Michelle and Gil Hart sent in pictures of Michelle’s garden in Spokane, Washington. They have lived at this house for about 17 years. The garden is about 1/3 acre and was bare when they moved in, except for perimeter trees and a roughed-in pond. The pond now contains about 3,000 gallons of water and has 2-foot koi. These koi (and their offspring) have been garden residents for over 12 years.
Michelle describes herself as both a plant collector and a ruthless gardener who can’t stand plants that look sick. She says that she’s learned many lessons the hard way in her over-50 years of gardening. That sounds like a perfect formula for learning to be a great gardener to me: Be a collector who tries everything, and then be ruthless about getting rid of anything that doesn’t work. Mistakes and missteps are inevitable when gardening, and the important thing is to learn from them so you don’t have to repeat them.
This part of the garden pond is framed beautifully by full plantings and is presided over by a beautiful sculpture of two herons that, unlike real herons, don’t harm the koi living in the pond. View our tips for planning your first water garden here.
The big masses of perennials and shrubs help visually divide up the garden, making 1/3 of an acre look much larger than it actually is.
This charming little fairy house is made from an old stump nestled in ferns with a clematis twining over it.
The garden has space for full-size humans as well as tiny fairies, with this flagstone path leading to a shady seating area. Click here to get some great pathway inspiration.
Michelle is clearly a gardener who likes to have a little fun. These face planters looks very pleased with their plant “hair.”
This is a rich tapestry of foliage, with an enormous hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ (Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’, Zones 3–9) glowing in the center.
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