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


Lily


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


Fabulous!


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.

JJ De Sousa’s bold garden digs: Portland Garden Bloggers Fling


What’s black and white and red-orange all over? The stylishly mod yet playful garden of JJ De Sousa, that’s what. Owner of Digs Inside & Out home-and-garden shop, which I visited pre-Fling, JJ has an enviable talent for creating inviting, colorful garden rooms, perfect for entertaining, which wrap around her home on two levels. Nothing is pretentious or precious here. JJ spray-paints garbage bins orange and makes them into planters. She encases ordinary concrete pavers in gabion wire to create retaining walls. Gnomes, tentacled planters, and even flying shrimp populate her garden.


But let’s go back to the start — and JJ’s carrot-orange front gate. I visited JJ’s garden earlier this month on the 2nd afternoon of the Garden Bloggers Fling, held this year in Portland, Oregon. The carrot gate sets the orange color scheme and perhaps fools you into thinking you’re entering a front-yard edible garden.


Instead, the gate opens onto a narrow walk bordered on one side by a lush, green shade garden, on the other by a “living room” of garden benches and chairs boldly anchored by four enormous hostas in round-bellied pots. A horizontal, wooden-slat fence screens the street from view.


A few feet away, a dining table with spicy orange chairs sets the scene for front-yard entertaining.


The front walk runs arrow-straight to the front stoop, dressed up with a jazzy assortment of black and red-orange pots spilling over with chartreuse and dark-leaved plants.


The left side echoes the right, and a skinny fountain masks street noise.


Still water has a place here too — a serene vignette in a foundation-hugging bed of forest grass and fern.


But for the most part, serene is not what JJ is after, as this riotous palm planter attests.


To the right of the front door, JJ has tucked a third seating area into her small front garden, this one consisting of two black mod chairs enlivened with colorful, graphic cushions and a cylinder-style table, backed by a large tree hung with garden art, floored with dark gravel.


A tiny deck accessed via French doors offers yet another sitting nook, with planters made of bins that JJ spray-painted orange. If you ever thought your garden too small for multiple seating areas or entertaining large groups, JJ’s small garden — on a lot that’s only 77 by 127 feet — shows you how to do it. She tucks chairs, benches, and tables throughout her garden, easily providing space for 40 people at a time to circulate and converse in comfort.


A buddha head — orange, of course — glows in the shade garden.


A side fence of horizontal metal rods and wooden posts capped with whimsical, fired-clay finials runs alongside the path to the back garden.


Down-lights are attached to the fence posts to softly illuminate the path. JJ reminded me that lighting is an essential element in a garden — something I need to work on in my own garden.


The side garden is not an afterthought but densely planted with interesting and beautiful specimens.


A wood-framed, corrugated-metal fence encloses the back garden, and the gate posts rise high to support an arbor of metal rods draped with a vine. An antique wooden door serves as the gate, which opens to a shining line of white hydrangeas…


Across the path is a retaining wall creatively constructed of stacked concrete pavers bound gabion-style.


The wall supports an upper-level garden accessed via an elevated deck and patio off the back of the house. Stairs lead up between the wall…


…and a fantastic, ground-level patio with a cushioned sectional sofa and a firepit. How does a cushioned outdoor sofa work in soggy Portland, I couldn’t help wondering? Does JJ store the cushions when not in use, or cover them? I should have asked. At any rate, I love it when outdoor seating is as comfortable as indoor seating, giving you every reason to linger outside.


Ceramic “woven” side tables hold orange trays of succulents.


Graphic pillows add zing to the dark sofa. A Dr. Seussian planter holds single succulents up for inspection.


A golden barrel cactus in an orange bullet planter — da bomb!


Climbing the steps to the upper level, you get a nice overhead view of the conversation-pit patio.


To the right, here’s the garden planted atop the gabion-paver wall — a shimmery, silvery dry garden and a stock-tank pond.


This stock-tank pond just happens to contain leaping shrimp!


Yes, shrimp. Is this not one of the quirkiest things you’ve ever seen? I absolutely love it. Someone pointed out that a grevillea was growing next to it — not a plant we grow in Austin, but I’m familiar with its flowers, commonly described as shrimp-like. Delightedly I asked JJ if the shrimp connection was intentional, and she (wisely) said, “Of course!”


Another view, just because. I like the glass floats too.


The dry garden contains agave, prickly pear, blue oat grass, kangaroo paws, and a beautiful, fuzzy, silver plant that JJ told me is a new variety of something, but I’ve forgotten what. Does anyone know? Update: It’s Stachys ‘Bello Grigio’. Thanks, Alison!


Another view. The metal piranha in the background lights up at night, JJ told me.


Stachys ‘Bello Grigio’, with an agave and orange nasturtiums


Panning right, two garbage pails with silver ponyfoot spilling out create a vignette that’ll make you do a double-take. I notice JJ often uses pairs of pots instead of the usual groups of three in her arrangements.


A side view


Looking right, a low wall lined with black pots of succulents divides the deck from a concrete patio near the back door. That’s JJ in the hat.


Four pairs of pots and galvanized flower buckets-turned-planters soften a hard corner.


Pots are everywhere in this garden, tucked into niches, sitting atop walls and stairs, hung on fences, adding height to planting beds.


An eclectic assortment of small, white pots, including a baby head, is gathered on a galvanized tray.


A wider view


Whimsical garden art adds humor and the delight of discovery as you explore.


JJ’s garden goes vertical, climbing the walls of her home, with fun wall planters and trees in tall pots.


I absolutely coveted one of these squid wall planters when I was in JJ’s store, Digs Inside & Out. JJ has two, one planted up with an appropriately tentacle-like rat tail cactus, the other with a trailing sedum.


More pots


And tucked into a niche, a cast-iron squirrel and — what is that, a planted brick? Adorable!


Tawny New Zealand sedges sit like discarded toupees here and there in her patios and paths, planted, I suppose, in small gaps in the paving.


A sunny, orange garden room invites lounging at the far-back corner of the house.


But when nights turn chilly, a tomato-red chiminea stands ready to warm things up. Notice the chicken nesting boxes on the fence planted with hens-and-chicks sempervivum.


A wide view shows that JJ managed to squeeze in a greenhouse (behind the screening fence) and garden shed into her small garden as well. The shed helps to form one of the walls of this garden room.


Our group was on the 2nd bus to visit JJ’s garden, on an unusually hot day that was just starting to shade into cooler evening temps. JJ welcomed us warmly and gamely answered our questions about plants and her design. Her garden was such an inspiration for me: fun, bold yet intimate, and very liveable.


It got my wheels spinning, and I’m already thinking how I might create a few more “rooms” in my own rambling garden.

Up next: The enticingly textural and colorful Chickadee Gardens. For a look back at the spiky plant lust of Danger Garden, click here.

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