2 The “I used to have a lawn” Garden Then & Now. Previously a respectable if drab Texmo shop building (the neighbors hated it!), so we made a few changes, and Presto! an historic Lopez wood barn! We then designed a welcoming hedge of bamboo to define the entrance to our landscape and residence; resulting in good Feng Shui, and happy neighbors! We researched & selected Fargesia robusta, a non-invasive clumping bamboo. Can you believe that both sides of the driveway were planted on the same day?….. just shows what happens when water for your plantings is stolen by the roots of large trees. Beware! Everyone thought it would look awful, but we did it anyway. We topped the barn-side bamboo hedge to follow the angle of the roof. Of course it worked, and now ever yone loves it. (Either we’re good design- ers or we’re very lucky)! The area bordering our neighbors to the north was quite scruffy, and is now a “green belt” zone of salal, wild grasses, ferns, and Gigantia starts. PLEASE RESPECT OUR NO ACCESS SIGNS!
3 The “I used to have a lawn” Garden “Natural” has its limits you say; where’s the Lawn? What you’re look- ing at is neglected feather grass after a hard winter; this pic is what Mexican Feather Grass (Stripa tenusisina) looks like when it is well maintained. Ideally, feather grass should be cut back at the end of July (new grass shoots will appear by the end of August), and/or all the old clumps pulled out after 4 or 5 years, allowing the many naturally seeded “grass-lets” to take their place. We give away flats of feather grass seedlings ever y fall when we weed out the excess! This image was taken Memorial Day 2006, & is an inspiration to us to get with the program again! People have been known to come down our driveway in July & August to OOOOH and AHHHH at the poppies. The Red-Orange Flanders, or corn poppies, seen in the corn fields of Europe are an annual which re - seed; some years more abundantly than others! The Papaver rhoeas, also called Heirloom or American Legion Poppy, was a symbol of war- time sacrifice. It particularly likes to take hold in the gravel, and is not sympathetic to being transplanted. Please tr y avoid stepping on any wayward poppies! PLEASE RESPECT OUR NO ACCESS SIGNS!
4 The “I used to have a lawn” Garden This is still a working shop inside, with an exterior façade of re - claimed wood from a dismantled Hood River, Oregon saw mill. I talk- ed to someone recently who remembered the Hood River mill, and I found some old newspaper images of the interior, which showed boards with yellow/crème paint very much like the wide boards on the deck, with the crème paint still evident on one end. The steel windows were designed by James, and allowed to take on a patina of “natural” rust…yes, natural, and not from a spray can. This is definitely a “Barn for All Seasons” The wine rack sculpture is a tribute (or protest) to the high cost of recycling wine bottles on Lopez Island. We recently planted purple Polish Spirit clematis inside the rack, and we expect this “living” sculpture to make the history books. Doesn’t everyone plant clematis in a wine rack? The pathway is still under construction…we’ll follow nature’s example with this one...and plant abundant French moss in the crevices……. More purple……check out the concept image on the left….. This will be a priority Fall 2011 project. PLEASE RESPECT OUR NO ACCESS SIGNS!
5 The “I used to have a lawn” Garden Golden Chain, Laburnum, has pendulous “pea” type flowers ver y simi- lar to Wisteria, and some years their bloom coincides! We inherited this tree from the former owners, but only with some very radical pruning several years ago (removing about 60% of the tangled inner branches) did it come into its own. Though pretty spectacular right now, this is in fact an “off ” year. (BT W: listen to the humming as you stand and read this………) Come back in August or September (by appointment only please) and view the grass action. Or you can find some images online in my arti- cle “I used to have a Lawn and now I have a Natural Environment” We ‘har vested’ some images of the poppies and wild grasses overlooking the water, and then recreated the similar environment here. When friends have in the past participated on their Garden Tours, they race out to the local nurser y and stuff their gardens with newly plant- ed fare. You CAN tell! Well, I have to confess, the new Iceland Poppies, which may be blooming nearby, were my effort to simulate the corn poppies, which unfortunately are not ready... PLEASE RESPECT OUR NO ACCESS SIGNS!
6 The “I used to have a lawn” Garden Everyone should have a garden ‘sanctuary’. A small enclosed garden. This was a major aspect of our design concept in 2001, and we would have been closer in the Wisteria department this week had we not done such radical pruning this past Februar y! The fence wood is re - claimed, from a yet another NW saw mill. The ‘Asian-Fusion’ design is totally in sync with the inside of the house….. I believe your landscape design should harmonize with the interior as well as the exterior of the home. Our color palette has some leeway of course….. the “pink” Mother’s Day Azellias from the previous owner are now pruned into user friend- ly egg shapes, and apart from these there is not much else left in the garden from before. Calla Lilies have become an important and inte - gral part of our design ever y year; sometimes we select yellow, other times flame, and sometimes a combination. Keeping everything to scale is quite challenging ….. plants grow, and what was per fectly to scale last year, looks oversized & overbear- ing today! Sometimes you must have the courage to prune it or yank it! PLEASE RESPECT OUR NO ACCESS SIGNS!
7 The “I used to have a lawn” Garden When it’s your time it’s your Thyme! Demolished by rabbits from the neighbors, we have now almost revived our Thyme Lawn; simulating a color ful glade of wild flowers in the forest. We have removed the herbs, which were part of the original plans second iteration, and we just replaced the dead Rosemar y border on the wall with Cotoneaster (white flowers now and red berries in the fall). Our neighbor feared the invasive running Golden Bamboo would take over lawn, but alas, her cedars have stolen the nutrients & water, leaving the bamboo smaller than when planted 6 years ago! Those bamboo are out of there in the Fall .... What is a pest in one location can be a godsend in another. The Carex “Ice Dance” was invasive and overbearing in our enclosed garden, so most is gone, and transplanted to several problem areas. The pathway border at the other side of the stone steps ahead, has always been where we “plonked” things we took from elsewhere, a sort of “reject” border, but it looks like our “ice dance” problem grass may have found a home. The New Zealand Flax, not really a grass, yet with ver y inter- esting attributes, still manages to dominate from their rusty steel architectural cubes. PLEASE RESPECT OUR NO ACCESS SIGNS!
8 The “I used to have a lawn” Garden Put down your roots, and reach for heaven. There is something ver y nostalgic about vines growing on a trellis or pergola; it’s ide - ally suited for an old European cottage or large majestic estate. This one is a combination of the Lemon Meringue Climbing Rose and the Polish Spirit Clematis; both have done well in this loca- tion and I chop it just above deer height every other year. The Hops vine around the corner in a pot, a gift from my friend Karen, was unsuccessful inside the garden last year. Now, being mostly sheltered from the afternoon sun, it is way happier, and I look forward to a mass of yellow leaves all summer, not to mention the interesting fruit …. I cant wait! Container gardening has the mobility advantage. When the rabbits demolished my herbs planted within the Thyme lawn, I took the opportunity to start my mobile herb garden. So far the herbs have been pretty much chilled, with a one -day exception last Sunday, when they cooked! I’m looking forward to have an abundance of herbs for cooking, and if they don’t work out along this fence, I’ll just move them to another location. My initial 2001 drawing showed an herb garden where the Iris are growing today (#12). Well, that didn’t work……so be prepared to plan, and then change your plan if it doesn’t work. The key here is still planning! PLEASE RESPECT OUR NO ACCESS SIGNS!
9 The “I used to have a lawn” Garden Espalier is the ar t of training a tree or shrub into a two dimensional plane, usually on a trellis or wall. This image is of the Rosemar y I spent several years fussing over; however last year both the trellis & the living art had timed out, and had to be removed to paint the house. Sadly, I was unable to find another Rosemary plant large enough to get started ~ not all bad as we’ll try something new this time. I found a flat-growing specimen of Privet (same stuff so many hedges are made of ) and here it is…another dream in the making…you can see I’ve started fanning out the branches. Stay tuned.... Once in a while you have a location where nothing works, or not for long anyway. Check out the trellis to your right…. we tried Fig, Potato Vine, and Clematis, which worked for two years in a row (image left) ….. and now with the success of the Climbing Hydrangea in our en- closed garden we are tr ying a variety called Miranda. The Privet espalier will be more formal; while I anticipate the yellow green Climbing Hydrangea will take on something more free form. I love the variegated leaves and how they match the yellow pot. The large black pots with Gigantia will be pretty impressive when they flower. PLEASE RESPECT OUR NO ACCESS SIGNS!
10 The “I used to have a lawn” Garden A view for all seasons. The lighthouse on Cattle Point (San Juan Is- land) has to be my most photographed shot….(maybe even more than the cats)….I’ve photographed it through all the seasons with the thought of doing a calendar; however I ended up with over 60 good shots and was unable to choose just 12! The lighthouse on Cattle Point is especially reassuring during our long foggy winters. We are almost 100’ above the San Juan Channel, on very sandy, fast draining soil. Sometimes we can see the lights of Por t Angeles to our south, and planes landing at Friday Harbor to the west (the house fac- es WSW ). Wild enter tainment. Both the deer and the eagles can be pests, but since we derive such pleasure from watching them, we have tried to create an environment where we can co-exist. We do leave the vegeta- ble gardens to our neighbors and the local farms, and are not quite so forgiving when it comes to the rabbits…..James is envisioning a rabbit stew.... We enjoy several Orca displays each year as they cruise up and down the channel. And of course there are the boats, which go from birds floating on logs to mega-yachts to “ The World” condo cruise ship which visited our channel on July 4th several years back…… PLEASE RESPECT OUR NO ACCESS SIGNS!
11 The “I used to have a lawn” Garden “Location Location Location”….The original, quite ordinar y, house was built ca. 1990. After an extensive remodel, this was the image that made the design magazine in September 2006. The “shake” roof is recy- cled rubber tiles (600 old tires did not go into the landfill!), the pergo- la was built from reclaimed wood which spent its first life as a Western Foods warehouse outside Vancouver BC. The new deck was built from materials recycled from the original deck, and Ipe from a sustainable forest. Many things we removed during the remodel were recycled to other Lopez homes, and others brought in came from various old NW buildings to have a “second life” as part of our home. Meditation in a busy world ….. think about little spaces within your landscaping design where you can just sit and be quiet…… this one is in memor y of ‘Miss Coco Chanel’, one of our ver y special feline friends. I have always wanted a grape arbor. I had visions of sitting under the grape leaves shading me from the hot sun, reading and sipping my vintage wine. Wrong choice for an often cool and ver y windy wa- ter front location! But we kept tr ying; and the small red ornamental grapes reached as far as the overhead after 4 years. Then two win- ters ago they froze. I didn’t have the strength to start over. When it’s wrong, it’s wrong. Don’t push it! PLEASE RESPECT OUR NO ACCESS SIGNS!
12 The “I used to have a lawn” Garden Our dry pond now features Siberian Iris, blooming today. I am plan- ning an expansion here in the Fall. The Rosemar y & other herbs plant- ed originally (as in the original plan) were a disaster. After the remodel, our wood-fired hot tub burned all the appropri- ate construction trash for 3 years, creating our day-end hot baths! At one time I computed the kilowatts of heat energy we created from our trash and it was an amazing amount. TopCat, aka Cappucino, aka Chino, spent the last 9 of his 20 years here on Shark Reef. One of his great joys in life was “nesting” during long summer days in the Feather Grass, especially right here. He wrote about his latter days in guest posts on my “Blog” “Cat on Steroids” “Cat in Overlife” “Cat from the Afterlife” and “All’s well that ends well” OK, just ignore the area to your left. Beautiful, me thinks, in its disar- ray of mixed wild native grasses (often referred to as weeds!). When you don’t have a fenced in or walled area, it’s always a problem to define where you STOP with your care & feeding..... Well, you can see where we stopped! PLEASE RESPECT OUR NO ACCESS SIGNS!
13 The “I used to have a lawn” Garden The “Patina of Rust” once a symbol of neglect and decay, is now totally stylish, and some even consider it a status symbol; building multi-million dollar houses with a rusty appearance from the get-go (‘rust-in–a-bottle’). We used rust in our initial 2001 design to add color, texture and a sense of age. James designed all the rusty pieces on the house and barn & in the landscaping. (he also finds this a clever way to dispose of unwanted old car parts from his hobby.....) You never know what works until you try it. This is true for many things in life, but especially gardening. Who would have thought that succulents can thrive in our climate? We had several spectacular years but ‘they ’ came again (the rabbits), and so we have not restored our succulent bed again….. but its next on our list I promise you! (right after that rabbit stew....) The bamboo on your right is a Mystery Bamboo, given to us by friends Murray & Marriette. Anyone know what it is? We hope you’ve enjoyed your journey through our “natural” landscape. You’ll be able to review it online, later today, at INCLINEDESIGN.INFO, and look out for a follow-up post of our actual tour event. God’s speed and happy landscaping. Caroline & James 9 June 2011 PLEASE RESPECT OUR NO ACCESS SIGNS!
14 The Quilts in the Garden BARBARA CARVER DARLENE DEMETRICH JOAN THOMAS BARBARA GONCENANCY CALESHU JOAN THOMAS GONCE & THOMASNANCY CALESHU DEBORAH BUNDY