Naked Garden

6 Feb

Winter and the Front Entry

Winter bones

This time of year is we’re all getting antsy for spring buds and more sunny weather.  It’s a good time to take a look at your landscape to see bones of the garden as well as enjoy the structure of the plants.  The walkway to the front door used to be a narrow, cracked, curved concrete path giving the house a cottage feeling.  It was updated in a pattern of rectangles edged in brick to compliment the entrance to the mid-century house.

The plantings are fairly low maintenance.  You see branches of existing Japanese Maples and a new Stewartia.  The shade loving evergreen plants include Sarcococca, purple and chartreuse Heuchera, Sword Fern, Black Mondo Grass (yes, it spreads, but my client loves it and is willing to tend to it),  a prostrate Hemlock and a sweet dwarf Acacia that my client fell in love with.  A few other goodies will pop up later and the winter things will fill in for a more lush look in the spring and summer.


You won Best of Houzz 2016!

12 Jan

Received this email today:

You won Best of Houzz 2016!

Hi Gregg and Ellis Landscape Designs and congratulations,

We’re writing to let you know that you’ve been voted by the Houzz community as a winner of our Best of Houzz 2016 award!

Your work won in the Customer Service category. We have already placed a “Best of Houzz 2016″ winner badge on your Houzz profile page; visit your profile page ( to see it.

“Anyone building, remodeling or decorating looks to Houzz for the most talented, competent and service-oriented professionals,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “We’re delighted to join our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts in recognizing our “Best Of Houzz” professionals around the world.”

The Best Of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 35 million monthly users on Houzz. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including the number and quality of recent client reviews. Architecture and interior design photographers whose images were most popular are recognized with the Photography award.

The Cedar Waxwings are Back

29 Sep

I love the tiny purple berries on my Callacarpa this time of year. I wait patiently all season for them, to have the cedar waxwings come in and feast. What’s a reasonable person to do? She asks.


Hardy Hibiscus is the Eye Popper this Month

23 Aug

This being the second day in Portland for smoked filled air from the wild fires in eastern Oregon and Washington, we send all good thoughts that way. I especially think of everyone who has lost their home and garden to the fires.

With the smoke, yesterday was a perfect photo opp for the hibiscus blooming in my backyard. It is THE most spectacular bloom in the universe!! The bloom is easily 8 inches across and the colors are breath taking. I bet Pantone can’t name the colors.

Do I exaggerate?


Tomorrows bloom

Tomorrows bloom

The Swing’s New Eco Roof

20 Jul


Before the hot weather arrived,the Green Feathers eco roof got installed on my swing. Its was so easy to do.

The Egress with a View

13 Jul

After the first egress window post, someone asked ‘What does it look like from inside out?’ Duh, that’s an easy question to answer. Why didn’t I think of that myself?

Plants have a lot of growing to do, but it’s already peaceful.

Pretty Egress Windows ?

8 Jul

Egress windows are a great safety feature in basements. I believe in them and hope I never need to climb out of them. With that said they don’t need to be ugly concrete walls either. This setting is close to the property line and visible from the street so I wanted it to look nice and yet be able to get into the backyard. A bridge over a rock garden is the perfect solution.

This sunken garden will grow into a lush green fern, ginger, hosta and astilbe shade grotto. Visitors love walking across a bridge to get into the back yard. The fun begins in the front and the troll is gentle.

The Nicest Benefit of Being a Landscape Designer

1 Jul

This morning I was at a long time clients, 1998 or so, deadheading and detailing her rose garden for the daughter’s wedding Saturday afternoon. The rose garden in a front yard was challenging to design, but it has provided so much pleasure and now a wedding. Wow. What better way to be proud of what I do and the beauty it adds to a home and family memories. I wish the heavenly old rose fragrance could be conveyed in this picture.


Kelly will be married under the rose arbor.

The Cactus Bloom Saga continues – The value of waiting your turn.

24 Jun

I have learned that Cactus are quite polite and genteel. Each plant has bloomed one at a time waiting for one to finish blooming before the next starts. My last, the prickly pear is just starting to bloom. The first blooms were coral orange and today they are yellow.



I’m sure that over the years, cactus have figured out that they need all the insects they can get when blooming so to compete for bugs is a losing battle. There is a message here for us too.

Desert Bloom continues

22 Jun


Even a bumble bee likes my cactus blooms. This will be the last of the blooms on this cactus, but the other ones are just showing color.