Almost fifteen years ago I traveled to Portland, Oregon, to meet an adolescent green thumb named Gavin Younie. At the time I was the editor of Rebecca’s Garden magazine and we were photographing a story on this remarkable young man who had turned his parents’ half-acre suburban backyard in the West Slope area into his fresh-faced version of an English cottage garden. Gavin’s insatiable interest in plants was sparked at the age of six, when he and his twin brother wandered into the garden—a virtual living classroom—of neighbor and garden writer Barbara Blossom Ashmon. “Even at that early age,” said Barbara, “Gavin was very interested in the various plants and flowers. He was full of questions and very observant. He notices everything about a plant, even the most subtle differences of stem color and the way a leaf is ruffled or crinkled or smooth.”
Imagine my surprise last spring when contributing editor Debra Prinzing called to announce she’d met an impressive young landscape architect she thought we should feature in our annual magazine Deck, Patio & Outdoor Living…and that his name was Gavin Younie. So I jumped at the chance to visit The City of Roses once again to catch up with this impressive plant prodigy and to see what he’s been up to. I admit I was also psyched to spend some time with my friends Debra, photographer Laurie Black, and her husband Mark King. You can see the results of our visit with Gavin in the new issue of Deck, Patio & Outdoor Living, on sale March 25th. And remember: This is the same person who once told me, “So far my plant knowledge has all been self-taught from books, garden shows, and visits to gardens. But one day I hope to become a landscape architect.” One look at his front yard and you’ll agree he’s found his calling.