A Garden For View From The Windows

When we moved to this house in 1988, the garden was mostly lawn, some shrubs, and big trees at the edge of the yard. The first things we did were to move lilac trees to get more sun and dug up the middle of the front lawn. This allowed us to make an island flower bed to plant a few roses, a tree peony and perennials.

Initially our objective was more color and less grass in our garden. As time went by, we added more flower beds. As I learned more about gardening and the conditions of our garden such as duration and location of the sun, I changed designs and added plants. I wanted to be able to see something nice from each window of the house.

We also have a small wooded area at back of the garden full of trillium. We made a walking path to enjoy the woodland flowers. We are slowly developing the area but it will remain natural.

Several years ago, my husband and son dug a pond in the back of the house. This pond is just outside of the house, so that we can enjoy looking at the gold fish and the sound of the water from the living room and bedrooms. A few years later, my husband dug another pond in the front garden. He enjoys raising gold fish.

The majority of plants in our garden are shared plants from friends and some rescued plants. After remodeling our house, we used the old windows to construct a small green house. It does not have heat yet, but I am able to keep many plants over the winter.

Every year I grow dahlia. It started with tubers that a friend, a dahlia enthusiast, gave me. Dahlia was not even my favorite flower then. Last year, I had about thirty different kinds from tiny to big plate sized flowers. Dahlia turned out to be not only great summer color and flower until frost. Now I too have become a dahlia enthusiast.

With weather in the Willamette Valley of Oregon being relatively mild, I can grow some hardy sub-tropical plants if I am willing to drag pots in so that they won't freeze. I have been growing banana, canna, bird of paradise, lotus... This year a banana plant finally bore fruit. Unfortunately, the cold air will come too soon to ripen the banana.

To me, a garden without some rocks is not complete. I am working to have some rocks to incorporate in my garden. I want to develop more color in the winter garden. In the bleak rainy Oregon winter, I would like to see some colors from the windows.

My reluctance to throw away plants that were given or not working well, caused my garden design to be too complicated. I need to work on tightening the design more. But I am happy with a garden that is controlled natural rather than overly manicured with a perfect design. This garden will continue to change.