Emily Kadzik was still in high school when, in 1992, she asked her parents if she could plant a flower garden out back along the fence. Once bitten by the gardening bug, Emily's ambitions quickly outgrew one person's time and energy. That's when Emily and her dad, Paul, joined forces to create this magnificent garden.
Originally, the yard was mostly grass with a couple of raised beds. Then came Emily's plan for a few sunflowers -- and finally the onslaught as the entire family poured their energies into father and daughter's creation.
If the formal brick path and clipped boxwood remind you of the courtyard gardens of Charleston, South Carolina, it is for a reason. "I like those small, walled gardens." he says. "Those little pocket gardens are so well thought out."
The Kadzik garden has two personalities, divided by a brick path and flanking boxwood hedges. The upper garden as a more formal feel, with three island beds, gravel paths, a brick wall, a patio, and a hidden fountain. On the other side of the path is a cottage garden, with broad flowing borders and casually shaped beds.
The path terminates in a wisteria-covered arbor, now nearly invisible as the acanthus, blooming althea, prickly mahonia, and Asiatic lilies reach mature size.
One of the major projects that enticed Paul to join his daughter was correcting a drainage problem. Once fixed, the bog-prone yard became more usable. A hardened compaction of sod now firmly supports outdoor seating.
The dining patio also benefited from the drainage problem being corrected. The patio is in no danger of sinking into soft, water-logged soil.
Emily's garden inspirations were also fueled by her high school science teacher, William Wetzler, an avid gardener. "I made sure to finish my homework so I could talk with him about gardening," she recalls.
At 11 p.m., the night before graduation, Emily and her sister Claire were out in the damp backyard weeding the garden. "Emily wanted the garden to look its best for her teacher," Paul says. Then next day, Mr. Wetzler gave Emily a climbing rose for a graduation gift. It still grows on her parents' picket fence.
Despite gardening in the cool Pacific Northwest, Paul likes the Southern California look of rustling palm fronds. He uses large potted dracaenas to mimic the palm tree form and lend an architectural look to the garden. He's fortunate that he does not have to haul heavy pots inside when the growing season ends. "We're close to the water here, so it's mild in the winter."
Blue oat grass, bronze-leaved phormium, and Stargazer lilies veil a view of the small town harbor near the Kadzik home.
Gardens grow through seasons, creating a circle that remains unbroken. Now that Emily is grown and married, she is tending her own yard. But the care and devotion she lavished on her first garden continues to repay her investment with each new season.