Time To Visit Your Favorite Garden Center

Break out the garden tools and visit your local garden center to discover what’s new

For landscaping, visit Winterbloom Inc. Phil Thornburg, owner, said his business offers landscape design primarily for residential customers. “Our focus is sustanability,” Thornburg said, adding that he looks at texturing, color and layering when doing a landscape design. With his landscaping, Thornbur’s hope is to create the feeling of outdoor “rooms” and spaces.

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Three Northwest Garden tours, thousands of plants, four favorites: Peruvian Lily, a red-hot poker, horned champion, and Embothrium coccineum

Three tours, more than a dozen gardens, thousands of plants: That’s been my life for the past month. And it didn’t once rain. I’m a bit overstimulated, but in the best of ways. So many plants are dancing in my head, I’ve been making a list. On top are four from Phil Thornburg’s garden. Phil owns Winterbloom design firm (503-598-0219, www.winterbloominc.com) and is, obviously, a collector. It took me two seconds — just long enough to glance into the garden and see Embothrium coccineum  in full, fiery bloom — to know that. It was a mouth-gaping experience.

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Creating an outdoor room

An outdoor room does not require a lot of space. It simply needs to seem like a special place. Here are eight ways to create that sensation:

  1. Different levels: A higher and lower area either in a deck or in the ground, defines two rooms. A different level on a deck, for instance, can separate a smaller more intimate area for a hot tub, away from the larger part of the deck used for group entertaining. Raised beds or terraces with walls also create separations between spaces.
  2. Shrubs set in patterns: Any shrubs or collection of tall perennials and grasses can create a wall and/or privacy between spaces. Sheared neatly trimmed linear hedges create a more formal feeling for a space. Lightly trimmed softer spreading hedges or simply plants in a row which are not sheared make a room feel more informal.
  3. Fencing materials: Solid fencing creates more privacy. Open fencing or short fencing, defines a space or room without completely enclosing it.
  4. Small structures: Benches, arbors and paths all can define a space. For instance, a path leading to a bench tucked into a flowerbed creates a small but private space. A simple arbor can define an entry to a whole new room.
  5. Large structures: A gazebo is an instant room in itself. Decks and patios can provide multiple spaces or rooms for cooking, entertaining, or relaxing. It is most often practical to keep structures, near or against the house. This makes it feel like an outdoor room of the house. On the other hand, separating defined spaces begins creating a whole new experience.
  6. Outdoor ceilings: pergolas or awnings provide a protected space to relax and sit for a while. A tree provides the same feeling.
  7. Corners: By creating corners in a path or around the side of the house, new rooms unfold. By adding a spot to linger you can suddenly add a new view to an existing room or create a whole new room.
  8. Color, fragrance, plant or plant composition as focal point, music, art: By adding some, or all, of these elements you can add to a room’s décor, furnish it, or possibly create a new portion to the room itself. These will add the unique or finishing touches to your room. Try not to overdo art or focal points. One piece of art might be wonderful but a row of them, (dwarves for instance) might send you straight to a children’s amusement park.