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Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Vashon Island Northwest Perennial Alliance Garden Tour Part Four: The Garden of Cindy & Steve Stockett

Much has been written about Froggsong, the garden of Cindy and Steve Stockett. For more articles about the garden you can visit Fine Gardening, The Seattle Times, Country LivingSunset Magazine, and The Beachcomber.  Cindy maintains a blog about her garden which you can visit here.

In the words of Cindy as published in the NPA guide, "Froggsong garden, a three-acre [Other sources say twelve acres.] estate garden, is a blend of formal and informal design.  A rose pergola, roundel garden, parterre garden and knot garden share a space that frames and defines the senses.  I call this type of garden 'Northwest Formal,' a mixture of defined, structured areas that are relaxed by the casual disorder of perennial cottage gardening." 

This garden has an interesting juxtaposition of styles sort of like throwing a formal garden,  billowing perennial borders, and a woodland into a blender, mixing it up,  and having Picasso sort it out.

On entering the garden, one might not suspect what surprises await.  Like a chef garnishing a dish with a little of what might be expected flavor-wise from a creation, we get a small clue of the mix inside this garden with the formal evergreen hedge, acer palmatum, and  free flowing hakenechloa. 
Here we have more of a clue with the formal element of matching pots flanking the entry but the path is not symmetrical.  Notice the abandon of the perennials on the left side of the walk and the formality of the boxwood on the left. 

Here's a closer view.  Cindy is a retired elementary school teacher.  I bet her classroom was full of fun surprises.

Hey look, a pot.  Looks like plants that we just saw at DIG.  Hmmm...coincidence?  I don't think so.



This view begs for a focal point at the end to draw us on.  Instead we have the mystery of the woods.


A mix of gold and white variegated foliage.

Here we have a couple of neatly clipped box hedges looking like parentheses holding back side conversations.  (Works for me.)

Love this shade of blue here. It's echoed in the hosta in the foreground and spruce behind and contrasted with golden foliage on the left and the purple to the right.

An area with formally trimmed box but with an informal free-form  shape.  do you want to explore ?  There's a dead end.  What might draw you in here?  Many questions.

Froggsong has an abundance of beautifully framed vignettes.

The rose pergola from the side.
 
 
The climbing roses were removed because their canes became too much trouble.
 
 
Here's another example of  Cindy's unique style.  This stream starts higher up and cascades down a naturalistic looking fall into this pond where it suddenly hits this very man-made looking rill.
That runs past relaxed foliage on the left and uber formal knot garden on the right.
This empties into this large pond with relaxed naturalistic rock on one side, sharp edges on the other and with wood decking over parts.

 
Knot on the left formal circle center containing not a lollypop trimmed tree but something allowed to grow freely.  Notice the spherically trimmed box on the right that provides balance.
 
I never thought that I had Attention Deficit Disorder but in this garden, there ware so many areas to explore, so many inspiring plant combinations and so many questions  to ponder, that my mind was racing from one area to the next.

 Again with the gold purple and white variegated foliage - an ostinato that helps to hold the garden composition together.



 

My favorite part of the garden is this natural looking pond and marsh area with  weeping willow trees. 

More old fashioned formality but with a contemporary center.  Instead of being surrounded by formal hedges, the hundred-year old doug firs are the background.
 


Surprise!



Love this container with the cascading grevillea!

The potager also has an echium and lilies.


 Blue poppies grown here with Aruncus dioicus.  The same combination as once existed in the woodland at Heronswood. 

Love the white variegated tree with fine foliage and the large white variegated hosta beneath.  Notice the partial formally trimmed box shrub on the left.
 
 
 Looking out at this unique garden from the deck of the house.  Love the variegated dogwood just left of center. 


Stunning view!  I love the look of weeping willow trees!  The fabulous foliage colors and shapes here are stunning!  The bisecting line of boxwood spheres, the fireworks of the phormium.  Sigh.

Round the back of the house is this sweet building that contains a sauna, there's a hot tub nearby and in the background, you can see the glass doors of the huge shower which can also be entered from the master bath.

That's Corsican mint all round the path.  The fragrance was divine but imagine  tiptoeing through this from hot tub to shower.  It's a beautiful set up but I have to admit to wanting solid walls around me when nekkid.  (The world breathes a collective sigh of relief!0

Heading back through the front path, we're off to our next stop! 


 


30 comments:

  1. Wonderful garden and an amazing accomplishment. Formality and balance without symmetry is very difficult to achieve and she has done it beautifully. You set the stage for this tour very well and yet I still kept looking for matching topiary, hedges, and focal points throughout without actually missing them.

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    1. It's a unique garden and each vista posed questions in my mind. It's open to NPA members by appointment so maybe someday I'll go back and ask the gardener!

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  2. The areas around the front path are my favourite. The little touches like the tall cordyline are so necessary. Are those giant cardoons around the big pond area? Stunning!

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    1. That was my favorite part too. I think they are cardoons.

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  3. Wowsa! To think this was just one of many stops you made that day. Of course I particularly enjoyed the unexpected pops provided by the Tetrapanax. Were there several or was I confused by the different views and we kept seeing the same one over and over? (oh and speaking of seeing something again and again don't be afraid but it looks like that homeless guy from yesterday's post at DIG might have been following you! EEK!)

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    1. There were several Tetrapanax in the garden. Thanks for the warning about that guy from DIG! I'll certainly keep an eye out for him in the future!

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  4. Beautiful garden. I love the shot of the blue ornaments down the pathway. And the rill - very creative.

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  5. I'm amazed by their creativity and own take when it comes to hard landscaping. Stylish and elegant!

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    1. It was a very creative garden which challenged me to rethink some of my own ideas.

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  6. The hardscape was even more impressive than the planting, and that's saying alot. The way the stone was fit, with moss in some of the joints - very exotic!

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  7. Wow! Such an amazing garden, Peter. I love that entry path. So many great bloomers and beautiful paths and pergolas. Happy midsummer, Peter!

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the tour! Hyvää juhannusta sinullekin, Satu!

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  8. Amazing! It's hard to believe this is a private garden - and that a schoolteacher had/has so much time and energy to spend outside the classroom. I'm trying to get a handle on how large this area was? (I should go back and read to see if you indicated the acreage....)

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    1. Cindy is a retired schoolteacher so she has considerably more time to garden these days then when she was teaching. The garden area is about three acres but the property is 12 acres.

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  9. Wow...I could look at the marshy area surrounded by weeping willows for hours...what a dream!

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    1. It's a sweet countryside sort of area and is a nice place for the eye to rest after all of the structure of the garden.

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  10. OH!!! What a fabulous garden! I absolutely love the touches of formality. But the foliage variations are truly outstanding. Wonderful inspiration! This garden looks huge - and I wonder how many hours it takes to keep it looking so neat and tidy. Thanks so much for the tour!

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    1. Glad you came along on the tour! Even though they have a lot of time to spend gardening, I'm wondering if Steve and Cindy get some help to keep this garden looking so tidy.

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  11. Thank you so much for taking us along on your tour! We will take guidance and inspiration from this one -- we love it!

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    1. Glad that you came along! There were many great gardens on this tour. It always amazes me how every garden is so different and each is marvelous, kind of like gardeners themselves!

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  12. Lots of things to love about this garden. I like the grasses and the pergola with the roses, and I love how the whole thing flows with the stone and grass paths. So much texture and lushness.

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    1. It's always a little intimidating to tour such large and well tended gardens. I almost feel like I'm trespassing. Oh well.

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  13. Such a unique approach: using the formal and natural elements as point and counterpoint. As you point out, it gets one questioning preconceived notions about design.

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    1. Unique indeed. Don't think I'd have the ability to have so many open ended compositions as I love conclusions, the resolution of dissonance. I loved the surprises (features) but the flow from one to another was open - Many paths to take and not having any idea which way to go. This garden made me uncomfortable and challenged me in a good way.

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  14. Another chance to visit the Stockett Garden is this weekend! June 22 and 23. Vashon Island Garden Tour. More information at vashonalliedarts.org or 206.463.5131.

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    1. Thanks Kira! Sorry I didn't mention that.

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  15. I just had the nice opportunity to read you gracious blog on my garden, Froggsong. Thank you for sharing it with your readers. Cindy Stockett

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    1. It was my pleasure indeed. Thank you fro graciously opening your garden each summer!

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Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your thoughts.