Bonnie Jochim's garden may be just the inspiration for gardeners wishing to create separate areas for reflection. And this weekend the Friends of the McLean house invite visitors on the Friends of McLean House and Park Garden Tour. Six private gardens showcase all that is beautiful in Bolton.
Thirteen years ago Jochim and her husband, Lonny, moved to River Street in West Linn. Their charming English Tudor-style home boasted classic charm overlooking the Willamette River but the yard lacked greenery with few plants and one dead apple tree.
So, the work began.
From that summer on the husband and wife duo tackled a separate portion of their garden each year, creating different spaces surrounding the swimming pool.
'I'm not a landscaper. I'm just a person. I just plant,' said Jochim. 'There are probably things that aren't perfect but we like it. … It's kind of a work in progress - always changing and adding plants.'
The Jochim's took advantage of the yard's naturally sunny and shady areas. Along one side of the home, a cottage garden was formed from curved brick pathways, trellises and garden art. Lilys and dahlias poke from behind neatly trimmed shrubs that line the pathway.
A table with chairs awaits early visits.
'I like this area in the morning because it's shady and cool. I'll come out here and sit and read the paper and drink tea,' said Jochim. 'I have different areas for different (times of the day). I have a place I like to go out and eat my lunch if I'm here.'
Sunflowers planted by birds segue visitors into a shaded patio area where rock pathways squiggle amidst greenery to hidden spots in the garden. A barbecue area is home to rib cook-offs with the neighbors.
The sound of water is soothing.
An upper pond flows to a lower basin filled with koi. Garden accessories from Pollywog Pottery in Canby blend in with natural surroundings.
Just past a potting shed area, river activity is viewable from a screened gazebo. The structure is equipped with electricity and plush sitting areas - perfect for evening reading safe from mosquitoes. The gazebo's hardwood flooring is from an old hotel in Portland.
Recently rockwork was added around the swimming pool as well as a gas fire pit.
'It updates it a bit,' said Jochim. 'Now, we've got (the garden) done. We just make changes.'
Falcons fly overhead and sit in tall trees to keep watch over the Willamette. And Jochim has her own birds-eye-view - from her lovely garden escape.
'It's a quiet little street people don't know about,' said Jochim. 'I'm out here all the time. And I'm going to go and walk around and look at the other gardens.'
On Saturday, Jochim's garden as well as five additional gardens will be on tour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. along River Street. The McLean House at 5350 River Street will act as a home base for the tour.
Tickets are available for purchase at $15 each at Ameriprise Financial and Dragonfly Greetings and Gifts in West Linn.
All purchases are tax deductible with proceeds benefiting the 1927 McLean House and park restoration and upkeep. See page C6 in the newspaper for more information.