The gardens of Soundcliff have been lavished this season with lots of attention while we’ve been sheltering-in-place here… sheltering in paradise.
I’ve not had such time to allow my gardener to play so creatively in years
Our home’s name is also a prayer for it’s protection in the beauty of its fragile site… a significant slope on the edge of a 40 foot vertical cliff. The gardens wrap around our views over the waters of Puget Sound with the full variety of boat traffic, from log booms & canoes to sailing boats & pleasure craft on to fully loaded container vessels. The view continues upward toward the visuals of plane traffic into/out of Sea-Tac airport… just distant enough to mostly muffle their noise; further to the east over the southern suburbs of Seattle, the Cascade Mountain Range; all crowned by the towering volcanic sculpture of Tahoma, the indigenous name for what European egos claimed & re-named as Mount Rainier…
It is a magical place to garden & we have been actively developing it for most of 25 years, since the remodel which made the fishing cabin with no foundation Stephen bought some years before into our home which also houses his offices & my studio. That extensive transformation involved heavy equipment to dig & pour foundations, then to install a complex septic system
One of our earliest blooms is the Petisides, a native plant which pushes up its squat, rather insignificant, flower well before any of its leaves, which become dramatically huge. Being much admired, we happily share their easy-to-grow root corms.
Another fritillaria, the California wildflower Fritillaria Biflora, is the model for my CHOCOLATE LILY Bell.
Even though it had to be whacked back in the middle of last growing season because we were rebuilding the decks & painting the railing trellis, I knew from the “Dutchman’s Pipe” vines’ history as being one of the first things planted after the remodel, that it would be back…
Being much taller the visual blossom is mostly out of sight, but when the berries or seeds are ripe they follow a percussive path down onto, along & over the fronds below producing sounds reminding me of Pachinko.
Then this curious Cotoneaster, which looks to be in severe decline most of the year, comes to life & blooms!
I’ve had sempervivum in my gardens since I was a kid, knowing them as “hens & chicks”. We’ve collected several varieties. Their bloom becomes a beautiful death… fortunately leaving behind generous families to carry on. Solomons Seal loves our shady south border…
One huge blessing to our alternating sun/rain spring weather is an abundance or rainbows since we are perfectly positioned with the afternoon sun behind our view.
The lupine & poppies are gorgeous but not food!
Beautiful as cut flowers… this one joined a shadow puppet in one of our big windows. That was a gift, from after being used in a performance piece by friends who visited to entertain in the Big Joy Weekend in January.
Rhododendrons are classic in any North Western garden. Big glorious gobs of color!
We have numerous columbines, which were a favorite of my mother’s Colorado garden. This one has also become a happy weed in ours.
These double red poppies were given us by a young neighbor friend who helped us as a youngster for years in the early years.
Cerenthe is a plant introduced to me by Michelle, who runs Pacific Potager, from whom we buy many of the starts for the food crops I plant. Several years ago I bought one of these, which I hope… since it has popped up in several disparate places… will become yet another of one of those weeds. It simply celebrates an improbable color. Might I call it Neon Indigo?
We both love ornamentals, but because I cook, gardening for the kitchen has long been a major intention. Since my time spent volunteering in the Mother Garden when I lived in Sonoma County I have learned celebrating the joyful notions of a potager… a landscape to eat.
We always have a 4 or 5 varieties of kale, which feeds us all winter, then is ready to bolt & flower in early spring. I can never discard all the colorful blossoms without harvesting some for smoothies & soups.
The garden’s view grows always over the edge, to which numerous plants have been encouraged to take a stand without much care from these gardeners.
Let nature rule… let us be graceful & grateful in that rule!