Monthly Archives: June 2013

Joy Creek designed Leon Garden: Garden Tour this Weekend

Have you ever wondered what a Joy Creek garden design/build project would be like?  This weekend you have a chance to view one of our lovely installed gardens and talk with the homeowners and the designer during the 9th Annual Designers Garden Tour in Portland.

Alyse Lansing sm 20130603_031 Leon Garden back

Leon’s Upper Terrace

Yes, one of our favorite services is landscape design and installation, especially enjoying doing them for our nursery customers.  We do the infrastructure and “bones” garden work, and you get to do the fun stuff—your plants!  This Saturday, June 22, one of our gardens is featured along with six others on the Designers’ Garden Tour that is a benefit for the Association of Northwest Landscape Designers  scholarship program.

Here is a “sneak peak” at our garden, The Leon Garden, on tour Saturday, June 22, from 10am to 4pm.  For more information on where to purchase tickets for the tour click here.

Alyse Lansing sm 20130603_027 Leon Garden gateway

Leon Garden Gateway

This garden was designed for Joy Creek Nursery customers Gina and Regan Leon of NW Portland.  Gina had frequented Joy Creek for shade perennials, herbs and—her favorite—clematis.  She loved to garden, but their back yard was small, sloped, difficult and cramped.  The drainage issues had become so bad that it was impossible to mow their small patch of lawn.  The existing patio was not much of a destination, and the homeowners rarely spent time outside.

In Spring of 2011, all that changed, with a new garden plan by our staff designer, Alyse Lansing.  She worked with the Leons to create a design that inspired them, the project was bid, the Leons agreed to the costs proposed, and the project began with our talented Joy Creek crews.

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Before the New Design

First, drainage was added.  Then patios were improved and expanded, and the small site was visually and spatially expanded with two terraces on a new angle from the house.  The new angles and levels help divert the eye away from less attractive tall neighboring houses and “borrow” better views to make this small yard feel much bigger than it is.  Attractive low walls of dry-stacked stone hold back the new lushly amended soil, which now supports healthy, happy plants.

“It’s now so inviting and relaxing,” Gina said. “Coming out to sweep the patios and putter in the garden is now one of my delights rather than a chore to be endured.”  Weeding is now so manageable, it’s a pleasure!

Alyse Lansing sm 20130611_075cr Leon Garden side

Adding Interest to a Tiny Side Yard

The best part is how much they enjoy the outdoor space.  When previously they never ate outside, now, in summer, they eat outdoors, al fresco, almost every night.  The small back yard has a warm, relaxed feel, even somewhat “grand”, like the European courtyards that were the original dream.

We love doing this work for our customers.  Come out and see Alyse at the Tour on Saturday!  She’d love to chat with you about your yard.  With the other gardens on tour as well, it’s a great place for inspiration.

Tickets are on sale at seven garden centers in the Portland area until Friday night (6/21), and at three of the garden centers on tour day (Saturday 6/22).  Tickets will also be available at two of the gardens starting at 10 am on the day of the tour, cash or check only.  All locations are listed on the ANLD web page.

How to Form a Garden Community Through Blogging: A Workshop with Scott Webber and friends

Have you ever wondered what the point of Blogging was?  Guess what, there are lots of great reasons for gardeners to Blog!  You can use it to show family and friends what you’ve been up to in your garden, or just to keep a record of your garden from year to year.  Blogging is also a great way to meet fellow gardeners in your area…and around the world.  Join some area bloggers as they discuss what spurred them to start blogging and what the benefits have been as a result.

Here are the five Bloggers that will be leading the discussion:

Heather Tucker blogs at Just a Girl With A Hammer
Heather’s house-buying adventures were filmed for an episode of My First Place where the disembodied narrator questioned whether she was making “the biggest financial mistake of her life.” The jury is still out on whether he was right or not.

Heather is a passionate gardener and DIYer. “I have no idea what I’m doing but I’m a librarian so I have access to a lot of how-to books. I’m also pushy, so I get a lot of help and advice from my awesome friends.”

Ann Amato blogs at Amateur Bot-ann-ist

Ann started blogging in 2007 as a way to reach out after years of chronic illness. Since then her autoimmune illness has gone into remission but she still channels a lot of what she learned about therapeutic gardening into social work with foster children and writing. She is the author of AncientForests and Western Man, a black-and-white pictorial history of the logging industry on the West Coast and has worked for many years as a copy editor. She especially enjoys germinating plants from seed, native plants, rare species and ikebana.

Loree Bohl blogs at danger garden

Loree has been gardening in Portland since July of 2005, and started her blog in March of 2009. Having pushed her zone to the point of pain she’s now settled in to a slightly more accepting version of what a Portland garden can be. She is a founding member and the communications director of (an online plant directory connecting gardeners with the plants they want and the nurseries that grow them).

Jane Finch-Howell blogs at MulchMaid

Jane has been blogging since April, 2009 and retains garden records back to 1989. She is a Master Gardener, a member of the Hardy Plant Society, and chairs the Grounds Committee at the Historic Overlook House (http://www.historicoverlookhouseorg/) a Portland Parks Department property managed by the Friends of Overlook House. Jane’s current garden is five years old and she retains close ties to her previous garden of nineteen years, including one gorgeous Arbutus menziesii she planted there.

Scott Weber blogs at RhoneStreetGardens

Scott moved to Portland from Nebraska eight years ago to fulfill a long-held dream of living in the Northwest. Scott’s blog chronicles his experience and impressions as a Portland gardener. Scott was appointed as a fill-in member of the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon in December 2012 to fill a Board vacancy, and he now stands for election to a full two-year term. A true nerd, Scott’s gardening inspiration comes from such varied sources as the gardens of Piet Oudolf, the paintings of Monet and the music of early 20th century English Romantic composers.

We hope yo see you there on Saturday June 8th, at 1 pm.