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Posts Tagged ‘Millpond Village’

Here’s our tour of  Helen Westbrook’s beautiful Mill Pond Village garden last Saturday, a garden I discovered on the July 2012 Astoria garden tour and then saw again in March on one of the last days of winter.

view from our parking spot, SW corner of townhouse

view from our parking spot, SW corner of townhouse

approaching the entrance (Hebe)

approaching the entrance (Hebe)

just as beautiful as I remembered

just as beautiful as I remembered

I’m going to give you every view, because why should you not enjoy it to the fullest?

Helen's garden

garden

One of my favourite features of this garden is the dry creek bed or swale which captures winter water runoff.

looking east over the swale

looking east over the swale

I find this so very pleasing.

I find this so very pleasing.

To the right, above, you can see a bit of the Sambucus ‘Black Lace’.  Helen said she had recently pruned it and brought some of the flowers into the house and said they did not smell very nice.

Sambucus 'Black Lace'

Sambucus ‘Black Lace’

looking west over the swale

looking west over the swale
seating by the swale

seating by the swale

barrel planter

barrel planter

arbour into the center to the garden

arbour into the center to the garden

arbour detail

arbour detail

a little wishing well

a little wishing well

Below, you can see how shrubs have grown in the last year and provide a privacy screen for the porch of the neighbour to the north.  The garden itself is on an unbuilt lot between the two townhouses.

view looking west

view looking west

shrub screen

shrub screen

By now Helen had emerged from her house.  We wondered together whether or not it was normal for the Physocarpus ‘Coppertina’ (?I think it is that one) to be showing both white and copper flowers.

two colours

two colours

a fragrant rugosa rose in the hedge

a fragrant rugosa rose in the hedge

Looking from the hedge toward Helen's porch

Looking from the hedge toward Helen’s porch

a comfy bench

a comfy bench

blue table

blue table

to the west of the table, a solar powered water feature

to the west of the table, a solar powered water feature

Helen says even a passing cloud will make it turn off, but it would still be attractive.

Helen says even a passing cloud will make it turn off, but it would still be attractive.

bicycle basket

bicycle basket

That combination of sedums and ferns is unusual and most attractive.

I marveled to Helen at the detail in her groundcovers; even without being on a garden tour this year, she has attended carefully to creating small vignettes which I know take attention to maintain.

shells and moss

shells and moss and stones

a little jug

a little jug

a tiny clearing for stones

a tiny clearing for stones

and precious jewels.

and precious jewels.

This makes me want a smaller garden so I can attend to such details, but Allan has time for effects like this in his shady fern garden.

Anton memorial

Anton memorial

Anton was a golden labrador who was friends with all the residents of Mill Pond Village.  Helen described him as bringing neighbours together.  He died recently and his ashes were shared among his human friends, and some are buried here.

There must be a gardening bond among many of the residents as almost all have little curbside gardens (which were featured on the Astoria Garden Tour several years ago).

a floriferous porch

a floriferous porch

along a shady walkway

along a shady walkway

If Loren of Futureworld sees this post, I hope he will tell me if the hosta above is more interesting than the ones he described earlier this year.

on a corner

on a corner

lawn between townhouses

lawn between townhouses

At the end of the long lawn is the Astoria Riverwalk along the Columbia River, and in summer the adorable trolley goes by.

It was such a treat to see Helen’s garden again and we would have liked to walk all around the village and see the little gardens and the houses that are built right by the old mill pond itself, but we had nurseries to get to…so perhaps we will make another visit in late summer.

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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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The little townhouse gardens of the Millpond Village, east of downtown Astoria, were also on the tour…One could have browsed around them on any day, but the tour gave the opportunity to get up close without feeling nosy and to walk around the private sidewalks of a couple of the houses.

tiny townhouse garden

narrow curbside and sidewalk gardens

sidewalk garden

corner garden

escallonia, lavender, lavatera, artemisia….

I would have wanted a corner house so I had just that bit more room to plant.

We got to walk the private path around one of the townhouses where the owner had tucked in a potting bench and a driftwood birdhouse.

a semi-private oasis

birdhouse

The views might make it worth giving up a big garden space.

Columbia River view

the River Walk and the famed Big Red old cannery, now art studio

the Astoria-Megler bridge

The old mill pond itself, once contaminated and abandoned and now reclaimed and restored

and best of all, the adorable old Astoria trolley with a conductor who will wave and smile…

The gardens, while small, are lovely.  A larger garden between the pond and the main highway, with a vine covered gazebo for gatherings, and some of the sidewalk plantings were originally designed by Ann Lovejoy and Cannon Beach’s Beth Holland.

I could imagine living here and peacefully contemplating the pond and the river…

Millpond Village

Perhaps I could find satisfaction in a tiny garden of my own, and express larger ideas in other people’s gardens.  But then I remember the conclusion I’ve reached time and again:  I would rather have a view of my own little pond in my own private garden, or even a whiskey barrel full of water and bog plants in my secret sanctuary, than any vasty view of river or ocean.

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