When we bought our house in Seattle, we knew we didn’t want to be under looming trees for the long gloomy winters. Our house has a bright, exposed lawn to the east, just a broad expanse of ’50s lawn connected to each other house on the block. Imagine the sound of wooden screen doors banging as children run past with water balloons. I figure our kids can play next door instead, while I convert the lawn into a colorful border that can withstand the sun (yes, both days) and drought of summer in the Pacific Northwest. I’m always on the lookout for good, tough plants and peaceful color combinations. Thomas Hobbs shared his private garden ‘Bel O’cchio’ in Surrey, Canada recently. His color combinations are inspiring.
Thomas Hobbs counters our typical grey Pacific Northwest gloom with a custom peach-colored gravel blend that winds from the main path up stairs to the pool. The soft-leaved Stachys complements the silver leaves of the Achillea ‘Moonshine’. The pale lavender blooms of the Stachys later in the season will still work well with the dark, purple-toned sedum tucked in below. Golden Sedum angelina and Santolina virens light up the color palette. The border would be flat without the movement of Festuca amethystina, a better form than Festuca glauca, although the inflorescence doesn’t last long. Hebe topiaria in the foreground provides year-long structure, as would Buxus sempervirens. I don’t know which Rosa anchors the bed, but the David Austin rose ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ would be lovely. A lily off-camera continues the color theme later in the summer. Purple Geranium x magnificum and silvery-blue Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’ continue the theme up the stairs. Most of these plants are pretty tough, and should withstand an errant ball thrown into them. I’m not sure how these fared after hundreds of visitors over the garden tour!