Designers Garden Tour 2017

Lots of ideas to inspire

I have the pleasure of not only belonging to the Association of Northwest Landscape Designers, I'm also heavily involved with their Garden Tour each year. As none of my gardens are in the mix this year, I was free to relax at the sneak peak showing for the volunteers and media last week.  It was a lovely day, with lovely gardens—fresh, clean and elegant—and lots of ideas to inspire you.  
(Ticket info here) 

I am most happy to share some of my favorite photos of these thoughtfully designed gardens. I played with some new photo editing...and learned that every screen & monitor I own reads completely differently. (Will need to fix that!)  Feedback welcome as to how they look on your screens--or anything else for that matter. I enjoy reading your comments.

Please note that not all the Tour gardens are as well-represented here as I would have liked--not because they are unworthy, but because I was distracted! Many old friends were on the PreTour event with us, and the company was as appealing as the photo-taking.  

Garden #1 - Terri's Garden
design by Amy Whitworth and Lora Price

Orange flower of Trollius 'Golden Queen,' stunning with green and the rusted urn by artist Steve Farris.  Stone edge mimics a dry creek bed, and is part of the drainage system for this wet back yard.

Orange flower of Trollius 'Golden Queen,' stunning with green and the rusted urn by artist Steve Farris.  Stone edge mimics a dry creek bed, and is part of the drainage system for this wet back yard.

These up-cycled metal sculptures by Steve Farris knocked my socks off.

These up-cycled metal sculptures by Steve Farris knocked my socks off.

Marta Farris' sheep sculptures made Terri's Garden quite bucolic.

Marta Farris' sheep sculptures made Terri's Garden quite bucolic.

Sheep sculptures of recycled materials, by Marta Farris.

Sheep sculptures of recycled materials, by Marta Farris.

Foliage combo: round-leaved rhody and native deer fern.

Foliage combo: round-leaved rhody and native deer fern.

Foliage combo: Chamaecyparis obtusa (Hinoki cypress) cultivar and Calluna (Heather).

Foliage combo: Chamaecyparis obtusa (Hinoki cypress) cultivar and Calluna (Heather).

Garden #2 - Letson-Gardner Garden
design by Lucy Hardiman and Susan LaTourette

Amphitheater effect, perfect aspect to look up into from patio below. Effective plantings by Hardiman & LaTourette and homeowners. Landscapes East & West installed the beautiful concrete from the designer's work.

Amphitheater effect, perfect aspect to look up into from patio below. Effective plantings by Hardiman & LaTourette and homeowners. Landscapes East & West installed the beautiful concrete from the designer's work.

Two colors of Astrantia, looking great together.

Two colors of Astrantia, looking great together.

Bletilla striata (Chinese Ground Orchid), with white Astrantia. 

Bletilla striata (Chinese Ground Orchid), with white Astrantia. 

Douglas Firs, so stately.

Douglas Firs, so stately.

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I'm a sucker for a big stand of Digitalis.

I'm a sucker for a big stand of Digitalis.

Digitalis (Foxglove)

Digitalis (Foxglove)

Rocks and plants--some of the most complementary of all forms.

Rocks and plants--some of the most complementary of all forms.

I could sit in the company of this Redwood all day.  (Wide-angle lens makes it look smaller than it is; does not do it justice.)  Heather admires it too.

I could sit in the company of this Redwood all day.  (Wide-angle lens makes it look smaller than it is; does not do it justice.)  Heather admires it too.

Garden #3 - Mill Pond Garden
design and installation by David West

Tour this garden for how excellently it manages a steep slope.  Over 100' rise from bottom of front driveway to the top of back yard. 

Tour this garden for how excellently it manages a steep slope.  Over 100' rise from bottom of front driveway to the top of back yard. 

Note how high the garden slopes up from the outdoor kitchen.

Note how high the garden slopes up from the outdoor kitchen.

From the top of the back yard, you're above the peak of the three story house. And yet, it does not feel too high. It's very comfortable. This upper viewpoint was my favorite spot in the yard. Cat bird seat.

From the top of the back yard, you're above the peak of the three story house. And yet, it does not feel too high. It's very comfortable. This upper viewpoint was my favorite spot in the yard. Cat bird seat.

More illustration of the slope.  Foreground person (R) is on fire pit terrace;  the "lawn terrace" is at mid-slope;  a lounge chair below by the house (L) shows the vertical distance.

More illustration of the slope.  Foreground person (R) is on fire pit terrace;  the "lawn terrace" is at mid-slope;  a lounge chair below by the house (L) shows the vertical distance.

ANLD friends and media folks with the homeowners on the lawn terrace.

ANLD friends and media folks with the homeowners on the lawn terrace.

Skillful and artistic retaining

Skillful and artistic retaining

Garden #4 - Myers Garden
design and installation by David West

I love it when front yards share a design. Good neighbors.

I love it when front yards share a design. Good neighbors.

I missed most of the best photo ops in this lush garden. But I got this.

I missed most of the best photo ops in this lush garden. But I got this.

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Garden #5 - Andora Gardens
The personal garden of designer Ann Nickerson

My favorite sunroom, at the Nickerson garden.  Artist Katy McFadden, left, has several pieces on display.

My favorite sunroom, at the Nickerson garden.  Artist Katy McFadden, left, has several pieces on display.

Sunroom view-through.  Two arbors vary in height, adding depth to the design. A Katy McFadden clay sculpture stands sentinel at the entry to the sunroom.

Sunroom view-through.  Two arbors vary in height, adding depth to the design. A Katy McFadden clay sculpture stands sentinel at the entry to the sunroom.

Garden #6 - The Peck Garden
The personal garden of designer Marcia Westcott Peck

Marcia in her habitat.

Marcia in her habitat.

Marcia Peck mosaics in the paths, everywhere. They bring a feel of luxury.

Marcia Peck mosaics in the paths, everywhere. They bring a feel of luxury.

A now famous view. For good reason! One cannot resist this path.

A now famous view. For good reason! One cannot resist this path.

Clematis 'Candida' & Rosa 'Eden' in peak bloom June 7, 2017.  Both arbor and mosaic path created by Marcia Westcott Peck.

Clematis 'Candida' & Rosa 'Eden' in peak bloom June 7, 2017.  Both arbor and mosaic path created by Marcia Westcott Peck.

The pure white Clematis 'Candida,' with Rosa 'Eden.'

The pure white Clematis 'Candida,' with Rosa 'Eden.'

Edgworthia in a pot, with Berberis 'Golden Ruby', looking pretty great together.  A surprise to see the Barberry used this way...and the edgeworthia too, for that matter.  I love it when plants are conceived in ways outside of their usual box.

Edgworthia in a pot, with Berberis 'Golden Ruby', looking pretty great together.  A surprise to see the Barberry used this way...and the edgeworthia too, for that matter.  I love it when plants are conceived in ways outside of their usual box.

Marcia Peck hand-work.  Artistic detail, adds so much.

Marcia Peck hand-work.  Artistic detail, adds so much.

Love this low wall.

Love this low wall.

Saxifrage in a bowl on deck, lush and cool. Raised on pedestal like it is, it has the feel of a moss table.

Saxifrage in a bowl on deck, lush and cool. Raised on pedestal like it is, it has the feel of a moss table.

Saxifraga

Saxifraga

Garden #7 - The Schmitt Garden
design by Marcia Westcott Peck

Marcia Peck handiwork in evidence here, understated and perfect. Marcia's carvings, inlaid in concrete cap stones, installation by JP Stone Contractors.   This garden has great "seat walls" surrounding dual patios. Diagonally-placed patios maximize a small space and the slope.Readily-available pavers are used in varying sizes and in interesting patterns.

Marcia Peck handiwork in evidence here, understated and perfect. Marcia's carvings, inlaid in concrete cap stones, installation by JP Stone Contractors.  
This garden has great "seat walls" surrounding dual patios. Diagonally-placed patios maximize a small space and the slope.Readily-available pavers are used in varying sizes and in interesting patterns.

John Stone talking with homeowner Cathie Schmitt

John Stone talking with homeowner Cathie Schmitt

Shade composition

Shade composition

Gleanings

My own biggest take-away: how much well-placed art and detailing contribute to a garden. This is an inspiration and a lesson to me that I learn over and over again. From the most expansive mansion, to the humblest abode, they are all equal in this.

Another take-away is that gardens designed for the plants are particularly pleasing. I was reminded of this by Loree Bohl (TheDangerGarden.com), as she analyzed what attracts her to certain gardens. I agree. There is a "connection" in spaces that are truly cared for by gardener owners. It's a connection to and a love for nature, for the life there, for the plants. You can feel it.

Other blogger shares

It was fun to see some of the Portland bloggers at the PreTour. I enjoyed reading their takes on this year's Tour as well:

Details: tour of seven private gardens, Portland's westside, designed by members of Association of Northwest Landscape Designers. Tickets $25 each, here, at ANLD.com.  Proceeds benefit our scholarship fund.  
ANLD Designers' Garden Tour
Saturday, June 17, 2017
10am-4pm

I hope you enjoyed this little armchair visit. Please leave a comment below. I'd love to hear from you.


Story and photos by Alyse Lansing, © 2017. All rights reserved.