Garden Designers Roundtable: Designers Home Landscapes

At the Garden Designer’s Roundtable this month we will show you our own gardens. This is no small thing for us, because most of us designers are busy at YOUR house making it look beautiful. And then we get home and experiment in our own gardens so you don’t have to. Truly, I don’t have a plant hoarding issue. Am I selling that well? ūüôā Actually it is true. I buy plants and trial and error them at home fairly frequently, strictly for testing purposes. Still buyin it?

OK, actually we do try out design ideas and test some plants from Growers and Breeders. We try to figure out the million dollar Bunny and Deer deterrent fixes. We use our gardens for our own blogs to show our successes and sad seasonal distresses, but it’s really just our own place to play just like yours, the good the bad and the really really bad. We just don’t usually bare our collective souls like this to the general public.

So, ready or not here is a snap shot of where my back yard landscape has begun and where it is today thanks to my friends at May Creek Landscape.

We downsized from our giant, custom-built dream home in 2007¬† just before the crash in 2008 to what I lovingly refer to as our “Barbie Doll House”. We bought our current home in the middle of the block in an almost brand new neighborhood about 30 seconds from our former home so that our teenager would be able to finish school and stay near friends until she went off to college.

As a former Real Estate Agent who worked for one of the 5 builders in this planned community I knew the neighborhood well and the small, contemporary San Fransisco lot styles with the alley in the back were just the right amount of maintenance for me to handle. Our side yard property line is right up to the neighbors foundation.

When we bought the home it had already had two owners, most recently 5 Bachelors with a motorcycle hobby. Yup, they were beloved by ALL the neighbors for sure. Not to mention that yard maintenance was not exactly a priority. So, it was a typical example of a NEW fixer upper these days. But, also a VERY blank canvas from the stand point of the garden.

I failed to get shots in 2007 of the gardens, I was too busy cleaning and planting! This pic shows the back yard in 2008, one year after we moved in. This gravel path and the beds on either side as well as all of the plants you see here did not exist at that time.

Back Yard in June of 2009.

I’m pretty sure I spent the better part of the first year simply adding soil to even make it diggable. Yes, that is the most correct Hort-term I could think of for this awful, hard-pan clay soil. Also, as you can see across the back side, privacy is an issue, so my baby Leyland Cypress trees that I started as 1 Gallons are 3 ft. tall in this picture. I also started creating English Laurel Standards from 1 Gallon babies too- wait until you see those now!

The drainage here is abominable. The lawn is just a bog all winter and most of spring until it dries out in summer and then it’s impossible to keep watered. Even the dog didn’t want to walk out there. Luckily all of those big tree roots have been helping to suck some of it up.

Now skip ahead to early spring of this year before any of the color and fluff came on and this was where we were in 2012. My MASTER Plan is about to unfold before your very eyes!

LAWN be gone!! No more mowing and edging- YUCK!

Construction day one, 7 years in the making…. no, waiting, yes, that’s it!

The Gravel base my patio and edging are down.The guys are getting the forms ready for the 3 concrete pedestals for my containers and building my water feature. The pedestals will be covered with slate tiles. Check out the size of my very pruned Leyland Cypress trees and Laurel Standards now!

Ta da! There are still a few tweaks and of course more plants needed. But, for the most part, it’s exactly as I had envisioned it. My landscape crew thought my idea was totally nuts, but now they see the light!

I adore my new veggie bins!!

A cool respite in the shade on a hot day.

More updates on the new back yard to come this summer as I finish planting and getting it just the way I want it, this is only 2 weeks old now! I’ve now bared my garden soul to all of you. I hope you enjoyed what took me a long time to get here.

Please be sure to take a look at what the other brilliant Lords and Ladies of the Round Table have to share as well!

Susan Morrison : Blue Planet Garden Blog : East Bay, CA

Rebecca Sweet : Gossip In The Garden : Los Altos, CA

Pam Penick : Digging : Austin, TX

Mary Gallagher Gray : Black Walnut Dispatch : Washington, D.C.

Jocelyn Chilvers : The Art Garden : Denver, CO

Deborah Silver : Dirt Simple : Detroit, MI

Debbie Roberts : A Garden of Possibilities : Stamford, CT

Christina Salwitz : Personal Garden Coach : Renton, WA

Andrew Keys : Garden Smackdown : Boston, MA

Rochelle Greayer : Studio G : Boston, MA

2012 Northwest Flower and Garden Show – Miniature Gardening Craze

The Miniature Gardening craze is finally getting the recognition it deserves. You must know that I am quite biased on this topic as I have connections to THE BEST in Miniature Gardening in the form of my friend Janit Calvo, owner and designer at Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center.

Janit and I partnered on our Container Garden Display at the 2011 Northwest Flower and Garden Show. Our theme, “Eat, Pray, Love” was a big hit! Janit displayed all three parts of the book/movie in Mini-Container Gardens! I designed the accompanying tropical themed larger containers for our backdrop themed in Thailand.


This year at the 2012 Northwest Flower and Garden Show, Janit took the Fairy Themed Gardens in her display to a whole new level of fantasy! Many of you may not know that Janit is a trained artist far beyond what anyone would guess-she’s amazing! She had some great fun embellishing the containers in her display. Little gems and glitter were everywhere in this cheery display on the Skybridge of the Seattle Convention Center. This lovely little spot was a magnet for people to spend few minutes, admiring and analyzing new details with every pass. In the evening was when it really came alive, with twinkling lights and sparkle bits, though I had a¬† hard time capturing that light with my camera to show you here.

Janit and her husband Steve ran a delightful little shop booth at the show too! They sold a serious quantity of everything you can imagine needing to create your own Mini-Garden of ALL shapes sizes and style. From plants to miniature Robots, if you couldn’t find something to fit your gardening personality in small form at this booth- it isn’t out there!

 

Be sure to look for Janit Calvo’s book on Miniature Gardening to come out from Timber Press in the Fall of 2012. Janit is THE authority on the topic and has been an expert for over 10 years. This book is going to be a huge hit! Until then, if you want to talk Mini-Gardening with the GURU, you can find Janit’s wonderful Two Green Thumbs Page on Facebook.

The San Francisco Flower and Garden Show- Container Drama

Container gardening is one of my particular favorite things about garden design. So when I was looking for my unique “take” on one aspect of ¬†the San¬†Francisco¬†Flower and Garden Show I knew it had to be about the abundance of ideas for dramatic container garden plantings that you had to see!

With styles ranging from modern to whimsical, country to antique, and natural to edible there was a plethora of fantastic design concepts that can be translated into ANY garden.

Here are some that I found to be interesting and noteworthy. This should inspire you to get out there and be creative with your containers too. Many of these are planted with found or recycled objects. Try something new, get out of your comfort zone and define your space so that it will reflect your personal style!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for taking a moment to visit my photos. And a BIG thank you to Laura Schaub for inviting and organizing all of us Garden Bloggers at the show. Applause applause!