Walk with Me (A Tour of My Garden)
A few of you have asked for a "tour" of my garden, 1 1/2 acres in a quiet corner of the oldest town in the State of Washington, in the northwest corner of the continental United States, North America. Let's begin.
The highway begins one mile to the north, at an aging ferry dock. But today you are not taking the ferry; we'll stay on solid ground. Look to the south (left of the photo), uphill.
The roadway is narrow, just two lanes separated by a faded white line of paint. On either side are single-family homes, a few are newly-constructed, but many were built more than a century ago. After a mile the homes fade from existence; driveways and sidewalks are replaced with towering redwood cedar and Douglas fir trees.
If you drive by too quickly you'll miss the turnoff, the quiet dirt road that explores deep into the forest. At the end of that dirt road, you will find my home.
A long, broad porch stretches across the two-story farmhouse. Welcoming pots of flowers change with the seasons. In winter there are dark pink cyclamens. Yellow-blooming daffodils greet visitors in the spring. With summer come pink zinnias, blue lobelia, and cascading drifts of fragrant sweet alyssum. When the last of the summer blooms fade, asters and chrysanthemum contrast with the brilliant colors of the autumn trees.
Walk the length of the porch. On the large expanse of wall between the window and front door, you will always find a seasonal wreath or a brightly colored hand-made banner. For summer it's a picture of 4 birdhouses (...or is it?). Our clever little tabby has disguised herself in hopes of snaring an unsuspecting bird.
We won't step inside, at least not yet. You're here to view the garden, so let's continue back at the garden arch. A path just to the left of the arch leads one through a shade garden. Hazelnuts provide dappled shade, just enough sunlight to allow rhododendrons, azaleas, hellebores, and pulmonaria to flourish.
Beyond our house is a forest of cedar, redwoods, and hemlock. Sword ferns, huckleberries, and salal abound in the understory. At the edge of the forest the trees clear, giving way to wetlands, the home of countless birds, rabbits, possum, fox, black-tail deer, and even the occasional black bear.
During the winter several large fir trees fell, blocking the path that winds through the woods, so we won't be able to journey there today. Perhaps another time. Instead, let's focus our attention on the giant rhododendrons (rhodies for short) on the east side of our house.
In front of that massive Rhody is an expanse of lawn. (As the years pass I find that I am expanding the surrounding flowerbeds so that the lawn becomes less and less).
Imagine that you are standing in front of that huge pink Rhody. Now, look to your right. There you will see the sun-lovers garden. I love to cook, so you shouldn't be surprised that in the midst of all of these tall trees I would find at least one sunny spot, one place where I can plant raspberries, rhubarb, and herbs, and that's just what I did. I don't have a good pic of the raspberries, but here are the rest of my kitchen clan.
Look again at the map of my property. Notice the position of the "blue garden", so named because of the flowers planted there.
Yes, those of you with a keen eye or inquiring mind will wonder why in the middle of the blue garden there is the pedestal for a birdbath. A thirsty raccoon knocked the cement bowl from its base and it broke into a hundred (give or take a few) pieces. Oh sigh!
Next, we will wander down the path that heads east. A cedar grove is on the left, and the wildflowers are on the right.
And we end the tour with a look at our sweet little chicken coop. Almost 100 years old and still going strong. Do we raise chickens? No, but once upon a time someone who lived here long before us did just that.
I've heard stories from some of the "old timers" that the forest was not always so tall and deep and lush, that where those trees now stand cows once grazed. When I dig in the earth I occasionally find bits and pieces of barbed wire, so I guess those stories are true.
I wish I could have a glimpse of what it looked like then. And, if those who lived here a century ago could see it now, would they approve of the changes I have made? I hope so.
© 2018 Linda Lum