Tuesday, December 21, 2010

An Astoria conifer garden

We got away to Astoria for a long weekend. It was perfect: a little Christmas shopping, a lot of relaxing, eating great oysters and looking at houses for sale (we dream about living there.) On Sunday it dried up and we retraced our steps to a garden we had seen on on an earlier visit.

The last time we were here, maybe 9 months ago, the homeowners had just begun this project and had the front garden of their house graded and set up in general planting areas. It wasn't evident at that point what they intended, plant-wise. Now it's abundantly clear - they LOVE evergreens!

Like almost every piece of property in Astoria, the house is on a slope. This gave them an interesting perspective, but some challenges retaining the soil and in planting.

Many of the plantings are held in place with low block walls. This is Astoria, so I know they will soon grow a soft, green coating of moss to hide the raw blocks.

More attractive to me is the rock work that retains some of the trees and shrubs.

The gardeners have used an amazing array of evergreens sporting widely contrasting colors and textures.

They have also added a few nice deciduous trees, including this paperbark maple (Acer Griseum).

I love the use of small pebbles to create dry riverbeds between some areas.

The color and variety are a delight.

The gold and chartreuse foliage on the evergreens really pays off in the dark months.

I could tell there was a lot more to this garden but the bigger trees planted in the front yard hide a lot of it. I wasn't feeling brave enough to go exploring up the front path, so I contented myself with the views available from the sidewalk.

A hummingbird serenaded me with his scratchy little song as I took photos.

He was in a larger tree, just above this weeping Serbian spruce (Picea Omorika 'Pendula'.) The owners had conveniently left some of the plant tags attached, so my few identified species are reliable. As for the rest, I have no idea but I love them together.

A last look up the hill at the brightest garden I have seen all season here in Oregon.


  1. This is beautiful, Jane! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Wow that garden is amazing for being so young! Great color and texture. So dreaming of Astoria? Retirement or vacation home?

  3. So stunning ! I live in constant envy of the fantastic conifers that can be grown up yonder.

  4. What a fabulous place. I love all the evergreens and rocks. They go together so nicely.

  5. Now there is a garden after my own heart. I agree that those bulwark walls will get better with a little aging, but otherwise who would guess that this garden is brand new. I had a conversation with some Astorians last summer who were bemoaning the rare sightings of the sun. Better do some research regarding that move.

  6. Deb, thanks for visiting!

    dg, we dream of a retirement home there, but all those hills might be more difficult as we age.

    ks, you can't grow assorted conifers in Northern CA? There must be some nice ones that would work!

    Grace, isn't it nicely pulled together?

    ricki, we know it rains even more there, but the amazing air and the views are worth it!


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