A Family Garden

Photo by Nancy Wilcox

Photo by Nancy Wilcox

A walk down a communal driveway leads you to this lovely garden.  Mature crabapple and paperbark maple trees flank the front entry walk, while hydrangea, Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra), ferns, hostas, mondo grass, and Mahonia bealei frame the front of the house. Large pots of banana and phormium create a tropical transition to a portico and restful courtyard garden. A stream terminates in a pool surrounded with lush cool green plantings. Taking inspiration from private courtyard gardens she encountered during a stay in Hangzhou, China, Kyle has created a similar environment of serenity. Seattle’s mild marine climate, along with the microclimate between house and garage, allow many tropicals to thrive here. It is her favorite place – just one of several distinct garden spaces.

Continue through the courtyard garden to the waterfront borders where many original plantings are slowly being replaced to reflect changing climate conditions. Look for heat-loving grasses, native rugosa roses, and towering phormium. You will also find edibles here. Grapes climb an arbor. Tomato vines, wind-pollinated and hybridized by Kyle and Michael’s son Spencer, are trained upwards.

Returning to the entry point, make your way up stone steps set between rosemary and pots of succulents to a well-designed fruit and vegetable garden, created on the site of the original house. Spencer, who starts seeds (many saved from previous years) for tomatoes, spicy peppers, cucumbers, beans, and more, is the guiding hand here. This spot is a ready source for daily meals, jams, flowers, wreaths, and more importantly, shows the spirit of a true family garden.

Wheelchair accessible.