My friend Karin has a beautiful eye for color. And since she is an avid gardener, her color sense extends to the garden of her inner southeast Portland home.
Much of inner Portland has a wonderful tree canopy resulting in shady streets and gardens. Karin's garden is no exception. A hedge of arborvitea in the westside neighbor's garden limits her sun exposure even more.
So Karin gardens with shade plants, almost exclusively.
All the shade-lovers that would cook in my garden flourish in hers. I love the layered look of this variegated shrub with the Hosta, Podiphyllum and Pulmonaria.
When you don't have to worry about sun, you can grow the most light-sensitive plants, like this Fatsia japonica
'Spider's Web', accented by a fire-cracker red
In addition to colorful shade lovers, little touches of whimsey abound.
A row of de-constructed building elements rescued many years ago by Karin's father, a noted Portland architect, forms a gentle divider alongside the eastside pathway.
Her father also dragged home this stunning classical column that now drips with foliage.
Blue figures prominently in Karin's color compositions.
Though she is hardly afraid of red and pink...
... or magenta.
All her containers let Karin arrange and re-arrange for maximum impact.
Like this one, some groupings feature multiple bold colors.
While others are more subtle, but equally effective.
And some color combinations rely on a single strong contrast to make their point.
This shady garden is the perfect place for a summer gathering - it's always a few degrees cooler than the rest of the city.
Karin's garden beautifully illustrates the fact that shade gardens need not be boringly green; wherever you look in this garden, you'll find something colorful - and often whimsical - to delight your eye.
Basjoo for $5?! Stick that thing into the ground and get the party started! (A single banana is a little sad -- you want a clump!)
I also have a Verbascum volunteer that arrived out of nowhere. It's actually in a good spot too!