Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Another NPA Study Weekend stop: Scot Eckley's garden

This garden was just across the street from Don Brooks and Chris Syrjala's garden which I shared on Monday. A few hundred feet apart physically, worlds apart stylistically—yet I loved them both.

I started to head to the left to enter the garden (there is a tiny—hard to see—opening in the hedge), but met a couple of friends who were exiting and they steered me to the proper starting point on the other side of the house. 

Front steps complete with plants...

There was a small patio to the right of the front door, it didn't look like a space where people spent time, but it made a lovely photo.

Before we enter the garden, here's a bit from the tour booklet description: "Middle Hill is the home and garden of landscape designer, Scot Eckley, his interior designer wife, Devin Fitzpatrick, and their two young children...Every turn offers a new view and experience as you wander through the garden's three levels."

Here we go...

Looking to the right as we walk the long pathway...

And then the path opens up to the back garden and we come to this inviting dining spot!

Looking at the back of the house...

And where we came from...

Walking on...

Looking to my left, just before stepping down the grass steps.

To my right, once down the steps.

And back at the steps themselves.

For a garden with rather formal lines there is still a lot of plant layering and some unexpected surprises.

Stepping down to a lower level now. For reference that dining table you saw 10 photos ago, it's up next to where that guy is standing—who might be the owner/designer Scot Eckley.

I hate the look of the rope tied across the furniture, it's so unfriendly. At the same time I can just imagine some obnoxious folks curing up and spending the day here, having their own garden party in someone else's garden. I once hosted a group of about 40 and a pair made themselves comfortable under my shade pavilion and didn't move the entire time, which meant no-one else could see the view from there.

Moving on...this small planted bowl was at the entrance to a small portion of the second side-yard. In the booklet it was described as a "hidden adventure play corridor"...

Cactus and ferns are favorites in my garden, but I don't think I've ever actually seen them living together in the same container, especially these two selections.

Looking down the "hidden adventure play corridor"...

Ha! I was thrilled to spot this bit of fun...

Turning around to make my way back out I finally noticed the rope, pulled away and secured for the tour. What fun!

What to focus on? I love the table, the planter on the table, the big container under the table...all of it!

A few close-ups of the planter...

Which included a tiny palm and a hedgehog!

Looking back...

And forward, which unfotunately means this garden visit is over.

My other posts from the NPA Hardy Plant Study Weekend:

Monday, August 29, 2022

The garden of Don Brooks and Chris Syrjala

Today we're headed back up to the Seattle area and the Northwest Perennial Alliance Hardy Plant Study Weekend that took place in mid-June. This garden was just a couple blocks off a route I traveled frequently when I lived in Seattle in the 1990's, it was kind of exciting to finally walk into the garden of one of those houses I drove by for years...

These mushroom-like creatures were street-side. Lights? They sure look like they might be, but I don't remember hearing that and can't tell by the photos.

Roots and all!

In the driveway there were daylilies for sale, a prior plant obsession that had fallen out of favor (so I was told).

Walking through the very private entrance gate.

During this three-day adventure (plus two shoulder days if you chose to partake) there were more gardens open than any person could be expected to visit, so one had to read the descriptions and come up with a game plan for what you wanted to see. I am so glad I got to this one, it was a perfect meeting of plant passion and personal creativity.  

Now we're moving out beyond the first fenced space (complete with a pond) into the great beyond...

Which is pretty fabulous!

This garden occupies a third of an acre in Seattle's Maple Leaf neighborhood, Don and Chris have lived here since 1978. Quoting from the event booklet's description: "The property has gone through many changes, from a large veggie/fruit garden, to a children's garden, followed by perennial borders, and currently a collector's garden. Probably the most accurate description would be a collector's cramscaped place. I love all things green and recycled, including stone and rusted items. I sometimes describe the garden as a collection of curiosities." You can understand why I felt very at home here.

There were agaves!

And ferns...

The garden description mentions that Mr. Brooks has retired from almost 40 years of professional gardening but doesn't say where he was working. I think he must have been allowed to take this sign home on his final day on the job (see my 2020 visit to Kubota Garden here)

I never managed to get up close with the veggie plantings under the framework, but I circled them and snapped photos from several angles.

Looking backwards, at where I'd just been.

I love it when there are interesting bits left out to examine.

Maybe left from a flowering and fruiting banana? 

Nicely done small rock garden.

With an interesting stone/color transition.

I love getting a look at someone else's work space. Lots of treasures in there.

These "snowflake" rocks were all around the garden, turns out they are a local (well, Snoqualmie Pass, in Western WA) phenomenon.

The rocks...
Suddenly I find myself wanting a ginormous stump slice to plant on.

Are you with me?

Hmm, mysterious stairsteps into a shady corner, let's explore!


Comptonia peregrina, sweet fern (but not really a fern).

Those veggies again!

"Stay off the deck!" (said nicely, with plants)

A concrete (or maybe stone?) version of the stump slice.

This is one of those very personal gardens that I leave feeling so lucky to have to have visited, almost like I snuck in to a private space where I wasn't supposed to be.

Thank you Don Brooks and Chris Syrjala for opening your garden!

All material © 2009-2022 by Loree L Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.