Floramagoria Part II

Floramagoria, a private Portland garden I discussed in the last post, has a lot of stuff that can make you smile, even giggle. But this garden is not all giggles, no. It is a seriously gorgeous garden.

Floramagoria's front garden
Floramagoria’s front garden

The front garden is quite attractive, in a restrained sort of way. It gives you no clue of what’s out back.

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Neither does the shaded path along the side of the house.

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But then … once I arrived in the back garden, my first impression was of a botanical fireworks display. I loved the big patch of blue Nigella with orange Kniphofia. You don’t see much Nigella around Chicago. West Coast gardeners tell me it can be a pest, but what a lovely pest. I’m guessing it would be more restrained in the Midwestern climate.

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The mix of plants seems part English cottage garden and part Southern California, with a bit of the tropics thrown in for good measure.

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Yet all the pieces fit together without seeming like a mishmash. I’m trying to remember what those orange poles were all about.

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This is a garden in glorious technicolor.

A miniature bog in a container.
A miniature bog in a container.

There are also plenty of bog plants, including carnivores, some in containers and some in the beds. They add an element of surprise and, well, strangeness.

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Aside from the variety of plants, another striking quality of this garden is how it is able to combine many distinct spaces and moods. This is done without garden rooms separated by tall hedges as in Sissinghurst.

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For starters, there are many spaces conducive to socializing. This includes a covered patio, where our gracious hosts left out homemade chocolate chip cookies and other refreshments.

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There’s also this fire pit. I like how those big green leaves stand out against the orange wall.

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The fire pit provides a destination at one end of the back garden. The cross baby in that pseudo-shrine is just a bit creepy, to tell the truth.

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This colorful carpet built into the path provides a sort of welcome mat for the area around the fire pit.

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But if you want to get away, there is this shaded bench in a quiet corner.

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This water feature against a blue wall provides both a focal point and a space to congregate.

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Last but not least, I have to mention the space created on one side of the house for beehives and growing edibles in large stock tanks.

Floramagoria is an uninhibited and joyous garden, fearlessly incorporating many disparate elements into a whole that works amazingly well.

38 Comments on “Floramagoria Part II

  1. I’m pretty sure you’ve shown us that photo with the orange poles before as I remember being so struck by the planting then. I love it! The big leaves against the orange wall are very impressive, and I love that blue wall too – perfect for a water feature. It seems a very well-planned garden, full of flair but comfortable too.

  2. Some great photos. I would love to visit this garden and I like many of the elements, but soon I would be seeking that calm, peaceful quiet spot.

  3. I liked your photo of a path along the side of house and a fence. It’s so tidy. I also thought the composition of plants seemed to be unusual but very decorative, Jason.

  4. I really like the side path. Great rocks and a nice miss of leaf textures. I even like the old fence there. All the colours and shapes just fit. The grouping around the tree trunk in picture 13 is amazing. That would be hard to pull off. Besides the problem of keeping the plants watered without irrigation I wonder how they kept the slugs from devouring everything.

  5. I wonder why the front yard is so unassuming? I really enjoyed this post and I think my favs were the color blasts from the walls and the unexpected container bogs. Since I can no longer travel, these types of reports are such a special gift. Keep up the great work, my friend.

  6. I wish the orange poles were flowers Jason, it would be the perfect composition then and I love the mix of colours, textures and shapes, even so (and I am from the snooty we don’t have that kind of thing brigade), I love the Orange poles!

  7. Ahhhh I’m on overload right now !! Holy cow are there so many magical destinations in this garden!!!! That carpet art piece is magnificent and the side garden is a lush passageway but boy you are right it is like a firework display!! Just extraordinary! And I have been planning a space for planting around my ash leaving some space for the beans as they love to play tag with the tree….I will have to go back up and look at what they have under that tree!! Thank you for the inspiration on this cold day !! Happy gardening! Nicole

  8. How I wish I could visit, it’s simply stunning, I love it all, except for the babies but then one man’s meat is another man’s poison….So many things I could comment on, it’s all amazing, especially the miniature bog! Wow!xxx

  9. You’re right, it is a beautiful garden but I’m wondering how they get all of those pitcher plants to grow in it, and how they got that carpet to be part of the path. I like the idea of using galvanized stock tanks as raised container gardens. Perfect for those who have trouble bending!

  10. I believe the beautiful carpet is mosaic tiles, if I recall correctly (am I allowed to spell that out, since I’m over a certain age, or should I just say IIRC?) There were so many amazing touches — the restful space in the corner under that giant evergreen tree was filled with bubbles wafting down from a bubble machine on a high branch, for example.

  11. That garden really is creativity run amok, in a good way. “Botanical fireworks display” and “garden in glorious technicolor” are perfect descriptions.

  12. Hi Jason, that really is a fantastic garden, the planting is brilliant, the design is superb, the theatre is dramatic, it’s exciting and really makes me wish we had something like that close-by here.

  13. I think this would have been a fav of mine had I gone….I love the long views of the garden knowing the whimsy hidden in and around each one…really spectacular.

  14. Enjoyed both your posts on this garden, Jason. Because I left a little early that Sunday and because of the rain, I missed some of the little details of this garden. This was such a fun and inviting place–lots of creative ideas to inspire every gardener!

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