Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Urban Oasis September 5, 2008

I was driving home from dropping my kid off at Day 2 of Kindergarten today and almost crashed the car when I spotted this garden. Talk about flower power! My photos do not do it justice, I hope to go back on a less brightly sunny day and try to capture the brilliance of the colors before they’re gone.

Baby palm in Seattle

The front garden is obviously a long-term project, but the parking strip has been recently planted. It extends past neighboring houses on both sides and was so carefully harmonized with repeating plants and colors that I suspected it was a professional job.

Super awesome street garden

By pure chance, the owner came outside just as I was about to leave, and I asked if he’d be willing to talk about his garden and have it featured on this site. He was totally agreeable and said that one of the main focuses of his business, Oasis Gardens & Design in Seattle, is to encourage people to get rid of their lawns and put in water-wise plants.

He has lived in this home for 15 years, and the tall palm in the front of his house was a baby when he planted it. He doesn’t wrap the palms in winter and they seem to survive just fine in Zone 8. He also doesn’t whack the banana plants back and they grow taller every year (no fruit though, too cold for that).

Palms, bananas and super flowers

He had a lot of super bright orange, purple, and yellow plants, it reminded me of a Northern California garden. He said this plant, of which he had many in an incredible array of desert-like colors, is a gazania. Native to Africa and an aster relative, it has low water use once established and is grown as an annual or half-hardy perennial in colder climates.

Gansia? (sp)

It looks great with purple-hued flowers and his plan is to allow Minus Thyme to form a mat between the taller plants. It will also provide a tough groundcover for the currently blank space in the parking strip where he needs to load out his gardening tools for the business.

If you live in the Seattle area and need a garden designer, installer, and/or maintainer, call Don Peterson at 206-525-0830 or email him at


4 Responses to “Urban Oasis”

  1. PGL Says:

    What a great example of a xeriscape garden. Thanks for sharing this beautiful garden with us. 🙂

  2. Katie Says:

    What a beautifully designed garden! It was such lucky coincidence that you got to chat with Don – I like his mission and hope that more people start “getting it” ASAP!

  3. Philip Says:

    Oh! I just love this. I love the whole textural feel. It reminds me of Santa Barbara. the low stone wall is effective. I would have to stop, too! How fun. I just love your blog.
    Best Regards,

  4. greenwalks Says:

    PGL –

    You’re welcome! He was a truly nice fellow and obviously has a real knack for colorful xeriscapes!


    Katie –

    I did feel lucky, both to discover the garden and to meet its designer/implementer. I hope he converts a lot of his clients to this mode of planting.


    Philip –

    Yes, it does feel more like a California garden, but he says it thrives with no extra care for the palms and the water-wise nature of it is a bonus too. Thanks for your kind comments, it means a lot!

    – Karen

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