I came up with a few different titles for this post, another being "Saying Goodbye." Today we'll look at a couple of gardens put together by my friend Bridget. You may remember her from this post, where we toured her garden. Or maybe this one, when she re-homed my hydrangea. Sadly she's gone and left the city, state, even the West Coast. Louisville, Kentucky gets a great plants-woman, and I've got one less plant-nerd friend to hang out with. Over the last year or so I'd heard much about these two gardens she was building for friends, before the big moving day we spent a sunny (chilly!) morning checking them out...
Both gardens belong to people who are not gardeners. People who's idea of a perfect day doesn't involve trips to a nursery or time spent digging in the soil, yet they still want to surround themselves with the beauty of a garden. The clean, modern (and substantial) lines of this house demanded something larger than your standard 24" x 24" pavers, Bridget designed these large poured-in-place pavers as a path to the front door and again around the side of the house to the back.
Large gravel stays in place much better than pea gravel..
Here's green (chartreuse) door #1, with a Fatsia japonica at its side. The grasses were recently cut back in anticipation of their spring growth.
The property borders a park, and includes a bioswale (against the fence) which was required by the city.
The large container in the corner holds a yucca, which is joined by bright blooming annuals in the summer. The tree behind it is one of a pair of Stewartia monadelpha. Interestingly, considering it's a relatively small lot, the city was adamant that four trees had to be planted. In the backyard are a pair of Quercus robur 'Fastigiata'.
As you walk around the side of the house, pow, the view! This is looking towards downtown Portland, just visible behind the Fremont Bridge over the Willamette River.
The park next door gives way to a natural area...
The small back yard is dedicated to relaxing (space for chairs), growing herbs and other edibles (in the raised planters), and eventually playing bocce ball in the long court on the left, which is not quite finished.
Does that fence look familiar? Seems to be inspired by ours! (Bridget was the one who introduced us to the guy who built our fence).
Love all that entertaining space, what an amazing view they must have from the top floor...
The view from the bottom deck, as we leave this garden and...
...travel north, to the suburbs of Vancouver, WA. Whereas the first garden was on a small lot, with very limited space for plants, this one is huge. A dozen of just about any plant can quickly disappear.
There is a bit of a hedgerow along the side of the front yard, creating privacy from the street.
I love the bright apple green of the cupressus.
Older plants were allowed to stay, but given a nice pruning to raise and open, allowing light and planting space underneath. Bridget's a pruning wiz.
A pair of extremely happy Fatsia japonica flank...
Green door #2! Pretty fabulous right? Almost the same shade, and no, the homeowners don't know each other.
A row of Astelia nervosa 'Westland' are planted in a long, low, brick planter along the side of the garage. These plants battled back from near death due to the cold winter of 2013/14 to look this good!
They're interspersed with Trachelospermum asiaticum 'Theta'.
Heading around the side of the house you discover a tremendous amount of rock work...
The rocks buttress a slope and frame a staircase down to a lower grassy area. The whole area is softened by grasses, groundcover arctostaphylos and other low growing plants.
At the bottom a round patio and fire-pit. If it were later in the season there would be chairs all around I'm sure.
I couldn't help but imagine this area planted with monster agaves. However I realize not everyone shares my love affair with the spikes.
So that's it for the garden tours. I hope to someday visit Louisville and share how Bridget's bringing her style of PNW gardening to that part of the country!
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