Our artist client, Joy, wanted a romantic, flowery, soft planting, in cool and pastel shades. Her original planting - largely thuggish ornamental grasses and traditional landscape shrubs - had never been quite what she wanted, and when she called us, she was hoping for something more in keeping with her craftsman house and painterly aesthetic.
We've built the garden in stages, learning the site and its voracious deer as we work our way around. A large Vietnamese urn and basalt pathway in front are two of our rare hardscape additions, as Joy and her husband were happy with the existing patios. As we've moved to different areas of the property, we've adjusted our planting style to accommodate lessons learned and changing preferences. Where spring color was her first priority in the beginning, Joy came to love plantings that provide year-round impact. In addition to our construction work, we develop the garden over monthly visits, through which we've gradually amended our original plantings, creating a garden that looks fabulous in every season, while still reflecting our original aesthetic, and that accommodates the unusual and ever-changing tastes of the local deer.
This garden owes a debt to trial-and-error, and we could not be more grateful for Joy's trust in allowing us to bring the garden to its current successful state. We think we've found an elegant balance point between floral color, year-round impact, and, of course, deer resistance. Our highest compliment is that we often find that many of our monthly chores are complete when we arrive, and Joy, who had never been a gardener before, eager to talk about the latest developments and future opportunities.
Joy's garden is one of four or five of our gardens that will be included in next year's Study Weekend tour, June 1-3. The Study Weekend is a gathering of gardeners that rotates between Vancouver, BC, Seattle, Portland and Eugene, features talks from some of the planet's best plantspeople and designers, and a tour with the areas' best gardens. We'll post more here, as we learn more, but if you'd like to know more soon, please contact the WVHPG.