Garden Blogger's Fling, Portland: Linda Ernst

Now for something colorful! There are still a few more gardens to cover from this year's Garden Blogger's Fling, so today we'll visit the garden of Linda Ernst, half of the "Ernst/Fuller Gardens" combo. Linda Ernst and Joanne Fuller are neighbors who are friends and gardeners connected by a garden gate. Each garden was so full of visual stunners that I want to take an intimate look at both, thus each one will have its own post.

A colorful sitting area in Linda's garden.

A bit about the gardens: Joanne and Linda have been friends for a long time. Both are incredibly creative and original with very different styles of gardening. I would say that Linda's garden is larger on a lot-and-a-half and has more color in its exuberant blooms while Joanne's feels more like a magical woodland with surprises tucked in hidden corners. Linda is a glass artist with an artist's studio on site (that was once the garage), and her art is featured throughout her garden. 

Here's what the Garden Blogger's Fling website says about her garden:
Linda Ernst: My lot-and-a-half city garden hosts several garden ‘rooms’ and a variety of garden art, with a big emphasis on fused garden glass, which I craft in my garage-turned-studio. The front garden features plants for winter fragrance and hydrangeas for summer interest, anchored by a huge swath of Hakenenchloa macra. The side yard features a patio and fire pit; mixed borders; a small dry garden; clipped euonymous, berberis, taxus and juniper; and a small raised-bed kitchen garden with interesting solutions to the problems of hiding the less attractive bits of garden reality. The backyard is a gravel dining courtyard with stainless steel fountain and stacked stone seating wall, and a stucco wall sparkling with a colorful window of fused glass tiles. Bends are a mixture of crisp hedging and billowing prairie plants. A bluestone and steel mantel is adjacent to a new steel and glass gate leading to Joanne Fuller’s garden next door.

 I was so drawn to the gardens immediately that this is the only remnant of a photo of the house I could find. Joanne Fuller's house is seen through Linda's garden here in the foreground. Pam Penick of Digging fame has some wonderful photos of the house and areas I missed, you can see her post here.

Big on color, this garden is a mix of perennials and annuals with many trees and shrubs sprinkled in.

 Hanging on the wire screen are colorful, fused glass-panels created by Linda. The potting area behind the panels is as charming as they come.

I was particularly struck by the simple beauty of succulents in such an ornate concrete planter.

 Wonderful textures and explosively hot colors combine with plenty of seating to make this a very friendly space. The whole garden (past the front entrance of the house, which is on a slope) is fairly level, so no real slope issues exist. Linda makes the most of this feature by really using the whole space as an outdoor entertaining area. At least she could, it feels so inviting, like an open-air home decked out with fantastic plants and art.

 Papaver seed head.

 Lilies in the front garden.

 Foliage textures placed thoughtfully in the shady part of the front garden.

Nice color echoes here.

 Glass beauty in the form of a birdbath.

Loropetalum chinense on the right above a Hellebore, lilies and Hakenochloa macra leading you along the path.

 Beautiful peach-colored Verbascum.

Varieagated yucca for a little spike in the garden while a climbing clematis adds sparkle.

Spent blooms of Phlomis fruticosa or Jerusalem sage. Lovely plant.

Nice combination of the silver grays of the Phlomis and crimson lilies.

 Some cleverly disguised utilitarian areas. This is a great idea! As other bloggers mentioned in posts about this garden, these plants up top are referred to by many as "ladies in waiting"…I love that!

Euonymus nanus v. turkenstanicus - what a great plant. She had a tag in the ground so I can tell you it came from Joy Creek Nursery.

 The Hakenochloa macra flow freely in the front while ceramic orbs add contrast and more focal points.

 Flowering Sepmervivums in a basket.

Texture and color from foliage, my favorite.

 Some well-placed focal points.

Poppies, pinks and paths, oh my. Lots of differing hardscaping materials that don't really compete with the plants as it's all the same tone and color.

 Another cozy seating area with a pop of this year's "it" color for the garden.

 Here's her spacious outdoor dining area with a gravel carpet. What an amazing space.

Another wonderful focal spot in the form of ceramic orb, glass and rusted steel.

 The southwest corner of the garden, the gate is just visible on the left.

 In the foreground is one of Linda's glass sculptures transformed into a water feature. How about that metal "L" shaped planter? Such amazing details.

 There's the gate leading to the Joanne Fuller garden (seen beyond the gate) we will explore in another post. Note the lion on the right.

Here's a detail of the above photo, a charming moss lion.

The glass and steel gate. Oh, how I wish I had a gardening friend who lived next door to me...I would open my doors to such a friend.

 Linda's artist studio and a stacked-stone seating area.

 A slightly wider shot with many Flingers enjoying the overwhelming beauty of both gardens.

 A chimney pot that in my mind echoes a crown.

Lastly, back to the front area of the garden. A pair of lime green chairs and a very inviting fire pit.

Linda was so gracious to allow all 80 of us (in two shifts, mind you) to roam around and admire her vibrant and welcoming garden. She is an extremely accomplished gardener whom I admire very much. I had heard a lot about both her garden and Joanne's garden, and this was my first visit, hopefully not the last - I was pretty blown away by this pair of gems. Linda's use of electric colors echoes in her artwork and ties the whole garden together, while each garden room has a slightly different ambiance.

While I did not see a lot of native sun perennials, there were a few in the shady areas. I did not see any invasive species, so kudos to Linda!

It was such fun to put together this post, to relive this glorious summer day. Thank you, Linda, and stay tuned for next week's post about her dear friend and neighbor, part II of the Ernst/Fuller combo.

Thank you for reading and until next week, happy gardening!


  1. This garden looked so perfect and pristine on the day we visited Tamara, brings back lots of great memories!

    1. Yay! Here's to sunshine day memories...

  2. Thanks for bringing back the memory of summer warmth and this great garden!

    1. Oh, you are welcome. What warmth from this particular garden. I wish I had a transporter machine.

  3. What a colorful garden! I know I've seen other photos of it from Flinger posts but I was particularly struck by the warmth of the colors on this encore tour, perhaps because it's cold and gloomy (even here in Southern California). Thanks for the cheery post!

    1. Hi Kris, I think it is an especially colorful post juxtaposed to this week's gray days (which won't last forever, right??) also, and I for one am already anticipating the sun's arrival. How bad is that?

  4. How clever of you to trot out this garden with its hot colors and vibrant design during these cold, sometimes gloomy days. With our visit falling on a HOT day, it was those wonderful textural compositions of foliage that really spoke to me at the time.

    1. Hee was kind of intentional. Those foliage textures really grabbed me too, rickii while we where there, but today it's the glowing blooms.

  5. I think I've toured both of these gardens 3 times now, hoping to add a fourth visit during 2015, they never get old...

    1. I'm not surprised, these two gardens are icons and I will certainly visit again if they participate in next year's HPSO open gardens. I bet they have evolved a lot over the years...that would be interesting to see - a time-lapse photo journal of their progression.

  6. That is a superior fence and gate. The jolts of color are splendid and much needed right now!

  7. I absolutely love this. That first photo was such a happy vision on a dark December evening!

  8. I am so glad to read Fling posts in December...thank you! Great coverage, in words and photos, of an amazing garden.

  9. Ms. Chickadee, Went by Linda's garden tonight, 7/27/15 and then googled her to see what I could find. This is a great post. I always get so distracted that I forget to photograph everything. Thx


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