U.S.A., Washington State. USDA zone 8b. Sunset climate zone 5

Sunday, June 26, 2016

In the Smart Garden of Jennifer Carlson

If not for an NPA Open Garden event,  I'd never guess that behind this dense greenery there is something special.
Jennifer Carlson's corner garden seemed to me like an oasis of countryside life in the middle 
of the city and a classroom for demonstrating several practices of sustainable gardening.

Who can tell now that almost nothing from these luscious green fences existed when the property was bought fourteen years ago.

You can see a busy street in between the trees in the background

Step by step, Jennifer worked on the front yard and then on the side and back gardens.

Among the sustainable features, there are three sets of rain barrels and cisterns  catching water from the roof - at the front, side and back of the house.

Interesting decorative elements can be found in different parts of the garden:

I love the gate and the rustic 'plant stands':

Several doves, that create so-called soft noise which helps to reduce the noise from the traffic nearby:

Jennifer's compost fence with the arbor above is amazing:

Hard materials are composted here, and the nutrients from the compost feed grapes and other plants growing along the sides of the fence.
I like how composted materials are artfully layered:

This is another side of the compost fence:

Kitchen garden includes not only veggies and herbs, but also beneficial annuals such as calendula and marigold, with fruit trees, colorful containers and blooming perennials nearby.

All the visitors got interested in the passive compost tea that Jennifer prepares in a container from  beekeepers' supply:

Surface here is covered with a thick layer of mulch.

Poppies were unbelievably beautiful, and bees love them!

All these plants benefit from the compost tea. Healthy, bright and cheerful!

Farm animals were another attraction . Angora rabbits and chickens' manure are mixed with garden's clippings to make a good compost.

Don't miss the green sedum roof on the bunny's hutch!

You can read about these and other smart features of Jennifer Carlson's garden here:
Haven Illustrated Home Page
The Sustainable Garden by Valerie Easton
Sustainable in Seattle by Valerie Easton
Thank you Jennifer for opening your garden for the NPA members!

***Copyright 2016 TatyanaS


  1. AnonymousJune 26, 2016

    I was fortunate to see her place at a previous NPA tour and was truly inspired. The doves sounded so very peaceful and soothing. I made the comment that I wouldn't be able to have something like that because of coyotes...and the fact that I don't have a fence around my house. I was surprised to hear that they have coyotes in the city, too. I would like to make a compost hedge, too!!! She did warn not to put it too close to the house, though, in case of a fire. The birds use bits to build their nests. Thanks so much for sharing, Tatyana! Karen Mashburn

  2. Very nice garden. Thanks for sharing.

  3. An interesting garden, that compostfence is great and also the natural plantstands are good ideas. I love this kind of garden because it is not only beautiful for the eyes, but there is also something going on.

  4. We visited this interesting garden on a previous NPA tour. We were especially taken by her use of shrubs around the property perimeter.

  5. Hi Tatyana, that certainly is a lovely and interesting garden to visit! Everything looks so lush, cheerful and healthy. Is that the magic of the compost tea? Thanks for sharing!
    Warm regards,


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