Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Friday, March 15, 2019

If I Could Turn Back Time

Are you ready for another trip back in time to last summer's warmth?

If I Could Turn Back Time -- Cher

The Garden of Bonnie Berk and Larry Kessler

This was another garden that was open last summer to members of the Northwest Perennial Alliance. It's been interesting going back through my photos from all the gardens I visited last year, seeing how each garden differed so greatly in tone and character. Some were full of bright summer flowers, others packed with foliage.

This urban garden was one of the latter.

According to the description in the NPA booklet:

The front garden is steeply sloped and terraced, with stairs that cut through the center

On the left-hand side of the first terrace

And to the right

Brick pattern inset in the landing

To the left on the second terrace -- a nice echo of the rusty sculpture in that Canna foliage

To the right on the second terrace

Instead of side garden passageways and a back garden, the house is built sideways on the lot and the rest of the garden is to the left of the house.

At the top to the left of the house is an expanse of lawn surrounded by narrow beds, stylish pots, garden art and a very high hedge

Further to the right, moving into the corner of the rectangular side garden

This bed was jam-packed with foliage plants

And a very large shell-shaped container

How many different plants can you name?

A never-ending tapestry of plant textures

Facing the garden is a porch entrance dressed up with chairs and pots.

And in the nursery tray at the bottom of the stairs -- is that the teeniest-tiniest pot ghetto ever?

The sunny side of the garden, a little further to the right of the porch (the woman in the skirt chatting to garden visitors is the gardener Bonnie Berk)

A big black metal urn containing an enormous pair of Senecio candicans 'Angel Wings' with a purple potato vine

There were lots of black accents and black furniture to complement the black house

The front of the house with its concrete patio that faces the terraces and the street

Another wonderful tapestry made of Semps and Sedums

A striking container planting

A set of black containers on the patio

A Woodwardia on the wall surrounding the patio

The view from the patio out across Lake Washington -- my car waited down there on the street

Hope you enjoyed the trip! Getting bored yet with our Friday time travel excursions? I have several more of these up my sleeve to share.


  1. This is so beautiful and I like the way they used structures and art objects to enhance it. It looks perfect.

  2. Ah, Bonnie is an excellent cramscaper! So fun to see her garden after meeting her last August.

  3. I'm impressed by how secluded the home is. There is a good mix of formal and informal planting, and the abundance of foliage combinations is stunning. Love the black-chair sitting area.

  4. Biggest Senecio candicans I've seen yet. So many great plants, it must take 15 minutes to walk a few feet!

  5. Gorgeous and utterly perfect. I appreciated all the foliage combinations too, especially as my Bloom Day glut is making me aware that I may not be paying sufficient attention to foliage in my garden. I even liked all the sculpture pieces in this garden - they "fit" which isn't something I can say about the art in many gardens. Thanks for the time warp, Alison.

  6. Wow! That is one I am very sorry to have missed.

  7. Oh I am very taken by this garden-it's not easy so combine so many different plants and make it look cohesive.Really masterful !

  8. Yowsa! That's an impressive garden. Love everything about it!

  9. Very impressive "designed" garden. Very, very impressive. At the peak of plant health and beauty too, or so it appears to be.

    Thank you for the tour.

  10. I like that rusty metal moon gate.


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