For the past four months, Herald garden columnist George Kaas
has guided garden makeover winners Dave and Teresa Anderson in
creating a design for their north Bellingham waterfront yard.
When we last checked in with the couple, they had finished a
down-and-dirty month of amending soil and readying empty beds for
plants. While important, it yielded little in the way of visual
development. Dave, for one, is happy to see the more obvious
fruits of this month's labor.
"Now is the fun time because you actually see the
results," says Dave. "It's changed pretty substantially.
Teresa's basically got all the plants in now and it's really
starting to take shape."
Planning and placement have been the biggest obstacles for
Teresa. Once Kaas worked out where each plant should be
positioned, she was off and running. "Once there's structure
there, I can add to it or tweak it," says Teresa, "but I
just didn't know what to do with that totally blank bed."
Kaas began by placing large decorative rocks that hold dirt in
place and give shape to a footpath trailing through the long
flowerbed. The Andersons are rock collectors and Kaas wanted to
highlight some of their treasures. Many of the rocks used were
found on memorable hikes or fishing trips.
"Anytime Dave and I go someplace, I make him haul big
rocks home," Teresa laughs. Dave, always looking at the
positive side, explains, "It's good exercise."
Teresa appreciates Dave's willingness to shift the sizeable
stones. "The minute he gets home from a 12-hour shift, I'm
like, 'Oh, honey, could you move these rocks?'"
Dave is forced to do a fair amount of standing around with his
arms crossed, watching Teresa think. "She'll say, 'Ah, it's
got to go to the right about two more inches, now back to the left
a little bit,'" Dave laughs. "I'm kind of the hired
George placed most of the material for the side bed of
perennials and flowers for cutting, as well as some shrubs, to
create an illusion of slope and elevation change without making
the bed too difficult to maneuver and maintain.
Material was strategically placed for viewing, flowering
impact, cascade and fragrance. "Plant placement is like
paint," says George. "Sometimes you just know where it's
got to go and how thick to spread it." George says it's best
to keep groupings in odd numbers and not follow a straight line.
"We've put in about 75 plants so far over the past three
weeks," says Teresa. "That's a lot of plants, and a big
A BEAUTIFUL REMINDER
Helping with that investment was an unexpected surprise.
Teresa, a teacher at Harmony Elementary School who volunteers her
time with the school's Math Olympiad, was touched to receive a
generous gift certificate to Kent's Nursery & Garden from last
year's team. "Those students are very special to me,"
she says, "and now I'll have such a beautiful reminder of
Teresa has come to see gardening as an apt metaphor for
teaching. "You amend the soil and try to create the
healthiest environment for growth," she says. "You learn
what each plant needs to thrive. You nurture that growth, maybe
prune a little, and the growth, the bloom, comes at different
seasons and in incredibly different forms."
Another purchase has been an escalonia shrub, as Teresa's
mother, who passed away a year ago this month, had several at her
home. "I've planted that to be viewed from my kitchen
window," says Teresa. "It serves as a backdrop for a
beautiful rose bush that Dave's parents bought for us as a
reminder of my mom. It's called "Cherish."
Other much-appreciated gift certificates were given by friends
and the couple's church as memorial gifts to buy plants in honor
of Teresa's mother. "I'm using those gifts to buy a dogwood
tree, because she always loved dogwoods," says Teresa.
"I think I'll place that outside our bedroom window; I often
sit and pray looking out that window."