A visit to Sea Cliff Gardens B&B in Port Angeles, Wash., is literally like stepping into a painting. Strolling through the grounds among lush evergreens and rolling lawns, you’ll follow a flagstone walkway through a shaded woodland garden carpeted with primrose, hostas, hellebores, wood poppies and sweet alyssum. A waterfront rose garden with pink Adirondack benches overlooks the Strait of Juan de Fuca, toward the shores of Victoria, British Columbia. Over 100 blooming rhododendrons dazzle between March and June. Take a stroll and hear about owner Bonnie Kuchler’s labor of love and how she tamed an English garden gone wild.
GD: What inspired you to do this, and why do you favor this garden style?
Kuchler: My inspiration dates back to the 1990s when I bought a garden print by Thomas Kinkade. I had never seen a garden so captivating. We lived in Hawaii, where I was born, lived for 40 years, and thought daffodils were something you bought in a refrigerated case. I had never seen an English garden in person. I remember thinking, that’s my B&B. It would be many years of gazing before I found this special place.
My English garden was originally the vision of the prior owner of Seacliff Gardens. Raised in London, she was recreating the long, mixed borders she loved as a child. I’ve made lots of changes, guiding the garden with more structure. But the romantic, spill-over-the-borders style remains.