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Posts Tagged ‘secret gardens’

Capitol Hill North Slope

I looked for, and found, an old garden I had much admired on walks around Capitol Hill back when I lived in Seattle, and it looked even better now. You can just see the gardener puttering at the lower edge of the south hillside garden.

hillside garden

hillside garden

A sidewalk stairway goes down through the garden which had been a gift to passersby for many years.

the garden from the city sidewalk

the garden from the city sidewalk

A homeowner near the bottom of the stairs on the other side had also become an avid gardener.

other side

other side

The gardens together made a paradise.

paradise

the newer part of the gardens

the newer part of the gardens

I am sure that when I first discovered this place in the late 80s, it was only on one side of the stairs.

little steps in the older part of the garden

little steps in the older part of the garden

detail, hillside garden

detail, hillside garden

little terraces

little terraces and a pool

near the gardener's house

near the gardener’s house

Hilda’s Garden

I then switched to a visit with another friend, Hilda,  known on the gardening forums as “Gardening Fool”;  she took me on a shopping trip to this wholesale nursery on the east side.

at a big wholesale nursery

at a big wholesale nursery

Being frugal and determined to get out of debt, combined with traveling by train, I only bought a very few plants.

We then had a tasty lunch and visited Hilda’s creative and lovely garden.

In Hilda's garden

In Hilda’s garden

in Hilda's garden

in Hilda’s garden

Hilda's garden

Hilda’s garden

Hilda's garden

Hilda’s garden

On visits like these, I wished I still lived in Seattle so I could have more time with great gardeners in their own wonderful gardens.

Next: on to Ballard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Way back in 1998, my friend and then-client Sharon and I went to a Haystack Rock summer weekend in Cannon Beach for which Ann Lovejoy and Lucy Hardiman taught a garden design workshop on Saturday and took us garden touring on Sunday.  (Sharon and I had become fast friends when we had created a garden for her earlier in the year; a few years later she moved away and the garden faded back into lawn.)

Digression:  Making Sharon’s Garden

In 1998 we created this garden around Sharon's house where once had been just three scraggly rosebushes.

In 1998 we created this garden around Sharon’s house where once had been just three scraggly rosebushes.

..and we made a rock wall garden along the bayside of her lot.

..and we made a rock wall garden along the bay side of her lot.

above: back in the days before the “straighten”button!

...and turned a mound into a little pond waterfall area.

…and turned a mound into a little pond waterfall area.

Sharon's beautiful bird bath.

Sharon’s beautiful bird bath.

And here is Sharon’s garden in 1999:

Shaz garden with pineapple sage

Shaz garden with pineapple sage

Shaz' garden

Shaz’ garden with new arbour by my former partner, Robert Sullivan

Back to the tour story:

On the weekend of the Haystack Rock garden design workshop, we toured the big country garden of Cannon Beach garden designer Beth Holland first, just on the other side of Highway 101 and down a short quiet road..

Beth Holland's garden just outside Cannon Beach.

Beth Holland’s garden just outside Cannon Beach.

Beth's greenhouse was constructed with large old windows from a school.

Beth’s greenhouse was constructed with large old windows from a school.

In Beth's garden

In Beth’s garden

After the lovely tour of Beth’s estate, we drove to the Tolovana neighbourhood of Cannon Beach and saw this lovely sight by the sea.

a Cannon Beach garden

a Cannon Beach garden overlooking the sea

garden detail

garden detail

in Cannon Beach

in Cannon Beach

One of the gardens had a train layout.

train garden

train garden

train layout in ocean view garden, Tolovana neighbourhood of Cannon Beach.

train layout in ocean view garden, Tolovana neighbourhood of Cannon Beach.

My favourite garden was that of local writer and quilter and gardener June Kroft.  (I was deeply saddened in 2010 to learn that the one year (2009)  when I had forgotten due to my mother’s ill health to go to the Cannon Beach Cottage tour, June’s cottage had been on it. I would love to see the inside.)

in June Kroft's garden

in June Kroft’s garden

In June's garden (left, Lucy Hardiman)

In June’s garden (left, in blue, Lucy Hardiman)

June's glorious garden shed

June’s glorious garden shed

I have an old book from the Cannon Beach Historical Society, a bit worse for wear from years in my old damp cottage.  I got it when the society had a photo exhibit called “A Village of Flowers”  at their museum in 1999.  The booklet is created from a manuscript by June Kroft and I share here a few pages from it in hope that perhaps you may be inspired to find yourselves a copy.

From the book:  Old Timer: Throw out a bunch of nasturtium seeds around a piece of driftwood.  That’s a beach garden.”

cover

Hinoki

sharing

historic

Tommy's garden

paths

vegetables

Now that’s my idea of a garden tour.

For my next birthday after the garden design workshop, Sharon gave me this framed sketch that Ann Lovejoy had made in Sharon’s notebook to illustrate the design concept of “bubble and flow”.  I treasure it to this day.

Ann Lovejoy: bubble and flow

Ann Lovejoy: bubble and flow

It helped a great deal with my garden design confidence, that while Lucy Hardiman makes design drawings that are intricate and scaled to the inch, Ann’s a more of a sketch, an idea, a chicken scratch….like mine.

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We continued to care for the lovely green landscape at Cranks’ Roost.  Probably because of being preoccupied with our garden tour, we did not clear any further into the wooded area, which I want to do.  Here are some photos of the garden through the year.

spring

March

early March

22 march

22 march

22 March

22 March

22 March

22 March

summer

front gate

front gate

patio

patio

boxwood and daisies

boxwood and daisies

boxwood

boxwood

gold and green

gold and green

green on green

green on green

a rivulet of Geranium 'Rozanne'

a rivulet of Geranium ‘Rozanne’

view south from patio

view south from patio

Cryptomeria 'Sekkan Sugi'

Cryptomeria ‘Sekkan Sugi’

The plant for 2013 is to get two more of these, which is going to require some plant juggling.

Japanese maple (looking north to patio)

Japanese maple (looking north to patio)
stump birdhouse

stump birdhouse

back porch

back porch

tools

tools

rose

rose

rose

rose

bench

bench

daisies by the patio

daisies by the patio

Autumn

One way that we will find room for another Cyrptomeria is with the removal of this Juniper.  It is not happy with wet feet.

sad Juniper

sad Juniper

Fortunately it was very inexpensive tree.  The same one is going great at Marilyn’s garden in dryer soil.

the first fallen leaves with dark pink Schizostylis in bloom

the first fallen leaves with dark pink Schizostylis in bloom

honeysuckle berries on front fence

honeysuckle berries on front fence

autumn

autumn

lacecap hydrangea

lacecap hydrangea

willows after pruning (to keep the path open)

willows after pruning (to keep the path open)

in the flower bed

in the flower bed

leaves

leaves

autumn carpet

autumn carpet

Japanese maple

Japanese maple

So…for 2013, our main task is to get two more gold Cryptomerias and do some more pruning of willows to let more light into the back yard and make the other trees happier.

I wish it were easier to get the Cryptos here….I think we will have to go at least as far as Seaside, Oregon, to acquire them.

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Just two houses east of us is an old empty house that is gently sagging into ruin.  We were invited inside by former tenants who showed us a big upstairs room they called “the trampoline room” because the floor had so much give they were afraid to walk in there.  We hope someday to see the house loved again.

the front of the house

the front of the house

historic marker on front porch

historic marker on front porch

The house sits on a corner lot.  As one walks past its east side, one can see that it was long ago planted with beautiful trees and shrubs.

The house sits on a corner lot. As one walks past its east side, one can see that it was long ago planted with beautiful trees and shrubs.

The back yard used to fascinate me when I would walk around downtown, before I moved to Lake Street in October of 2010.

summer 2010, from the side street

summer 2010, from the side street

Someone is still dispatched by the owners to mow the lawn.

summer 2011

summer 2011

On a foggy 1st of October in 2012, the garden beckoned me in irresistably.

October

October 2012

Roses festooned the edged of a huge old Pampas grass.

Pampas grass and roses

Pampas grass and roses

An old rhododendron sprouted a topknot of Himalayan blackberry.

rhodo with blackberru

rhodo with blackberry

Looking east toward the road from the center of the garden, unkept ornamental grass with rhododendron.

grass and rhodo

grass and rhodo

It would be hard for me to bring this garden back because of the way the plants are planted sort of willy nilly.  I would feel sentimental about its past, but the arrangement would be difficult for me to work with.

a maze of grasses, roses, and rhododendrons

a maze of grasses, roses, and rhododendrons

Further in, an old area is fenced, perhaps for a veg garden.

maybe a berry patch?

maybe a berry patch?

Near to the fence, a holly seedling has sprouted vigorously right from the middle of another old rhodo.

holly usurper

holly usurper

arched branches

arched branches

There is the occasional beer can, so the paths in the lawn are worn by deer or perhaps by human feet.

deer path?  or?

deer path? or?

Like our lot two doors down, the Elfreda house lot goes through all the way to the meander line.  Until the Port of Ilwaco built up the land with dredge spoils in the middle of the last century, the south end of the lot would have been tidal riverfront.

willow

willow

This area corresponds with our “bogsy woods”.  My neighbour to the west has lived here all her life and tells me she and her friends used to swim in a swimming hole just past the willows.

to the old swimming hole

to the old swimming hole

This used to be the old swimming hole…at the river beach. Now it’s by the Port parking lots. By October 2012 it has completely dried up from an unusually droughty summer.

old swimming hole, October 2012

old swimming hole, October 2012

Here it is in late October 2011 after a more normal period of autumn rain.

22 October 2011

22 October 2011

By late December 2012 the rain had returned and the water had again risen….much better for all the little frogs, but nothing like the swimming hole that it used to be.

December 2012

December 2012

And here, once one walks around the swimming hole to the very south side of the property, is the view of the port where once the tide lapped in.

view across the meander line, Feb. 2011

view across the meander line, Feb. 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In our own garden, an evening of plant observation as dusk falls.  Some gardeners get up very early for that perfect morning lot.  I am more like Tallulah Bankhead:  “Do you mean to tell me that there are two nine o’clocks in the day?”  So evening light is what I get.

Twilight: August 20th

back garden

back garden

back garden with Achillea and Leycesteria 'Golden Lanterns'

back garden with Achillea and Leycesteria ‘Golden Lanterns’

Acanthus spinosus

Acanthus spinosus

annual candytuft

annual candytuft

sweet peas

sweet peas in front garden

poppies

poppies

annual poppies and Artemisia 'Powis Castle'

annual poppies and Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’

river of Geranium 'Rozanne'

river of Geranium ‘Rozanne’

sweet peas in back garden

sweet peas in back garden

dahlia

dahlia

dahlias

dahlias

dahlia

dahlia

dahlias

dahlias

dahlia bouquet

dahlia bouquet

rudbeckia

rudbeckia

rudbeckia

rudbeckia

yellow and white dahlia

yellow and white dahlia

lilies

lilies as darkness falls

twilight

twilight

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29 July, 2013: Gearhart Oregon, a benefit for Clatsop County CASA.

outside the garden

outside the garden

front courtyard

front courtyard

After a happy chance interlude in a non-tour garden just up the block, we began the official Gardens by the Sea tour in Ron Stefani’s garden, described in the programme as having “Masses of hydrangeas and sweeping tall grasses surround the front yard seating and in the back, a deck that makes your heart sing.”   A soothing garden, it consisted of boxwood, Hydrangeas, and Miscanthus.

front gate

front gate

front porch with hydrangeas

front porch with hydrangeas

back garden: boxwood

back garden: boxwood

It is a tidy, clipped garden. I could do this for a client. In fact, we had a client who wanted this sort of garden and we succeeded. ‘Twas very soothing. But I need to go wild to be a happy gardener!!  I enjoyed this garden very much but would not have the discipline to stick to the three plant scheme.

back deck, container with Euphorbia

back deck, container with Euphorbia

other side

Boxwood and Hydrangeas

The other side of the back garden continued with the clipped boxwood, banks with white hydrangeas, and then a gently sloping mound topped with Miscanthus.

white Hydrangeas, Miscanthus

white Hydrangeas, Miscanthus (Ornamental grass)

Interlude

next door

next door

As we walked on to the next garden, a few blocks west, we passed several gardens that inspired me to get out the camera.  Just east of the Stefani garden, the neighbours had a simple, beachy landscape (left) with some bags of soil set out but not yet applied.  Up the block and just next to Roger’s fabulous garden, an exuberant cottage garden contained a white and green variegated member of the mint family that  I used to have, and no longer do, but I could not and cannot remember its name.  (below, right)

cottage garden

cottage garden

Sheila thinks the mystery plant is a variegated Agastache and she might be right!

Walking on....a pretty, simple driveway garden

Walking on….a pretty, simple driveway garden

Could this be a Gearhart house that we could afford?

Could this be a Gearhart house that we could afford?

Like Cannon Beach, but moreso, Gearhart is an expensive town with a reputation for exclusivity.  Even the rare derelict house probably costs a fortune.  But oh, what I could do with the one above…and look at all those windows!

beachy arbour and driftwood

beachy arbour and driftwood

wildlife habitat

wildlife habitat

Walking on, and almost to the second tour garden, we passed a house with such a beachy, weathered arbour.  Judy’s friend Liz observed that, in the photo above, the driftwood piece by the gate looks like a sea lion balancing a yellow beach ball on its nose.  On the fence, a sign (left) informed us that the garden is an official wildlife habitat.

Directly across the street from the second tour garden, a newly planted landscape (below) caught our eyes.  Later in the day of touring we learned that it had been installed by Steve Clarke, from Seaview, former owner of an excellent Willapa bayside nursery called Clarke’s that we had frequented often back in the day.  He has now gone mostly into creating gardens and while touring, we met a nice fellow who works with him.

a Steve Clarke garden

a Steve Clarke garden

detail, Clarke garden

detail, Clarke garden

Now at last, after much distraction, we turn our attention across the street to tour garden number two…

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Here is a mystery:  Why does this post get several hits a day?  Do comment and tell me why, if you know.  P.S.  I have figured it out; it’s traffic stemming from a fairy door pin on pinterest.

July 21, 2012

outside the south gate

outside the south gate

We’ve walked through the front garden and the back garden on Peninsula garden tour day  Now we have worked our way to the very back of our large double city lot: the bogsy woods that back up on to the Port of Ilwaco meander line and parking lots.  Here was the site of a cathartic clean up in September of 2011.  Much grooming and decorating had followed.

The southernmost fence had a couple of would-be tour guests outside on tour day morning.

I have deliberately left groves of salmonberry in the bogsy wood but cut paths through and between and cut some halfway down to make sightlines through, and in the center cleared a view corridor that lets us see out to the port year round.  The tour guests seemed to greatly enjoy walking through the paths and over the bridge to the area outside the fence where a big seasonal water ditch separates us from the parking lots.

Even though I have never been a lawn fan, I left a large lawn space between the flower beds and the woods with the idea that comfortable gathering spaces are necessary for a garden party.

our fire circle with bogsy wood behind

our fire circle with bogsy wood behind

signs

signs

On the east fence along the woods I had more quotations painted on old boards, an ephemeral and last minute idea.  “A massive dose of inspiration should result in drastic action.  Be bold and never question inspiration-driven ideas.  Timidity results in inactivity and a stagnant or non-existent garden.”  (Thomas Hobbs)

and “Some people spend their time dreaming of a paradise in heaven.  I would rather create it here on earth.” (Jenny Ferguson)

Next comes one of my favourite gardening quotations, by Helen Dillon:  ” are always told that the first thing we must do on getting a garden is to make a plan…But, in fact, the last thing I ever want to do is make a plan–I feel weak just thinking about it. My idea of heaven was (and still is) to indulge in a lavish buying spree. And the consequences? Too bad. Bugger plans!”  It is something I always want to tell a potential client who asks me to drawn a plan.  Because I just can’t.  (Or, er, won’t.  Or am really simply artistically incapable of it.)

dillonsign

At the end of the east side grass path one turns left to a path leading by the bogsy wood swale than in winter is full of water.  Past the bridge the swale jogs over a bit to the north and curves around to the west fence….all full of water in winter.

swales

swales

blue door (in spring)

blue door (in spring)

In the center we had a big plant table of moss and ferns, inspired by George Schenk, that Allan had built for me from an old door.  We had fairy doors that Allan had found at Home and Garden Art (that shop on 85th in Seattle) and embellished with stairs (although a friend of ours pointed out the fairies don’t need stairs because they can fly.  So we say the stairs are for their pet frogs.)

When garden writer Jolly Butler came through on tour day (exciting!) she told me I simply must watch this video of the song “There are Fairies at the Bottom of My Garden.”

fairy door with stairs

fairy door with stairs

paths in the bogsy wood

paths in the bogsy wood

A plant table inspired by George Schenk sits to the right of the center path to bridge.

plant table with moss and ferns

plant table with moss and ferns

Down the center clearing, the view corridor to the port, one comes to the bridge to the southern gate.

the bridge

the bridge

And then, if one turns and looks back to the garden, one might be drawn back to the three large sunny borders.

looking north from the bogsy wood

looking north from the bogsy wood

On your way back, look to the right of the fire circle, back against the salmonberry, for another of my favourite garden quotations (and my big excuse for the rather huge amount of money I have spent on this garden).

the cost of pure joy

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