Its been ages since I last posted and much has changed!
We sold our beloved home and garden and embarked on a new adventure a few miles away in a spot that gets the most sun you could possibly get on Bainbridge Island. After seven years in the forest, we decided it was time to come back out into the open. If you call Seattle home, you know that light is key to living in the rain city. We found that we could not be tucked away in the towering conifers any longer. Leaving a home we co-designed and built was hard – not to mention the garden we painstakingly developed from scratch. Everything was in its place, and everything had a place. The garden had reached a peak where the plants were established, the soil rich & weed free and little maintenance was required in the growing season. The new garden has many fabulous things going for it, but it also needs a lot of plant replacement and rearranging, lawn removal, some structural & hardscape changes, complete irrigation and persistent & regular weeding…just give me a few years. I’ll post some “before” pictures soon and chronicle my battles with the crabgrass run wild (no piece left behind).
Thus far, we’ve been hitting the weeds hard and holding back on the blanket overhead irrigation (which does little good for the plants anyway) to limit weed growth. A tough approach given the record 80 day dry stretch we just had and the fact that there is no below ground irrigation in the garden (and it gets blasting sun 8:30am until sunset). Some plants have done surprisingly well, others are crispy critters (sorry lil’ Miss Kim). On my side: the water table is high, things are fairly established and I did provide targeted hand watering for the plants I knew were staying. Even so, it was mighty tough to keep up on the watering without any help from Mother Nature. The plants that I knew I would not keep, I did not water. At all. Roll call of who is left: Euphorbia (no surprise), Lavender (suffered some), Miscanthus (surprisingly resilient), Rosa rugosa (tough as nails), Rubus (can’t kill this stuff even if you want to), Spirea (cruising along), Heuchera (happy campers). Lilac: toast. Burned toast that is. Chugging along gloriously with or with out water and seeded in ever nook and cranny is Eschscholzia californica, which I do love, though I’m guessing may test my patience moving forward. I’m sure my new seaside garden adventure will fuel many a post as I tackle each area. Up first: Glendon mounds overrun with horsetail and the ever invasive Lysimachia clethroides AKA Gooseneck loosestrife. Does it get any better than this?
During this time, I’ve been designing new gardens on Bainbridge, Mercer Island and in West Seattle. I also found time to visit the garden I designed in Los Angeles which was an experiment for me with plants I don’t normally get to work with like echeveria, aeonium and olea. A dream palette. It also happens to be my parents’ garden and the design efforts were collaborative. Everything is filling in beautifully…a few new photos below. In the shots, you see a buff colored grass repeated over and over – High Country’s introduction Bouteloua gracilis ‘Blonde Ambition.’ A sterile replacement for the soft and fluffy designer darling Nassella tenuissima which is becoming invasive in CA. The new blonde beauty is starting to make the rounds in the nurseries up here. I’ve just planted a bunch in my new garden to see how it takes our gloomy springs so I will report on its progress. My guess is it will need a good jump start of heat to get going, but we shall see. At my house, I’ve placed it in full southwestern exposure with ample surrounding hardscape to reflect heat….