The Cocktail Garden!

Posted on Jan 23, 2013 in Botany, Make This | 1 comment

So!  Sunset magazine stopped by a few months ago.

sunset shoot

It was great fun hanging out with a couple of pros all day and watching them work.  (Oh, and there was some mixing of cocktails, too.)  Anyway, you can see the results in the February issue of Sunset, which is just hitting the stands now.

And now–I’m delighted to share these charming hand-drawn illustrative plans of the cocktail garden that Susan Morrison of Creative Exteriors Landscape Design designed for me.  Susan is a cocktail aficionado and an expert in small-space gardening:  her book Garden Up! , co-authored with designer Rebecca Sweet of Harmony in the Garden, is the definitive guide to vertical gardening.

This garden was tricky to design.  It’s situated in the narrow side yard off my kitchen door and much of it is only seven feet wide.  It gets half a day of shade thanks to the shadow cast by my house.  And I needed a wide, usable walkway for garbage cans and anything else that might ever have to get hauled from the back of the house to the front–in other words, it’s the only path around the house.

And–everything in the garden had to be a cocktail ingredient!  And it had to grow in Humboldt County, where temps rarely get past 70 degrees.

We came up with the idea of using painted wooden containers to reflect the painted wood construction of my Victorian house and the rest of the neighborhood.  Susan laid it all out, then I had the planters built locally, painted them myself, and had a new concrete walkway poured.

I’ll be posting more photos and details later, but the drawings (done after everything was built and planted) are so charming that I just wanted to share them now.  Scroll down for plant lists.  Oh, and you can just about all of these plants from Territorial’s Drunken Botanist Plant Collection.  You can also find them in garden centers on the West Coast supplied by Log House Plants starting this spring.

 

Amy Stewart cockail garden

Along the fence, which measures about 45 feet.  This is the entire length of the garden.   From left to right, containers only:

Calamondin citrus tree, lemongrass, Mexican sour gherkin cucumber, strawberry, Thai basil, Redventure celery, red pepper, ‘Raspberry Shortcake’ dwarf raspberry, Johnny jump-ups (in pots on purple shelf), pineapple sage, Triolife planter  on a raised triangle stand with cilantro, basil, parsley, mint, and edible flowers.  Mint growing out of planter/bar with edible strawberries above it on shelf built into fence, then, in the corner, ‘Black Lace’ elderflower with rhubarb growing underneath it.  (Susan drew a tree where the elderberry is.  Artistic license!) On the ground in between the planters are thyme and edible flowers like viola and calendula.

Amy Stewart cocktail garden plan

Now here’s an overview of the whole thing.  You’ve already seen the elevation of the plants along the fence, which is shown here in the top part of the drawing.  Here are the plants in the bottom portion, which runs along the house.  Left to right:

Hops growing up trellis in back, then dwarf ‘Jelly Bean’ blueberry, and growing in a strip in the ground are elderberry, assorted black currant. The square container with tree indicated holds a sloe, Prunus spinosa. (I only know of two places to get them in the US:  Forest Farm and Lincoln Oakes, and their quantities are limited.)  Rectangular planters and ground surrounding them contain:  Sage, thyme, winter savory, oregano, rosemary, fennel, dill, scented geranium, lavender, rugosa rose.  ‘Peach Sorbet’ dwarf blueberry in round pot.  Larger planting areas, bottom right, contain existing fuchsias.  (the fruit makes a beautiful purple syrup!)  In front, not shown, is a jasmine climbing over the front gate trellis. (Jasmine liqueur, anyone?)

And–there’s a video!  Check it out:

One Comment

  1. I loved the article about you in Sunset and immediately googled you to learn more about the book. Am going to order it from my bookstore when I go into town later today. Looking forward to this spring and future summer cocktails. Thanks!