Buying a property can be hit or miss when it comes to the garden. It’s rare to find a home with a beautifully maintained and established garden. Oftentimes the best-case scenario is a blank slate, a standard lawn, rather than struggling with a garden overgrown with weeds.
But imagine buying a home whose previous owners were talented gardeners that had spent 30 years creating an established garden on the 1-acre property.
That’s not to say Kathleen Shelman and her family haven’t made it their own. Ducks peep through the borders from their pen, artful sculptures and tokens adorn the garden, and a zipline runs along one side of the lawn that their kids and now grandkids play on.
It’s not only the garden that has a unique history. Kathleen’s home is a restored 1920’s schoolhouse. Located in the Columbia River Gorge, just 5 miles from the Vista House, a visit to the garden could be combined with a hike along one of the dozens of trails nearby. HPSO members can make an appointment to visit by clicking here.
This is a garden that feels grand and mature, yet homey and welcoming at the same time. When I visited in April, the garden was coming to life with thousands of spring blooms.
Along the front of the property is a wide border planted with deciduous trees, allowing spring-flowering bulbs to flourish underneath.
Kathleen has spent considerable time planting this area to provide year-round interest. The understory is planted with spring-flowering shrubs such as Ribes sanguineum for spring flowers and Oakleaf hydrangeas for summer color.
Narrow paths wind through the border so you can enjoy the blooms up close. In the spring, Erythronium, narcissus, bluebells, fritillary, Anemone nemorosa and trilliums create a fantastic display. Then in the fall, cyclamen emerge, providing interest through the winter.
A formidable yew hedge separates the flower borders near the house from the vegetable garden. The garden contains beds for the usual vegetables but is also bordered by espaliered apples and berries, supplying the family with an abundance of fruit all summer.
It is obvious that this garden takes a lot of work and dedication to maintain the crisp, clean lines, but the result is a relaxing, harmonious space that Kathleen and her family can enjoy.
Even the potting shed has a patio with a barbecue – this garden is not all work and no play!
It’s the combination of established planting, careful planning of color, and whimsical objects that make this garden so unique. The personal touches showcase Kathleen’s eye for art and her love of plants.
Thanks, Kathleen, for the tour of your beautiful garden!
While the spring sunshine means we all have plenty to do in our gardens, now is the perfect time to get out and explore some others to give you a boost of inspiration.
If you’re looking to visit more HPSO member Open Gardens, please visit the online directory to schedule an appointment.
Photos and words provided by HPSO member Hayden Brown.
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