The Dancing Ladies Garden of Linda Ernst: Portland Garden Bloggers Fling

Do you ever fantasize about another gardener living right next door? Linda Ernst and Joanne Fuller are living the fantasy. Aside from being friends and next-door neighbors, they both love to garden, and each tends a beautiful space linked by a friendly gate in back and a continuous path in front. We visited both gardens on the last day of the recent Garden Bloggers Fling in Portland, Oregon. I showed you Joanne’s garden last post (visible through the gate, above).

Today I pick up where I left off, by stepping through the steel garden gate and entering Linda’s garden.

Linda is a fused-glass artist, and many of her pieces have a home in her garden, along with a lovely collection of sculptural art. Representations of women figure prominently in her art collection. In fact she calls her garden Dancing Ladies Garden.

The plant combinations are works of art too, with carefully considered color echoes and contrasting textures and shapes.

Linda’s garden was perfection, with room after room of inviting seating areas, beautifully constructed walls and fences, colorful flower beds, and focal-point art. Here’s a covered terrace off the back of the house.

A contemporary orange table gives the space a modern edge.

The aqua glass top on the plinth is one of Linda’s creations, made from shower-door glass, if I recall correctly.

From the covered terrace you look out on a spacious, gravel-floored dining patio. A stacked-stone seat wall curves around back and helps frame a cottagey display of purple coneflowers, towering lilies, rudbeckia, and tall verbena.

A closer look

A stainless steel fountain and L-shaped raised bed add a contemporary note to the scene.

I’m sure that’s one of Linda’s glass pieces “floating” in the fountain.

A stucco wall segues into mossy green fencing along the property line.

Dyckia and a cute little face

One more look at the back garden

After passing under an arbor we enter the driveway, in which cars are kept at bay in favor of more garden seating. I love this side entry, with its mint-green door, tall potted grasses and other assorted potted plants, and purple bistro set — so inviting! The white fencing panel creates privacy from the street and the car-parking side of the driveway.

The raspberry-colored flowers echo the purple table and chairs.

Dancing ladies appear on glass pots…

…and steel art.

Linda has given up parking in her garage in order to create a container garden and patio in the driveway. Everything can be moved if madness takes her and she decides her car needs a roof more than she needs this delightful patio.

Ally and Ricki enjoying the space

A concrete urn planted with succulents makes a classic accent.

A little more modern is this glass birdbath, with variegated yuccas in front.

A closer look

Linda has an extra half-lot next door that gives her space for more garden rooms. An oversized white arbor beckons you onward just past the driveway patio.

Step through and the world goes technicolor.

A container garden in shades of chartreuse, hot pink, and golden yellow elicited oohs from our group. Linda’s fused glass pieces hang on the cattle-panel trellis, which screens a potting bench.

The perimeter fencing, simple wooden posts supporting a wire screen, is given a custom touch with fused-glass post caps. Purple clematis romantically tumbles along the fence.

Here’s Caroline, giving us a sense of scale with the arbor.

Walking back down the paver path: the driveway patio is to the right, and straight ahead is the only patch of lawn in the whole garden. Beyond that, another garden room beckons.

But before we get there, let’s admire the vignettes along the way, like this steel sculpture that hints of a woman’s form, or at least her clothing.

And this green pot tucked into a leafy, green shade garden along the property line, partially screening the neighbor’s house.

But that velvety lawnette entices you forward. Lilies scent the air. Another paver path leads on.

A sculpture at the end of the path is a perfect focal point.

The sculpture is revealed to be a voluptuous torso, elevated on a handsome plinth. The plants, pots, and ceramic balls at left echo its bronze color, while Japanese forest grass adds contrasting chartreuse brightness.

Black beauty!

At left of the torso sculpture is a pair of chartreuse chairs and a steel firepit. The surrounding garden is lush foliage in chartreuse and bronze.

With a little orange thrown in.

Didn’t I see these chairs at Digs Inside & Out, in purple perhaps?

I love this “washer” table, with a ‘Diamond Frost’ euphorbia on the lower shelf.

Looking back down the path toward the lawnette and the white pergola


And stepping back a few feet for a longer view of the chartreuse seating and bordering garden


The path I’m backing down leads to the entry garden.

Here it is. The porch with white columns is Linda’s. Beyond, the house with the chimney belongs to her friend, Joanne.

Linda’s pale-yellow house is a handsome backdrop to the gardens.

Potted hostas flank the porch steps.

A low, bamboo fence separates Linda’s and Joanne’s front gardens. Linda has brightened her side with another ‘Diamond Frost’ euphorbia on a glass-topped pedestal.

Turning around, at the opening between the friends’ gardens, I take in Linda’s entry garden once more.

Dancing Ladies Garden, so full of exquisite detail, inviting seating, and beautiful plant combos, was definitely one of my favorites on the tour.

Up next: The spectacularly colorful, exotic, and tongue-in-cheek Floramagoria. For a look back at the artful garden of Joanne Fuller, next-door neighbor to Linda Ernst, click here.

All material © 2006-2014 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

The artful Fuller Garden: Portland Garden Bloggers Fling

We were treated to two gardens for the price of one on the 3rd day of the Portland Garden Bloggers Fling last month. Friends, gardeners, and art collectors Joanne Fuller and Linda Ernst live next door to each other in a charming older neighborhood, with a friendly gate separating their two gardens in back. Although we freely wandered between the two gardens during our tour, I’ll post about them separately, starting with the smaller Fuller garden, which I explored first.

The house sits well above the street, and you climb steps through a sloping shade garden to reach the house. The front garden is quite small, with a cozy patio (out of frame) and two crinkled, metallic columns standing in the corner — your first clue that an art lover lives here. This is the view from the side path, looking back toward the front garden and the street beyond. The fence that screens Joanne’s garden from her neighbor’s (not Linda’s)…

…is made of plexiglass panels and bamboo — a beautiful design that allows light to pass through and brighten this shady corner.

A narrow path leads alongside the house to a unique gate made of wine barrel hoops and old gardening tools.

Rather than lead to a wide-open patio, deck, or lawn, the path continues to run alongside the fence, with shrubs obscuring most of the garden, when up ahead the path widens…

…into a magical, intimate patio under a tree. Opaque plastic globes hang from the tree like paper lanterns, but they don’t actually light up. Joanne told me she thought they brought a quality of light to the space without electricity or candles. Not only that, but they give the space a party vibe.

Small glass balls in various colors cluster next to two chairs, continuing the globe theme. More is more, folks. More is more.

Sculptural art pieces hang on the vertical-slat fence, and a glass flower, like something out of Avatar, blooms next to the path. I love this space.

An elegant Little and Lewis fountain bubbles and drips amid jungly foliage.

As the path continues along the back of the garden, you move from shade to sun.

An abstract sculpture of a woman stands tall amid flowering perennials and grasses.

At each corner of the garden, a unique space beckons you in. In the back-right corner, it’s this pebble-mosaic, spiral patio. Wow, what a striking design.

Slightly left, you see a cluster of spiraling glass “horns” leaning out of the shrubbery. We saw a lot of glass art like this on the Seattle Fling a few years ago, and I expected to see plenty in the Portland gardens too, but only the Fuller and Ernst gardens had many glass pieces.

A painted fence, which separates Joanne’s garden from Linda’s next door, makes a neutral backdrop for a gorgeous metal trellis made of circles, echoing the shape of the pebble patio.

The path leads at last to the back of the house, where a large deck offers outdoor living and dining space. Gently curving around the deck, a contemporary metal arbor (or was it wood?) stands tall, offering visual separation, structure, and a feeling of enclosure.

A wider view of the deck

A bamboo fence screens the deck from the side path and provides privacy, if needed, from the house next door.

Joanne enjoys colorful accessories, like this blue head pot and red heuchera.

More blue pots filled with succulents grace a metal, leaf-shaped table in the corner.

From the deck you see a pair of blue Little and Lewis columns supporting a slanting, plexi roof over a tiny sitting area, romantically hung with sheer, blue curtains and a lantern.

Just to the left, a gate opens invitingly into Joanne’s neighbor’s garden, which I’ll show in my next post.

No detail is overlooked, and here Joanne creates a living mosaic with short lines of mondo grass, chartreuse sedge, and black mondo grass spaced amid paving stones.

A pretty, sunset-colored vignette echoes a rusty-orange wall.

Up next: The art-filled garden rooms of fused-glass artist Linda Ernst. For a look back at the meadowy Rhone Street Gardens, click here.

All material © 2006-2014 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Splendor in the grass at Rhone Street Gardens: Portland Garden Bloggers Fling

The 3rd and final day of touring on the recent Garden Bloggers Fling in Portland, Oregon, dawned cool and misty — exactly what Portland should be, at least according to heat-shunning me. After two days of unusual heat, I was thrilled, even when it started to thunder and rain began to spatter at our first stop, Rhone Street Gardens.

Rhone Street is the tiny, tightly packed, meadowy garden of Scott Weber, whose blog, also called Rhone Street Gardens, always delights me with his luminescent photography and light-hearted humor.

Like Loree of Danger Garden, while serving as unflappable co-host of the Portland Fling, Scott somehow managed to groom his garden to perfection and opened it to the 80 or so bloggers on the tour. And one stray hen.

Scott’s garden is on a sunny (when it’s not raining) corner lot.

Let’s start our tour at the driveway, which is a parking zone not for cars but for plants in all manner of galvanized containers, plus a shiny, metal-sided shed topped with a green roof.

Look what you can grow on a shallow, exposed roof in Portland’s mild climate: airy grasses and tall verbena. I love the light-reflecting metal siding on the shed.

Looking down, you see how Scott blended the driveway paving into the back path and patio. Shiny galvanized steel glints throughout the garden on pots, edging materials, and the shed.

Scott’s plants tend to be soft, airy, and billowy, like this Verbena bonariensis — such a contrast to his co-host’s “dangerously” spiny garden.

Looking the other way, down the path toward the back fence, white lilies and an arching, blond-flowering grass catch your eye.

Seating for two: a small, wooden table and two chairs tucked into the feathery grasses is the main focal point for the tiny back patio, which is essentially an enlargement of the path where it turns the corner.

Perfection! Even if Scott never sits here (and I suspect he’s always too busy photographing or actually gardening to sit down), this is such an inviting seating area and serene focal point framed by grasses, lilies, and other flowering plants.

A wider view

I would never have thought to plant a grass in a small, cylindrical pot, but it works wonderfully.

Those white lilies, ‘Silver Scheherazade’, are scene stealers.

The delightful Ricki of Sprig to Twig blog (also from Portland) color-coordinated with them.

‘Sarabande’ lily smiles down on pink astrantia, a plant I absolutely covet.

I like the silver-white foliage of this plant. A thistle, perhaps? It’s probably the spikiest plant in Scott’s garden.

Moving out front, Scott has gardened up every inch of the narrow strips running alongside his house, packing them densely with grasses, flowering perennials, and a few shrubs and small trees.

Both sides of the sidewalk are gardened, and as you walk down the sidewalk you want to reach out your hands and brush the soft, billowing plants on each side.


Purple coneflower

And looky there — it’s the always cheerful Janet of The Queen of Seaford, who blogs from my childhood hometown of Greenwood, South Carolina.

Scott’s garden is a gift to the neighborhood as well as a pleasure ground for himself (and the neighboring cats).

Scott shies away from garden art that calls attention to itself, preferring instead metal pieces that resemble flower buds or seedpods…

…unfurling fern fronds…

…and cattails.

The ballerina-skirted Echinacea pallida dances with a white verbascum.

Seedhead of Scabiosa ochroleuca

Scott boldly places a few containers right out by the street. I love this color-echoing combo of a bronze potato vine and a grass (rush?) with dark seedheads.

And this one — bronze, purple, and chartreuse, such a Pacific Northwest color scheme.

Another lovely, tawny-flowered grass

Sinuous spires of agastache and verbascum

Geranium ‘Rozanne’

Boots, Scott’s cat, surveys his domain from the front porch. Next to him, a pretty rain chain dangles from the eave.

When it rains, it fills a water-storage barrel, coming in handy during dry stretches in the summer.

Tucked against the house is Scott’s new, second sitting area. Screened by plants and partially hidden from passersby, it affords a quiet view of the street.

And here’s Scott, the man behind all this meadowy beauty.

It was a huge treat to visit Scott’s garden in person after seeing it on his blog for so long. Many thanks, Scott, for sharing it with us!

Up next: The artful Joanne Fuller Garden, one of a neighboring pair we visited. For a look back at the charming, colorful Chickadee Gardens, click here.

All material © 2006-2014 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.