An Early Spring Garden in the Hills: The Torch Family Garden
My overwhelming response to the garden must not be new to them. I asked (begged?) if I may come back another day to photograph it and they, being such gracious people, agreed adding I could come to see it any time. I decided I wanted to photograph during spring just as I had seen it the first time, so I waited until recently to pay a second visit. Thus, recently, I found myself on a very early spring day doing just that.
I invite you to sit back, relax and enjoy a tour of one of West Portland's charming gems--a century-plus old home on nearly three acres in the hills above downtown.
When Rob and Susan Torch moved to Portland three years ago, they stumbled upon a rare find: a century-old house centered on nearly three acres of beautifully designed gardens and landscaping, less than two miles from downtown Portland. The Torch garden is a study in contrasts, with a mix of careful landscaping, comfortable outdoor living spaces, and untouched woodlands.
Closest to the house, shaped boxwood, abundant lavender and distinct walkways provide the framework of an English garden - perfect for strolling and entertaining. The backyard is home to a massive gravenstein apple tree, loaded with fruit, and the lawn on the upper level is perfect for child play and sports. Encircling the manicured garden and rolling lawns, twenty foot rhododendrons ensure a beautiful show of blooms in springtime and an evergreen backdrop throughout the year. Natural woodlands soften the perimeter and offer a sense of sanctuary.
Let's tour the back area first. A long drive leads up to the separate garage and to my surprise, this:
Maybe this inspires the girls to lay eggs faster? Fun idea.
I believe this to be the massive gravenstein apple tree described above at the edge of the great lawn.
This is now the front garden. Repeat plantings of black mondo grass, epimedium, maples, grasses and rhododendrons create unity throughout the entire front and back gardens.
The Torch family garden is special, a garden for every season. It's a lot to take in, and not everything was in bloom, (or leaf, for that matter) and still, it was spectacular. It's on the edge of a woodland in a secluded neighborhood in Portland, so there are other homes around but they are generally hidden from view. I did not get names of many of the different trees and shrubs as I was there alone, but if there is anything in particular that is of interest I am sure that with a little digging it can be found out. I am hopeful that I will be able to come back another time to see just how this amazing place develops and changes from delicate blossoms and bronzes and whites of late winter to dazzling hues of summer and fall and beyond.
It is a place where I am sure not only the family but also wildlife - birds, insects, raccoons and who knows what else? - finds sanctuary. There are many levels of plants that wildlife really appreciate: groundcover, perennials and grasses, low shrubs, larger shrubs, small trees, larger trees and really jumbo trees. The multi-level canopy creates hiding places for birds and habitat for insects for birds. The Torch garden with its surrounding forests has it all.
The Torches have been most generous in allowing me a peek into their private piece of gardening paradise. I appreciate, as I'm sure all you readers out there certainly do, the rare opportunity to see such private corners of the world.
For that, we thank you, Torch family!
That's it for this week at Chickadee Gardens. Thank you for reading and until next time, happy gardening!