Beach Cottage

Photo by Nancy Wilcox

Three micro-climates call for three distinct styles of gardens at this 103-year-old cottage near the beach.

The drought-tolerant garden, stretching along the parking strip and sidewalks, sits in direct line of the summer’s full sun. A large sampling of drought-tolerant plants fill the parking strip, including angel’s fishing rod, euphorbia, hebes, grasses, rosemary, and New Zealand flax. Along the sidewalk is a cedar shingle fence with daisies, lavender and hebes in the top planter.

To the east is the Zen garden, with a light and dark theme achieved with leaf color intended to mimic shadows and sunlight. Art to be enjoyed is a rusty sunflower trellis and a Japanese lantern from the gardener’s mother’s garden. A flowering pear shades much of the walk. Hebes, hydrangeas and fatsia contrast with each other along the fence, with passion flower toward the back welcoming visitors to the next tropical garden.

The tribute garden, protected by buildings and fences, is a reminder of times spent in Trinidad and Tobago. With sculptures gracing the garden, two fountains drowning out the noise of summer beach traffic, and a raised bed of plants rarely found in the cool climate of Western Washington (Musa basjoo or Japanese banana, hosta, pineapple lilies, cannas, wandering jew, hibiscus, and a wind palm), this is clearly a private space, designed to relax and “return” to the warmer climates where these tropical plants call home.

Not wheelchair accessible.