Bellevue Emporium: a landscape architect's garden

Raspberry patch (Photo by Herb Schaal)
 Not just any Landscape Architect, this is the garden of Herb and Cindy Schaal--and Herb is one of the most honored and respected men in the profession. He also happens to be the fellow to whom I owe much of my "break" into Horticulture: he was the Principal of the local office of EDAW which oversaw the development of DBG's masterplan in the early decades--and Herb designed and built the Rock Alpine Garden. He decided I was the one to take care of it, and persuaded the Management to hire me (despite my meagre resume at the time). Things worked out well enough that we've maintained a warm mutual regard (in my case bordering on idolatry) which is whipped into white hot enthusiasm every time I visit Herb and Cindy's enchanting garden.

The garden this spring (Photo by Herb Schaal)
 Last Friday, Herb and Cindy had Jan and me over once again for an enchanting dinner: I snapped no end of pictures and asked casually if I might not "do" their garden for my blog. Herb (in his inimitable way) responded "sure" but I could see the cogs turning: I'm sure he had confidence in my photography--but JUST IN CASE--Herb emailed me ten stunning images (averaging 5 mgs each!)...and I lead this blog with his gorgeous pix. You will then be subjected to untold dozens of mine--the garden was so stunning even I could photograph it pretty well!
Many of these opening shots are of the veggie gardens (Photo by Herb Schaal)
 Ironically, much of the garden is "hands off" for Herb: Cindy is the vegetable gardener who allows him to weed and occasionally to pick a tomato or two! Cindy is originally from Indiana, and she obviously has Midwestern vegetable genes--this is one of the largest, most productive and beautiful vegetable gardens in Colorado--that I am sure of!

Massive cottonwood trunk (Photo by Herb Schaal)
 Last time I visited they still had the massive Cottonwood on the West side of their house--looming over it like a Leviathan. They had it cut down recently--but left the base which must be 8' across! In vintage Schaal style, it's become a platform for fun, functionality and beauty.

Spring glimpses (Photo by Herb Schaal)
 I'm so pleased to have Herb's pictures to properly "round out" the view of the garden at its floriferous peak in spring, but as you will see, there's still lots blooming in August! The aspen glade is wonderful all times of year, of course, including winter.

(Photo by Herb Schaal)
 There is something incredibly festive about orange and blue. I love this combination...come to think of it, I better replicate it!

(Photo by Herb Schaal)
 We will see the dancing scarecrows again--they're pretty irresistible...

(Photo by Herb Schaal)
 This isn't Oenothera caespitosa...I'm not sure it isn't one of our annual species that sowed in from the surrounding fields. You don't see these nearly enough in gardens.
(Photo by Herb Schaal)
 What an enchanting Potager--and the dancers express the way one feels there!

(Photo by Herb Schaal)
(Photo by me)
The last pictures are taken by me: not as dazzling as Herb's of course, but not bad for a few minutes of snapping before we sat down to a delicious repast. This was the view from my chair, by the way. McDonald's happy meal would have tasted scrumptious in that atmosphere!

(Photo by me)
 A wonderful patch of buffalo grass by the garage--not a weed in it. In fact, no weeds anywhere! They're fanatics...and this is a very large garden.

(Photo by me)
 Needless to say, I was enchanted to see a trough with some alpines--I did mention he did the DBG Rock Alpine Garden?
(Photo by me)
 A closeup of Scrophularia macrantha: Herb was surprised to hear I introduced this to horticulture.

(Photo by me)
 A shot from further away...this is one monster plant I tell you!
(Photo by me)
 The garden cottage: This was also in Herb's first picture. I stupidly forgot to take pictures of their wonderful hen house and chicken yard beyond the cottage (you can barely catch a glimpse)--made you almost jealous of the birds it was so quaint and pleasant!
(Photo by me)
 My shot in the gloaming of the best raspberry patch in Colorado (they used plywood beneath the path to keep the Rubus at bay--clever gardeners!)
(Photo by me)
 Acrobatic tomatoes--very entertaining...

Cindy's pots (Photo by me)
 Cindy does the containers--and they are everywhere, and everywhere they're lovely.
(Photo by me)
 The Johnny jump ups still blooming lustily--you can tell it's been a cool, moist summer.

(Photo by me)
 A glimpse of where we dined later--in a delightful room looking onto the garden.

(Photo by me)
 The place is crawling with wildlife--so many of the veggies are caged.

(Photo by me)
 They harvest large numbers of strawberries out of these rows.

(Photo by me)
 Gorgeous rhubarb!

(Photo by me)
 More veggies!

(Photo by me)
 And a gorgeous statuesque stone...
(Photo by me)
 Here's where we had hors-d'oeuvres...are you jealous?
(Photo by me)
 More flowers!
(Photo by me)
 Wonderful borders with groundcovers...

(Photo by me)
 From further back...
(Photo by me)
 Part of one border. We were a few days too early for their main planting of Oriental lilies--with dozens of flowers on stalks eight feet tall--woooo hoooo!

(Photo by me)
 Herb's fond of heliopsis, as I am. They had several cultivars.

(Photo by me)
 Managed to get one glancing shot of the man himself: looks pretty much the way he did when we first met almost forty years ago. This friendship goes way back!

(Photo by me)
 those dancing scarecrows in the late light are just as fun...

(Photo by me)
 Cindy couldn't resist pulling the last weed!

(Photo by me)
 A wonderful double Heliopsis. I need this one! They bloom forever and make great cuts!

(Photo by me)
 There are no end of charming gates, and great places to hang out and sit. You can tell a landscape architect designed this garden! But it's been planted and nurtured by two great gardeners--a triage combo you shall not find very often!

(Photo by me)
 Is this charming or what?
(Photo by me)
I was bowled over by this splendid tower of Sweet Peas--not something you see around hot Denver very often--they're near the mouth of a canyon, and there must be cool air drainage that keeps them so fresh.

That's it for pix: I have more, but they aren't as worthy. And besides, if you haven't been convinced that Herb and Cindy live in Paradise, nothing will do it. I have been blessed with several great gurus who have nudged me along my path. Herb is has been one of the greatest and most steadfast! Live long and prosper, both of you! We are so grateful to have you both in our life.

Comments

  1. That might be the only house I have ever seen that has completely avoided the use of concrete for driveways or sidewalks. However, I must admit an urge to want to sand and stain their decking to protect the wood from the sun. Is stain some kind of taboo?

    James

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  2. I am also looking at my concrete sidewalks with disgust. The paving and paths really highlight the garden. Everything really does look perfect and I wish I could be in on the raspberry harvest!

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  3. Oh My! Thanks so much for sharing your photos, and Herb's, of this marvelous garden. I enjoyed this post very much.

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  4. You have all picked up on various subtle aspects of the place! This is a garden really to live in--and of course to visit. As lovely as the photos may be, believe me it's better in the flesh! I neglected to mention that they are often "open" for garden visits--they're a city block or so away from a major yogurt production plant that also possesses a visitor destination "shoppe" where Herb's watercolors and Cindy's handiwork were featured: that partnership has expanded, and they now channel garden tours and tour busses to "Bellevue Emporium" a short ways away...

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  5. Herb (who does not blog) has asked me to add the following paragraph in response to some questions in the first comments:

    "Deck Staining: As a Landscape Architect I always recommend staining redwood decks because that is the industry standard as prescribed by the California Redwood Association and most people prefer that fresh redwood look as opposed to the natural weathered look. For my own use I never stain my redwood decks and fences because I like the weathered look and they are maintenance free. The redwood deck in the photo is at least 20 years old and I anticipate getting at least another 30 years out of it. I also have a vast redwood deck at my mountain cabin at 8,000 feet of elevation which gets blasted by ultraviolet light. I built it over 35 years ago and except for a few bad boards, I expect to get at least another 20 years out of it. I think the longevity of these 2 decks is partly due to generous board spacing of 3/8th inches (which gives good drainage and air circulation) and the selection of “all heart” boards from the pile in the lumber yard. This valuable information is probably meaningless tough because it is practically impossible to get affordable “all heart” redwood from our regional lumber suppliers these days.

    "Beautiful Primrose: The primrose which Panayoti spotted was wild collected from a roadside ditch. It’s been blooming since June but does not seem to be making seed. Maybe it needs a dry location. Anyway we love it hope we can cultivate it’s place in our garden."

    Herb

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    Replies
    1. I wonder if the dry climate of Colorado gives extra longevity to Herb’s decking? I expect rot would be more of an issue where there is more rainfall and humidity. A good stain prevents water from penetrating the wood while still letting moisture escape. This helps prevent rotting. Another thing that can be done to help prevent rotting is to sand in a manner that prevents water from forming puddles on the boards. Stain also protects the wood from UV. The more pigment in the stain the longer it will effectively prevent UV damage. However, as Herb mentions the UV damage is more of a cosmetic issue. Even though I like the wood look, I personally use a pigmented stain because in my location my deck will last longer and require less maintenance.

      To clarify for your readers: I think the beautiful primrose referred to in the previous comment was directed at the photo of an Oenothera.

      James

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  7. I am seeing this 2 years late and having the honor of working with Herb, once when I was starting before he moved on to special projects, I really wish and miss that someone took a chance on a young professional to get out there and let you develop into the professional you are now and expert plantsman. That is the true talent of a mentor seeing something special in the next generation and that is clear in your lovely post. It is hard to find great plantsman in the design field who can also mentor and inspire and even though I might be near 40, we could all use that insight from time to time to help us develop. His garden is lovely and just made my day!!

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