One morning last week I spent a happy couple of hours at the BBG border with Glenn Withey and Charles Price, designers of both the old and the new Northwest Perennial Alliance border. These guys are confident enough in their design skills - and rightly so - to admit that planning, planting, and maintaining such an extensive border is a "crapshoot". They adjust, learn, take out and fill in, learning what works and what doesn't and in the process teaching all of us how to be better gardeners and more experimental with plant combinations - I'm writing a story for Pacific Northwest magazine about how the border is evolving and flourishing. There I'll tell the tale of rabbits, deer, death and new life....enough to say that despite rabbits devouring sixty (sixty!) Oriental poppies, the new border is stunning.
Here's a mid-border scene that shows Charles and Glenn's color artistry - fluffs of peachy-pink astilbe with near-matching foxglove, shown off by a dramatic splay of ornamental rhubarb (Rheum palmatum var. tanguticum)
Lauren's grape opium poppy, with its large, dark flowers and silvery foliage is a highlight of the border right now, running through the plantings like a deep ruby ribbon.
More border photos to come in the newspaper article...I also loved the mostly-ornamental-grass entry garden as you walk up from the parking lot - rock cairns punctuate a hillside alive with wind blowing through bleached blonde Mexican feather grass (Nassella tenuissima), blue, blue spikes of catmint (Nepeta), and brilliant gold mounds of Japanese forest grass in the background. The close up (below) shows how effectively a swathe of rounded burgundy barberries contrast with the texture and color of the grasses.
And here's one of the waterfalls in the tranquil, shady, groundcover garden...I didn't even make it down the trail to the new Ravine Experience garden....