open garden season is here

I expected the garden of Bob Hyland and Andrew Beckman to be fabulous, but it was better than that. It was (insert superlative of choice, as long as it isn’t “awesome”…not that the garden isn’t, but, well, you know…)


Art is used sparingly, but makes a big impact. This sphere of logs is one of the first things up as you walk down the driveway.


The eye is drawn to the long view,emphasized by rows of hedges in the foreground, leading to the river, the industrial district, the foothills, and, on a clearer day, the mountains in the far distance.


I was fortunate to run into Norm and Scott, seen here with Bob, our gracious host, and proprietor of Contained Exuberance in SE Portland..


His shop sells elegant containers, some that he has already planted up in his inimitable style. I’m going to show you some of the ones strategically placed around his property (without comments, so I can squeeze in more eye candy):









Hover dishes take things aerial. I could go on…and on…but you can see from this sampling how deftly Bob matches style of pot to planting material.


So let’s move on to the garden proper, where the hillside setting lends itself to layered planting…


within which many noteworthy vignettes may be found.




Verbena hastata

Verbena hastata

Some plants went on my wish list, like the above Verbena hastata


and Gladiolus papilii, flanking the stone stairs up the hill, with Scott clicking away in the background.


Just thought you might like a closer look at that flower form.


A chocolate mimosa frames a view up the back hill, with a veggie garden in the middle distance. The cone shapes that echo the color of the mimosa are lettuces that have been allowed to bolt. I’ve pulled out bolting lettuce for the last time.


See how the floating airiness of Gaura lindenhamerii is emphasized against the dark background?


Taking leave would be terribly sad, were it not for the cheerful border along the way out.






I can’t imagine a more perfect placement of Sempervivums nestled among rocks and gravel. If you see plants in this post that you simply must have (and how could you not) a good place to begin your search would be Xera Plants. After all, it adjoins Bob’s shop and is known for its forward-looking inventory of plants.

24 thoughts on “open garden season is here

  1. The garden is worthy of most of the words on the list of “awesome” substitutes I searched! Does magnificent work?

    He definitely is in the right business with his containers and plant combinations so good I plan to try a few of them too, even pinned them for future reference.

  2. The garden is filled with wonderful touches but still manages to look natural and effortless. I’m still trying to figure out how that log sphere was constructed.

  3. The hillside really does put everything within view. They seem to have terraced it in a way that makes each tier somewhat manageable. Glad you got to see it.

    • I’ve been working on it for years, but getting just the right combination of plants still eludes me. I usually stick to one pot, one plant.

  4. Totally awesome! I mean, fantastic garden. So much to love … the grasses, the Verbena, the Gladiolus, and that summer border. Awes – I mean, wonderful.

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