find another big lawn on the south and west sides of the house.

Strangely, we did not walk around to the west side of the house.  Nothing pulled me over there, and I might have missed another garden area.

looking southwest toward the Columbia River from that big lawn

looking southwest toward the Columbia River from that big lawn

It is odd indeed that we did not walk all around the house, but instead we turned back toward the patio.  To the east, the lawn was cast in shade.

a quiet cool sit spot

a quiet cool sit spot

We found steps leading back to the rock paver path.

We found steps leading back to the rock paver path.

And off to the side of that path, a grass path led to the big southwest lawn.

grassy path

grassy path

This was an excellent and impressive garden and I enjoyed every aspect of it.  I had to move house to get from a shade garden to a sunny garden; here, mother nature effected that change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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July 13, 2013.  The tour benefits the Lower Columbia Preservation Society.

Patrick and KC McGee Garden

from the program, garden one of six, the garden of Patrick and KC McGee:  Old Victorian Garden Beauty:  One century ago a landslide took this charming 1895 Queen Ann for a ride down 34th along with the two homes below it.  Repositioned on a serious foundation and turned to face 34th,  the resulting rough tiers of bleak weed-covered soil have, in the last twelve years, been transformed into verdant usable terraces for outdoor living.  And in their spare time the McGees have completely restored the house.  Over 100-year-old heirloom roses brought to Uppertown from Eastern Oregon over 80 years ago line the fence and cover arbours.  Graceful beds include hebe, geraniums, peonies, bleeding hearts, burning bush, curly willow, African and Shasta daisies, and Oregon grape, our state flower.  Meander by exotic palms, horseradish, ornamental bamboo and quince, which complement lush flowering hydrangea, poppies, dahlias, sweet peas and daylilies.  On the lower level near a new sunny vegetable bed, a cozy corner deck nestles beside a soothing waterfall.

McGee house

McGee house

approaching

approaching

entry

entry

porch and front door

porch and front door

lace curtain window

lace curtain window

front garden.  Allan deduced a cat lives here.

front garden. Allan deduced a cat lives here.

at the NE corner of the house

at the NE corner of the house

Allan was quite taken with the Ligularia.

Allan was quite taken with the Ligularia.
going around the corner

going around the corner

looking downhill...I think that was the neighbours' fence

looking downhill…I think that was the neighbours’ fence

patio on north side of house

patio on north side of house

Allan commented that the wall fountain appeared to be self contained.

Allan commented that the wall fountain appeared to be self contained.

his photo of the fountain

his photo of the fountain

charming signs as one leaves the patio

charming signs as one leaves the patio

steps going down were too steep for dizzy me.

steps going down were too steep for dizzy me.

this is the way I see steep stairs!

this is the way I see steep stairs!

They led to this sheltered corner.

They led to this sheltered corner.
by those stairs: a topiary bird

by those stairs: a topiary bird

a look back at the morning tea garden

a look back at the morning tea garden

a mysterious path to the south

a mysterious path to the south

I wonder if that led to the work area?  My friend and sister garden tourist Sheila and I always like to see the working areas!

An arbour leads to another patio on the west side...

An arbour leads to another patio on the west side…

looking back to the steps doing down and the path to tea garden patio

looking back to the steps doing down and the path to tea garden patio

on the west wall of the house

on the west wall of the house

rose at edge of west patio

rose at edge of west patio

looking from west patio down to a lower terrace

looking from west patio down to a lower terrace

There were some easier stairs to get down there.  Allan took an interesting view of the other stairs.  I admire the agility of the gardeners!

looking up the stairs

looking up the stairs

the gardener tending tomatoes on the lower terrace

the gardener tending her veg garden on the lower terrace

heron fountain

looking up

heron fountain

heron fountain

back to the sidewalk, south side of house

back to the sidewalk, south side of house

dahlias

dahlias

daisies and a bench by sidewalk

daisies and a bench by sidewalk

south wall of porch

south wall of porch

After I posted this blog entry, the owners sent me this photo of how the house and landscape looked when they acquired it in 200!

before...2000...photo courtesy Patrick McGee

before…2000…photo courtesy Patrick McGee

What makes the garden especially impressive to me is that I know what hard work it is to garden on different levels, and as I told Patrick, I got lazy after sixteen years on a garden with stairs and levels and moved to my completely level garden in 2010!  Think about it:  Soil amendments and plants have to be bucketed up and down the stairs.

Intermission

We must use the address of the McGee garden to take the drive between it and the next garden again as there were some beautiful houses and gardens along the route.  I was a bit flummoxed by the narrow curving hillside road in terms of stopping to take a photo.  We need to park and walk it sometime later this summer.  It was most photogenic!

As we approached the neighbourhood of the next garden, we passed a steep hillside house whose garden had been an intermission feature on the tour some years before.  We were worried about time so did not park and look closely, but I could tell the garden had much matured and took two from the car photos to study later.

house with curbside garden

house with curbside garden

I remember he had lovely polished stones in a dry creekbed along the street.

How it has grown!

How it has grown!

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birdhousesJuly 13: Before going to Astoria, I had to take my usual Discover Ilwaco photos at the Saturday market.  Somehow this involved a certain amount of delay and dithering, like buying a birdhouse from The Wood Elf out of sympathy because his truck had broken down and he was unable to bring his larger goods.  He has excellent garden furniture when he can get it here, and I had fallen in love with the crooked roofed birdhouse anyway.

Then…the bridge to Astoria, Oregon.  I was feeling that we were running a bit late so it followed that we got stuck in the longest traffic delay I had experienced.  I became rather anxious…even though I prefer crossing the bridge when traffic is slowed by bridge work delays.

waiting

waiting

The tide was low…

looking west toward the ocean

looking west toward the ocean

and birds were waiting, too.

birds

view from the bridge (telephoto)

We finally got to the ticket sales tent at 11:45.   As always happens in Astoria, beautiful houses caught my eye before I even had a ticket in hand.

by where we parked

by where we parked

and next door

and next door

And here is the comforting sight of the ticket tent with tickets still for sale…

ticket sales

ticket sales

always next to this beautiful house on the hill.

always next to this beautiful house on the hill

with a view of the Columbia River down the hill

with a view of the Columbia River down the hill

sweet peas on the ticket table

sweet peas on the ticket table

We drove to the east end of Astoria and up another hill to find the first garden.  (I remember what a struggle that was before we got our Garmin.)  Across the street from the first garden stood a stunning home for sale…plenty of room for a garden there.

tower house

tower house

And now…let’s start to tour!

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We have our wonderful Peninsula tour coming up.

garden tour

And the tour in Gearhart a week later!  It was excellent last year.

Gearhart

I wish the Astoria garden tour, which is PROBABLY on July 13th, were as well publicized.

[Note:  Allan heard on KMUN public radio the next morning that it IS on the 13th.]

After July, there is the Edible Garden tour on August 11th.  We are on it with our pitiful array of edibles (but lots of ornamentals!)

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In our life, a trip overseas is not as exotic as it sounds.  That’s what someone told me that oldtimers call a trip across the Columbia River to northwest Oregon (about a twenty minute drive to Astoria).  I have never found an oldtimer to confirm this since I first heard it somewhere.

Due to cold rain, our mission was to visit our favourite north Oregon coast nursery, Back Alley Gardens in Gearhart.

As always, they had some excellent plants from Xera.

plants

plants from Xera..

and more

and from Blooming Nursery, and more

desirable plants, as always

desirable plants, as always

I got myself some violas with faces….

violas

violas

And a peachy apricot primrose for a friend who adores such colours:

primrose

primrose

I saw the same primrose later in the day at Fred Meyer, the only really cool plant there.  Such is life sometimes!

I got myself a ‘Golden Rocket’ barberry (love gold foliage) and some little violas with faces and a burgundy coloured Garrya.

The indoor part of the dual business, The Natural Nook, had luscious gardenesque things to offer:

shelf

shelf

plants

plants

blue

blues

orbs

orbs

mini glasshouse

mini glasshouse

In their  friendly and welcoming way, the owners told me friends of mine had been in recently, but I soon learned my name had been bandied about by folks I definitely would not call friends.  Shocking, shocking I say!  And might I add that contrary to the tale of my faux friends, no other local gardens had anything remotely like the 500 visitors that ours and Judy’s had on garden tour day.  Indeed, most definitely not.  There’s nothing like a little scandal to liven up the day, and I was somehow reminded of Mr. McGregor, a garden mystery by Alan Titchmarsh, or perhaps the new and rather shocking  village life novel that I am presently reading, Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling.  (Who knew she could use such language!)    Even the gentle Miss Read ventured into the darker side of village life at times.  I idly wondered if I should devote my garden blogging time to a small town garden mystery novel…but no, I think that this year I should focus on keeping my commitment to blog on a regular basis.  And yet…if I only I had the skill to write a garden mystery, I would have plenty of material.

Meanwhile, all winter I had had in mind a re-visit to one of my favourite gardens of the Astoria garden tour of 2012,  the Westbrook garden at the Mill Pond Village.  I wanted to see how full Ms. Westbrook’s dry creek bed and pond got in winter rain, and we were having plenty of rain today.

When we got there, I poked around the edge, taking photos, not wanting to be too intrusive although it is sort of a public garden  between two sidewalks, in a lot between townhouses.

front of townhouse today

front of townhouse today

Look how good the bones are of the garden along the street!  It looks as good today as it did last summer.

Westbrook curbside last summer

Westbrook curbside last summer

the garden between townhouses

the garden between townhouses, today

dry creekbed

dry creekbed

ans swale

and pond swale

Then the owner of this lovely garden, Ms. Westbrook herself, popped out, and we had a lovely chat.  She said we looked familiar, and rather cold in the chilly wind.  (I thought later how nice it is to hear that someone is so interested in one’s garden that she comes to prowl it offseason!)  She told us that this year, the pond never overflowed with seasonal water because she had dug it out a little deeper.

the pond

the pond

pond and late winter sky

pond and late winter sky

same view last July

same view last July

Now that we had conversed with the owner, I felt that I could actually walk through the garden and take more photos.

crocus patch

crocus patch

townhouse garden

IMG_3771

townhouse garden

IMG_3776

IMG_3775

IMG_3777

How well it looks in winter!

the same wooden house from a different angle last July

the same wooden house from a different angle last July

The townhouse complex is right by the Columbia River.

view across a common lawn to the river

view across a common lawn to the river

The homes right around the reclaimed Millpond have always intrigued me, and I would love to live in one if only I had a vacant lot as well to make a garden in.

The Millpond with a lot for sale!

The Millpond with a lot for sale!

On the way home through Chinook, we saw sure signs of imminent spring:

flowers for sale along the sidewalk

flowers for sale along the sidewalk

flower sign

narcissi border and a beautiful clematis arbour

narcissi border and a beautiful clematis arbour

 

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