Monday, December 14, 2015

Rob & Cate's Garden

When Rob and Cate Caruso purchased their home a few years ago, the lot east of the house was part of the deal. It didn't take long for these two creative geniuses to transform a gigantic thicket of blackberry brambles into a dreamy, pastoral oasis. The biggest lesson for me is how beautiful it looks year round thanks to some uber-savvy landscaping with an emphasis on trees and shrubs. 

First, a few wide shots to give you an idea of what I'm talking about:

Looking north towards the neighbor's home across the street.
Rob and Cate's house is just to the left, outside of the camera's range.

A Douglas Fir forest borders the east side of the property, providing natural privacy.

Looking west towards Rob and Cate's house.
This gives you an idea how large the property is. My camera makes this area look almost flat
but there is a gradual decline to the creek at the bottom of the property.
And that creek! If you live in western Oregon you know for the past few weeks it's been raining cats, dogs, sheep, bears, horses and cows! Although water poured voraciously out of the culvert, the creek level had already receded a bit when I took these photos.  

Looking north.
 To have a year round creek at one's disposal--the stuff of dreams.
The culvert runs under the street and creates a waterfall. I'm not sure where the water comes from.
Or where it goes for that matter.

When Rob and Cate started designing the area, they hired an excavator to guide the stream. He placed boulders strategically along its edges but you wouldn't know it because the effect is so natural it looks like they've always been there.

Rob built this sturdy bridge.

I stood on the bridge, looking north to take this photo. Listening to the rushing
water was so soothing.

And here, I'm standing on the bridge looking south into the neighbor's yard.
I love the tufts of Carex and rushes scattered along the water's edges.

Here I'm at the far south end of the property, looking north.

The property has an existing very large Willow tree. The ferns and bamboo were planted
a few years ago and are filling in nicely.

Now this is how to grow bamboo!

Moss and ferns grow naturally in places like this!

Looking south, the Willow tree stands just to the left of the creek.

This shady area looks so pretty during the summer months,
but even now it has a simple beauty with all of the colorful leaves carpeting the ground.

I wish I was better at identifying conifers. Isn't this one a beauty?

Yes, there are Oak trees!

I love this silvery lichen.

A cement kitty stands guard. If memory serves me correctly, this
is a feline of royal lineage, hailing from Great Britain, like Cate herself.

My photos don't do her justice. But stay tuned, I've got a surprise...

These three conifers were once the babies that I propagated from my own trees.
Don't they look right at home here?

A cattail holds on to its seeds.

I should have changed my camera to macro setting to capture this sweet lady bug.

Yes, there were flowers!

A pristine beacon in a sea of leaves! And look at all those buds.

A Foxglove seedling.

A simple Adirondack bench for contemplation

And chairs for chatting.

I love how the Kinnikinnik (Arctosphylos) has filled in along the bank up to the house.
This area is dry and hot in summer. Cate chose the perfect plants.

Isn't this lovely?

This Rosemary is so happy.

Up at the street, Cate and Rob planted ornamental grasses and
Pacific Wax Myrtle

My daughter Beth was hired to watch Rob and Cate's two cats so while she attended to them, I took photos. As we were leaving, we saw this: 

Look closely...

Felix didn't want us to leave. So sorry, Felix.

Mom and Dad will be home soon.
And they were. Thank you Rob and Cate for allowing me to roam your beautiful garden oasis.


  1. I enjoyed the tour of their property. Very nice.

  2. What an oasis for sure!

    Thanks for sharing ~ FlowerLady

  3. Dear Grace, you have given me the gift of seeing my garden through other eyes...thank you for this! Even Rob saw things he hasn't seen before and now has a new appreciation of my sometimes questionable plant picks! LOL! The stone kitty is indeed from our home in London where she stood guard at the front door...I'm so happy to have her in the garden contemplating the zen area by the creek!

  4. Nice tour, Grace! I really like the sedges and rushes along the creek, and the bank covered in kinnikinnick.

  5. I learned some good lessons from this post Grace. There are several parts of Rob and Cate's yard that remind me of my own. I love the way the bones of the yard look so great in winter. I'm even more convinced I need to do something with our stream so that more natural plants are not bullied out by the English Ivy all along the banks. I saw some terrific ideas here. And I had a chuckle too, as we have the same hellebores at the same stage and daffs coming up! What? Daffs this early! I can hardly believe it. LOVE the grasses she has chosen. And we have the same sized cement animal, but ours is a rabbit that I HOPE will keep the evil bunnies away from my young dahlia shoots next year!

  6. Excellent article with Great walk-through.
    Thanks you for sharing.!!

  7. I can see why you love this garden...the bones are fabulous...something I missed doing when i first starting gardening without a I have to go back and move things and add more evergreens.


Thank you for being here! Your comments feed my soul.