One home, three gardens: an Oregon family plants for sun, shade, and veggies on their little patch of paradise.
INSPIRED BY her green-thumbed father, Sherilyn Farris wanted a beautiful garden of her own. One thing held her back: "We were afraid of putting all this money into a yard and having the deer eat it," she says. They also needed to landscape with different light in mind--sunny in the front yard, shaded in the back.
For help, Sherilyn and her husband, Michael, turned to designers Rebecca Sams and Buell Steelman of Eugene, Oregon (mosaic-gardens.com). In the front garden (page 62), Sams and Steelman planted sun-loving alliums, lavenders, salvias, and thyme--around a ginkgo tree that is the garden's centerpiece--to get the blues, pinks, and purples the owners love.
The mostly shaded rear garden is divided into separate outdoor rooms: a flagstone-paved patio (at far left), where the Farrises sip wine or drink coffee, and a larger, lower gravel patio (at near left), where the couple and their two teenagers hang out by the grill (Sams calls it the "s'mores terrace"). Sams and Steelman blended shade-tolerant perennials and ferns with the garden's original azaleas and rhododendrons to honor Sherilyn's father, who loves those shrubs. In the backyard's one sunny spot, the designers planted a 10- by 18-foot vegetable garden protected by a 6-foot-high fence.
"It's just what I envisioned," says Sherilyn. "Something's blooming all year." Even in December, hummingbirds come to feed on the Mahonia flowers. Meanwhile, the blacktailed deer have gone elsewhere.
MAKE THE MOST OF THE SHADE
In the backyard, an arc of autumn ferns (Dryopteris erythrosora) flanks the circular flagstone patio. The larger gravel patio to the right gives friends and family room to spread out. White-flowered Daphne transatlantica 'Jim's Pride' lines the path, while a red Japanese maple (Acer palmatum 'Emperor') stands center.
PLANT FOR SUN--AND NOT FOR DEER
For the property's unfenced areas, the designers chose only plants that deer don't like. In the front yard, above, this includes tall bronze-tipped Japanese silver grass (Miscanthus sinensis 'Morning Light'), a bright green ginkgo tree, and reddish violet Salvia nemorosa 'Amethyst'. The border is edged with variegated spurge (Euphorbia charadas 'Tasmanian Tiger') along the left and woolly thyme in front.
PROTECT YOUR VEGGIES
The family grows garlic, kale, lettuce, perennial herbs, snap peas, Swiss chard, tomatoes, and zucchini in the patch of sun in the backyard, left. The garden is protected from deer by a welded-wire fence, covered along the bottom half with netting. "There's something about rusty metal that has a quiet, disappearing quality," says Sams.
Landscape designer Rebecca Sams shares some of her favorite plants for sun and shade.
Sams describes evergreen Rhododendron nakaharae Tink E.S/ as "not too flat or formal." It flowers late and spreads; likes shade.
Sams picked Polystichum setiferum for a shaded border. "I love its fuzzy fronds." That's Daphne susannae 'Lawrence Crocker' behind it.
Sun-loving Eryngium 'Sapphire Blue' "has a neat flower that seems to last forever," says Sams. "It's nuclear blue--it glows."