Tuesday, October 12, 2010

An unexpected garden visit

If you have family visiting from out of town and you need a car booster seat for your 5yr old nephew where do you go to find one? Well of course you borrow one from someone you’ve never met, someone who emailed you with a garden question a week before. Right? I mean that’s what everyone would do, right?
That unlikely scenario is how I ended up in this amazing garden having tea one afternoon last week. Isn’t the internet grand?

When I picked up the booster seat (left for me on the porch) I got a hint of the fabulous style of this design savvy homeowner…just look at that beautiful lounging spot (the daybed, not the bikes)…And the fabulous driveway and walkway pavers…
But nothing prepared me for what I saw when I stepped out back.
I went in the front door of a home in NE Portland and walked out the back door into a secret hideaway in a far away place (wow!).

The covered dining deck is built on the former driveway.
The former garage is now a work-from-home office.
Complete with a sun deck.
The beautifully appointed interior couldn’t be further away from what you would expect to see in a “garage.”
The garden itself was lush and overgrown (in the best sense)…
And have you noticed the multiple Tetrapanax around the garden?
The multiple huge Tetrapanax?
These (and others that have been gifted away) all came from one single plant bought years ago at Cistus. It seems their reputation as spreaders is well deserved, but when you can dig them up and pass on the beauty where’s the problem?
Back out front I paused as I was leaving to notice the details I had missed before. Like the huge Catalpa (Paulowina?).And the row of Zebra Grass along the drive.
There are two stately Chestnut Trees in the front of the house. I’ve had a life long love affair with Chestnuts, but like Pampas Grass I’m glad to enjoy them in somebody else’s garden. Especially after learning they sometimes fall from the tree and smack the homeowner on the head while she’s working in the garden. I guess that makes this a danger garden too!
Thank you Nicole, for your generosity, for inviting me into your beautiful space, and allowing me to take these pictures.


  1. How very cool! I also love Horse Chestnuts, but from afar...we have some a few blocks from us, and if I take that particular bus, I have to be wary...they fall like miniature bombs...and they hurt!

  2. How fun, Loree. I love all the big foliage and enclosed feeling of this garden. The garage turned office is very cool too. A new gardening friend. Life is good!

  3. Sounds like a wonderful day, great visit, and sweet little garden tour! Glad you were able to take pictures to share too!

  4. A lovely garden, must be a great space to relax away summer days. We have hundreds of horse chestnuts around us, sadly many now suffer from one of the many new diseases that seem to be spreading through tree, and so are looking far from their best.

  5. This is very impressive. I would love to have an area like this!

  6. beautiful! Nicole is so talented and your photos are gorgeous!

  7. scott, my worst nightmare is having to clean up a street where the Chestnuts have fallen and the cars have smashed them into a wet goo. Gross.

    Grace, agreed.

    Aerie-el, wasn't that kind of her to let me? I'm glad I got to share her space.

    Spiky O, I hadn't heard of this (the diseases) how horrible!

    Darla, I went home after the visit and started trying to convince my husband that we could do it too! I'm not sure he bought it.

    westcoastcraft, hello, thanks for stopping by. You are so right! Nicole is super talented and you are very kind to call my photos gorgeous. They do not do the space justice.

  8. That looks like a stunning back garden. And I love the interior of the home office too.

  9. You're right. I missed this. I think I will benchmark for my own yard.


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