Sunday, June 3, 2012

An afternoon of touring gardens

Matt and I participated in the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District (EMSWCD) "Naturscaping for Backyard Habitats Yard Tour" yesterday.  As stated by EMSWCD, this tour " a wonderful opportunity for you to talk with gardeners who have created landscapes that attract wildlife, are low-maintenance, use minimal water, and have helped them eliminate their use of synthetic fertilizer and pesticides."

Mostly, I just loove being nosy and taking a look at others' outdoor spaces!

Our first stop was located in southeast Portland.  My favorite of the tour, this garden reflects the natural retreat Matt and I aspire to create in our outdoor space.  This garden had about 20% native vegetation and a whole lotta edibles.  Most impressively, it offers a tranquil space to enjoy being outside.

The creative use of glass bottles as garden edging throughout the garden is both beautiful and functional.

We were told one of the homeowners is a carpenter.  Handiwork abounds throughout this garden including this trellis around the firepit, created from rebar.

The homeowners provided notebooks filled with "before and after" and seasonal photos of their garden, as well as a gardening journal, filled with plant tags and notes.  A great idea!

I love the unique sculptural components of this garden like the ceramic bird atop the berry trellis.

My favorite feature of this garden?  The collection of tree stumps-turned planters residing under the rhododendron.  Now I'm on the lookout for stumps!

Garden Number Two is also located in southeast Portland.  A newly constructed house, this garden is under two years old!
Note the newly-planted Douglas Meadowfoam above!
The homeowners carefully planned their sustainable garden, utilizing reclaimed materials, 85% native vegetation, and even leaving a strip of their driveway permeable.

Perhaps the sweetest part of this garden is the whimsy.  The homeowners have placed elements, like the crane in the lavender below, throughout the garden.

Stop Three on the tour also had quite a bit of creative flair, starting with this vibrant garden shed!

I'm a sucker for ferns growing in walls.  This garden hosts about 20% native vegetation.

Garden Number Four didn't disappoint our love for creative outdoor spaces.  Located in northeast Portland, this garden welcomes you with a lovely river rock mosaic under a grape vine trellis.

I just love this stacked rock planter!

The homeowners enjoy watching the wildlife in their back yard, especially birds, and have created a 50% native habitat.

Someday, it would be lovely to have one of these beauties in our outdoor space.

Matt and I didn't have time to stop at all eight gardens.  Our final tour took us through a garden in northeast Portland.  Walking around the side of the house and into the back yard, I immediately traveled from "busy city street" into "woodland habitat."  The homeowner's transformation of the space impressed me even more when  I looked at the provided "before" photos.

Perhaps the most impressive and time-involved feature of the garden is the man-made stream created by the homeowner, of which I haven't provided any photos!

Having created a diverse ecosystem ranging from mature cedars to native groundcovers in this small space, it's no wonder this homeowner has witnessed over 42 species of birds in his back yard.

This garden is composed of 80% native vegetation.

Again, I'm a sucker for ferns growing from rocks.

Well, I'm inspired to "keep at it"!  One day, maybe we'll even make it on the list of stops for the garden tour!

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