A Word About Landscape Architecture and Garden Design

Posts tagged ‘Seattle gardens’

“Growing Gracefully” – A Brooks Kolb North Capitol Hill Garden Featured in “Pacific NW” Magazine

The Entry Gates – all photos by Seattle Times Photographer, Mike Siegel

Seattle Landscape Architect Brooks Kolb was once again featured in the Seattle Times’ “Pacific NW” Magazine on September 7, 2014, in an article by the noted Times garden writer, Valerie Easton. Titled “Growing Gracefully, A Redesign mixes the best of old and new,” the column lead with the following paragraphs:

“It’s not often a landscape architect gets another shot at a garden he designed years ago. But when horticulturist Sue Nicol was hired to come up with a fresh plant palette for an aging Capitol Hill garden, she asked Brooks Kolb to collaborate with her on the project. And it turns out that Kolb, along with his partner, Bill Talley, had renovated the garden in 1997 for an earlier owner.” ….New owners Don and Marty Sands “remodeled the (1932 brick Tudor) inside and out, then turned their attention to updating the garden. The couple appreciated the dramatic entry gates, as well as the matuing Japanese maples, Korean dogwoods and Hinoki cypress from the earlier renovation. Marty loves how the garden wraps around the house ‘like a little haven.’ And she calls the majestic copper beech that dominates the scene ‘a Grandfather tree.’”

Since the house is located on the corner of a curving street near Interlaken Boulevard, Brooks loved the original opportunity to remove a scruffy lawn, replacing it with a path that curves parallel to the road, connecting several distinct garden rooms along the way.

Mike Siegel 9-7-14.6  Mike Siegel 9-7-14.7

All photos by Seattle Times Photographer, Mike Siegel:  The House and Rockery from the Street; the Entry Gates

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The Birdbath with Japanese Forest Grass; Owners Marty and Don Sands

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The Fountain in 1997; The Fountain Today, with its Lily Bud Jet

Inteviewing Brooks, Valerie asked, “What was it like for Kolb to re-imagine a garden he designed long ago? ‘It’s a wonderful chance to come back in and retool a garden,’ he says. He planted a necklace of new daphnes around the old fountain and left alone the huge white wisteria growing on the hefty arbor at the side of the house.”

Brooks also relished the opportunity to work collaboratively with Sue Nicol, whose contributions to the jointly designed planting plan included the “intensely fragrant” Daphne bholua and ‘Korean Apricot’ chrysanthemums, among many other selections. Brooks has collaborated with Sue for her horticultural and arborist expertise on a number of Seattle area garden designs.


Hellebores are the Harbingers of Spring

Along with fragrant Winter Daphnes and crocuses, Hellebores are one of the main harbingers of Spring in Seattle gardens.  Many gardeners are crazy about Hellebores, valuing the pastel shades of their flowers, which look like they were painted on with water colors.  A naturally bashful plant, the Lenten Rose (Helleborus orientalis,) which is not at actually a rose, points its flowers downward, as if too modest to aim them at your eye.  Many hybrids of the Oriental Hellebore cover a gamut of white, chartreuse, pale pink and rose pink shades.  Seattle landscape architect Brooks Kolb’s favorite Hellebore, though, is the Corsican Hellebore (Helleborus argutifolius.)  This is a work-horse of a flowering shrub:  It blooms in late February and holds its flowers in view well into the summer months.  Many people would discount it for having a light-green flower, but when it first blooms, that burst of light green is so lively and iridescent that it shouts, “spring is here!”  Framed by the darker leaves, the flowers just pop out at you.  And this plant also has heft:  it’s great for filling spaces where you need something that will get about three feet tall.


Helleborus orientalis Hybrids – Lenten Rose


Helleborus argutifolius – Corsican Hellebore


Corsican Hellebore, flower detail