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: Explain the main factors influencing your selection of plants.
Kuchler: Color is my highest priority. I would live in a color-coordinated world if I could. I am naturally drawn to blues, purples and pinks—and toss in the occasional pop of peach or yellow or red. I work to create vignettes throughout the garden that can be captured by the camera. Each frame plays with flower and foliage hues and mixes up textures and heights.
Equally important to me is bloom time. I want our October guests to be as delighted by my garden as our April and July guests. Even January holds interest, with magenta heath, silver-mound artemisia, red-twig dogwood, dozens of pink and chartreuse hellebores, pansies, snow drops, bald eagles, and Anna’s hummingbirds.