Posts Tagged ‘Gardening from The Heart’

I had been admiring Tom and Judy Hornbuckle’s garden since 2010, even before I had met them.

summer 2010

summer 2010

At first, I just walked by and took photos of the outer gardens…the front yard and (right) the garden by their driveway.  By the winter of 2010-11, I had moved to Lake Street and we had become acquainted.

February 2011

February 2011

By summer of 2011, I knew Judy well enough to get invited through the back gate to photograph the water feature in their private fenced courtyard.

tulips by the back gate

tulips by the back gate

courtyard water

courtyard water

October 2011

October 2011

So when Nancy, the garden tour organizer, asked Allan and I to put our garden on the 2012 tour, I suggested that the Hornbuckle garden would be the perfect accompaniment.  There is nothing on a tour that I like better than having two gardens on the same block.  The contrast between our large and tangled garden with the tiny, groomed perfection of Tom and Judy’s would be entertaining, and people with small city lots could get all kinds of ideas from theirs.

SW corner, June 2012

SW corner, June 2012

It was great fun to have neighbours down the block to plan the tour with.  We had many back and forth messages about what sort of refreshments we would serve,  how many people might come, how much more preparation we had to do….and in the course of those many conversations, we found that we had much more in common than gardening.

Tom spent every other week leading up to the garden tour having chemo.  (He’s fine now!)  I worried a lot that the tour would be too much, but in fact I think that gardening, and planning, proved to be a great distraction and healer.  He was even able to keep up with his exacting regimen of mowing the perfect lawn every THREE days.

During and after tour day, many positive comments filtered back to us, including one we particularly liked: “Lake Street ruled the tour!”   The four of us on Lake Street did feel pleased with ourselves that of all the tour gardens, ours were the only two that were pulled together with absolutely no help from paid staff or volunteer friends….even though Tom’s health and our full time work had made it a challenge.

So here we go, through Tom and Judy’s garden on tour day and the day after, when those of us who opened our gardens and thus could not go on the tour went around to enjoy each others’ gardens.

Into the front garden and around the side....

Into the front garden and around the side….

front garden detail

front garden detail

side garden

side garden

from the programme guide: “In this pocket sized Ilwaco city lot, Tom and Judy grow and sculpt perfectly pruned trees and shrubs including over 20 Japanese maples. Their tiny garden includes four distinct microclimates from drought to mossy shade and complements their house with its exterior restored to its appearance in 1890. A velvety curvaceous lawn leads to a private courtyard where each stone accent is thoughtfully placed. Spots of colour provided by perennials and annuals are the finishing touch to this exquisite garden, which will provide great inspiration to those who garden in small places.”

side garden detail with coleus

side garden detail with coleus

the back porch

the back porch

I particularly love the back porch, which Judy says is a wonderful place to sit on a rainy day.  Anyone who knows the meticulous way this garden is maintained will not take seriously the “lazy hog” sign.

in the back courtyard

in the back courtyard

Tom fretted that the pouring rain on Friday had made it impossible for him to mow the lawn the day before the tour; however, having the grass just a touch longer (i.e four days between mowing!) made it better able to stand up to the approximately 1000 feet (500 people) who came through.

courtyard maple, photo by Kathleen Sayce

courtyard maple, photo by Kathleen Sayce

I could not get away to take photos of Judy’s garden on tour day, so I lack photos of the happy times in the courtyard with their musician, Barbara Bate (for whom we had once created a garden!).  Judy told me that people danced…laughed….I would have loved to have seen the dancing in the tiny courtyard.  I think I can somewhat recreate the feeling with a few photos taken on the 9th of August when a garden club from Vancouver came to see Tom and Judy’s sanctuary.

garden club day

garden club

garden club

Judy and me

Judy and me

As the tour season came to a close it became clear that I had finally been given something that had long been a dream of mine, a good gardening neighbour.  Ever since reading a chapter about gardening neighbours in a good book called People with Dirty Hands and a chapter on that subject in Gardening from the Heart: Why Gardeners Garden, I had longed for a gardening neighbour.  Whenever I would run across friendly neighbouring gardens on garden tours, I would feel envious.  At last, even though we did not have the ideal situation of being next door neighbours, I finally had a gardening neighbour and good friend just four doors down.

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garden two (two in one)

The second home garden was brand new…had just had the finishing touches put on before tour day.  It was considerably more enjoyable than a few other too-new gardens I’ve seen on garden tours.  I’m glad they were ready to open it.  The tour stop included a neighbourly collaboration on a lot across the street .  Our eye was immediately drawn to it but we toured the house garden first.

across the street

The new garden

a well establish parking strip planting

We did not get the story of why this garden had been completely redone behind the house, when it was obvious from the parking strip garden that the home had been in a gardener’s hands for awhile.

On a steep slope  around the side of the house, netting held  the soil in descending garden beds.

looking down

at side of house

It interested us to see the garden at this stage before trailing plants (we supposed) grew down over the slopes.  I’d love to see it a year later.

I covet the metal art in the garden, especially that divider.

metal screen

Parts of the back garden were well established.  I imagine the yard remodel had something to do with adding water and dealing with the steep drop from front to back yard.

back garden trees

The garden’s tropical feel included a theme of round, reflective water.

water and roundness

Directly off the porch a big pool was, I think, made of a huge plastic tub with a naturalistic rock edge.

next to the porch

Just around to the side, other pools were definitely made from big tubs.  I liked them and thought it looked much better than having a pool liner.

tub ponds

Looking back as we climbed stairs on the other side of the house, I reflected on the program notes that the gardeners’ goal was partly to hide the industrial view.  I myself am partial to an industrial view so I appreciated the scenic backdrop.

industrial view...almost gone

looking down

I see now that I have to find me a big tub like that….insert at back of patio….put rocks around the edge, or, as it seems here, rope.  Yes.

leaving the garden

the front of the house

(I’m glad that smudge did not appear in the rest of my day’s photos.)

across the street

We crossed the street to come closer to the huge face at the top of the garden there, a collaboration between the homeowner whose garden we toured and another neighbour.

the face

a different angle


A metal nest echoed the garden across the street.

metal nest or basket...thing

Jeanne and Sheila

Sheila and I were fortunate again in having a local drive us for the first touring day.  Our friend from the Rainyside gardening forum lives in Portland and drove us in her Jeep (a sturdy vehicle in which I feel quite safe).  As with the 2010 weekend when Maggie drove us in north Seattle, it made Sheila’s day in particular much better to not have to drive in unfamiliar neighbourhoods.

As to the two gardens, as with a couple of other garden tour stops of previous years and the essay regarding neighbourly gardening in the book Gardening from the Heart: Why Gardeners Garden, I reflected on how gratifying it would be to have a neighbour with shared garden space and a shared love for the pastime.

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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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