A hidden Shangri-La in the Pacific Northwest.
Purchased in 1992 by Ed and Kathy Fries, this residential property was an impenetrable tangle of blackberry vines, ivy, and other invasive species under the canopy of a second growth native forest. Kathy envisioned creating a meandering path from her home to her mailbox up the steep 1,000-foot-long property as a respite from using the driveway. Now, almost 3 decades later, this private garden has expanded and grown into a utopia of rare plants, exotic fowl, native habitat and so much more.
Whimsical eclecticism is Kathy’s guiding principal when it comes to Champagne Creek. Her experiences of growing up next to a 16-acre woods, traveling to far-off lands with her family, caring deeply for animals and nature, enjoying arts and crafts, and spending summers as a camp counselor all unite to create a captivating garden – an ode to one’s fondest memories of childhood. Kathy hopes that sharing her enchantment with Champagne Creek will bring inspiration and magic to all who view it.
Kathy takes pride in utilizing the natural contours of the site as well as repurposing its available materials. Instead of terracing the slope, the garden rooms are situated into the existing topography. Walkways are edged with stones found while planting and fallen branches from the beautiful native Arbutus menziesii (Madrona tree) are used to build plant supports, arbors and chicken roosts. Cedar and Douglas fir create boardwalks and bridges, broken cement forms planting beds, and glass bottles and iron logging chains abandoned on the property at the turn of the century are given new life. Nothing is discarded or wasted. (Well to be honest, there was one large pile of rusted metal roofing, bent rain gutters, old sinks and rotting wood that had to go away because the tolerant husband finally had enough.)
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