Garden Photo of the Day

READER PHOTOS! Laura’s garden in Washington state

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Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Laura Kokesh and Alyson Markley

Today’s photos are from Laura Kokesh in Redmond, Washington. Laura says, “I live in Trilogy out on Novelty Hill area of Redmond. I have been designing and changing my garden for the five years I’ve been here. There was nothing on my lot when I bought it. Just clay and hard pan. But I receive full sun and I brought in 47 yards of topsoil and added lots of compost. I do not use fertilizers and instead, compost two times a year and prune like crazy!

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Laura Kokesh and Alyson Markley

“I have some lovely specimens, including a lovely beech tree, Vanderwolf pines, several miniature Japanese maples, dozens of lilies, and massive amounts of vines like three- and five-leaved akebias, clematis, and climbing roses. I do not have much space, but have several seating areas, each with its own vignette to appreciate the stained glass and other artwork mixed in with my plantings.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Laura Kokesh and Alyson Markley

“I also have several Hinoki cypress, redwoods, and several varieties of grasses as you can see. I also have five different water features spread throughout the garden. I have several large arborvitae in the back inner yard to provide length and structure throughout the year and have layered the colors and sizes of the plants to provide year round interest.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Laura Kokesh and Alyson Markley

“This garden now looks mature, so the pruning is at least twice a year, often more with the massive vines I have! I hope you and your readers enjoy this garden as much as I do.”

Lovely, Laura! I’d love to see some of your seating areas next.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Laura Kokesh and Alyson Markley
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Laura Kokesh and Alyson Markley
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Laura Kokesh and Alyson Markley
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Laura Kokesh and Alyson Markley
Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Laura Kokesh and Alyson Markley

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View Comments


  1. user-258617 07/20/2012

    Beautiful Laura-what is that yummy clematis?!

  2. dukeofargy 07/20/2012

    Very artistic in your approach. Beautiful escape to a world of your own creation. I LOVE the round window to your garden. Do you see this from your seating area? That would be cool to see.

    I agree, what is the clematis. Very interesting colouring.


  3. trashywoman62 07/20/2012

    What a wonderful garden you have created, Laura! From the luscious Hakonechloa grasses to the amazing purple beech, (is it a weeping or fountain beech?) I just feel like I want to stay forever! The salmon colored maple is a wonderful specimen plant? Is that a Larch peeking into the photo of the cannas? Would love to see your fall photos. Sorry I am gushing...just a fabulous photo array.


  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 07/20/2012

    Oh, my, Laura, looking at all your green lushness and beautifully framed vignettes, I feel like I just got my ticket to paradise punched. Those fabulous clumps of Hakonechloa grasses are positively mesmerizing..I am breaking one of the 10 commandments as I lust for them in my heart!
    Are any of your beautiful glass sculpture pieces done by the artist Barbara Sanderson?

  5. ncgardener 07/20/2012

    As much as I love flowers, I love the different textures as well. This is such a wonderful example of that. Nice photos, I would love to see more. I too have found that composting twice a year gives me more benefit than some fertilizers. Thanks for the ideas.

  6. Jay_Sifford 07/20/2012

    Beautifully laid out garden. It shows your hard work and your artistic eye. I lust after your purple beech. I want one. They are sold here, but they really don't grow here.
    Great work!

  7. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 07/20/2012

    All this in five years? Amazing. Is the salmon-colored maple one of the acer pseudoplatanus cultivars? I'd love to know more about it, especially what it looks like as the season progresses. Thanks for sharing.

  8. cwheat000 07/20/2012

    Amazing garden for such a short amount of time. You have some really special varieties. I too love the clematis and the pinkish maple. The size of your Hakonechloa is really impressive. Everything looks so lush. Nice to see mid-summer when some of our gardens are showing some wear and tear from the summer's heat.

  9. tractor1 07/20/2012

    Very nice plantings and excellent photography. I also planted a weeping copper beech some ten years ago, purchased in a one gallon pot from a local nursery that propagates their own (it was still in the greenhouse and wasn't ready to be sold but I'm a good customer), was two years old, and it's doing very well ( But mine is a good twenty feet from my house. I'm hoping you won't need to move yours as even though they are very slow growers and often columnar once they attain their full height (~20') they do tend to widen to a width of 10-15 feet. Yours looks like it was fairly mature nursery stock and so likely had to have been professionally planted as one you'd be able to plant on your own couldn't have attained that size in only five years... I'm just curious to why so close to your house, I'm positive an experienced nursery person would have strongly urged against it... also its roots can and probably will damage your home's foundation, beech roots are massive and extensive. Everything else looks lovely, and thank you very much for your crisp and well composed photography.

  10. sheila_schultz 07/20/2012

    Your gardens are truly beautiful, Laura. There is no question that you are an artist.

  11. LWyre 07/20/2012

    So beautiful! Cannot imagine the number of hours you have logged. My garden is the same age but is not this mature!

  12. Formandfoliage 07/20/2012

    A garden after our own hearts! That beech looks like 'Red Obelisk', a variety that only gets three feet wide, as its name implies, so is sited appropriately. The maple does indeed look like a pseudoplatanus - 'Esk Sunset' is our guess. We have both of them and they are amongst our favorite trees. Really beautiful job, Laura, and it shows what great soil prep you did, too - a step too often overlooked. We too would like to see it in fall!

  13. azulverde 07/20/2012

    Beautiful garden art works! The blue glass bottle reminds me of Chihuly's glass art and the wood work with a circular opening reminds me of a Chinese garden. The clematis has an interesting color pattern. I googled it and the closest I could come up with is Clematis viticella "Alba Luxurians". Is it?

  14. humbleearthgarden 07/20/2012

    Stunningly beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing!!

  15. Tomboy1950 07/20/2012

    Wow! I have a serious case of garden envy.

  16. Wife_Mother_Gardener 07/20/2012

    Your Jap. forest grass does look amazing! And I love the second photo with the cannas and that crazy looking shrub... what is it? a pine?

  17. GardenerGM 07/20/2012

    I love cobalt blue garden accessories and yours' are stunning!

  18. tractor1 07/20/2012

    We're having an awful drought here in The Catskills and it's been hot (85-95). The other day I was in my garage and noticed how I still had my grand's snow coaster that they grew out of some five years ago so there it hung on the wall all that time. Suddenly a light came on, what a great (and inexpensive) way to kill two birds with one stone so to speak, waters the birds and their splashing waters my new Acer griseum.

  19. tractor1 07/20/2012

    A better picture of my new water feature:

    As one can see I like lots of space between my plantings.

  20. cwheat000 07/21/2012

    Nice privacy ,nice land, Tractor1. What else ya got planted there? Love Acer griseum, but my husband cut ours up for bonsai material.

  21. tractor1 07/21/2012

    cwheat000: Your husband cut it up?!?!?was he punishing you? That was some mighty pricy bonsai material, wouldn't an old lettuce crate have worked as well? I planted dozens of trees of all types... in those two pictures you can see two sycamores, a blue spruce, and a gingko. There's a huge multi-trunked Norway maple that was obviously there before I existed... and of course my vegetable garden. But right now I'm most pleased with my new water feature, I even added a flat stone, makes a nice island for the smaller birds. I actually searched diligently for a birdbath but those I liked cost hundreds of dollars, were not much larger than a dinner plate, and weren't made very well. I can buy a three pack of those snow saucers at Amazon for $12, and they are much larger, are simple to clean, and the birds love it, the bluejays put on quite a show.

  22. annek 07/21/2012

    Impressive plant combinations! As many have mentioned, your artistry shines through in a luscious, pleasing, well maintained and healthy garden. Wow!

  23. AlysonTheArtist 07/21/2012

    Laura is a good friend, and passionate gardener. I photographed her property last week, and suggested she submit them to Michele. So glad you get to enjoy her garden with me... via the pics! She has several seating areas, and one does view the round window. Laura is going to log in tomorrow, and give specific plant/tree names and answer questions.

  24. cwheat000 07/21/2012

    Tractor1- Thanks for feeling my pain. I was hoping to see that paperbark maple grow into an impressive tree. In all fairness to my husband, he did foot the bill that day we bought plants, so I guess it was his right to hack it up. I'm digging the water features, too. Looks like the geese are enjoying as well. Maybe they aren't the most elegant, but they sure are practical. Hey, if the neighbors don't like em; oh wait, what neighbors?

  25. tractor1 07/21/2012

    cwheat000: perhaps you can obtain a new paperbark maple, I'm sure you can find some spot to plant it as they grow very slowly and they don't grow very large. I still find it difficult to believe that anyone would kill such a rare tree. Canada geese may not be very elegant on the ground but the instant they become airborne no other bird flies so spectacularly, or as high, they own the stratosphere... and their landings are so perfectly synchronized that they don't look real. Some years I have over a hundred here, some years only a few, but that can change at any time... right now I have eight residents that were born here but as the summer progresses more will arrive, as fall approaches my yard is busier than Ohare. I don't mind them at all, lot's of free organic fertilizer. I can't tell which are which just by looking but I can recognize their movements, they all walk differently. Even the crows that live here, each have a particular walk. Oh, I do have neighbors, but we are all some distance apart, the minimum property size on this road is five acres. I sure wish it would rain.

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