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Posts Tagged ‘Helen Westbrook garden’

Tuesday, 9 September 2014, part two

After we impulsively cut our work day short, we drove over the bridge to the Mill Pond Village toward the east end of Astoria, Oregon.  Our mission: to visit the Westbrook garden.  We had encountered its owner on the Peninsula garden tour and she had invited us to come see her garden any time whether or not she was home.  This time we missed her, so we took ourselves on a private tour of the garden that fills a lot between two townhouses.

We have visited the garden thrice before, when it was on the Astoria garden tour, a year ago June, and once in March to see how it looked with rainwater in the attractive drainage swale.  Very late summer was a new season for us in this fascinating garden.

We parked to the east of the garden and saw it from a half block away in the slanting late afternoon light.

west

looking west toward the garden

looking west toward the garden

We walked past some other townhouse pocket gardens on the way.  Helen’s is the only large personal garden in the townhouse complex, as she purchased an empty lot on which to create it.

a pocket garden by the sidewalk

a pocket garden by the sidewalk

one of the neighbour's sunny sit spots.

one of the neighbour’s sunny sit spots.

looking back at neighbour's tiny garden

looking back at neighbour’s tiny garden

Westbrook Garden

The first part of Helen’s garden that we view as we walk west on the townhouse sidewalk is the river rock drainage swale.

great solution for winter water

great solution for winter water

Appealing details abound in the garden.

Appealing details abound in the garden, and you will see that many of the decorations are round in form.

I was impressed when I noticed that she has managed to grow several cultivars of Japanese anemones.  They look so lovely now.  I have avoided them as they can be such thugs and I marveled at how Helen has kept them to well behaved clumps.

swale

white Japanese anemones by the swale

pink Japanese anemones

pink Japanese anemones, foreground

How does she keep them well behaved?  I am going to have to rethink my whole Japanese anemone situation now.

curly willow

background: curly willow, foreground: double pink Japanese anemone

white Japanese anemones...the best, maybe Honorine Jobert

white Japanese anemones…the best, maybe Honorine Jobert

still viewed from the sidewalk on the north side of the townhouse:  How the trees have grown!

the Westbrook garden by the sidewalk on the north side of the townhouse: How the trees have grown!

The west end of the sidewalk between townhouse and garden

The west end of the sidewalk between townhouse and garden

tree and lights

tree and lights

We enter between the tres for a wander all round the garden.

We enter between the tres for a wander all round the garden.

in the garden

in the garden; note the circular mounds of moss

arbour

We progress through the garden slowly, pausing at almost every step to take in more details.

Perhaps for the first time, I notice the lights.  The garden must be wonderful at night.

On this visit, perhaps for the first time, I notice the lights. The garden must be wonderful at night.

arbour rose (Allan's photo)

arbour rose (Allan’s photo)

To our right, a little stream of moss leads to the swale.

To our right, a little stream of moss leads to the swale and a little flock of birds.

a flock of birds

a flock of birds

green echinacea fading to autumn tones

echinacea fading to autumn tones

All of a sudden I am in love with rudbeckia, and I have absolutely none in any of my gardens.

All of a sudden I am in love with rudbeckia, and I have absolutely none in any of my gardens.

looking south across the garden to the porch

looking south across the swale to the porch

chocolate cosmos

chocolate cosmos

fuchsia (Allan's photo)

fuchsia (Allan’s photo)

pinky snapdragons

pinky snapdragons; One of her secrets to such perfection might be to keep adding fresh new annuals.

another sort of orb on the south side of the swale

another sort of orb on the south side of the swale.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

bench on south side of swale

bench on south side of swale

me touring the garden, Allan's photo

me touring the garden, Allan’s photo

More rudbeckia admiration...

More rudbeckia admiration…

rud

I am feeling a little obsessed with the need to acquire this common plant.  (I know I am getting some from Kathleen later this fall.)

I am feeling a little obsessed with the need to acquire this common plant. (I know I am getting some from Kathleen later this fall.)

What have we here?  Some sort of interesting project on the south side of the garden.

What have we here? Some sort of interesting project on the south side of the garden by the neighboring townhouse.

south-east edge, possibly blending into the neighbour's garden at this point

south-east edge, possibly blending into the neighbour’s garden at this point

On the east edge of the garden, look how the floppy grasses are tied up like big shocks of hay.

On the east edge of the garden, look how the floppy grasses are tied up like big shocks of hay.

Allan's photo.  I will be stealing this idea!

Allan’s photo. I will be stealing this idea!

the very south east corner of the garden, or perhaps the neighbour's garden, looking south to the Columbia River across a common lawn.

the very south east corner of the garden, or perhaps the neighbour’s garden, looking south to the Columbia River across a common lawn.

now at the west end of the garden, looking south to the townhouse

now at the west end of the garden, looking south to the townhouse

sit

a well-berried hypericum

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

I am relieved to see that the leaves of Helen's Stewartia look like mine; must be normal for this time of year

I am relieved to see that the leaves of Helen’s Stewartia look like mine; must be normal for this time of year

the west end of the garden

the west end of the garden

right next to the sidewalk

right next to the east-west sidewalk

picket fence at west end of garden, from the outside

picket fence at west end of garden, from the outside

west

looking east over the fence.  The shrubs provide privace for the neighbour to the south's porch.

looking east over the fence. The shrubs provide privace for the neighbour to the left’s porch.

Having circumnavigated the garden several times, we take a walk down a different sidewalk back to our van and admire some more pocket gardens on the way.

the west wall of the Westbrook townhouse

the west wall of the Westbrook townhouse

narrow garden along the north-south sidewalk

narrow garden along the west wall

I realize there is not a sidewalk on this side.

I realize there is not a sidewalk on this side.

around Millpond Village

As we walk east, a pocket garden by a tall townhouse.

As we walk east, a pocket garden by a tall townhouse.

It seems one must be a gardener to live here.

It seems one must be a gardener to live here.

I am, as happens every time I visit, filled with desire to live here (only if I could afford a townhouse AND a vacant lot on which to garden).  Surely all the neighbours are friends and spend the days visiting each other’s gardens!  Life here must be as idyllic as it looks.

P9090040

We walk to the river side of the complex and of course, the trolley goes by at just that moment.

along the riverwalk, with the Astoria-Megler bridge in the background

along the riverwalk, with the Astoria-Megler bridge in the background

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Just steps from the townhouses is the Astoria Riverwalk, with views like these.

view

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

river's edge

river’s edge

me on the Riverwalk, Allan's photo

me on the Riverwalk, Allan’s photo

south side of the townhouse village

south side of the townhouse village

idyllic indeed

idyllic indeed

We return to the van via a sidewalk by the common lawn between two wings of townhouses.

Each has a darling garden, of course.

Each has a darling garden, of course.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

I assume the residents do their own pocket gardens as each is different.

I assume the residents do their own pocket gardens as each is different.

Allan's photo of me taking the previous picture

Allan’s photo of me taking the previous picture

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

narrow walk between two houses

narrow walk between two townhouses

closeup:  exquisite perfection

closeup: exquisite perfection

If each owner really does his or her own garden, do you have to pass a garden design test to live here??

We drive just a block or two south toward the actual Millpond, stopping for a quick history lesson by the Riverwalk.

rr1

rr

rr

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The actual mill pond was part of the Astoria Plywood Mill.  The site got all cleaned up and I think the plan was for townhouses on pilings to be built all around it.  However, the pond itself has only a few homes overhanging it and most of the building has happened with the townhouses to the east of the pond where we just went garden touring.  You can read more about it at the Mill Pond Village website.

looking southwest over the pond

looking southwest over the pond

home overhanging the pond

home overhanging the pond

looking back (north) to that overhanging home

looking back (north) to that overhanging home

a small public garden on the pond's east shore

a small public garden by the pond’s east shore

On the west side of the mill pond is a common area with a garden and big pergola.

west

looking south from the common area

looking south from the common area

looking east over the pond

looking east over the pond

pergola shadow

pergola shadow

the common garden

the common garden

Leaving the Mill Pond Village with the full realization that we could never afford to live there, we treat ourselves to an early dinner at…

Himani Indian Cuisine

This restaurant is a favourite of our friends Don and Jenna.

This restaurant is a favourite of our friends Don and Jenna.

Gobi: Cauliflower tossed in special Hyderabadi spices and deep fried.

Gobi: Cauliflower tossed in special Hyderabadi spices and deep fried.  Reminded me of delicious Zahrah cauliflower at Mediterranean Kitchen in Seattle, which was just what I hoped for.

Poori, my favourite puffy Indian bread, with potatoes

Poori, my favourite puffy Indian bread, with a curried potato dish

raita, a creamy, cool yogurt condiment that I adore

raita, a creamy, cool yogurt condiment that I adore

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

We were amused by bird that dipped its head and brough up a toothpick.

We were amused by bird that dipped its head and brough up a toothpick.

bulbs

The practical part of the afternoon’s mission was grocery shopping at Costco and Fred Meyer.  The selection of Costco bulb bags was not as good as in previous years.  Perhaps more will come later…  I found three kinds of alliums, and I hope that the allium christophii really ARE christophii (albopilosum) because that is not the allium in the photo on the bag.

I wonder...

I wonder…

Blog reader Jamie should see if Costco still have bags of drumstick alliums (center) as they would be perfect for her garden…deerproof, and her spouse is a retired drummer.

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painted lady

painted lady

For the first time, the Peninsula Garden tour would be held in late July so the July 14th Astoria garden tour came first.  As always, the tickets were sold next to this beautiful painted lady high on the hill overlooking the Columbia River.

I have never seen this house look less than perfect.  Note that the colour scheme of the garden (and even the fire hydrant) echo the paint colours.

According to the programme, the first garden would be at the Millpond

colour coordinated garden

colour coordinated garden

Village.  Excitement did not fill my heart as we drove downhill and to the east.  I very much like the Millpond Village and admire its landscaping but figured we were in for a repeat of the tour in 2009 which had featured a lot of attractive curbside plantings.  (Ann Lovejoy and Beth Holland were among the designers for the Millpond landscaping so I certainly did not mind a stop to see how the parklike areas were coming along.)

However, when we got there we were treated to a lovely garden on an empty lot between two townhouses.  I had always thought a drawback to living there would be the tiny garden spaces.  What a brilliant solution to just (if one could afford to) buy an extra lot.

street view

street view

From the tour programme:   “Helen Westbrook garden:  This splendid young garden features a lovely river rock rain swale to manage storm water. With the high water table here, birds enjoy the temporary pond surrounded by “wet feet” plants. Birds are also attracted to shrubs…planted as a border for the neighbour’s patio. …It’s hard to believe this gem was once part of a plywood mill.”

As we approached, I still did not realize that an entire lot would be given over to garden.

narrow curbside garden....and bindweed in training!

narrow curbside garden….and bindweed in training!

curbside detail

curbside detail

 

arbour entrance

beside the arbour entrance

garden lot

garden lot

The main garden is between two townhouses on a lot which originally was planned to be another townhouse.

What a pleasurable oasis it has added to this area of otherwise tiny sidewalk gardens.

And what a joy it would be to be lucky enough to be the gardener’s neighbour.  We were told that the neighbour across the lot also participates in some of the gardening.

dry creekbed for water run off...

dry creekbed for water run off…

I very much liked the water swale between the townhouse and a central patio.  In mid July, it still had some water. I wonder if the little creek bed (right) has water in it all winter long?  In fact, if I remembered, I would love to look at this garden on a wet winter day.

water swale

water swale, looking east

swale

swale, looking west

seasonal pond

seasonal pond

I love the seasonal pond and admired the attention to detail: no underwear showing!

looking west from just outside the garden

looking west from just outside the garden

townhouse at NE corner of garden

townhouse at NE corner of garden

The neighbour toward the river carried the garden theme around to the front of her own townhouse.   The little front garden is more the usual size of the Millpond Village gardens.

neighbour's front garden

neighbour’s front garden

I LOVE gardening neighbours. Here’s the wall of the house north of the Westbrook Garden lot, where the neighbour has added to the ambience.  Her potting bench shows a simple but clever way to display plant tags.

neighbour's potting bench

neighbour’s patio

view from neighbour's

view of the garden from the neighbour’s sit spot

We circulated around the Westbrook garden several times, admiring all the details.

tags: painted paint stirrer and gold paint

tags: painted paint stirrer and gold paint

little fence

little fence

birdbath with sand dollars

birdbath with sand dollars

tablescape

tablescape with little polka dot plants

another planted chair

a planted chair

bird nest accent

bird nest accent

choice plantings

choice plantings

another planted chair

another planted chair

Across the street from the planted chair at the edge of the garden, you can see a vacant lot gone to yellow dandelions which is probably the same size as the garden whose every nook we had been admiring.

Our own garden would be on the Music in the Gardens tour in just seven days, and after seeing all the bright annuals tucked into Ms. Westbrook’s garden, I knew we had to make haste and see all the gardens in time to fill our car with still more plants for our garden open day.

I needed more colour!

I needed more colour!

So on we went headed west through downtown Astoria to the next garden.

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