Touring M & M's Garden in West Linn

A garden tour during COVID-19 - yes we did! The PDX area garden bloggers ventured out to my neck of the woods (the dreaded burbs!!) and visited Mike & Megan's garden in West Linn. Mike is the head grower for Little Prince of Oregon Nursery and wife Megan works for the city of Lake Oswego, park department. 

One thing is clear, that when you have two hort nerds in the family, great things happen in the home garden! 

My apologies for cell phone photos. I had the wrong lens for my camera. Clearly, I am out of practice when it comes to touring gardens.

M & M purchased the home 11 years ago and they kept a few mature trees but everything else has been designed by them. They removed nearly all of the grass, except for the below patch in the front yard and reimagined the sloping backyard into a retreat with tropical flair. 

Mike likes to bring home plants from work that have lost their way. Missing plant tags or items purchased for future propagation that didn't work out or plants he finds interesting and Megan creates the design. Great teamwork!

Below, the front yard garden chalk full of interesting species and splashes of color. Notice how the cotinus creates dimension with a break in shades of green. The placement of red adirondacks is perfect.

The front garden is circular with berms creating definition and height. It boasts full size and dwarf conifer species, a ginko and many, many succulents rounding out the bottom of the beds. Notable plants for me were the ginko and Sciadopitys verticillata/umbrella pine. I could have spent a lot more time admiring the confirs in the front gardens.

What I like about the above shot are the splashes are chartreuse and purple. Below, notice the bright flaming foliage of the, that is pretty. Echinacea is nearly ready to bloom as it's been a cool start to summer here in the greater Portland metro area.

Just beneath the cotinus, a pretty path leading into a secret getaway.

The family also enjoys edible gardening with a large Feijoa sellowiana / pineapple guava bush that was in bloom with blueberries and tomatoes.

Rounding the corner, a pathway to the back of the home with maturing tree ferns along the side of the home that Mike carefully wraps every winter. Apologies for lack of photo (it didn't turn out) but it was fun to see them growing happily with their large fronds waving to visitors.

Below, an intricate gate opens to a vertical garden complete with art and sweet smelling vines.

And here is our merry group complete with face masks! The backyard opens to a layered garden with hardy banana, tetrapanax, a variety of acers, all backed by massive cedar trees on a gentle slope.

The owners note that while tetrapanax does 'run' a bit, it's been easy for them to pull up and they carefully select which shoots to keep and which to toss.

Below, a look at how the tetrapanax and hardy banana's create a canopy over the pathways and curved beds. Notice the brightly hued shed in the back. All paths lead to it where there is a sweet landing spot and two chairs awaiting a visit. 

Gunnera holds court in the center of the garden, surrounded by container gardens full of succulents, pitcher plants and cobra lilies. I was quite impressed by Mike's determination to keep his succulent containers alive during our wet, cold winters. He hauls them to the greenhouses at his work site and packs them safely away, then hauls them back home in spring.

Above, these are sizable and heavy containers. 

Below, another view of the pathways in the back gardens. This is truly a garden of people who love all types of plants and Megan has carefully knitted each bed together with common colors and annual plant groupings. 

The homeowners told the group how they tackled the beds one at a time, without a 'design' in mind and it came together beautifully. 

One of the plants I did not get a good enough picture of was a large abution in bloom. I have never seen one that large and in the ground. I admit that I've only considered them to be 'container' plants in our zone and these gardeners are making me reconsider that idea.

Lastly, in the back corner, a collection of shade loving plants at the back fence line, adjacent the garden shed.

I really like the addition of Colocasia in the front of the rhododendron. 

Many thanks to M & M for inviting our little group out to tour their gardens. The best part about touring gardens is seeing the personalities of the owners reflected in the plant choices and configuration of the garden. 

Cheers, Jenni


  1. This is beautiful! I've not seen any gardens this year and I miss it!

  2. Thanks for sharing your tour of this garden, Jenni. I'd be totally up for a tour like that among like-minded masked people too. I loved all the splashes of color, particularly those provided by foliage plants. I'm kicking myself for not planting Cannas this year.

  3. How fun. It is always interesting to see how people put plants together. Thanks for including us in the tour.

  4. That was such a fun garden! Thank you for the recap. I was in awe of both his big succulent containers and those wonderful pitcher plants. I really need to do something about my lack of space on Wordpress. I took some decent pictures, but don't have room to post them. :(


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