stan and steph’s garden

Last Saturday was the one truly perfect day in recent memory. As luck would have it, that was the day my book club was heading up the gorge to gather at a vacation home perched over the Columbia River outside of Stevenson, WA. Some of us gathered at Stan and Steph’s house to car pool, and I couldn’t resist snapping some shots of their three year old garden.


In the gravel-mulched parking strip there are two of these variegated cornus.

Dahlias are sprinkled throughout, with their colors worked beautifully into the overall design. We who grow dahlias are always ready to share the bounty, so I’m looking forward to a swap next time we dig.


Those iris were passalongs from me, but I have been less successful in using them as part of a textural mix. Back to the drawing board.


Stan is the gardener here, but Steph gets into the act with touches like the Jack ‘O Lantern lights along the walk.


And her “installation” art along the fence leading to the back of the house.


The dry gravel beds in back have a dry river bed of river rock meandering through, punctuated with boulders (Stan is always on the lookout for interesting rocks when he’s exploring our great out-of-doors.


This fabulous chocolate mimosa towers over the corner of the deck. I gasped when I spotted the plant tag, with a price tag in the thousands. Stan just chuckled, and allowed as how his tree had been in the nursery’s “hospital”. Stan was only too glad to take on the foster parenting role, and just look at the result.


9 thoughts on “stan and steph’s garden

  1. I’m in lurve with that gorgeous chocolate mimosa! I can’t believe those pictures were taken in a three-year-old garden. Shouldn’t it be having tantrums, or something equally distasteful? It looks remarkably mature. And is that tetrapanax I see peeking out from behind the cornus?

  2. Hi Ricki~~ Interestingly I’ve never been all that thrilled with the smallish, like six-inch sized, Chocolate Mimosa that I’ve seen. But seeing it this size, oh my gosh. I want it. Now. That is one gorgeous tree. Thank you for the tour.

  3. Jane: Nope, that is one of many humungous sunflowers sprinkled around the garden.
    Grace: I first saw a Chocolate Mimosa at Heronswood. Love at first sight, but like most new introductions it remained too rich for my blood…part of the pleasure in Stan’s story.
    Loree: Everyone seems to agree that the Mimosa is the star of this garden.

  4. I saw Stan and Steph’s garden during last summers heat wave in Portland. Those 100 degree+ temperatures didn’t seem to affect the rocks at all. The prudent use of water in the front section seemed to spring all of those varieties of plants to bloom. It was and is spectacular!
    Oh, by the way, don’t travel with Stan into the wilds as he will make you carry your weight in rocks back to his Eden.

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