A Special Garden in Hood River
Sheila Ford Richmond is the kind of person that brings charm wherever she goes. I count myself lucky to not only know her, but to count her as a friend. She is a loyal reader of Chickadee Gardens and we have chatted in passing over the past few years about native plants, birds and art. She has given me an open invitation to visit her garden out in the Columbia River Gorge, and so I finally had the opportunity to visit. A couple of weeks ago our mutual friend and artist Sharon Bronzan and I took a lovely drive out to Hood River in Oregon's scenic Columbia River Gorge to visit Sheila and her not-so-ordinary home and garden. Wow, was I in for a surprise. Allow me to take you along for a ride.
What I had pictured was a heavily shaded woodland garden. What we drove up to was a Mediterranean-style gem of a native garden with pollinators everywhere. Her house is special, too. It is energy efficient with solar panels, triple-pane windows, Lifebreath heat recovery for fresh air exchange and humidity mitigation, low-flow plumbing, Feng Shui principles throughout (you can tell when you're there), artists worked on custom murals and plaster work and..and..and..cork floors, hardwood floors, no wasted space. Native plantings, a bioswale which Shelia helped develop, and a veggie garden for fresh produce are all part of her paradise on the west end of Hood River. Oh, and did I mention she is an artist, too? Her own tile work and other art can be seen throughout her home. There is a wonderful article in The Oregonian about her home and garden. You can read about it here.
A sculpture of Quan yin greets you at the front door.
Epipactis gigantea or chatterbox orchids out in front, in full bloom. Just lovely. This is a native orchid preferring wet locales. We caught them at their peak.
At the front walkway, a carpet of thyme and lavender greets you. Sheila's home is made of stucco and painted in bright shades of yellow, two shades of purple and a more neural taupe color to calm down the bright tones.
Fragrant dill scents the air near the front door.
Humble Roots, not far from her home.
Sheila tells me that the sunflowers in her garden were all planted by birds. They did a lovely landscaping job, I'd say. Planted by birds and later enjoyed by birds. It's a lovely world.
So, speaking of inside the house:
Thank you for making a difference and for leading the way. You have had a profound effect on how I think about building and creating and how I want to live my own life.
That's it this week from Chickadee Gardens, until next time, thank you for reading and happy gardening!