Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘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

rr

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.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

In our life, a trip overseas is not as exotic as it sounds.  That’s what someone told me that oldtimers call a trip across the Columbia River to northwest Oregon (about a twenty minute drive to Astoria).  I have never found an oldtimer to confirm this since I first heard it somewhere.

Due to cold rain, our mission was to visit our favourite north Oregon coast nursery, Back Alley Gardens in Gearhart.

As always, they had some excellent plants from Xera.

plants

plants from Xera..

and more

and from Blooming Nursery, and more

desirable plants, as always

desirable plants, as always

I got myself some violas with faces….

violas

violas

And a peachy apricot primrose for a friend who adores such colours:

primrose

primrose

I saw the same primrose later in the day at Fred Meyer, the only really cool plant there.  Such is life sometimes!

I got myself a ‘Golden Rocket’ barberry (love gold foliage) and some little violas with faces and a burgundy coloured Garrya.

The indoor part of the dual business, The Natural Nook, had luscious gardenesque things to offer:

shelf

shelf

plants

plants

blue

blues

orbs

orbs

mini glasshouse

mini glasshouse

In their  friendly and welcoming way, the owners told me friends of mine had been in recently, but I soon learned my name had been bandied about by folks I definitely would not call friends.  Shocking, shocking I say!  And might I add that contrary to the tale of my faux friends, no other local gardens had anything remotely like the 500 visitors that ours and Judy’s had on garden tour day.  Indeed, most definitely not.  There’s nothing like a little scandal to liven up the day, and I was somehow reminded of Mr. McGregor, a garden mystery by Alan Titchmarsh, or perhaps the new and rather shocking  village life novel that I am presently reading, Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling.  (Who knew she could use such language!)    Even the gentle Miss Read ventured into the darker side of village life at times.  I idly wondered if I should devote my garden blogging time to a small town garden mystery novel…but no, I think that this year I should focus on keeping my commitment to blog on a regular basis.  And yet…if I only I had the skill to write a garden mystery, I would have plenty of material.

Meanwhile, all winter I had had in mind a re-visit to one of my favourite gardens of the Astoria garden tour of 2012,  the Westbrook garden at the Mill Pond Village.  I wanted to see how full Ms. Westbrook’s dry creek bed and pond got in winter rain, and we were having plenty of rain today.

When we got there, I poked around the edge, taking photos, not wanting to be too intrusive although it is sort of a public garden  between two sidewalks, in a lot between townhouses.

front of townhouse today

front of townhouse today

Look how good the bones are of the garden along the street!  It looks as good today as it did last summer.

Westbrook curbside last summer

Westbrook curbside last summer

the garden between townhouses

the garden between townhouses, today

dry creekbed

dry creekbed

ans swale

and pond swale

Then the owner of this lovely garden, Ms. Westbrook herself, popped out, and we had a lovely chat.  She said we looked familiar, and rather cold in the chilly wind.  (I thought later how nice it is to hear that someone is so interested in one’s garden that she comes to prowl it offseason!)  She told us that this year, the pond never overflowed with seasonal water because she had dug it out a little deeper.

the pond

the pond

pond and late winter sky

pond and late winter sky

same view last July

same view last July

Now that we had conversed with the owner, I felt that I could actually walk through the garden and take more photos.

crocus patch

crocus patch

townhouse garden

IMG_3771

townhouse garden

IMG_3776

IMG_3775

IMG_3777

How well it looks in winter!

the same wooden house from a different angle last July

the same wooden house from a different angle last July

The townhouse complex is right by the Columbia River.

view across a common lawn to the river

view across a common lawn to the river

The homes right around the reclaimed Millpond have always intrigued me, and I would love to live in one if only I had a vacant lot as well to make a garden in.

The Millpond with a lot for sale!

The Millpond with a lot for sale!

On the way home through Chinook, we saw sure signs of imminent spring:

flowers for sale along the sidewalk

flowers for sale along the sidewalk

flower sign

narcissi border and a beautiful clematis arbour

narcissi border and a beautiful clematis arbour

 

Read Full Post »