Before and After

The magic of gardening transforms a plot of compacted dirt and weeds to a bed of healthy soil and choice plants....or a non-descript garden to a lush paradise.

My Seattle parkingstrip - My first recorded before and after project. Previous to this, other than creating a few vegetable gardens in apartment building lawns, I had maintained my grandma's garden pretty much as it was. Then I took an Ann Lovejoy seminar, and all was transformed.

March 1988

August 1988

April 1989

Jane's garden - In 1996, we went to Seattle off and on to make a garden for my accountant, Jane. She wanted formality and yet an explosion of riotous flowers. The solution was to remove the lawn and plant a boxwood hedge around a blowsy collection of plants. An outer border of grey dianthus solved the problem of finding a cement ledge 3 inches down inside the wall.

March 1996

April 1996

May 1996

June 1996

August 1996

October 1996

The magic circle - The budget for this garden was nil, so I plugged in a lot of orphaned plants that had been thinned out of other overcrowded gardens; for example, when a client asked me to get rid of 90 percent of her shasta daisies.



The circle

Jones - Homeowners, Phil and Cynthia, wanted visitors to be able to see the house, designed by her brother, an architect, as they drove up. However, they wanted some sort of plant life to hide the carport, but not hide the whole house. They also wanted a no-mow patio area and loved our suggestion of adding a firepit. In addition, because they are very close to the beach, they needed protection from wind. So we came up with the following ideas.

Remove the trees that hide the house and replace them with shrubs to conceal only the car area. Make a garden around the circular yard and fill the center with gravel and some flat rocks. Leave the trees and the tall pampas grass on the left side to protect from heavy winds.

Heaving one-man rocks, Robert proceeded to build a circular wall bed. I helped, and so did Cynthia and her small daughter Marina, who used her own tiny shovel to move dirt.

The following spring (2000), the budget did not allow for full- sized shrubs, but the cars will eventually be concealed by Lavatera 'Barnsley', which Cynthia loves, and Hyppophae Rhamnoides, or sea buckthorn, aka seaberry, which I adore.

This is as far as the project has gotten. The patio area is yet to come, as is the dry creek bed, which will lead from the end of the right circle wall into a boggy area where the circular grassy patch comes to somewhat of a point. Siberian and Japanese iris edge this point, which in winter is under water and in summer is dry. The hardscape area will have sedums and ornamental grasses planted through the gravel in occasional groups to soften things up.

This was an intimidating project to design because Cynthia's architect brother is the partner of Dan Hinkley of the famous Heronswood Nursery!


In progress

Spring 2000

Left circle, after

Right circle, after

Right circle detail

Skyler's mom - When Mom moved to the peninsula, her yard was bleak. I promised to make her a beautiful garden. Many hours and many yards of good topsoil and collectible plants transformed it into a horticultural paradise in which she spends most of her daylight hours.




Euphorbia border

View from the porch

Rock wall

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