I have long appreciated Bob Hill’s fascinating patch, formally known as the Hidden Hill Nursery. In an earlier post in this blog – here – I described my discovery of this totally enchanting spot as my Mother and I sojourned over and spent a few hours between the exotic plantings amid the many artful, serendipitous and often just hilarious configurations of the products of the craftsmen and artists Bob and his wife have cultivated. Hidden Hill is such an obvious labor of love and it just redounds with the sometimes-impish character of its makers.
(left click any image to enlarge)
Most certainly, there is no glib, one word description of Hidden Hill. It truly does demand a personal experience in order to savor all its benefits. Equal parts educational, whimsical and commercial, the Hill’s have put together a “troubling”, affective edifice that can also very much appeal to the Soul.
They even have a Corporate Ladder!!
Frisky, irreverent and highly-entertaining, there is a absolutely serious ethic afoot as well. Inasmuch as it doubles – or more importantly, even features – commercial plant sales to wholesale-buying landscape professionals and to home owners, examples of many of the more exotic plants exist within the confines of this virtual parkland. Frankly, in the end, aside from smile-inducing exhibits, my interest has always been in the fascinating display of plants and trees. Believe me when I say the Hills have not just discovered gardening. And nothing at all compares to seeing healthy, mature plants ‘in the field’.
Even somewhat rare in exotic species-obsessed Portland, Oregon, this Weeping Larch tree below apparently adores Southern Indiana and Kentucky. The Larch, of course, is one of 2 deciduous conifers extant – the other being the gorgeous and extremely common local favorite, the Dawn Redwood. Developing a weeping variety of almost any tree is always fascinating, owing to its structural appearance in a landscape. Graceful cascades of foliage reverse an upward trend of form, making for a gentler landscape of young development with a riveting and subtle influence amidst the aggressive growths of more upright varieties. I am a true fan.
A journey through the nursery itself reveals an amazing array of absolutely uncommon exotics. They most definitely specialize in such and words cannot describe my appreciation for their efforts. I personally believe these people to be trend-setters and most definitely not followers, very similar, in fact, to my one-time mentor and friend, Tom Stille, of Reno, Nevada, landscape designer not only of the Reno Airport but of the famous Reno Auto Museum as well. Both men are partial to natives and have constructed eccentric but thematic nurseries which make life just a bit better for having encountered them – both personally and commercially. Both men also entertain educational and experiential seminars and meet-ups involving astronomical events, plant lessons and maintenance refreshers.
Enlarge the picture below to note how even the descriptive information tags on the plants in containers in the nursery are different – carrying editorial “Hill Content” and advisories. (I’m a big Cornus Kousa fan myself. This variegated version is utterly unique to me, however. I am looking for somewhere to toss this bad boy in the ground!)
Around The Nursery/Park Grounds
For the life of me, I cannot imagine a more apt informal name than “Smoke Tree” for the green Cotinus shown below.
Another view, taken at slightly more distance, reveals its permanent location, hard by the residence and office, forming a planting divide down the driveway:
Serene, classical and utterly relaxing, this small patio area and fountain take advantage of the classic lines and features of the world’s best designs. Proving that many of the best designs and effects need little work to provide small Paradises, this peaceful setting features perennials in abundance and they work yearly to provide a different set of annual plantings, just to make it even more special
Board Room Radicals are not unusual, either:
(as a well-known Gnome-hater, this was inevitable)
I would be terribly remiss to exclude such an obvious labor of love as is this amazingly complex and realistic miniature train setup. Indeed, this Father’s Day, June 17th, the trains will be running, complete with a smiling engineer!
Beauty just abounds in this stunningly lush, verdant and so-plentiful landscape creation, part educational and overwhelmingly goegeous:
By the way, here’s a splendid Katsura.
An exceptional Hollyhock……….a singleton, just to show how mesmerizing these under rated perennials can be:
Only a Brake Drum specialist could love this……………
The Lilies were everywhere…….