Freitag, 1. Juli 2016

The Secret Garden

Earlier this week I took a few days off to drive north to visit my daughter in her new home near Seattle. The next day I continued on north to briefly drive through Canada to get back to Washington to visit an old friend. (That is a riddle I will leave with you- when is it necessary to leave Washington state and drive through Canada to get to Washington state?) 

My visit with my friend was short but it was made extra special by an unplanned garden tour. We were taking a walk together along the residential streets of the small town when we came across this beautiful sight along the street. It was so picturesque it took my breath away. I thought that someday it would make a charming painting. 


I could hardly step away from the spectacular hydrangeas (I rarely see them in those pink colors!) then I started looking at the continuing hedge of chaotic perennials and realized it was actually quite special. The plants were tightly packed together, growing in a kind of controlled chaos to heights of twelve feet with nary a weed in sight!

This is how the corner looked from the street-

            Not a house in sight! The beautiful gate was on the far right side in the shaded area. (See the street corner stop sign?)

We walked around to the left where you can see the back of a car peeking out and there was the house, painted in colors that the creative gardener's mind must have thought necessary so that it would not be lost in all the green.


The lady of the house was just stepping out, leashes in hand, to find a couple of dogs that had strayed. I complemented her on the spectacular garden flowers we had just observed. She asked if we had gone into the garden, no, we had only seen the street perimeter and were very impressed. She graciously invited us to go inside and see the whole thing while she went after her dogs. Also impressive was that this lady gardener was at least in her late sixties, if not into her seventies. 

We eagerly stepped inside---


This sign was on the gate-


The theme plants of the garden, because they were repeated over and over again, were these amazing  pink hydrangeas! They were several shades of pink (probably influenced by the acidity of the soil in each particular spot) and the shrubs were often as tall as me.




The lot of this garden was not very big but it was densely planted. There were paths that wound around and through, intersecting, and the plants were just barely open to let a body through. 


I have been on many garden tours in many, many gardens. The most creative gardeners strive for elements of mystery or surprise with whimsical artworks, fountains, sculptures, etc. so that a stroll through the garden brings smiles and laughter and enjoyment beyond the observation of beautiful plants. This garden could win prizes for the extra thought and planning that went into the numerous vignettes throughout.



                                                                  The back door

                                                  What's a garden without a gnome?

                                             There were places to sit and enjoy.

 A tiny pond was in the middle of the garden, as well as a fountain or two, but with the shadows and dense foliage, I wasn't able to capture them in a good photo.



This is clearly true for the creative gardener of this garden. I've observed it with others gardeners that I know and I intend to make it true for myself also.



  1. So beautiful! It was lovely of the lady to show you her work - and I'm sure your enthusiasm tickled her as pink as her hydrangeas. It's a gorgeous garden.

  2. Don't we all wish for a stupendous garden like that, and the dear lady to make it so.
    Every corner was gorgeous and creative. And how does one grow such shades of pink hydrangeas? I think even Maria would take them in such a garden. And the inspiration - let's see: a gnome, a river rock fountain, a bird house collection, that bench - I could do those parts. And a purple and aqua house? Sure, why not!
    Absolutely lovely post. Thanks, Pam.

  3. Was the scroll work around the back door metal work or painted, or what?

  4. The scroll work was metal, probably repurposed from some other object. There were many other things I didn't include here, rabbit sculptures sitting under foliage, a metal work gate used as a trellis, and a painting or two in that bird house space. Very fun.
    There had been a formal town garden tour the previous Saturday of a number of notable gardens and this one was on that tour. I'm very glad we had our own private tour because it would have been crowded with even a few more people there.
    There are some fantastic colors of hydrangeas- all shades of purples, whites, and blues and fuschia. The color is partly from the cultivar and partly from the soil. The acidity of the soil influences the color. I've read that you can change a blue hydrangea to changing the acidity. My hydrangeas are blooming beautifully this year and I noticed there are a few flowers that are lavenderish (for the first time ever!) and I think that is because I mulched them this spring with a manure/bark compost that probably changed the acidity of the soil. I love it!

  5. Also, if someone examines a map closely, they can answer my riddle....

  6. Here is a guess. You were in Everette and had to get to someplace on the opposite peninsula, and the quickest way to do that was not to drive all the way back down around the waterways, but to take a ferry to Vancouver Island and then back down to Washington's NW corner. And the correct answer is...?

  7. Thanks for the additional garden information. We would love to see your hydrangeas, too.
    How does one incorporate paintings in a garden? On what kind of a surface were they painted?

  8. And by the way, when we have hydrangeas, that start out blue, they relatively soon turn pale green. Probably our water minerals.

  9. Regarding the riddle- you need to examine the map more closely, specifically the international border.

    In the garden there was a little room along one fence side where there were some chairs and a table (on which was the birdhouse with the sign). There was a long mirror on the wall as well as some paintings which I did not examine closely.

    Hydrangeas- mine also will turn pale green late in the season. The blue color fades as the flowers lose hydration and dry out. They can be brought in and kept as dried flowers. If you cut them and dry them out when they still have some blue color in them they will keep the color for awhile. My mom had a large funeral wreath made with hydrangea heads when my dad died (they had some beautiful shrubs from which they came) and she had it hanging in her house for many years afterwards.

  10. I did look at the international border, but didn't spy the key. I will look again.

    Thanks for the info on the color changes.
    A garden room sounds wonderful, too.

  11. "trespassers will be composted" LOVE. WANT. Beautiful.