Revisiting a Special Garden

How lucky I am to call so many fantastic gardeners good friends. Although this is a busy time of the year, an invitation to spend time in my friends Maurice and George's garden will always be answered. With a couple of friends (Danger Garden and my new boss at Cistus Nursery Bridget), we met at my former boss' private 10-acre garden on a cold March morning. Although the weather has been unseasonably frigid and emerging perennials and deciduous woody plants are late in their emergence, this is a four-season garden, a treasure any time of the year. We were treated to many bones of the garden: the mature, gnarled trees, clipped hedges, mossy stones and evergreen ferns. This garden is especially blessed with borrowed views into the neighboring wild areas, extending the sensation of space. For me, it is a feeling of calm and joy. 

Let me take you on a visual postcard journey of this special garden that I have blogged about before, you can read more about it here. This post, with images in no particular order, is a pleasure post, a walk in nature. Light on text and heavy on green. 

The heart of the garden, a terraced area surrounded by rock walls, moss and shaded in summer by many mature trees, including a Quercus hypoleucoides, silver oak.

As seen from the other side.

Mature hedges just off the terraced area include a number of interesting plant choices such as Lonicera nitida as a clipped hedge and ilex pruned into spheres. The columnar shrubs are a variety of Ilex 'Sky Pencil', Cupressus sempervirens and Taxus baccata 'Fastigiata'.

The 60-some-year-old flowering cherry in full bloom; it usually blooms in January.

Edgeworthia chrysantha in bloom just off of the terrace.

Araucaria araucana, monkey puzzle tree foliage.

Saxifraga primuloides nestling into the cracks of a decomposing stump.

Cherry tree as seen from the driveway with many hellebores scattered beneath. The spireas are beginning to put forth new leaves adding to the spring scene.

Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Wissel's Saguaro' backed by pink blossoms.

These wonderful characters make me happy.

The larger sweeps of garden are visually connected with the outlying natural areas, drawing you to explore outward.

Very happy yucca.

Some of the wetlands beyond.

In Bridget's words, this combination is yummy. I couldn't agree more.

Some of the views beyond the garden.

Bistoria tenuicaulis (syn. Persicaria tenuicaulis)

Choysia is also used as a clipped hedge. They are experimenting with alternative plant material for such applications.

Agave parryi 

Arctostaphylos 'Howard McMinn'

Our native silk tassel bush, Garrya elliptica at its best.

The deer help with the pruning.

Broad sweeps with daffodils beginning to bloom.

A very special plant that Maurice pointed out to us, Anemonella thalictroides 'Shiozaki', a treasure from Edelweiss Perennials.

A true joy of visiting an established garden is the sense of time, that of a long life lived among mossy woods. Many plants have certainly come and gone, been moved and multiplied as is the way with gardens. On the other hand, mature trees and shrubs that have grown in place for decades envelop and protect the whole scene guiding the garden into what it wants to become. In a way, they define it. Then, if you're lucky enough to be in such a garden it tells you its stories and you are for a moment a part of that tale. It's magic. It's nature.

Thank you to our fabulous hosts for a joyful visit in a very special place. Thank you for the tea and treats, the whole experience with friends and the garden are as good as it gets for me. I feel very blessed.

That's a wrap for this week at Chickadee Gardens. Thank you so much for reading and commenting, we love hearing from you and what garden adventures you are experiencing. Happy gardening and hopefully happy spring.


  1. It's a wonderful garden. The cherry tree literally took my breath away. It's a testimonial to spring.

    1. It's a stunning tree, to be sure. I feel lucky to have seen it in full, glorious bloom.

  2. Thanks for this. It's really wonderful to see photos of this beloved garden again. I miss it.

    1. You're welcome, Yohanna. It is a special garden indeed.

  3. Anonymous6:51 AM PDT

    You 3 ladies are so fortunate to stroll this wonderful place!
    I had to start with your older post from the fall of 2020. As a mature garden with profound winter bones one hardly miss the still sleeping perennials in March.
    My jaw dropped when I saw the 'Wissel's Saguaro': OMG, it's a giant! (I'll keep whispering words of encouragement to my 5' tree).
    The tall skinny trees, the stone wall on the terrace and the mossy wind chime: these are a few of my favorite things :-)
    The photo of "the wetlands beyond"... so serene.

    1. We are so lucky, it's a special place. That Wissel's Saguaro is the biggest I've ever seen. A monster! A beautiful monster. They are slow, aren't they? I'm glad the serene vibe came through on the pics, that's exactly how I encountered the garden too.

  4. Anonymous8:09 AM PDT

    Beautiful pictures!

  5. Thank you so much for arranging our visit Tamara, I've been thinking about how much this garden reflects Maurice and George's personalities. Of course I didn't really know George at all until a week ago, but I can see him in the garden as well as Maurice. Such a special place.

    1. It was truly my pleasure, thank you for the idea. You are so right, it does reflect their personalities quite well. It is a team effort. A special place indeed and Maurice suggests you come out in summer to see how it changes.

  6. Oh my what a lovely garden. You had me with the first picture with all the vivid green moss. You can tell this is a well loved and cared for garden. How fortunate you were able to learn from two such knowledgeable and talented plants men.

    1. That moss! I know! It's so velvety, so welcoming. I love it. That's the good part about Pacific Northwest winters, the mosses. I am SO fortunate, that fact is never lost on me. They continue to teach and be incredibly generous. Here's to fabulous garden people - the best.

  7. How fun to see the similarities and differences between what you and Loree focused on in the garden. Doesn't look like they had any winter damage at all in their beautiful garden.That Bistorta tenuicaulis is particularly lovely this time of year. If it is as tolerant of dry conditions as other similar plants from the same family, I may need to see if I can find one for my garden.

    1. It is fun for me, too - to see what Loree saw. I love it! Yes, their garden fared pretty well this winter though I know they work really hard year-round to care for it, so there may have been "behind the scenes cleanup" I was not privy to. The Bistorta - I'm going to beg a start from Maurice and George....! Maybe trade some eggs for a small clump??


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