Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Visit to the Garden of Bob Hyland

Bob Hyland Header
This summer has been a whirlwind of garden tours. With an eye toward the Portland Fling next summer, I've been going to as many of the gardens in our HPSO Open Gardens Book as I possibly can. It's time for a confession, however. Even with the best of intentions, I'm not going to make it to all of them. Honestly, I'm not even going to come close! However, I have to say, I'm glad I've had the added incentive to visit more gardens...because it has reminded me just how many AMAZING gardens (and, of course, gardeners) we have in Portland!

bob hyland House view
Today, we're going to take a look at one of my hands-down faves this summer, the garden of designer Bob Hyland. Bob is a fellow committee member of the HPSO, and when I saw his garden was open last month, I knew I had to go see it. As we pulled up to his house, which is perched on a steep slope over the Willamette River, I was already seething with jeaousy...his view is AMAZING!

bob hyland SunnyPennisetumReadHead
I knew the moment I walked into their driveway that I was going to love this garden. The long driveway is lined with a gorgeous tapestry of grasses, shrubs and perennials...all blended harmoniously.

bob hyland salvia clevandii
Notoriously difficult to over-winter, Salvia clevandii has a scent that is earthy, herbal and...well...wonderful!

bob hyland red euphorbia
Among the many plant jewels was this Euphorbia ('Bonfire', perhaps?)...yes, I know I've sworn them off...but this one looked so perfect and lovely.

Bob Hyland Red Euphorbia closeup

bob hyland Yuccabob hyland pennisetum red head
While the day seemed blazingly hot...the slanting light illuminated Bob's garden perfectly...igniting each blade of grass...each fuzzy bloom.

bob hyland WideOpeningSlope
I loved the sensual, smoldering palette Bob used's sumptuous, isn't it! Believe it or not, this garden is only 2 years old! Bob and his partner moved here from the East Coast in 2011, where he owned Loomis Creek Nursery. Bob is a wonderful garden designer who has recently partnered with Xera Plants at their retail location on SE Clay street.

bob hyland fescue
As you continue into the "backyard", you climb a steep set of stone steps onto a side yard of sorts...greeted by the tall, swaying stems of Helictotrichon

bob hyland seating area
Once on top, you can look down the slope at the seating areas below...

bob hyland view well as the charming craftsman house and garden of edibles. Since we have both gardened in much harsher climates, Bob and I chatted for a while about how quickly plants grow here in our mild PNW climate. He said he was amazed at how quickly you can make and knit a garden together.

bob hyland carex and little bluestem
I was in love with this sea of roiling Carex punctuated by cool blue towers of Schizachyrium.

bob hyland mosaic spherebob hyland gaura v
I like that decoration is kept to a minimum...this mosaic orb was a nice touch...and wonderfully set off by all the Stipa.

bob hyland gaura bluestem
I adored this pairing of Schizachyrium and Gaura...heavenly!

bob hyland stone steps
The use of natural stone for the walls and steps was felt utterly "right" for the location...especially flanked and softened by more grasses and sedges.

bob hyland back slope wide
Once down on the graveled seating area, you can look up at that fabulous slope.

bob hyland Sunny Grass and Orb
Isn't it amazing...Bob is truly a master of planting for maximum dramatic impact!

bob hyland gladiolusbob hyland sunny slope 1
I fell in love with these elegant, white Gladioulus on the left...they were scattered around the slope and added so much.

bob hyland back slope tall
I think it's very cool when people mix edibles into a border that is otherwise "ornamental". Of course, it helps when the edible in question is a stunning Chard!

bob hyland Sunny Lobelia Tupabob hyland crocosmia
Plants that I see in numerous Portland gardens are given a new lease on life, thanks to their perfect positioning to catch and hold that golden light!

bob hyland sunny eucomis closeup
Even Eucomis, a plant I don't generally care for, is used so well that I kind of dig it here.

bob hyland Sunny Eucomisbob hyland sunny agastache
Ahh...the magic of backlighting.

bob hyland louging
Like the people above, I could easily kick back and spend hours enjoying this view.

bob hyland back slope wide 2
Looking across the border once more...I'm just in love with the play of light and shadow, color and texture.

bob hyland sunny grassy slopey goodness
Stipa tenuissima seems to be everywhere these days, but when was the last time you saw it used in such a way that you felt INSPIRED by it!

bob hyland salvia amistad
More sultry color pairings...Salvia 'Amistad' and Albizia.

bob hyland Red SPhere
Another very simple, understated use of statuary.

bob hyland molinia slope 1
As we got ready to leave, I spied one more beautiful planting...this generous swathe of Molinia 'Variegata' of those plants whose effectiveness increases exponentially with the number of plants used.

bob hyland molinia slope 3
Gorgeous...can you imagine how this will look once they've all filled it...this is definitely a garden I'll make a point of visiting again...and if you ever have the chance to visit, I'd highly recommend it.


  1. Wow wow wow wow WOW. I love all the grasses and I can't believe it's only two years old! I can't wait to see what it looks like in five.

  2. Looks like a great garden. I'm really enjoying reading all the posts by Fling committee members who are visiting all those HPSO gardens.

  3. I would imagine it would be difficult to narrow the choices down with so many great gardens out there. What is the size of his garden?

  4. I can't believe this garden is only 2 years old! It's amazing.
    Your images are lovely, the light really does make the garden look ever so welcoming. A few inspiration planting combos and many would easily transport to a small garden like mine.
    Thanks for sharing.

  5. STUNNING!!!
    Oh, I love it all!!
    Thanks for sharing that!

  6. It's always a treat to come see your photos of gardens and light. Chard is a remarkably lovely plant, isn't it! Enjoy the rest of your tours this year.

  7. Definitely your kind of garden...and who wouldn't fall in love with it?

  8. Stunning use of grasses. I have not come easily to letting grasses come out of the meadow and into the garden. Every year I get a little better appreciation of their charms.

  9. A tapestry is a great way to describe that first view--wow! And it looks like you were there at the perfect time of day to get excellent angles of light. Beautiful!

  10. I still regret missing this one, thank you for covering it so well! I bought a new (yes my last one perished over a winter) Salvia clevelandi at Far Reached Farm last weekend. I adore that scent!

    (Oh and I really have a hard time imagining you seething with jeaousy, it just doesn't seem to fit)

  11. Holy Moly, this is a wonderful garden and you've captured it marvelously. The grasses, sedges and perennials are perfect together...oh to have that vision and that full sun! I can't wait to see all the gardens you and the committee will have chosen for Fling! gail

  12. It's easy to see the connection here and why the garden had you at the curb. Completely your style and just beautifully done with gorgeous views. Love the "smoldering" color and texture combos especially.

  13. Wow - thanks for such a beautiful report on such a beautiful garden. I can't believe it's only two years old! You captured the light and the textures beautifully - as always. How in the world do you do it? You should teach a class!

  14. So different from anything I could do in my garden - stunning.

  15. I have a little tear in my eye right now... ***sniff** at the beauty of this place. I want to live here, all the time, every day, forever and ever and ever...take me there! How did I miss this one? Thanks for the pictures, they will help me through the rainy days of February, to be sure. Thanks, Scott! Nice to see you at the HPSO plant sale, too!

  16. Beautiful pictures Scott.

    I have a love/hate relationship with Euphorbia too. When they explode with chartreuse blooms in early spring I forgive their transgressions. Got me a Euphorbia FireGlow in a moment of weakness...

    Love mass planting of grasses. I wonder how other gardeners handle the 'volunteers'. These guys re-seed like crazy.

  17. thank you for the lovely tour, Scott. Grasses, grasses, and grasses_ my kind of garden. If you live in the PNW, grasses and drought tolerant specimens are a must.
    PS: have yanked E. "Fireglow" out again for the umpteenth time as it sprawls all over the place. :( Have a great weekend.

  18. Inspiring with a very clean and modern feel. I love all of the grasses and the rainbow chard, edging the borders! Wonderful post :)

  19. Wonderful light in the grasses, intoxicating! The Chard is beautiful, though I personally can't quite call it "edible".

    Wonderful place. What is that row of conical evergreens? Is it part of this garden?

  20. Really nice. It looks like it could be a Bay Area garden, more than most Portland gardens I see. The chard and the mosaic are nice touches.

  21. Absolutely stunning. Thanks for the tour. I would like to visit Portland someday just to see the beautiful gardens you have there.

  22. Such a gorgeous garden! I have high hopes for the Portland Fling. Between your ideal gardening climate, and your love for grasses and Loree's love for succulents, I know you're going to choose some amazing gardens. :-)

  23. Oh lala !!! the garden looks wonderful and your photos are magnifying the place, as always. Really amazing !

  24. Very nice. Bob really knows how to make the most of his plot of land, doesn't he? I really like that Euphorbia. I guess I need to have mine in full sun.

  25. Superb garden. I could tell from the second photo that this was your kind of garden, your style and plant choice is quite similar. How exciting to visit a garden you can fall in love with.

  26. I spotted cardoon in a few photos. Anyone who grows cardoon can be a friend of mine.