In the mid-1950s, when Ione and Emmott Chase broke ground on a parcel of former logging land, their intent was simply to build a place to retire in the western Washington terrain they’d known and loved all their lives. They never thought it would become a celebrated public garden, but the 4.5 acres they referred to as their “yard” now welcomes visitors from April through October and has been identified as an outstanding example of regional modernist design that’s well worth preserving.
New leaves on this Indian bean tree emerge wine colored to chocolate, segueing to green in summer. White flowers are lavender-tinged. Though it can reach 40 to 50 feet tall and wide, it can be pruned hard to keep it shrubby. Zones 5-9. forestfarm.com
With commentary by Oehme, van Sweden principal Eric Groft.
Adding a “nice red spark” to the garden from July through October, Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Firetail’ forms a bushy mound of handsome foliage with distinctive markings, topped by brightly colored “tails” of tiny crimson flowers.
The Temple of Flora is perhaps the most famous florilegium or book of flowers from the golden age of botanical illustration. It's a charming collection of deliberately idiosyncratic flower portraits that became the portrait of a nation.