Bella Madrona, a Step Back in Time

I am still sifting through the hundreds of photos I took of the gardens we saw during the Portland Garden Bloggers Fling. Not only did I see sixteen garden last week but I also saw six more this weekend here at home. I am overwhelmed at all the wonderful gardens out there. They are so inspiring.

bella madrona

When we got off the bus at Bella Madrona, I was mystified. This old farm cottage was the first thing I saw. This garden certainly wasn’t like all the others we had seen and I wondered what was behind those trees. The rustic charm had me feeling like I was back home.

red dahlias with creeping jenny at bella madrona

This was a garden like no other. The history on this garden said it had been developed in 1980 from an old 1932 farmstead. I took over sixty photos of this garden but don’t worry I won’t post them all. Above is one of the gardens with Creeping Jenny contrasting beautifully against the dark foliage of the red Dahlias. Now I know what you are thinking. Who plants Creeping Jenny? It’s so invasive. When you have such a large property, ground covers take on a whole new meaning. Using them properly in the right location can beautify a garden and reduce your maintenance substantially. If you have a small garden, try creeping Jenny or Lysimachia nummularia in a container to get the same effect.

Bella Madrona garden art

I think what I loved about Bella Madrona was its whimsy. Every time I turned a corner, I came across something totally unexpected like this planter and a window.

Bella Madrona garden art

I chuckled when I saw this shabby chic patio set. I knew if hubby had seen it he would offer to sand and paint it for the owner. I don’t know how many times I have told him that rust is ‘in’. It’s cool to be old and rusty. Hmmm…does that include me?

Bella Madrona

I loved this idea of using the fallen limbs for edging. It’s all about using what you have. Using natural edging makes this pathway so inviting. You see, I am all about using found items in the garden.

White Hydrangea at Bella Madrona

I loved this Hydrangea but really this garden isn’t about the flowers. The towering trees with understory  shrubs were arranged into many rooms leading you from one to another never knowing quite what you would see.

Bottle tree at Bella Madrona


Like this bottle tree of sorts. It’s certainly not like your ordinary bottle tree, not that any bottle tree is ordinary. The blue glass is imbedded in this tree.

Bella Madrona

We saw a few pets during our garden tours last week but these were the first ducks. What hams they were posing for the camera.

Garden art at Bella Madrona

I wanted to take home this bench. Moss was everywhere in this garden, on the ground, on the trees and on the furniture.
Garden art at Bella Madrona

You have no idea how pleased I was with this array of tubs hanging on the wall. Truthfully I felt like I was in a scene from American Pickers. I wanted that stuff. Could I strike a bargain?
Bella Madrona art

Especially the Coca-Cola sign that looked like it had been there for many years. I have a shed that would suit this treasure.

Fence at Bella Madrona

The fence around Bella Madrona was adorned with old saws which gave it character. It reminded me of our western fence back home.
Bella Madrona birdhouse art

Bird houses were everywhere and  made using recycled items.

Bella Madrona

I envisioned this area as one where the owner of Bella Madrona would come each morning to sit and dream of the next garden idea. There were so many knick knacks on this porch I felt like an intruder peering into someones personal space. Were these odds and ends on the table to be used in the garden? Only time would tell.

Bella Madrona art

The chair opposite the rocker on the porch had this Starbucks sign. It’s almost like she is saying have a cup of coffee and stay awhile.

Bella Madrona garden seating

I sighed when I saw how these stools were outside in the elements. We have four red leather stools and we haven’t placed them in the garden yet. We really should I guess. It’s no point holding on to stuff if you can’t see it.

Bella Madrona art

Another cute bit of wisdom in the garden.

Bella Madrona garden

I was inspired to do something like this with the columns we have. Perhaps ours will grace the entrance to a new garden we have in mind. Yes, after all this inspiration, we are creating a new garden this fall.

clock at Bella MadronaThe sundial clock was interesting in a small garden room of its own.

Garden art at Bella Madrona

This was such a natural way to display some art in the garden.

Bottle patio at Bella Madrona

What garden would be without a bottle patio? As I walked through this garden, I realized the amount of time it has taken to complete the many projects such as stairs and pathways. The garden has taken all thirty-four years to get this far.

Garden bloggers unite at Bella Madrona

We ended our tour of the garden with refreshments in the garden at Bella Madrona. It was nice to talk to the owner and hear about the weddings that are held in the garden. I also learned about how much work it was to take care of the garden. Gardens of this size cost a lot to maintain and we all get older. Times change and I hope someone comes forward to make this garden a public park. I know my children would have loved it here. They could run and hide in the various garden rooms and spend time in the gnome village. Yes, this garden has its own gnome village. I left realizing that this garden had made me smile more than a few times. For me, that’s what I like.


5 thoughts on “Bella Madrona, a Step Back in Time

  1. I decided to leave early on Sunday to spend some time with my daughter who had come with me to Portland. I really hated to miss this garden, and even though I enjoyed the time with daughter, now I regret not seeing Bella Madrona. This is my kind of garden! I love all the old re-purposed pieces; I’m sure I would have come away with some inspiration for my own garden. Thanks so much for sharing this, Kristin!

  2. Great photos of so many details I missed… It was such a dreamy, surreal place. Maybe if ALL of us post ALL of our various photos, a picture of the entire Bella Madrona might emerge… One can always hope – I feel like there was so much to see…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *