Garden Photo of the Day

Part 2: Small Space, Big Impact

By: Kim Charles

My trusty owl watches the sun go down on Puget Sound. 

Part 2: Continued highlights of Tia Scarce's garden with a view in Edmonds, Washington.

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A bit of the backyard with Oscar on patrol. The entire thing is actually a drainage easement.

A recently planted succulent bowl.

A newly planted corner was freed up when I took out a mature hydrangea. This wire cage, made by a Whidbey Island artist, is useful for filling bare spots while plants grow in. The Fatsias all look terrible this year. I need to do some reading and find out what is going on.

This is the entire backyard. The large woody plants and some ferns and hostas were here when we moved in, and I’ve been filling in with interesting things at ankle level, perennials that I buy after I’ve said no more perennials, and yet more pots and garden art. The overriding theme is “More is More."

Another newly planted corner.

I really like the impact of this Persicaria polymorpha.

Clematis recta ‘Purpurea’ is not so purpurea in this shady spot. I used Carex ‘Everest’ many times in this back garden, tying together the long space. A variegated fuchsia is coming along to the right, and that is burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis ’Tana') in front, which will soon have small knobs of burgundy flowers on top of wiry stems.

Clematis recta ‘Purpurea’ flowers with Acer palmatum ‘Olsen’s Frosted Strawberry’ behind.

We were lucky to inherit this fantastic stone work. We added the landscape lighting to expand the nighttime sense of space, which I think is hugely important in our dark, wet climate. 

And finally, the long view from our deck that drew us to this house.

View Comments


  1. frankgreenhalgh 07/10/2017

    Hey Tia - Part 2 continues to showcase a well designed and impressive garden. Love the stone steps and surrounds. and million dollar view. It's a tough life! Cheers from Bangkok

    1. sheila_schultz 07/10/2017

      Are you on holiday, Frank?

      1. frankgreenhalgh 07/10/2017

        Hi Sheila - no, attending a meeting on the Montreal Protocol Treaty. Very hot and humid here. Hope everything is going well for you and your family in Mexico. Cheers, Frank

        1. sheila_schultz 07/10/2017

          I think Bangkok is always hot and steamy! Actually it's much the same here during the summer, rainy season. The nice thing is that the rains are typically in the afternoon so we just schedule around them. We're all loving it here, and the kids are in heaven with the pool and/or the beach nearby! Life is good in our world.

    2. digginWA 07/10/2017

      It is a tough life, but I shall carry on. Thanks again for your comments.

    3. prohomeworkhelp 04/23/2019

      This will allow your perennial wildflowers to become established under stress-free conditions, making for stronger and longer-lived plants. Annual wildflowers will bloom before intense heat arrives and threatens to fade their color. My homework

  2. jeffgoodearth 07/10/2017

    Love it all and especially your ankle level plantings. That is an elevation that often goes unplanted and everybody needs anklets!

    1. digginWA 07/10/2017

      Anklets are a great weed suppression tactic!

  3. LauraH77 07/10/2017

    Wow! From roots to sky, pure beauty.

    1. digginWA 07/10/2017

      Thank you, Laura. We love it here.

  4. user-7007498 07/10/2017

    OMG, Tia. That last picture is to die for. What a view. Will be back later for a more detailed post.

    1. digginWA 07/10/2017

      Thanks, yes, we are very lucky to find ourselves here. The view is ever-changing and the water is a moderating factor that makes our climate very friendly. Edmonds is thick with great gardens.

      1. user-7007498 07/10/2017

        Hi, Tia. I just got home from work and was looking over the pictures again. The stone work is amazing. You are so lucky to have inherited them. They create such a visual impact.

        I love the picture of the Persicaria with the red ninebark on the right. Awesome planting against the fence. That backyard path sure looks tight. Hopefully you won't need a machete in the next few years?.

        Thanks again for sharing the photos. I really enjoyed seeing your garden.

  5. Jay_Sifford 07/10/2017

    Tia, I too love the stone steps, and how boulders are thoughtfully integrated into the hillside. Someday maybe I'll stop by when I'm in your neighborhood!

    1. digginWA 07/10/2017


  6. User avater
    meander_michaele 07/10/2017

    Ahh, yes, the sigh worthy money shot at the end...who wouldn't pay attention to the beautiful song that view sings...has to touch your soul every time you glance out. Looks like you are having fun and doing a wonderful job of adding more layers of texture and interest to the plantings already in place. I wasn't familiar with Clematis recta ‘Purpurea’ but the darker foliage (even if not as "purple" as you'd like) and those white airy flowers are very appealing. And, speaking of darker foliage? pictures 4,5,nd 7, is that a 'Diablo' ninebark that has such gracefully arching branches tipped with the dusky pink blooms? Whatever it is, it drew my attention and admiration. Everything looks great, Tia, and you are giving it the "Tia" touch!

    1. digginWA 07/10/2017

      Yes to your ninebark question. There are two big ones back there. The back yard is where all the Pink Things reside--rhodies, peonies, etc. It's quite different from the spicy hot front garden. Thanks again!

      1. User avater
        meander_michaele 07/11/2017

        Ha, yes, I noticed that with the exception of Oscar and the owl (kind of), there was a lack of those pops of orange that accented your front garden areas. Do you plan to let the ninebarks grow as they want or do you think you will do any pruning to control their height. I have to admit that I really like the cascading effect they currently have.

        1. digginWA 07/11/2017

          I like the natural cascading habit. I thin some of the oldest branches at the base from time to time to keep them from completely dominating the scene.

  7. User avater
    treasuresmom 07/10/2017

    Wow! Just wow! Love how everything works together & then that last shot! No words for that!!!

    1. digginWA 07/10/2017

      Thanks, and I just have to say, that particular sunset was breathtaking, the best one in three years. Even my neighbor who has lived here for two decades was out on his deck capturing the moment.

  8. janeeliz 07/10/2017

    WOW1What you have done to a small spot.....amazing and lovely! And for such a fantastic view! "More is more" and the challenge of finding a spot to squeeze in the latest few irresistible plants is very familiar to me too.

    1. digginWA 07/10/2017

      Yesterday I was offered free plants, to which I firmly said "No more plants. No more plants." And then I took one. And then I put it back. Haha. Thanks for your comments.

  9. NCYarden 07/10/2017

    Just amazing, Tia. Very fortunate to have those stone steps in place. I am working on my own hill currently and have stones just lying in place as I assess how to get it right. This is a good inspiration. Love that backyard full, top to bottom, and feeling the embrace of all the plants down the path. I too have Clematis recta and have not quite gotten the full dark foliage, but still really like it this plant. Quite a collection of plants you have...awesome.

    1. digginWA 07/10/2017

      Thanks so much. I shudder to think what that stonework must have cost, but it provides so much impact. It's even prettier when wet.

  10. chelleisdiggin 07/10/2017

    Ah, Handsome Oscar, what marvelous adventures he must get up to, exploring your lovely garden! This next remark is as much for everyone as you, Tia. I think it's amazing that in our diverse climates, we can use the same plant varieties and still experience success. My climate, here in southeastern Missouri could be said to be polar opposite of yours in northwestern Washington state (we're in the midst of hellish hot and miserable summer), and yet, I still said, "Ooh, Burnet! I've been thinking of planting that". The wonders of gardening. Thanks for sharing.

    1. digginWA 07/10/2017

      Don't you just love burnet? The leaves, the flowers ... the different varieties all have something interesting to offer. Oscar IS very handsome and at 18 doesn't get into any trouble outside. He patrols the path and then assumes his perch under a weeping Japanese maple where he surveys his tiny kingdom for hours on nice days.

  11. VikkiVA 07/10/2017

    Stunning, all of it is stunning! Vikki in VA

    1. digginWA 07/10/2017

      Thanks, Vikki, I'm glad you like it.

  12. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 07/10/2017

    More is more! So true. Another great tour, Tia. Looks fantastic. I was inspired by that wire artist (or perhaps it was another GPODer....) to do some bending and twisting for the wire cages I put around new plants or plants that need protecting, in order to be a bit more decorative. Mine are pretty ugly compared to the art you have!
    That inherited stonework is marvelous. Love love love it.
    Your newly planted corner is very nice. Is that a Rodgersia in the center? It almost looks like Aesculus leaves.
    Nice succulent planter, and I lover the rusty owl.

    1. digginWA 07/10/2017

      Thanks, Tim. The plant that appears to be Rodgersia is actually an oak that I purchased at a nearby native plant nursery. I've lost the tag, but I know it will one day fill that corner with a neat, shrubby habit. Long after I'm dead, of course.

      1. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 07/11/2017

        An oak?! Now I see. Those are some great leaves.

  13. tennisluv 07/10/2017

    Tia, your small jewel box of a landscape is amazing. You have done a great job augmenting and/or replacing plantings by the previous owners. All the little 'jewels' you have tucked in just enhance what you have. I especially like the combination of the persicaria polymorpha (sent me researching to learn more about this plant) and physocarpus - the colors play off each other nicely. And of course your view is to die for. Thanks for sharing.

    1. digginWA 07/10/2017

      And thank you for your kind comments.

  14. sheila_schultz 07/10/2017

    It was a treat to see more of your gardens this morning, Tia. Add me to the list of GPOD'ers that love the steps and boulders, they are stunning... esp. the vertical boulder at the top! It's It would have been incredibly hard to walk away from that view, it's wonderful!

    1. digginWA 07/10/2017

      Hey there, Sheila, we haven't walked away yet, but we are thinking about smaller quarters already. I would actually give up this view for a right-sized place right down in the heart of town. It's not far from here (less than a mile) but one heck of a climb back up. We shall see.

      1. sheila_schultz 07/10/2017

        Once we say goodbye to the gardens we throw all of our passion into, it gets a little easier next time around. We have gone from a wonderful 5300 sq ft house in a delightful neighborhood to a 1300 sq ft in our rented casita in MX... We will move from here when it's time, but my needs are very different now and I'm comfortable with that!

  15. user-7008735 07/10/2017

    More is more indeed! I love the layered look of your garden, Tia. And that sunset!

    1. digginWA 07/10/2017

      Right? Thanks for your comments.

  16. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 07/10/2017

    Good morning again, Tia. What a beautiful view you have there. Being on the east side of Whidbey, we get the sunrises and some pretty cool reverse sunsets but that is spectacular. Your stone steps were lucky to inherit but adding lighting must have really enhanced them. I just had a chat with the Whidbey artist that does the wire cages. I do my own and I've learned a lot from her but do not have her skill, unfortunately. That persicaria looks a bit like the native Oceanspray that is in bloom now and I love the way it softens everything around it. Thanks again for sharing.

    1. digginWA 07/10/2017

      My pleasure, Linda, and thanks again for stopping by to comment.

  17. sharonmalvicksorensen 07/10/2017

    Will your lovely garden be on the Hardy Plant study weekend tour next summer in Seattle? Would love to see it in person.

  18. schatzi 07/10/2017

    Pure beauty! Love love love the stone steps and boulders. Give Oscar a hug for me.

    1. digginWA 07/10/2017

      Many hugs, whether he likes it or not! Thanks, Shirley.

  19. DarliBarli 07/10/2017

    Your garden is luscious and so healthy looking - God Bless the Pacific Northwest. How I miss it! Lovely choice of plants, too.

    1. digginWA 07/10/2017

      We are very lucky here in Xanadu. Thanks for your comments.

  20. greengenes 07/10/2017

    WowTia! Youve been busy! Looks so interesting, just fantastic! Love the rock work too! Little oscar is such a tiger! The persicaria is huge! I have one too and has grown bigger than i thought but i love it. You are doing a nice job! Thanks for sharing!

    1. digginWA 07/10/2017

      Thanks again, Jeanne!

  21. user-6883622 07/10/2017

    Such a lush landscape...well done. Whether inherited or in the process of being embellished, there is a real visual appeal in your high-density plantings. The textures and colors of juxtaposed specimens jump out due to their close placement, set off by the neutral tones of weathered fencing, stone paths and edging, and house materials. There appears to be a sense of discovery at every turn! Envious of the wide variety of plants available in your climate—what a palette and vocabulary from which to choose.

    1. digginWA 07/10/2017

      Hey there, Bob, thanks for your thoughtful comments. I like to pack things in, while still allowing for air flow, because it reduces the area that needs to be weeded. I'm very much on board with the "voyage of discovery" type of garden design, and also the compression/expansion quality of moving down the back path. Felcos, ready!

  22. user-7007140 07/10/2017

    I was captivated from the owl right thru meeting Oscar - the sunset is the perfect ending of a delightful tour. The stone steps with the big rock is a strong feature in your softly billowing garden. Truly delightful, full of interest and clever juxtapositions of plants, shrubs and those ever essential odd pops of quirkiness. Clever little person!

    1. digginWA 07/10/2017

      Oscar is quite lovely, isn't he? He lolls around out back, warming his eighteen year-old carcass on the flagstones. He is not a fan of our long rainy season. Thanks again for your kind comments.

  23. bsavage 07/11/2017

    Absolutely fantastic!

    1. digginWA 07/11/2017

      Thank you, Brenda. Comments from GPODers are so very rewarding.

  24. user-7007940 07/12/2017

    Awesome!! I love the view. Beautiful garden.

  25. user-6536305 12/29/2017

    Wow, what a view and garden! Thanks for sharing!

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  28. akkipanwar12 05/01/2019

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  29. User avater
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