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Posts Tagged ‘gardening neighbours’

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Garden Bloggers Fling, Portland

Sunday's well-worn itinerary

Sunday’s well-worn itinerary

leaving the hotel....There's my favourite bus driver Andy, but ooooooh, drat, he is driving the other bus!

leaving the hotel….There’s my favourite bus driver Andy, but ooooooh, drat, he was driving the other bus!

Here we go! (Allan's photo)

Here we go! (Allan’s photo)

Our bus, with a perfectly nice driver (but not Andy!) took us into a lovely treed Portland neighbourhood.

just one of the handsome houses we passed

just one of the handsome houses we passed

The streets were enclosed by a green tunnel of trees.  Our driver told us that the bus drivers carry a stepladder and loppers to clear the way of low hanging branches if need be, if the city has not limbed them up.

street trees of Portland

street trees of Portland

IMG_6515

He said one bus company in particular has a strict policy that drivers must not allow the tops of the buses to be scratched by low hanging branches.

IMG_6516

I asked him if he was joking but he swore he was telling the absolute truth!

Ernst/Fuller Gardens

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 6.40.01 PM

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 6.40.40 PM

Bloggers gather below Linda's house.

Bloggers gather below Linda’s house.

Ernst house

Ernst house

to my right, pots on top of the garage

to my left, pots on top of the garage

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

further to the right, the front of the Fuller house

further to the right, the front of the Fuller house

I remain covetous of these transparent privacy panels.

I remain covetous of these transparent privacy panels.

in front of the Fuller house

in front of the Fuller house

partway up the Ernst driveway, looking across the front of the two houses

partway up the Ernst driveway, looking across the front of the two houses

photo 1

the brightest of red daylilies in Linda's garden

the brightest of red daylilies in Linda’s garden

I remember this huge Azara microphylla on the corner of the Ernst house.

I remember this huge Azara microphylla on the corner of the Ernst house.

Ernst garden foliage

Ernst garden foliage

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Linda's garden is an extra half lot wide and this area is to the right of the driveway.

Linda’s garden is an extra half lot wide and this area is to the right of the driveway.

foliage

one of many sit spots

one of many sit spots

sit

Both gardeners are skilled at placing focal points.

Both gardeners are skilled at placing focal points.

a frilly little poppy

a frilly little poppy

blogger

still in the Ernst garden side yard

in the corner of a small lawn

in the corner of a small lawn

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

meow

looking back toward the street

looking back toward the street

and away from the street from the lawn to a little courtyard (still all next to the driveway and garage!)

and away from the street from the lawn to a little courtyard (still all next to the driveway and garage!)

just outside the courtyard of colourfulness

just outside the courtyard of colourfulness

court2

colour

bright zinnias and marigolds

bright zinnias and marigolds

gold hosta

gold hosta and coleus

ladies in waiting on a storage shed roof to the garage side of the courtyard

ladies in waiting on a storage shed roof to the garage side of the courtyard

I learned the new term “ladies in waiting” for unpotted plants from (I think) one of the Austin bloggers.

table in the little courtyard

table in the little courtyard

in front of the garage

in front of the garage

container to the right of previous photo

container to the right of previous photo

I sat here for a spell.

I sat here for a spell.

Linda’s spouse said the garage has not been used for a car in years; because the area is all planted with containers, it could be changed back to a car garage if need be.

Awww...in the back door of the house.

Awww…in the back door of the house.

where the car lives

where the car lives?

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan thinks the car must live in a garage because it is so impeccably clean and shiny.

Allan thinks the car must live in a garage because it is so impeccably clean and shiny.

beside the driveway

beside the driveway

vine support

vine support

Now we’ll enter the patio and garden behind the Ernst house.

in Linda's back garden

in Linda’s back garden

the neighbourly door

the neighbourly door

next to the garage

next to the garage

beds of colour

beds of colour

wall

and a water feature

and a water feature

perfectly level to create a sheet of water

perfectly level to create a sheet of water

subtle colours in the corner

subtle colours in the corner

on the patio table

on the patio table

ladies

Between the two gardens, a privacy wall and a friendly door.

Between the two gardens, a privacy wall and a friendly door.

door

I like the combination of privacy and friendship here.

Allan's photo with Mark from England

Allan’s photo with Mark from England

mossy lion by the neighbour door

mossy lion by the neighbour door

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

photo 4

Through the door into Joanne Fuller’s garden:

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

a Jeffrey Bale mosaic

a Jeffrey Bale mosaic; garden owner Joanne in dress, with Loree of Danger Garden and Neil Jones from England.

just to the left of the mosaic, sculptures from Glass Gardens of Mukilteo

just to the left of the mosaic, sculptures from Glass Gardens of Mukilteo

further to the left, a nook by the back door, Little and Lewis columns

further to the left, a nook by the back door, Little and Lewis columns

love the colours

love the colours

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

a bubble of water

a bubble of water

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

a step up onto a patio

ahead, a step up onto a patio

arbour

the curtained nook from the deck

the curtained nook from the deck

nook3

fuller

deck seating

deck seating

and a hospitality center

and a hospitality center

bamboo

 

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

at ground level, a fire circle

at ground level, a fire circle (the deck is behind it)

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

The neighbour's yard on the other side is all bindweed...trying to creep through.

The neighbour’s yard on the other side is all bindweed…trying to creep through.

sea of bindweed next door

sea of bindweed next door

This reminds me of how bindweed is creeping into my garden from Nora’s side!

other side of bamboo deck screen

other side of bamboo deck screen

more glass enhancing a corner

more glass enhancing a corner

gate to the side walkway

gate to the side walkway

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

I wish this meter hiding thingie was in focus

I wish this meter hiding thingie was in focus

Yay for Allan! He got it!

Yay for Allan! He got it!

Allan's photo, looking back

Allan’s photo, looking back

around the corner into the front garden

around the corner into the front garden

that translucent privacy solution

that translucent privacy solution

gentle curve along the front of the house

gentle curve along the front of the Fuller house

hostas and ferns

hostas and ferns

pots

on top of the garage

on top of the garage

and on the porch

and on the porch

more bamboo screening (between the two porches?)

more bamboo screening (between the two porches?)

across the front of the Linda Ernst house

across the front of the Linda Ernst house

lilies

The driveway up which we entered is in sight again.

The driveway up which we entered is in sight again.

the Ernst front porch

the Ernst front porch

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

and back to the driveway

and back to the driveway

I made the whole circuit around the gardens twice, so let’s hit the high spots again.

the huge Azara microphylla at the corner of the house!

the huge Azara microphylla at the corner of the house!

the side garden

the side garden

the lilies!

the lilies!

Patio of Colours!

Patio of Colours!

driveway garden!

driveway garden!

that smooth sheet of water that you just have to touch.

that smooth sheet of water that you just have to touch.

back door sit spot

Linda’s back door sit spot

bloggers still chatting

bloggers still chatting

privacy walls

privacy walls

Joanne's glass swirls and curtained nook

Joanne’s glass swirls and curtained nook

Joanne's exuberant foliar jungle

Joanne’s exuberant foliar jungle

Back down on the sidewalk:

the two houses

the two houses

Quite tired, I have a seat on Joanne's stairs.

Quite tired, I have a seat on Joanne’s stairs.

my view

my view to the left

and to the right

and to the right

and up into a street tree

and up into a street tree

I don’t sit for long before I realize there is discussion going on at the next door parking strip.  I had admired it earlier and had assumed it belonged to the neighbours there, even though it did not seem to fit with the rest of their yard.

next door parking strip

next door parking strip

Joanne, whose garden is mostly shady, is using it to grow sunny plants!

Joanne, whose garden is mostly shady, is using it to grow sunny plants!

parking strip lilies

parking strip lilies

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Here’s the fling preview about these two gardens.


 

I’ve been to these gardens twice before, and as far back as 2007 (when I saw it during a Hardy Plant Study Weekend) I mentioned briefly  the enviability of having a gardening neighbour right next door.

In 2011, I revisited it during the next Portland study weekend and again rhapsodized about gardening neighbours.

It was something I had wished for since I began gardening in earnest in my thirties; I am still holding onto the dream that a gardening neighbour might move in right next door if the house to the west of us (now empty after the passing of our elderly and beloved Nora) ever goes up for sale.  However, I am almost 60, so it had better happen soon if it ever does.

I thought I had a close gardening friend nearby; even visiting back and forth from a few doors away was a lot of fun before things went wrong (and made my heart sore).   The idyllic dream of an adjoining garden and a gardener right next door with a friendly neighbour gate between still lives on in my heart, inspired by the book Gardening from the Heart: Why Gardeners Garden.  In my fantasy, she or he or they share the same plant nuttiness that I do, we could enjoy views of each other’s gardens, and maybe even share a kitchen garden outside my back garage door.

gardenheart

You can bet that if the house ever does go on the market, I will be urgently sharing the listing in the gardening community online.   I’m accustomed to close friendships lasting for 10-40 years (depending on how long ago we met!), so it would not be a risky proposition.  I do think it helps if friends are of the same economic class, though, so I am glad it’s not a mansion next door!  (GBLT friendly please and no tea partiers except for actual garden tea parties!)

 

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On Sunday, July 21, I had the pleasure of arranging a private garden tour for my friends who had come from out of town for the Music in the Gardens tour the day before.  We met, of course, at Olde Towne Coffee Café.

(l-r)  Debbie, Kathleen, Luanne (Olde Towne Owner), Sheila, me

(l-r) Debbie, Kathleen, Luanne (Olde Towne Owner), Sheila, me, photo by Allan

9 AM required an early rising for me but it was not a problem with such a great day to look forward to.

We went first to Tom and Judy’s garden just down the street.  The day might have seemed grey to some, but to us it was perfect weather as the light was ideal for Debbie to take photos.  Below, Judy shows off her latest of 30? Japanese maples.  Or is it 31?

Tom, Debbie, Judy

Tom, Debbie, Judy

Along the fence, Debbie found a perfect specimen of Eryngium ‘Jade Frost’ to photograph.  And I find, looking at my photos later, that it was so interesting to watch Debbie’s choices of what to photograph with her handsome professional camera that I sort of forgot to take many pictures myself!  The Eryngium might attain fame some day on her website, Rainyside Gardeners, or in a gardening magazine.

a vignette in the Hornbuckle garden

a vignette in the Hornbuckle garden

Next we went to the Boreas Inn to have a look at the west side gardens which are exposed to ocean salt wind.

Boreas:  Path to the beach is just past the arch

Boreas: Path to the beach is just past the arch

I had been very mildly appalled when owner Susie bunged some gladiolas into “my” mixed borders.  How declassé!  What, I wondered at the time, would famous NW gardener Ciscoe Morris think when he came there to stay (as planned for June).  The week after, I saw on his telly show that he loves glads.  Now, with this dark plum coloured set looking so grand, I can see why.

glads at the Boreas

glads at the Boreas

Next, we converged on Andersen’s RV Park.  I forgot to explain that the white petunias in the whiskey barrels are a favourite choice of owner Lorna’s.  (The petunias are looking bedraggled with all the wind we have been having.)

at Andersen's, looking NW

at Andersen’s, looking NW

Debbie took lots of photos, I think of the poppy garden.

poppies

Deb and the poppies

poppies

Meanwhile, Sheila and Allan were intent on something.

on the path through the poppy garden

on the path through the poppy garden

AHA!  Sheila was collecting seeds!

sheila

Busted!   She even had a little plastic bag at the ready.

caught redhanded

caught redhanded

My plan to keep viewing gardens from south to north was kiboshed by everyone being hungry, so we skipped the three Klipsan/Ocean Park gardens and went straight on north to Nahcotta to have a delicious lunch at Bailey’s Café.  I became a little anxious about the time, as usual, but forgot to fret when our food came.

An absorbed Kathleen, and Sheila at Bailey's Café

An absorbed Kathleen, and Sheila at Bailey’s Café

After lunch, we went further north to Rita’s amazing garden on the bay.  First we stood and marveled at a bad boxwood pruning job that had been hired out.  When Rita herself prunes her boxwood entrance it is perfect, not like this at all (and this is after two months of growing in).

Rita, Kathleen, Debbie, Sheila

Rita, Kathleen, Debbie, Sheila

Gardeners can discuss something like this for a long time.

garden west of house

garden west of house

The garden is green on green on green and meticulously maintained.

garden east of house

garden east of house

Rita and Ken laid every rock of that wall themselves.  When Allan and I used to work there, she had me trim back draping cotoneaster so it would not hide the work they had done.

west side porch

west side porch

upper pond

upper pond

From a pool on the west side of the house, a stream runs to a waterfall pond in the lower, east side garden overlooking Willapa Bay.

boulder by path going to bayside overlook garden

boulder by path going to bayside overlook garden

the lower pond, east side of house

the lower pond, east side of house

waterfall

I was so interested in my friends’ reactions to the spectacular garden that I did not take any photos of the bay view.  Here’s one taken in early spring from when we used to work in the garden (which we did for a year until time constraints forced us to let it go).

view in 2011

view in spring 2011

After a good long visit with Rita, we departed back southwest to Ocean Park to see two gardens created by neighbours.  This duo of gardens was on the Music in the Gardens tour in 2010 and I had remembered it fondly.

The Door House

The Door House

I have always believed the local legend that this house was made from shipwrecked doors, but its owner enlightened us that the doors came from an old building, a large lodge of some sort which had many doors.  The walls inside the house (and we were all thrilled to be invited in to see) show the insides of the doors!

a house made of doors

a house made of doors

on the garage wall

on the garage wall

between garage and house, looking north

between garage and house, looking north

To the south of the Door House, a gate leads into the neighbour’s garden.

a friendly gate

a friendly gate

Through the gate is the garden of the Greutter family.  The Door House dog felt very at home there.

dog

in the Greutter garden

patio with interesting containers

patio with interesting containers

I especially like the very raised up Phormium, which is the only way I like to grow them myself now (in rustic old garbage cans).

patio containers and recycled glass

patio containers and recycled glass

glass bottle edging

glass bottle edging

fire circle

fire circle

How I love this little garden!

How I love this little garden!

nautical corner

nautical corner

Hydrangea aspera!

looking north to the Door House

From Ocean Park, we drove south to Klipsan Beach Cottages where Debbie took photos in the fenced garden and the three-waterfall pond by the entry drive.

Debbie in the courtyard

Debbie in the courtyard

Debbie was on a mission to get lots of seaside garden photos;  Sheila and Allan and Kathleen and I had a great time just walking around and talking with Mary and Denny.

in the fenced garden

in the fenced garden

This robin had just been seen pilfering blueberries.

This robin had just been seen pilfering blueberries.

For our last stop we visited Patti Jacobsen’s Seaview garden.

Allan and Patti; Debbie photographs a little pond

Allan and Patti; Debbie photographs a little pond

Patti's puppy Stella in a rare moment of almost repose

Patti’s puppy Stella in a rare moment of almost repose

Patti told the story of how some years ago, someone found her this driftwood, perfect for a bench, in the mud of Willapa Bay.  It is one piece of wood, and she had recently polished up to gleaming finish.

driftwood bench

driftwood bench

Stella flattening an ornamental grass

Stella flattening an ornamental grass

entry to Patti's edible garden

entry to Patti’s edible garden

back deck and door

back deck and door

bouquet in Patti's kitchen window

bouquet in Patti’s kitchen window

So our tour day which had begun at 9 AM ended at 6 PM and Kathleen and Debbie departed from Seaview for their homes in Olympia and Kingston.  I had one more social evening with Sheila because she was staying till early Monday morning.  We had dinner at the always delightful Pelicano Restaurant at the Port of Ilwaco and then she returned to her nearby motel and I had that poignant feeling when good friends have all left.

[Edited to add:  Here is an article Debbie wrote using some of her photos from this day.]

The next day, the regular round of work would begin again, but I had the Gearhart garden tour to look forward to at the end of the week.

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Thursday, July 18th

Our very first thing on Thursday was to go to The Planter Box garden center to take some photos for the Peninsula Cash Mob Facebook page. Some of our friends were there, so we timed it well. Unlike offseason cash mobs, we could not wait around for more folks to show up. We heard later that Tom and Judy went and bought another Japanese maple for a grand total of 31 in their small garden.

friends at the cash mob

friends at the cash mob

Then we began our work day back in Long Beach checking on the planters on the Sid Snyder beach approach. I want to share how good the World Mark resort garden looks at the west end of the road. It had been languishing and looking pretty awful a few years ago, with tatty overgrown Phormiums and lots of weeds. Local landscaper and nurseryman Steve Clarke took it on a little over a year ago and now it looks wonderful.

garden by Steve Clarke

garden by Steve Clarke

We checked on Gene’s garden and did just a little more weeding and deadheading to keep it absolutely spiffing for tour day.

Allan weeding Gene's cute little streetside pocket garden

Allan weeding Gene’s cute little streetside pocket garden

ready for tour day

ready for tour day at Gene and Peggy’s garden

Peggy, who created this garden, died of ovarian cancer late this spring. She would have been so proud of all the work Gene has done here. The arrangements of pots and hanging baskets is all his (with large baskets created by Nancy Aust of the Basket Case Greenhouse). All we did was add plants to the long streetside garden and do some advising and weeding on the rest of the garden.

Gene's porch and driveway arrangements

Gene’s porch and driveway arrangements

Next, the Depot Restaurant, where the Dierama is in its full glory.

at the Depot

at the Depot

Cosmos filling in at the Depot

Cosmos filling in at the Depot

Then…

the weekly deadheading and horsetail purge at the Long Beach welcome sign

the weekly deadheading and horsetail purge at the Long Beach welcome sign

And on to Jo’s for the last thorough check up before garden tour day.

newly planted area looking good at Jo's

newly planted area looking good at Jo’s

friendly little bird at Jo's

friendly little bird at Jo’s

no telephoto required for Jo's birds!

no telephoto required for Jo’s birds!

Jo’s garden is looking wonderful and would get one more pre-tour visit.

We next weeded in Long Beach’s Coulter Park because a “Railroad Days” event would take place the next day in the old train depot building there. (I love the annual Railroad Days but this year its weekend would be all garden touring instead.) It is so difficult to weed where a neighboring house lets salmonberry and bindweed grow up thickly on the other side of the fence so that it pops through both above and underground. I despair.

Coulter Park disaster

Coulter Park disaster

I had found a solution to the problem of having to water the Long Beach planters again. We would do them again on Thursday, and that would hold them through the weekend. We just would not have time on Friday. The plants must have been thrilled to get delicious water two days in a row…unheard of! Allan watered the tree gardens and bucket watered the Bolstadt beach approach planters (so tiring) and I did the city ones. No resting on the cute bench by NIVA green!

NIVA bench

NIVA bench

By seven thirty, we were back in Ilwaco giving a good watering to Larry and Robert’s garden. Tom and Judy came across the street and visited with us while we finished up.

the boat needs more plants!!

the boat needs more plants!!

right: Larry and Robert garden, and across the street, Tom and Judy's

right: Larry and Robert garden, and across the street, Tom and Judy’s

Finally, in the later evening at home I had a bit more time to check my garden. Even though I was expecting three discerning garden friends to visit I had not had time to make it perfect. That will have to wait till we are on the Edible Garden tour on August 11!

a lily at home

a lily at home

in the back garden

in the back garden

Friday, July 19th

We had cleared the decks of work and only needed to check the three tour gardens one last time! At each one, I took a series of photos of the garden in perfection, as I knew that on tour day there will be people milling about (another good photo subject, but I would like some clear shots of each garden as well).

We took our best table and chairs up to Marilyn's lawn.

We took our best table and chairs up to Marilyn’s lawn.

and only found this many weeds and clippings to remove!

and only found this many weeds and clippings to remove!

Marilyn's mom, Nancy, is ready for tour day!

Marilyn’s mom, Nancy, is ready for tour day!

garden

and so is the garden, all filled in on the edges!

Yes, the Round Up disaster was successfully thwarted and the garden looks lush.

"Marilyn and Nancy's healing garden"

“Marilyn and Nancy’s healing garden”

Just down the street, a deer demonstrated why this garden is a good example of how one can have lots of flowers even with deer browsing by the house windows.

by the road

by the road

We made a quick stop at Jo’s and found very little to do other than take lots of photos to add to the tour day album.

Jo is ready, too.

Jo is ready, too.

Coco would love to meet all the people on tour day.

Coco

Coco

But Coco is going “to the doggy spa” on tour day so that there is no chance she might escape the garden with all the gates open and people going into and out of the house.

Sorry, Coco!

Sorry, Coco!

At Gene’s, we met his daughter who had come to help on the last day. Gene was off buying food for the tour since he, as all the tour hosts, were going all out on hospitality.

Gene's garden is ready!

Gene’s garden is ready!

And finally…after texting them several times to report about how close we were to being done with work…we got to Olde Towne Café in time to join our friends from out of town!

Kathleen, Olde Towne owner Luanne, and Sheila!

Kathleen, Olde Towne owner Luanne, and Sheila!

Debbie Teashon showed up shortly after this photo was taken and the party was complete.

Later that evening we gathered for a Serious Pizza dinner in our garden along with Tom and Judy, our wonderful gardening neighbours from down the block.

pizza party with Sheila, Judy, Tom, Debbie, Allan

pizza party with Sheila, Judy, Tom, Debbie, Allan

Kathleen was staying at the north end of the Peninsula so we would not see her again till Saturday.

Just outside the fence from our party patio (where we have quiet, good neighbour gatherings only!) sits my late neighbour Nora’s house. I miss her and hope that someday when it goes up for sale that some wonderful gardener neighbours buy it….someone like my friends here.

Oh for a good neighbour

Oh for a good neighbour

Next, the Music in the Gardens tour! But first, do let me remind you of a wonderful tour coming up on July 27th:

CASA tour

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On August 9th, Ann Skordahl’s garden club from Vancouver toured our garden and Tom and Judy Hornbuckle’s garden four houses down.  Ann’s garden was also on the garden tour this year.  Every year, her club visits a couple of weeks later to see the gardens that were her favourites on the year’s tour. This club had, in the past, been welcome guests at my old garden and my mother’s garden.

entering Tom and Judy's front garden

entering Tom and Judy’s front garden

In the photos of the club touring the Hornbuckle garden, you can see not only how lovely and well maintained the garden is, but how much fun it is to have an appreciative and knowledgeable group come to visit one’s garden.

On a tiny lot, similar to the small lots that might be found in a city, Tom and Judy have created an impeccable garden with several microclimates, a collection of Japanese maples, two courtyard areas and a collection of carefully chosen annuals and perennials.  Tom mows his lawn every three days in the growing season, and it is simply perfect.

Tom talks lawns

Tom talks lawns

down the west side

down the west side

into the driveway

into the driveway

admiring the porch

admiring the porch

the porch

the porch

photo time

photo time

garden club friends

garden club friends

around the east side

around the east side

on the east side

on the east side

admiring

admiring

front garden again

front garden again

happy garden dance

happy garden dance

explaining how it's done

explaining how it’s done

and off they go...four doors down to our garden.

and off they go…four doors down to our garden.

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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 entrance As we drove down a country road to the last garden, the setting began to look familiar. Our Garmin helped us find the garden much more easily than when we had last visited it in 2007.  From the programme guide:  “This large country garden has it all–evergreen trees, including a 100 year old Redwood, Christmas trees, fruit trees, shrubs, vines, perennials, annuals, windowboxes, a vegetable garden, chicken coop, and garden art, much of it salvaged.”

patio bench

patio bench

on the patio

on the patio

horse trough planter

horse trough planter

Colour surrounds the patio and lavishes forth from containers.  I do love the look of a horse trough used as a planter, which had featured large in a garden tour I’d attended in Eugene.  I’ve never gotten one because I am so economical about everything but plants…and soil…and manure.

around the patio

around the patio

We followed a curving sidewalk path to an arbour that offered a glimpse of a neighbour’s garden.

path to neighnours

path to neighbours

That is when I knew for sure I had been here before because I well remembered the juxtaposition of the two gardens.  I always envy next door gardening neighbours.

As I recalled the neighbour’s garden consisted of a fenced veg patch with wildflowers at the front.

wildflowers backed with veg

wildflowers backed with veg

The vegetable garden’s attractive fence seemed to low to keep the deer out but it must work or they would have longer things sticking up to fortify it.

fence for vegetables

fence for vegetables

Deer must be quite a problem here!

Deer must be quite a problem here!

arbour

arbour

We returned through a grape arbour to the Miller garden.  Note the bricks under the arbour…  The owners have salvaged a great many bricks over time and are fortunate that they have a wealth of the bricks that say “Hidden”.  It is a word so evocative of secret gardens but apparently was just the name of an old local brick yard.  I had a few but I fear I left them all behind in my old garden.

brick work

brick work

fenced border

fenced border

Along another house (perhaps another neighbour?) we saw further evidence of fencing for deer.  A little flower pot on top of a stake makes it so much cuter.

The center of the garden buzzed with people getting ready for the raffle and refreshments, so we wandered to the other side where my eye was drawn to a fire circle and to plates on a fence.

campfire lawn

campfire lawn

plates on a fence

plates on a fence

Fen's Ruby

Fen’s Ruby

The plates!  The mossy old fence!  The old wooden lintel with plates on top.  The ornate old metal plate hanger!  I love every bit of it.

Another plate hangs next to a bed infested with Euphorbia ‘Fen’s Ruby’; so pretty, so invasive. Some crept from my mom’s plants into the Ilwaco post office garden and I am reminded that I should weed it out.ingredients

ingredients

Nearby a work area hold piles and piles of lovely ingredients including more “hidden” bricks.  More fodder for making paths that lead here and there…one of which is made from the “rock’n mold” type of cement mold that I used to have….

paths

paths

…and one leading to a sit spot with rustic old chairs.

vintage chairs

vintage chairs

We realized we must stop wandering, head back to the gathering area, partake of some refreshment and then get on to our nursery shopping.  But first we stopped to admire the Miller’s fenced vegetable garden.  It made me want to devote an area of my garden to a lovely patch like this.  (But where?)

vegetable gate

vegetable gate

I loved the way that colanders hung on the prongs of an old garden tool, at the ready for gathering.

for harvesting

for harvesting

What a productive looking vegetable patch!

What a productive looking vegetable patch!

We took a further exploratory walk to appreciate more small details.

little bench, windowboxes

little bench, windowboxes

small wooden barrow

small wooden barrow

And then made our way to the gathering spot on the lawn.

refreshments and raffle

refreshments and raffle

With a quick bite and the decision to forgo the raffle in order to get to our favourite nursery in Gearhart, we departed.  Or almost did.  Our attempt to beat the rush leaving was thwarted by a dead battery in our car,  but we were saved by a kind person with a truck and jumper cables in time to drive out just before the many tour goers started to jockey around the crowded parking area.

another tour

another tour

Success!  We made it to Back Alley Gardens in time…and what did we see in the window but a poster for yet another garden tour, one that would occur after ours.   I remembered the glorious Gearhart tour that I had been on years before and was determined to go.

We acquired a carload full of good plants from Back Alley.  There is nothing like one’s own garden tour coming up to justify spending any amount of money on plants.  We got home in time to have a campfire in our own way back garden with our friend J9, our next door neighbour who would be moving away soon.  We had postpone it twice because of wind (a danger next to the bogsy wood!) and I knew garden tour prep madness would set in as the seven days passed till…tour day!  It was all I could do to stop planting my new plants before nightfall and sit to share the campfire meal with my friends.  But looking back now, this experience was a wonderful part of the day.

campfire

In our own garden….with Jeannine and Allan…where we wondered why we hardly ever relax like this.

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Joanne Fuller and Linda Ernst gardens

Four years ago these two next door gardens were on the tour and I rhapsodized about how wonderful it would be to have such a neighbour and how it reminded me of the book Gardening from the Heart.  Some changes had been made to each garden.  I’m sure one of them had a new back yard water feature…

the sidewalk shared by the two gardens

first garden driveway

Tall Azara microphylla on corner of first house

I do hope my new Azara microphylla gets this tall.  The one in my old garden had gotten fairly tall and was just about to bloom when it fell over in a storm. (It blooms in late winter and indeed, the flowers smelled of vanilla; the opened just as the broken tree lay on the patio.)    When we moved to our new garden, I noticed that the old Azara stump had put out new leaves so perhaps it has come back for the new owner of that garden.

My favourite early bloomer was the Azara lanceolata that mysteriously died in that same garden and I have not yet managed to get me one of those.

in the first garden

side garden

the bright panels draw you in

colourful panels

a little fire spot

in the side garden

artful colour echoes

from the side yard….to the back yard patio. Mike Darcy on right, new water feature right, past the three square pavers.  Also: a table with treats.

beautiful water feature in first garden back yard

This called for many photos.

Jeffrey Bale Mosaic

In the second garden we’re treated to the sight of a mosaic by Portlander Jeffrey Bale.  (His own intricately mosaiced home and garden will be in the next journal entry.)

second garden, back yard

chair in second garden

second garden

chair and glass flowers

bright glass accents

shady porch, sunny garden

a water feature

path around side of house

At the front of the house, a seating area positioned on the roof of the garage overlooked the residential street.

the garage at street level; above it, the chairs and table

At street level and to the side of the seating area, opaque screens provided privacy while letting in the light.  I think these were made from shower doors, as we will see in one of the next days most spectacular tour gardens.

privacy screens

beautiful light capture

on the stairs to the sidewalk, the gift of a volunteer seedling

The neighbouring gardens are joined across the front yard as well as the back.

If my neighbour, who is in her 80s and no longer gardens, were still able I know that she would garden with me like this.

A very new garden

Next we did a quick walk through a garden that was very new.  Too new, I felt, to be on the tour.  I think that to Portland gardeners the designer might have been well known, and therefore her new work may have been of great interest, but to outsiders there was just not….enough.  (How carefully I choose my words so as not to hurt the feelings of the gardener who may chance upon this.  I am sure the garden is wonderful as I write this in spring of 2012!)

On the way into the garden: Cerinthe major purpurascens, one of my very favourite annuals.

The Portland neighbourhood

The Portland neighbourhood, however, provided many lovely vignettes on the way to the next garden.

a white flowering street tree…breathtaking…what is it?

And the houses of Portland are so lovely, so cheerfully painted and filled with such rich architectural detail.

lady in red

dormers

painted details

matching paint and foliage

gingerbread

handsome foursquare

Oh dear, garden touring is not much fun for dogs!

Next (as soon as I find time to write it; this catch-up project has gone into mid April and gardening season is upon us!): the unique, the colourful, the bright, the whimsical Jeffrey Bale garden!  [I ended up taking up this tale again many months later!]

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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

closer

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

detail

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…

porch

and a hammock which they actually use; that’s the advantage of a small garden.

hammock

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

bottlescaping

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

verticality

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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Robin Mers garden and Stephens-Norden garden

If I learned nothing else from this particular study weekend, I remembered these two things:  Geranium ‘Rozanne’ can make a blue river through a garden, and tall Alliums looks best in thickly planted groups as seen here in Robin Mers’ garden.

Alliums

Alliums

Alliums

the back garden

looking down from the deck

the view of Puget Sound

shady plantings by the house

hosta

details

At some point here I segued into the next door garden of Mary Jean Stephens and John Norden, but I am not quite sure when it happened or to which garden this colourful container belonged.

bright

fire circle

shade

I have a feeling that we are still in the Mers garden, but since the two are right next door to each other they may have melded styles and ideas.  (And how delightful would it be to have a neighbour who shares one’s garden passion.)

I think I need some urns if I ever open my garden again....

Ah, now we have definitely moved into the next door garden; I can tell by the home’s elegant purple door.

Stephens-Norden front door

To the very left you can see garden tourists just at the top of the stairs.  Sadly, the steep stone steps down to the back patio had no railing and were QUITE steep. I had bad vertigo from an ear infection and suffer from gardener’s knee and just could not do it. Felt like quite an old lady while others climbed up and down.  Sheila went down and later told me the best part was the top level.  I had time to enjoy it.

upper level

The last stop was the Arboretum at South Seattle Community College but my friend and I were so tired, and so stressed by city traffic, that we skipped it and went back to the hotel to collapse and conserve strength for tomorrow’s touring all the way from Ruston (Tacoma) to Tumwater.  After we had toured the many far apart gardens, Allan would meet me in Tumwater and Sheila would drive all the way home to the Albany, Oregon area.  We fretted:  Could we possibly manage to get to all of the gardens?  From the tour guide’s descriptions, each sounded not to be missed.

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