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Posts Tagged ‘Steve Clarke’

McCormick-Stephens Garden

Consider this your first sneak preview of the Music in the Garden tour, 2014! The Barclay garden will be on the tour again, and Mr. Barclay suggested that his neighbours’ garden also be included. Said neighbours invited tour organizer Nancy Allen to visit and I got to accompany her. We both agreed the garden and the visit were an 11 (or more) on a scale of 1-10.

halfway up the entry drive

halfway up the entry drive

The property is five acres. Stephen and John have been developing the garden for only a few years. The land is part of the former Clarke family properties which means there already was a collection of old rhododendrons in place. Stephen and John have gotten to know plantsman and rhodo expert Steve Clarke who can identify every shrub and tree. The new owners are well versed in shrubs and trees themselves, much more so than I am! Any mistakes in plant names here are mine alone.

When the entry road was being built, the men with heavy equipment wanted to remove a tree that was in its path. It was a favourite kind of tree of Stephen and John and instead they had the road curve around it.

Thujopsis dolabrata

Thujopsis dolabrata

first glimpse of the house

first glimpse of the house

The house was designed by local architect Erik Fagerland, who has shared a slideshow of it here.

house

A courtyard between two wings collected runoff from the roofs. The architect believes gutters spoil the lines of the house, so the rocky swale is the solution.

courtyard and water collection swale

courtyard and water collection swale

The owners told us that sometimes the swale is not enough to process all the water. It just occurs to me as I post this photo: I wonder if it were planted with some cool water absorbing grasses, would it handle heavy rains better and still retain this clean, open look?

courtyard

courtyard

west end of courtyard garden

west end of courtyard garden

I loved the garage doors and rate them the most gorgeous garage doors I have ever seen. They are made of a special sort of glass.

I didn't even know this was possible, but Googling showed me many images.

I didn’t even know this was possible, but Googling showed me many images of doors like these.

In a bed to the west of the house are three beautifully displayed small rhododendrons with soft indumentum under the leaves.

indumentum

indumentum

colour

They perfectly echo the colour of the house and remind me of one of my favourite gardening quotations:

People go through five stages of gardening. They begin by liking flowers, progress to flowering shrubs, then autumn foliage and berries; next they go for leaves, and then the undersides of leaves. -The Duchess of Devonshire

The east side of the house has a bay view. The lawn sweeps smoothly between their house and the Barclay house and on garden tour day, tour goers will be able to stroll back and forth between the two.

Willapa Bay

Willapa Bay, looking northeast

bay

looking southeast

looking southeast

We talked about how the tour day would be set up, which musician might play, and Nancy reminisced about the amazing food that Mr. Barclay served on tour day 2010!

envisioning

envisioning

I missed tour day at the Barclay garden. I had pre-toured the gardens that year with then tour organizer Patti Jacobsen; on tour day itself I was taking photos of Doggie Olympic Games and only got back to a few of the gardens. I quite missed out on a feast of cheese and wine and more at the Barclay garden that day.

the musician might be on this bay view patio nook.

the musician might be on this bay view patio nook.

a sheltered spot in case of inclement weather

a sheltered spot in case of inclement weather

SE corner of the house

SE corner of the house

looking southeast

a meticulously tended native landscape

looking southeast: a meticulously tended native landscape

From inside the house, the tall windows bring the light and view into play from every angle.

inside

imagine that patio with a musician...

imagine that patio with a musician…

light

Passing through the house, we began a detailed tour of the garden.

sculpture on west wall of house

sculpture on west wall of house

northwest garden bed

northwest garden bed
a perfectly placed Hebe

a perfectly placed Hebe

I quite like hebes and ended up with several photos of this one!

I quite like hebes, especially mound-shaped ones.

another hebe-centric view

another hebe-centric view

I fell in love with this perfectly mounded pale green plant:

plant

They told me it is a Kohuhu, and I found it’s a Pittosporum, and on Monrovia there maybe be more information about this very one if it is indeed ‘Golf Ball’. I must have this.

On the north west side of the house, a bed is anchored by mounds of Hebe. Note on the left a big Limelight Hydrangea in the background. We will see it again!

a little further west

a little further west with the hydrangea in the background

rhodo

a little closer

a little closer

garden beds and specimen trees

garden beds and specimen trees

a young Gingko

a young Gingko

a dwarf elm!

a dwarf elm!

I think the Elm is Ulmus x hollandica‘ Jacqueline Hillier’. Here’s a nice article about it.

more of the northwest garden

more of the northwest garden

rhodos

a rhododendron with small leaves

a rhododendron with small leaves

They told us this rhodo is covered with flowers in spring, pale pink as I recall. What a perfect property for gardeners who already have a great love for rhododendrons.

a person-like tree

If there ever was a tree that wanted a hug, it would be that one.

I love the shapes in this bed.

I love the shapes in this bed.

fluffy and pointy

fluffy and pointy

near the house

near the house….a huge cotoneaster??
and a wee hopping frog

and a wee hopping frog

Hydrangea 'Limelight'

Hydrangea ‘Limelight’

Hydrangea 'Limelight'

They call this their "bridge rhododendron".

They call this their “bridge rhododendron”.

sculpture

I am pleased to report that the patch of salal, below, is the last big patch left to be cleared. John and Stephen have succeeded in removing masses of the difficult and thuggish plant and this area will be next.

southside

goodbye salal

goodbye salal

an old,  shapely, tree-like cotoneaster

an old, shapely, tree-like cotoneaster

On the south side of the drive, John and Stephen have cleared, mostly by hand and chainsaw, alders and salal that were completely hiding the tree trunks.

south side

They save every fern they find.

south

As you can see, they carefully clean up each fern of last year’s foliage.

licorice fern on a tree

licorice fern…

an artistically bent tree

…on an artistically bent tree

trees

One of the areas where big trees came down in the 2007 windstorm will be planted with hollies and another with hydrangeas.

a bright spot in the forest

a bright spot in the forest…to be developed into a holly bed, I think

At the northwest side of the entire acreage is the old irrigation pond for the nursery that used to be here. In the near future, Stephen and John are planning to begin landscaping the banks.

reflection

pondtree

Beyond the pond is a meadow that provides a natural habitat for birds.

mown and unmown

mown and unmown

After this wonderful tour round the garden, we all walked back up to the house.

south side of driveway...with a little Hebe 'Quicksilver'

south side of driveway…with a little Hebe ‘Quicksilver’

John and Stephen’s knowledge of trees and shrubs far surpassed mine. Of course, I told them that Back Alley Gardens in Gearhart is the go to place around here for cool plants from Xera. They already knew about and had been to Dancing Oaks in Oregon; I suggested Cistus, Joy Creek and Gossler Farms. For an area that used to be the nursery parking lot and is terribly compacted, I suggested the book Beth Chatto’s Gravel Garden might have some ideas, and that for meadows any book by Piet Oudolf offers beautiful visions.

I look forward to having more plant talk with these well informed and talented gardeners and to seeing their garden next spring when all those rhodos are in bloom.

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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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