Garden Photo of the Day

Phillip’s Vancouver Garden

A new garden in a new part of the country

steps into the garden

My name is Phillip Oliver, and I sent you photos of my Alabama garden many years ago. Since that time, my husband (Michael) and I relocated across the country to Vancouver, Washington. It has always been a dream of mine to live and garden in the Pacific Northwest. We have been here six years now and have started a new garden from scratch. We downsized when moving here, so this garden is smaller, about a quarter of an acre. I work at a local garden center, which helps (or hinders, depending on how you look at it) my gardening obsession.

Here are some photos from this past year. As you can see, the garden has already filled in. Most of it was only grass when we moved in.

view of our front garden from the roofThis is a view of our front garden from the roof, taken in September. The front garden is the smallest area and extends about 20 feet from the house to the street.

garden view with a fence built around the gardenAnd here’s the view from the street side. The first thing I did was have a fence built to garden around. I am very fond of roses, especially the David Austin varieties. The orange rose is ‘Lady of Shallot’. Other roses (not David Austin) are ‘Robin Hood’ and ‘Radway Sunrise’. Behind the rose is the shrub Salix integra Hakuro Nishiki‘ (dappled willow, Zones 5–7) and smoke tree (Cotinus ‘Royal Purple’, Zones 3–9). The tree is Acer pseudoplatanus ‘Esk Sunset’ (Zones 4–7). Perennials include Geranium ‘Rozanne’ (Zones 5–8), Santolina ‘Lemon Queen’ (Zones 6–8), and Salvia ‘Caradonna’.

The front garden gate with climbing rose 'Dublin Bay' and 'Veilchenblau' and the Clematis 'Jackmanii Superba' (Zone 4 - 8) and 'Madame Julia Correvon'The front garden gate features climbing roses ‘Dublin Bay’ and ‘Veilchenblau’ and two clematis: ‘Jackmanii Superba’ (Zones 4–8) and ‘Madame Julia Correvon’ (Zones 4–9).

Ceanothus 'Black Diamond' (California Lilac)I was unfamiliar with Ceanothus ‘Black Diamond’ (California lilac) until moving here, and now I love it. It grows incredibly fast. Michael has trained this one into a small tree.

back garden on a slopeOur back garden is larger than the front. It is partially on a slope, and I created terraces here. Some of the plants here are Phormium ‘Rainbow Queen’ (New Zealand flax, Zones 8–10), ‘Tiger Eyes’ sumac (Rhus typhina ‘Bailtiger’, Zones 4–8), Persicaria ‘Red Dragon’ (Zones 6–9) and Cotinus ‘Golden Spirit’ (Zones 3–9). The rose on the moon arch at the top of the steps is the rambler ‘Phyllis Bride’.

David Austin rose 'Golden Celebration' and Spanish lavenderDavid Austin rose ‘Golden Celebration’ and Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas, Zones 7–10)

gravel courtyard and pergolaThe center of our back garden is a gravel courtyard and pergola. We initially began with a vegetable garden but took it out after two years. The vine on the pergola on the left is ‘Fiona Sunrise’ jasmine (Jasminum officinale ‘Fiona’s Sunrise’, Zones 7–10). The rose on the right is ‘Climbing Pinkie‘.

view of the courtyard from the sideHere’s another view of the courtyard from the side. The roses are ‘Cornelia‘ and ‘Mutabalis’. Like in our former garden, we built a wall and painted it purple. It separates the courtyard from a smaller garden just off the deck.

smaller garden off to the sideThe smaller garden (we call it the “Pan Garden” because it features a statue of Pan) is just off the deck. This is the first area we worked on after moving in.

View Comments


  1. Jay_Sifford 12/21/2021

    Really lush and beautiful. I can tell that your garden is a real labor of love. I especially like the immersive exuberant feeling in the back that is juxtaposed with the open gravel space. Great work!

    1. phillipoliver 12/22/2021

      Thank you so much Jay!

  2. garden1953 12/21/2021

    Incredibly beautiful.

    1. phillipoliver 12/22/2021

      Thank you!

  3. sagebird52 12/21/2021

    sumptuously gorgeous!

    1. phillipoliver 12/22/2021

      Thank you!

  4. User avater
    user-7007816 12/21/2021

    What a gorgeous, lush garden you have created. I love the way you mix the different textures.

    1. phillipoliver 12/22/2021

      Thank you!

  5. Maggieat11 12/21/2021

    Absolutely fabulous! Wish I could visit in person. I appreciate you sharing your garden with us!

    1. phillipoliver 12/22/2021

      Thanks, if you are ever in the area, I will give you a tour!

  6. alicefleurkens 12/21/2021

    The climate in Vancouver is so great for lush gardens. I love the Lilac and the roses with the clematis together. Beautiful. Alice

    1. phillipoliver 12/22/2021

      I love the climate, it is one of the reasons I wanted to move here.

  7. User avater
    treasuresmom 12/21/2021

    You have done so much to this little garden. Please share more.

    1. phillipoliver 12/22/2021

      I will, thanks!

  8. User avater
    simplesue 12/21/2021

    Wow, your gardens (I just looked at your Alabama Garden) are perfection! Water features, sitting areas, focal points, your garden has it all!
    I love your signature purple wall in both of them!
    You have a great sense of garden design!

    1. phillipoliver 12/22/2021

      Thank you so much!

  9. imajayhawk 12/21/2021

    What a great garden, with a very pleasing and full garden design. Great job with layering and textures. I love the gravel courtyard as a focal point. Thanks for sharing.

    1. phillipoliver 12/22/2021


  10. User avater
    cynthia2020 12/21/2021

    Phillip - I love the "view from the street side" the best! Thank you for for sharing - it's so terrific that you get so many plants in bloom - at the same time - in each view.

    1. phillipoliver 12/22/2021

      Thanks, a lot of that is accidental!

  11. btucker9675 12/21/2021

    This garden is really unbelievably beautiful... Wish I could beam myself there for a walk through!

    1. phillipoliver 12/22/2021

      Thanks so much!

  12. User avater
    bdowen 12/21/2021

    Your view from the street photo is gorgeous and such a contrast to the small glimpse of the yard across the street that is just barely visible in one of your other views. Your neighbors must love watching your garden grow.

    1. phillipoliver 12/22/2021

      We do get compliments from the neighbors. They say they love it.

  13. bsavage 12/22/2021

    So beautiful!!! All of it! Thank you for sharing what you and your husband have grown!

    1. phillipoliver 12/22/2021

      You are welcome - thank you!

  14. Begonia155 12/22/2021


    1. phillipoliver 12/22/2021


  15. [email protected] 12/22/2021

    Wow! I have many of the same plants as you (up I-5 close to Seattle, but east), and probably similar climate (zone8), but yours (only about 2 years more mature), look so much bigger and vigorous! I can't wait to see more of your garden! It's very inspiring! No more exclamation points for me today...

  16. user-6861263 12/23/2021

    What a gorgeous garden- I’ve been to Vancouver only once and was taken by how lush and healthy all the plants looked. Yours is no exception- you have done a fabulous job integrating many plants, textures, heights and colors to create many beautiful garden rooms! I am very jealous here in hot and humid Delaware!

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