Friday, March 17, 2023

NPA Study Weekend; the McWilliams/Gorz garden

The next garden I visited on last June's NPA Study Weekend belonged to John McWilliams and Tom Gorz. I loved that the house and the garden felt so connected.

From the tour brochure: "Our little garden is comprised of an assortment of distinct immersive spaces connected by meandering stone and gravel pathways. The garden has been created with a focus on overall visual effect and atmosphere and to stoke pleasure. In addition to flowering perennials, annuals, and lots of blue-grey foliage, we have included many compact shrubs and trees to complement larger trees that lean over from neighboring lots."

This pair has mastered the art of growing eremurus...

And arranged them so the grade changes in the garden allow for up close viewing, something difficult with tall flowers.

They've got hardscape skill as well...

More from the brochure: "In recent years, we have begun adapting the garden to be a welcoming haven for local wildlife and have a more naturalistic aesthetic in the borders. The lawn has been eliminated and replaced with PNW native and pollinator plants. We are enjoying the increase in visits from birds, butterflies, other insects and even the occasional opossum. The garden is a Certified Wildlife Habit through the National Wildlife Conservancy."

I fully intend to copy this simple trick. The seedling was started in a paper cup and then planted out with the top of the cup intact—instant seed marker so you don't loose track of the tiny plant!

Severe jealousy over the Willy Guhl planter near their front door.

Shot looking down on the front garden...

And I thought that was it...

Until I discovered the narrow pathway to the back garden, there's more!

Seating tucked into a corner, along with lots of containers.

Looking out from the seating area...

This serene spot was nicely hidden from the rest of the garden.

I immediately fell for the table.

Everything about this area was simple perfection.

You could see the garden beyond, but were completely secluded.

I eventually tore myself away and resumed the tour.

Rhododendron williamsianum, perhaps?

Looking over my shoulder at the entrance to the back garden.

And ahead to the deck off the back of the house.

Stepping off the deck...

The tall poured cylinder stepping stones had fern fronds pressed into their sides, it's all about the details.

Great garden!

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

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All material © 2009-2023 by Loree L Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. Is this the same Tom Gorz, the antique collector?
    A fantastic garden. I'm envious of their success with eremurus...
    I've recently read (on Digging) about creative use of pavers to elevate pots. It's exciting to see it being implemented here, and even taking it up a notch with that 'table'.

    1. Yes! I learned that was the case when I commented on the Willy Guhl planter. I have a friend who has a booth at that antique mall.

  2. Clever touches everywhere. The back garden was a wonderful reveal and I love that table made of what looks like concrete pavers laid on their sides. The back garden almost had me forgetting the stately and abundant Eremurus, which of course I haven't a chance in heck of growing in my climate.

    1. Concrete pavers indeed—isn't it fabulous?

  3. Cool garden!

    It doesn't look very big.

    Loads of healthy green plants.

    The hard landscaping was great as well :)

  4. The pathways do beg to be followed. I like all the ways pots are gathered and highlighted in different ways.

    1. Containers used in that manner have so much more impact that ones that are scattered about.

  5. Gorgeous garden and yes, they really rock Eremerus. It feels incredibly relaxed and immersive almost like you are in the country somewhere without close neighbours. Hard to achieve in a suburban lot. Now they just need to add a few thorny plants.

  6. Wow, great landscaping, pathways, and potted arrangements! This garden looks so comfy and welcoming, and artfully created.


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