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Passed – Member Garden Tour: Tamara of Chickadee Gardens

Chickadee Gardens

February in Oregon is often a dreary time. There are signs that spring is on the way – daffodils and tulips poking out of the ground, a few brave early blooms. While we may be itching to get out in the garden, there’s still a couple months before the risk of frost is over.

However, there’s no better place to be in February than in Tamara & David’s 2-acre garden in Saint Helens. Tamara documents her garden on her blog, Chickadee Gardens, and plans to open their garden for tours this summer for HPSO members. Put it on your list for a must visit!

Chickadee Gardens

Tamara & David in front of their enviably large new greenhouse

Chickadee Gardens

Their beautiful home sits at the top of their 2-acre sloped garden

I visited on a drizzly, chilly day, yet the garden was alive with flocks of birds. Juncos, ravens, hummingbirds, and chickadees filled the garden with birdsong. Gravel kept the paths mud-free and evergreens in a wide array of color and texture filled the beds with plant life.

Tamara has been gardening here for 6 years and focuses on drought-tolerant, sustainable plantings. The garden sits on a fairly steep slope and since it’s not irrigated, plants have to be tough in order to survive.

Chickadee Gardens

Tamara amends her heavy soil so cactus and agave thrive

Grasses and seed heads leftover from summer provided movement against evergreens in every shade of green. The scent of rosemary was in the air as I explored the garden, new treasures around every corner. It’s easy to imagine the garden bursting with color in the summer, but I appreciated the chance to see the ‘bones’ of the garden in winter.

Tamara can easily list off the common and Latin names of all the plants she brings in the garden and tracks everything in a spreadsheet. Here are some of the plants that stood out in her winter garden.

Tamara’s Favorite Plants for Winter Interest:

Chickadee Gardens

Fatsia japonica ‘Spider’s Web’ seemed to glow in the shade garden.

Chickadee Gardens

It’s worth kneeling down on the wet ground to admire the delicate flowers of Helleborus foetidus.

Chickadee Gardens

Oscar the Agave commands a prime sunny spot in the dry garden.

Chickadee Gardens

The huge, vibrant leaves of Acanthus mollis shine in the rain

Chickadee Gardens

Hebe ‘Red Edge’ draws you in for a closer look.

Chickadee Gardens

The strong stems of Phlomis russeliana really stand out against evergreens.

Thanks Tamara for the tour of your beautiful garden!

Chickadee Gardens will be open for tours for HPSO members this summer by appointment only. Please review social distancing guidelines in the HPSO Open Garden Directory.


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2 responses to “Passed – Member Garden Tour: Tamara of Chickadee Gardens”

  1. Mary Brown says:

    The garden is absolutely gorgeous year round. I loved hearing the plans, ideas for the future, and reflections of their gardening journey. Thank you!

  2. What a great video! Tamara did a great job with the interview, the synopsis, the goals, the “why I garden”–some of the hardest questions :). Thanks for producing and sharing this!

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