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Posts Tagged ‘stone steps’

On June 16th, a month before the Music in the Gardens tour, I went to pre-tour Ann and Gary Skordahl’s garden with tour organizer Nancy Allen, to help write up the tour programme.   I had met Ann on many another garden tour; each year she brings a tour group of friends from Vancouver, Washington, about a month after tour day to see her favourite gardens of the year’s selection, so she had been twice to both my old garden and my mother’s garden.

nurse log in driveway garden, 16 June

nurse log in driveway garden, 16 June

“A gold leafed heron announces the South Bay gated community where Gary and Ann Skordahl have created a home and richly textured gardens fronting Willapa Bay. First be greeted by a circular shady entry garden of hostas….”

Below, the same area on our post-tour day, July 22, when most of us who had opened our gardens toured each others’.

driveway garden, 22 July

driveway garden, 22 July

Beside the driveway: a 60 foot flower border within curving basalt stone walls from the family owned rock quarry, set into place by the Skordahl men.

along the driveway

along the driveway

There are two stairways to the house, one a sturdy, widely spaced concrete staircase…

16th June

16th June

22 July

22 July

stone stairs, 16 June

stone stairs, 16 June

….and the other nearby picturesque stairway of stone softened by creeping thyme.  “Climbing up their stone steps, softened by fragrant creeping thyme, you will pass rhododendrons, escallonia, hydrangeas and ceanothus which anchor the wonderful home.”

stone stairs, 22 July

stone stairs, 22 July

After ascending either stairway, we see the shrub border at the front of the house…

shrub border at the front of the house

shrub border at the front of the house

and the lawn that leads back to the bay.

big pots hiding evidence of the septic field

big pots hiding evidence of the septic field

At the north side of the large lawn, a square of flowers made a tidy contrast to a wilder field of native shrubs and wild roses.

Sweet Williams

Sweet Williams

hydrangeas in a northeast facing nook

hydrangeas in a southeast facing nook

planted chimney

planted chimney

A sweep of blue hydrangeas nestled in a southeast facing nook of the house thrives and is not preyed on by the deer that create a big planting challenge for Ann.  The hydrangeas draw our eye around the corner of the house to a massive stone chimney, also made with rock from the Skordahl quarry, that flares out to a planted rockery base.

The windows on either side of the chimney are those of a gorgeous sun room with a view of the bay.  Ann had it open on tour day for the musicians who accompany the Music in the Gardens tour and served white wine and elegant refreshments on the side deck; tour guests were still speaking happily of this when they arrived at our garden down in Ilwaco, and frankly, I am surprised they could tear themselves away!  Ann told us that she served…I think…18 bottles of wine.  (Remember, there were over 500 tour guests!)

deck view and planters

deck view and planters

Gary loves to mow and has created the vast lawn and paths to the bay out of wild meadows.

To the north of the house, a fire pit is sheltered from the north summer wind by a belt of shrubs and trees.

fire patio

fire patio

On June 16th, Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ flamed in the flower border, mixed with metal art,  that curved around the lawn beyond the fire patio.

fire garden

fire garden

Around the north side of the house, we find more garden art in a bed with the steely blue foliage of Rosa glauca (which, amazingly, the deer are not eating).

Rosa glauca and sculpture

Rosa glauca and sculpture

Before we walk down the lawn past that 60 foot long basalt rock edged garden and back to the driveway, we stop to admire Ann and Gary’s tall pole of birdhouses.

bird house pole

bird house pole

We would be seeing Ann again in a couple of weeks when she brought her Vancouver garden club to visit our garden and the Hornbuckle garden.

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