Today we’re off to Canada to visit Holly Longstaff’s garden in West Vancouver, British Columbia.
My husband and I started our gardens from scratch after building our new house a few years ago. It’s a beautiful location but very challenging because of the steep aspect and areas of deep shade. We have learned over time not to fight the natural characteristics of each particular area. Our flowering plants have also reaped the benefits of bee-loving plants we established all over our property, such as California lilac (Ceanothus species and hybrids) and different varieties of lavender (Lavandula species and hybrids). Our yard is buzzing with bees all summer long!
The steep backyard has incredible views and lushly planted borders around the lawn. Petunias bloom in the foreground.
Another view of the backyard shows how steeply it drops off. A dense California lilac hedge surrounds the firepit area.
The back garden at sunset, with the petunias echoing the warm colors of the sky.
One of our bee gardens with a hedge of roses in the background around the lanai. Much of our backyard had to be raised up and managed with retaining walls to make the land more functional.
Pulmonaria ‘Dark Vader’ (Zones 3–8) among a collection of ferns. We also placed a few rocks here and there for contrast.
More of the shade garden with lush ferns.
The massive trees that are responsible for all that shade!
One of our hydrangeas sits among bursts of golden Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’, Zones 5–9) in front of another retaining wall on the side of the property.
We particularly like the two happy yew trees (Taxus sp. Zones 4–7) my husband planted high up on a rock that are thriving alongside the ferns in this photo. Having a lot of large rocky features forces you to take chances and be a little creative.
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