Kym Pokorny’s garden

garden from front walk

Anyone who reads The Oregonian Homes & Gardens section will feel as if they already know Kym from the fine writing she has been doing there for years. Who could resist an opportunity to see, first hand, the garden wrought by this knowledgeable plant lover? Not me, that’s for sure. In an established, well-cultivated Portland neighborhood, this corner stands out. The mature, spreading maple creates ideal conditions for a shade garden.

Arisaema speciosa magnificum leaf

You know you are in a collectors garden when this gigantic leaf meets you at eye level.

Arisaema speciosa magnificum stem

The markings on the stem would seem to suggest a Jack-in-the-Pulpit. Kym confirmed that it was, indeed, Arisaema speciosa magnificum, and magnificent it surely was…and this was only the beginning.

cement column with Poncirus trifoliata

Close by, a painted concrete column emerges from dense foliage, topped with a pot holding Poncirus trifoliata ‘Flying Dragon’

Bird bath nestled in Hakanachloa

While on the other side of a path leading to an inviting seating area, this bird bath is nestled into a massed planting of Hakanachloa macra.

shade garden tree sculpture

If a tree dies, why not turn it into a sculpture? I could have happily settled into one of the inviting chairs in this part of the garden to while away the afternoon, but there was much more to see.

the corner of the garden with Cornus controversa ‘Variegata’

Back on the sidewalk, at the corner, an area is devoted to miniature conifers. Entering the frame from stage right is one layer of a magnificent Cornus controversa ‘Variegata’, also know as the wedding cake tree.

just around the corner

I was snapping pictures with every step. Here you can see more of that dogwood framing a vignette built around a free-standing gate-like panel. On the back side, just peeking out, is a fuzzy kangaroo paw plant in a delectable shade of apricot-to-russet.

wall with cascading oregano

Further down the block, ornamental oregano cascades over a stone retaining wall.

parking strip planting

Across from which is a fully realized draught-tolerant parking strip planting.

more parking strip

This was probably my favorite area of all, looking perfect from every angle

unknown grass

and featuring some plants, like this stunning grass, that I am going to track down. I forgot to ask what it is, but I’ll be watching for it. Update from Kym on the grass: Panicum ‘Cheyenne Sky’

potted banana

Up a few stairs we enter a very private back yard populated by many many many pots spilling over with tropical flair. Most of the pots are terra cotta, with the occasional punch of bright colored glaze.

‘big blue’ on the deck

terra cotta grouping

more pots

The staging of these pots causes them to nearly disappear beneath the jungle tapestry of plants.

glass art

Pots travel right up the wall, and are aided by the canna leaves and the glass sculpture in giving verticality to the arrangement.

potting table

Tucked away in a corner, screened by billowing foliage, is a potting table with more pots at the ready.

monkey puzzle tree

Bucking the trend, a Monkey Puzzle Tree is planted in the ground and looking right at home amidst its potted neighbors.


Artistic touches like these small stone cairns are used with restraint.


A few creatures cavort around a small pond.

backyard maple

Fully grown trees add so much character if the gardener is willing to work around and with them.

arcostaphylos densiflora ‘Harmony’

On the way out, I noticed this mature Arcostaphylos densiflora ‘Harmony’. I just planted a small one of these, and had no idea it would grow up to display such interesting, peeling bark. I am sure that there were other wonders that passed under my radar, even though I nearly ran through the charge on my camera. Kym blogs at, so you need not be left out if you are not an Oregonian reader. Her subjects are far-reaching and nearly as fascinating as her garden. Thanks, Kym, for sharing.

7 thoughts on “Kym Pokorny’s garden

  1. And thank YOU Ricki! This was a wonderful treat. Every photo was total eye candy. I’ve read Kym off and on but had no idea what a talent she is! Thank you so much for sharing. I can tell you the name of that grass. I believe it’s Panicum ‘Shenandoah.’ I have several and absolutely LOVE them.

  2. Ricki, Your photos are unbelievable! Your post means a lot to me. I’ve made the decision to sell my house (you’ve heard it here first). My open garden was the last I’ll be having. Btw, the grass is Panicum ‘Cheyenne Sky,’ which looks very much like ‘Shenandoah,’ but I like it even more because there’s more blue. Thank you so much for documenting my garden! Again, the photos are gorgeous, which has just as much to do with your talent as my garden. Kym

  3. Kym~You are too modest. I felt that I could point my camera anywhere and there was a composition waiting. I am so glad that I got to see your garden before you move on. Thanks for your kind words.

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