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Meet HPSO Member Ruth Clark and Tour Her Garden (2022 Clark County Mini-Tour Participant)

Meet HPSO member Ruth Clark who gardens in Vancouver, Washington, Zone 8. Ruth has been opening her peaceful, park-like garden to HPSO members for ten years and her garden will be part of the 2022 Clark County Mini-Tour. 

What methods do I use to reduce water usage in my garden?

I don’t buy plants that need a lot of water. If the tag says ‘moist soil’ it goes back on the table. I’m really just trying to reduce work for myself as watering is not something I enjoy doing. I have drip lines in my vegetable garden and very few pots.

What do I enjoy most about my garden?

I really enjoy the views from the house and deck now that the garden has matured.

Ruth’s garden features layers of perennials, shrubs and trees.

What are my tips for beginner gardeners?

Just keep plugging away, you’ll be amazed at your progress over time. The people, the plants, working outdoors – it’s all so rewarding.

What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of having a large garden?

Having space is a huge advantage. If I see a plant that I like I can usually find a spot for it. Having room for many different trees is great too. And I really like the privacy in not having neighbors too close. The disadvantages are that I need a lot of plants to make the garden look full which can get expensive. The work involved in maintaining a garden this large can be overwhelming at times. Right now I think it’s perfect, but as I get older I’m sure I’ll have to make some adjustments.

Garden statues provide structure, even under a carpet of snow.

How did I decide where the paths would go in my garden?

I developed my garden in sections. In each area I tried to lay out the paths first and plant after that. I like curving paths and I used pine cones, sticks or rocks to outline the path edges and get the curves right. Then I cut in the paths and made them permanent. Some of the paths are purely useful like from the house to the vegetable garden or the house to the shop. Others just divide the beds into manageable sections. My early paths are too narrow. At a minimum it’s nice to have paths wide enough for a wheelbarrow.

The brick path allows for comfortable garden strolls.

Thank you, Ruth, for sharing your beautiful garden! 

The planting design ensures 4 seasons of color.

Not an HPSO Member? You can learn more about membership here and can visit more incredible gardens like Ruth’s!


Join one of the West Coast's largest gardening communities and meet other gardeners who share your passion.

Categories: Open Gardens, Profile

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