Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Tiki Street Garden January 12, 2009

I spotted this one on one of our alternate school routes the other week, before the snows. I hadn’t walked by it before and had to go back for a closer look later, with camera.

Although rock gardens are not my own personal style, I had to admire this gardener’s flair for the unique. This certainly does not look like any other parking strip or front garden I’ve seen elsewhere in Seattle!

Parking strip rock garden beds

What is that pink thing, a slice of petrified wood? I love the beds outlined in darker rocks, also the festively-copper-painted fire hydrant.

Fairly common Northwest plants are not always paired with gravel and rock-decorated beds like these. Here there is a conifer and a small senecio, and some of you will probably know what the low-growing yellow variegated groundcover in the foreground is, its name is escaping me at the moment.

Parking strip garden

Here it is up closer, next to an antler as garden art!

Antler garden accent

The wackiness continues on the other side of the sidewalk in the house’s front garden, where all of the lawn has been removed and half has been given over to further rock garden beds.

Lawn alternative

The other half of the front former-lawn made me think of a northwest mostly-green version of a South Pacific idyll.

No front lawn

You can see that they have not been shy about their house color either – bright yellow!

This New Zealand flax plant was looking very healthy. I wonder how it survived the cold weather that hit just afterward? Many I have seen in street gardens did not fare so well. They are kind of at the edge of hardiness in our zone, so this was not a good winter for them. I’m curious to see if any will rebound.

Perennial garden

Dotted throughout the front are what look like home-carved totems of some sort. I looked at idols and images from many cultures and didn’t find any that looked like this. Maybe they are the owner’s idea of garden spirits?

Yard totem

Garden idol

Nyack Backyard had an interesting post about homeowners associations and garden restrictions. You can bet this garden wouldn’t pass muster in one of those communties! Yet another reason I could never live in one. I love it when gardeners let their freak flags fly! How about you, got any wacky gardens in your ‘hood?


12 Responses to “Tiki Street Garden”

  1. easygardener Says:

    I’m all in favour of individuality – the thought of living where there are gardening rules and restrictions makes me shudder too.
    Someone has created a very personal effort here and good luck to them!

  2. Jen Says:

    Hey thanks for the shout-out!
    Something like this is definitely eye-catching in the midst of the same old stuff, huh? I’ll bet it’s pretty easy to maintain too. I wish we had more creative gardeners like that around here. Love the idea of having a few figures placed around to keep watch over things.

  3. Michelle Says:

    Well, a friend has a very interesting garden. She does ceramic sculptures and one of them along the driveway (unfortunately not visible from the road) is a bench with 2 life size figures, one of whom is holding it’s head in it’s lap! She’s got all kinds of whimsical pieces scattered around her property.

    This brings to mind a neighborhood in the town of Sebastopol in northern California. There’s a artist, name of Patrick Amiot, who has installed his art in the front yards of a number of his neighbors. Google his name to check out his incredibly fun art, and imagine that in your front yard!

  4. Philip Says:

    I love it when people step out and create something. We used to have John’s garden. John is gone now but he had a garden of toys and tinsel. He was a big Italian guy with a big head of wavy black hair.He wore red Hawaiian shirts and shorts, drove a big red cadillac and knew everyone’s name.
    After his death people left contributions of toys and tinsel in memorium to “John’s Garden”
    I miss him.

  5. Megan Says:

    The groundcover looks like a ceanothus to me, maybe ‘diamond heights’ or something like that. I like that this garden looks inspired, even if the rocks aren’t my thing (they take up precious room I need for more plants).

  6. Curmudgeon Says:

    Very visually interesting. I think anything done with plants in the front yard sure beats say having rusting heaps of old vehicles sitting on the front lawn. My one complaint is overly exuberant front yards that block sidewalk access. One neighbor just planted a baby pampas grass right up by the sidewalk. It’s adorable right now. In a few months it will be the monster that ate Curmudgeon as she made her way to the bus stop.

  7. Racquel Says:

    That owner has a flair for the creative! I love not living in a home owners association type of area too, all those houses look the same & quite boring if you ask me. There is a house in my neighborhood that definitely stands out with a desert type scheme of cacti & succulants. I will have to take a picture to share with you all. It suits their house too. 🙂

  8. Susan Says:

    Great garden! We JUST got my cautious city to accept the idea of boulevard gardens (now that I have moved to the country.)

  9. Daniel Mount Says:

    Nice blog. what is this about a garden bloggers meeting?

  10. Daniel Mount Says:

    I’ll be there on the 7th.D.

  11. Molly Says:

    I’ve seen that garden! I kind of have to live back behind the trees or I’d be driven to thumb my nose at passersby by getting really creative in my front yard. Maybe a bathtub shrine, or perhaps one of those plywood cutouts of a woman bending over, with her slip showing. (SAGBUTT logo?)
    Re your comment, yes it is the flowers of the elderberry tree, but not, unfortunately, the red elderberry which is so common in our woods. I believe the blue elderberry grows around here too, but I haven’t seen any in the wild. The flavor is indescribable, but unmistakably “summery”.

  12. Monica Says:

    Wow, what gorgeous gardens. I especially like the antler. A colleague of mine incorporates dropped antlers into baskets she weaves. They are pretty cool.

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