Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Denise Lane's garden, part of the NPA Study Weekend

The first Garden Blogger's Fling (now called just The Fling) I attended was held in the Seattle area in 2011. It was memorable in every way, especially for the gardens we saw and being in the company of other bloggers. One of the gardens we toured belonged to Denise Lane...

When I saw her name on the list of gardens open for last June's NPA Study Weekend I made plans to visit, what a great opportunity to see how a large garden had changed in 11 years! In case you're curious here is a link to my 2011 post.

I found this leaf peeper a little creepy...

What an impressive patch of Impatiens omeiana!

Here's part of the garden description from our event booklet: Thirty-four years ago, I bought a nearly 1-acre lot with a house on it, knowing full well that a house can be changed over time, but the location cannot. Mature native trees were retained while undesirables were gradually replaced with more exciting and unusual plants. There was no plan, just a determined weekend warrior gardener (Denise) who wanted to create a plant lovers paradise, where a floral arrangement could be made every day of the year.

No doubt you're thinking how green everything is, I know I was as I edited down my photos.
Dryopteris sieboldii 

Keep in mind I toured in June, on the tail-end of what had been a remarkably wet spring for the Pacific Northwest. In fact I took these photos with a camera in one hand and an umbrella in the other, as we were rained on that day.
Asplenium trichomanes

I think these may be one of the hardy ground orchids?

Blechnum chilense/ aka Parablechnum cordatum

Rather than walking through this garden and thinking about how it had changed, I instead found myself thinking about how I had changed. I've learned so much as a gardener in the last 11 years.

That is the house in the background of both this and the above photo. This photo was taken from the path you see in the above photo.

Lewisia and sempervivum are an interesting pairing. 

Oh how I wish I could have this kind of success with Eremurus!

I love this combo of the rectangular fountain with the chunky block edging and the rusted wall backdrop.

Blechnum spicant (deer fern) and perhaps Dryopteris erythrosora, the autumn fern?

Isn't the rusty color of the fronds just perfect with the rocks and moss?

During my previous visit the Little and Lewis Ruin was a natural cement color.

It of course is not up to me what color it is, but I find this terracotta tone a little jarring. Ditto for the red and blue flowers in the planters on top.

Now that's how to do rodgersia, wow!

Love the mossy bench (?) and tree fern, had to laugh at my feeling this might be a one-way mirror.

From this angle, with the dark foliage in the foreground, the color of the ruin looks much better.

I don't take many flower photos when I tour most gardens, but I couldn't resist this lily backed by the restio branch. 

It wasn't until re-reading the garden listing in the event booklet that I remembered that Denise's garden was also featured in the recently published book Private Gardens of the Pacific Northwest, along with mine and so many others. 

Now if you'd of told me back in 2011 that both this garden and mine were going to be in the same book, well I would have thought you were absolutely nuts!

In June I'd already hatched my plan to paint our neighbor's garage wall orange—although it would be a several weeks until I did the deed. I remember looking at this bright chartreuse and thinking maybe that was another color worth considering.

Dark foliage sure looked super against it! (I am happy with the orange though)

Fertile fronds of what I think is Osmunda regalis in the center there.

That moundy palm showed up in a previous photo—from the other side. I have no clue what it is, but it's fabulous right there.

Fern table!

Although the table part is completely obscured.

Also from the event booklet: Last fall we said goodbye to a 40' tall Parrotia persica that was beginning to crack and lift the terrace. A chunk of the mottled trunk was relocated and now there is a new sun filled area to plant! I think this might be that mottled trunk?

I wonder if more bromeliads were added?

Making my way back to my car now, I wanted to chat with Denise Lane on my way out but she was busy answering other people's questions. Instead I admired her Wollemia nobilis. What a specimen!

I also snuck up on the home's balcony to see if there was still an agave there, remembering how happy I was to see one back in 2011. I was not disappointed! Thank you for sharing your garden Denise...

My other posts (so far) from the NPA Hardy Plant Study Weekend: 

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


  1. It's a beautiful garden in a beautiful area of Seattle. It is interesting to consider how you changed since your previous visit. Accumulative knowledge of plants, the subtle (or not so subtle) shift in likes and dislikes... I find it in myself as well.
    Your choice of orange is perfect, shouldn't have doubts or regrets.
    I too envious of the Eremurus success (killed two already).
    I'm glad you couldn't resist the "lily backed by the restio". It's gorgeous!

    1. I can't remember if you took part in the Study Weekend tours? If not hopefully you've had a chance to visit this garden another time as I know she's opened for other events.

  2. *SIGH* That's my idea of a dream garden, which surprises even me given my preoccupation with flowers in my current (and past and probably future) climate. There's so much of interest provided just in the contrast of textures.

  3. Lovely garden Loree, I like it a lot.

    The ground hardy orchids are a delight. It would be great to know what they are.

    I really like the rusted metal lily(?) looking sculpture. That could go nicely in my garden.

    Wow at the huge clump of Rodgersia! That is the best way to grow that plant, big and bold!

    I used to grow Eremerus when I lived down in the south of England. I have never tried them up here in Scotland. It is too wet and the soil is too heavy. Those ones in the garden are really doing well. Being planted on top of those big rocks will certainly help the drainage.

    1. I really need to learn more about the hardy orchids, they're just lovely.

  4. Such a gorgeous display of foliage everywhere you look. And so many ideas to ponder for one’s own garden.

    1. Isn't that always the best part of garden touring? Ideas...

  5. Beautiful, beautiful garden! I wish I'd been able to make it to the Seattle Fling; everyone said it was awesome. We missed you at the Madison Fling. Hope to see you in Pennsylvania and future Flings. :)

  6. What a lovely garden and yes it comes across as very green and lush. I like the Little and Lewis ruin colour but I agree the blue flowers don't really fit as well as the red ones do. Seeing beautiful shady gardens like this always makes me wish for more shade. However, my sunny garden does grow beautiful Eremerus so it's the usual 'grass is always greener' scenario.

    1. Lucky gardeners who have both sun and shade to play with.

  7. the hardy orchid looks to be Bletilla striata. super and easy. Beautiful garden!

  8. Hello! I wasn't sure how to email you, but I am designing a book of Mark Bulwinkle's art for the gallery where I work, and I was wondering if I could use a few of your Emeryville images with credit!

    1. If you want to get ahold of me directly I'm at spikyplants at gmail dot com (with the obvious adjustments), but yes, you may use a few of the images. Thanks for the excuse to look back at that post and enjoy the images again!

  9. The word ‘lush’ comes to mind when scrolling through your photos of this beautiful garden Loree. A choice example of how foliage textures and colours can be combined to gorgeous effect. So many of those plants are unknown to me, but I recognise Chinese ground orchid, Bletilla striata (as anonymous mentioned above) - I grow it in my own garden, inherited from my grandmother. It is super tough and easy to grow here.

    1. Thanks for the confirmation on the orchid name—now I need to track it down!


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