Abies balsamea 'Nana'

Abies balsamea 'Nana'

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Garden Tours: Kuzma Garden

As I write this post on Sunday, Mother Nature is teasing me with dry breaks, even some sun, scattered between heavy showers. I was debating donning full rain gear to start planting, but a particularly heavy shower accompanied by wind made me reconsider. So today seems like a good day to write a post of my visit to the much-photographed and blogged-about garden of John Kuzma. After seeing photos of this garden from Loree's yearly visits and from various other bloggers that attended the Garden Bloggers' Fling in Portland, I knew I had to see this garden for myself. Though I've been trying to work harder on my writing in these posts lately, I'm going to let the photos do most of the talking in this post.

Stepping out of the car, I could barely wait to start snapping photos. I consider it a remarkable display of restraint that this post only contains 38 photos. I've unfortunately forgotten what the shrub on the left is in the photo below, but I was drooling over the Grevillea on the right. I was very excited about Grevilleas last summer, as I was finally adding some to my own garden. I love how these silvery shrubs are displayed against the dark green screen plantings in the background. Enclosure is something that is seriously lacking in my garden. Even when things do grow up and fill in, I'm not sure I really have garden "rooms". But then, open concept is all the rage in interior design these days. Why not the garden?

Oh how I love the bark of cork oaks (Quercus suber). I do hope the ones I planted last year (and then moved in late summer) put on some serious growth this year. They are such beautiful trees; hardy and adapted to dry summers, too!


Trachelospermum asiaticum 'Theta' (I think) spilling over a low wall under a beautiful Eucalyptus which I'm having a hard time believing I didn't photograph. Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens' (black mondo grass) is used to great effect in this garden. It shows up much better against the gravel than in a bed with dark mulch.

A beautiful Corokia cotoneaster provides a textural and color contrast to the lush, tropical greenery surrounding it. A little support from a piece of rebar apparently helps it stand up above the crowd.

Backing this plant with green foliage, or elevating it so that it's silhouetted against the sky, highlights the intricate form of this shrub.

I like to tease a certain someone about the plain green Daphniphyllum looking too much like a regular old rhododendron, but I must agree with her that the variegated version is eminently drool-worthy.

I always try to pay attention to texture, in addition to color, in gardens, and this garden had so much to offer on both counts. This blue-leaved acacia (?) is beautiful in terms of color, and also offers a wonderfully different texture with its leaf-lined, upright stems. I wonder how it fared this winter... The bright, mostly white Pittosporum, with its dark stems, adds great color contrast.

How's this for contrast, color, texture, and form? The acacia in the photo above really highlights the dark green of this Chamaecyparis (possibly Cham. lawsoniana 'Wissel's Saguaro'?).

Lovely feathery texture of Taxodium (?) overlaying the coarser foliage of shade plants beneath.

Fine and bold all in one, with a touch of blue that I'm a total sucker for. This Dianella is another plant that has me wondering how it handled the winter.

I loved this vignette. The limbs of a young evergreen oak stretch in front of a Cunninghamia lanceolata 'Glauca', a dwarf blue form of Sequoia sempervirens, and some sort of variegated broadleaved evergreen in the back. The blue and cream foliage had such a cooling effect on that hot summer day. Even the tops of the oak leaves read as somewhat blue-green. I could have stayed in this back corner, soaking up the serene colors, but the rest of the garden called.

This scene was incredible. So much variety, yet it forms a cohesive whole. The Abies koreana 'Silberlocke' (?) in the small bed echoes the silver of the agaves and the Cupressus arizonica (?) in the back. Actually, looking at those now, I'd really like to know which variety it is. They have relatively horizontal branches that look like they'd be better at shedding snow than conifers with lots of upright branches, which all look rather frazzled if not outright destroyed after this winter. And they're such a beautiful blue. The Trachycarpus dotted throughout aid in the cohesion via repetition of color and form. This vignette really displays the incredible diversity of plants that can be grown in the Pacific Northwest, with a bit of zone pushing and careful attention to site preparation and plant placement.

Well, at least I photographed this eucalyptus, not that I have any idea which one it is. Oh how I want my little eucalyptus trees to grow up so they can scent the air with their camphor fragrance and rustle their pendant leaves in every breeze. I love that sound, like a rushing stream or ocean waves, depending on the strength of the wind and size of the tree.

Datura wrightii, I'm guessing?

More textural eye candy, the fine stems of Ozothamnus contrasting with the lush foliage of Melianthus major.

Another acacia, contrasting its blue color against the golden green of the bamboo behind it.

This section of the garden looked a little newer. I was a little surprised to see a Schefflera delaveyi growing in full sun, surrounded by yuccas. I think of this plant as a shade-lover, but it can take quite a bit of sun in the Pacific Northwest, provided it has plenty of water, which the yuccas don't mind.

I love the form of this little Arctostaphylos, with its gracefully-curved trunk. It's going to make a beautiful specimen as it grows.

My own take on the agave berm, which has been photographed numerous times. I don't think there's any danger of people tiring of it.

This garden has a wonderful balance of enclosure and borrowed views from other parts of the garden. There's that blue acacia again, plus the blue cypress trees, with other plants layering in greens and blues right up to the Yucca rostrata (?) and agave in the foreground.

I love this silver potentilla. I just wish it was evergreen. I'm so stuck up about deciduous perennials. They really aren't my thing. Not that I don't have any, but I hate having something this beautiful leave a big hole when it dies down for the winter.

Hmm, will this scene be repeated this summer? Kangaroo paws and cuphea, not exactly known for hardiness.

One can never go wrong with a madrone. Few things compare to that bark in my mind.

I love this combination of orange kangaroo paws, blue acacia, and somewhat olive-green and brown Elegia capensis.

I prefer the previous color combination, but still had to photograph this more traditional red and yellow for the sake of the kangaroo paws.

I've fallen hard for evergreen oaks and their relatives. I think this is a Notholithocarpus densiflorus. This entire group of trees is far under-used.

Chamaerops humilis var. cerifera, also known as var. argentea, is such a beautiful palm. I prefer these clumping, smaller (in our climate) palms to the big trachycarpus. I like having the leaves down where I can enjoy them.

Another wonderful textural palette.

This (nearly) all silver garden really celebrates texture. What has become of that beautiful acacia after this winter?

This water feature that looks like it came straight off the cover of a magazine.

Couldn't resist another photo of cork oak bark.

I love the texture of this cotoneaster.

I hope my Adiantum venustum has recovered from its transplant shock last year and takes off this spring. It didn't do much last year, despite being in one of the moister parts of my garden. I really want a lush carpet like this.

Big fabulous umbrella of Arisaema over a Rhododendron pachysanthum.

As I was planning to do something similar in the new garden areas I was developing last summer, I was glad to see it implemented in this garden: Ceanothus gloriousus as a groundcover under taller Arctostaphylos.

I loved this combination of Arctostaphylos trunk and Hebe pimeleoides 'Quicksilver', plus the little opuntia pad waving from the corner. I'm a little surprised the hebe is doing so well. I know it's a fairly drought-tolerant plant, but not as much as the arctostaphylos.

Yucca rostrata and Arctostaphylos make a wonderful pair. I'm pretty much happy with any combination of blue and orange, be it the bright orange kangaroo paws and acacia shown earlier in this post, or the silver blue hebe and yucca with the more earthy orange of the arctostaphylos bark in these last two photos.

And that ends my post this week. I may be looking back on these photos more this spring as I seek inspiration for my own garden projects. And for more inspiration, I'm looking forward to the Northwest Flower and Garden Show this week!

20 comments:

  1. An amazing garden! I never tire of seeing posts about it. BTW, you could tell that someone that the variegated daphnephyllum resembles a variegated rhododendron only without flowers.

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    1. Haha! True, though I think the variegated daphniphyllum might have slightly better variegation than the variegated rhododendrons I've seen.

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  2. You did a wonderful job highlighting all the great textural contrasts. Looking closely at your photo of the agave berm (photo 19), it appears that it was planted crevice-style - is that correct? I recently attended a presentation on crevice gardens and have been considering how I could make use of that approach.

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    1. Thanks, Kris. Yes, it is planted crevice-style. I'll look forward to seeing your crevice garden, if you make one!

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  3. I was so besotted with this garden at Fling ! When the HPSO Open Garden Guide comes out I will try to plan a trip to Oregon to coincide with this garden being open.

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    1. If by chance he doesn't decide to open this coming summer, let me know when you're re coming up and maybe I can get you in anyway!

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    2. Oh this was great fun and I love that you pointed out combinations I hadn't noticed before. Next time I'm there I need to make myself walk through in the opposite pattern from what I've always done, that should shake up my view a little. Oh and for the Acacias, John has mastered wrapping and heating them...so hopefully...

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    3. p.s. Daphniphyllum are cool...you just need to get with the program mister.

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    4. Hopefully he does open it, but if not, maybe Loree can get a few of us in? I noticed after your latest post, Loree, that I had gone through the garden in the opposite direction as you did. I know, I just don't know what's cool.

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  4. what a lovely tour of his garden...you bring back memories of being warm and dry, thank you Evan.

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    1. You're welcome, Tamara. The weather next week looks nice. Not summer, but pretty nice for winter!

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  5. Thanks for your take on this amazing garden. It stuns me every single time Loree posts photos of it. You've really pulled together some great shots.

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    1. Thanks! This garden makes capturing great shots easy.

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  6. I never get tired of seeing this garden. You found many wonderful details with your camera; you have a sharp eye. (More photos would be okay!)

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    1. Thanks, Hoov! I was oddly reserved with my shutter-finger that day. I'm surprised I don't have an absurd amount of photos.

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  7. You have the keenest eye to notice textures and color combos. The acacia and 'Wissel's Saguaro' are fantastic together. To me, the "all silver garden" needs something to punch it up, just like the red poppies that jumped into the frame. You did plant madrone in your garden, right?

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    1. Thanks, Chav. I kind of like the all-silver garden, but you're right. Having something to "punch it up" is good. I planted madrone seeds. Some germinated and then were killed by the cold winter. Hopefully the rest germinate after the hard frosts are over.

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  8. The planting style, even some of the plants themselves, reminds me so much of Australia. It's a style I love and want to emulate in my own naturally inspired English garden. I like the emphasis on shrubby things too, low maintenance is another thing high on the agenda!

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    1. Low maintenance is high among my priorities, too. This garden makes great use of shrubs and evergreen perennials, which is also the bulk of the plant palette in my garden, though I have fewer Australian plants and more from the west coast of North America.

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  9. Love seeing this garden through your lens. It's a fresh take on a garden that never gets old.

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Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment! I love hearing what readers think and answering questions. I also welcome suggestions for improvement!