As we’re pushing the 100°F mark down here in the Sacramento Valley, let’s return to Portland, OR—specifically a cool rainy morning in July when the Garden Bloggers Fling contingent visited Rhone Street Gardens. This is the domain of Fling co-organizer Scott Weber, lover of grasses and photographer extraordinaire, and his partner Norm.
Out of all the gardens we visited, Scott’s was the smallest—just 50 x 50 ft., i.e. 2,500 sq.ft. You might think that having so little space available means that, by necessity, your garden is defined by limitations and compromise. That might be true for an ordinary place, but it certainly wasn’t at Rhone Street Gardens. Quite the opposite, in fact. I was blown away by how much Scott has managed to squeeze into his lot. Every square inch is filled to the brim with plants; no nook and cranny is left unused.
Scott modestly describes his garden as “short on style, heavy on heart.” The latter is as true as the former is wrong. There is plenty of style here. And flair, panache and personality.
Nothing is left to chance. A garden this lush and diverse—an urban meadow, if you will—doesn’t just emerge on its own. It requires a lot of careful planning and thought, as well as good judgment and prudent intervention to maintain just the right degree of “wildness” without letting the garden reach a state of where it looks unruly and overgrown. I think Scott has succeed masterfully on all fronts.
Since the backyard is very small, there is no room for traditional seating. The two chairs and table, surrounded on three sides by lush plants, create a cozy and inviting atmosphere without requiring much space. The result is an intimate corner that is perfect for enjoying your morning coffee and newspaper.
And a few more photos of the front yard.
I mentioned at the beginning of this post that it was cool and rainy the Sunday morning we visited Rhone Street Gardens. I should add that Sunday, July 13, was the only cool day. The days before and after the Fling were relentlessly hot, obliterating the mental image I had of Portland as a place of sunny but blissfully cool summers.