Our residence is located on a corner lot in what is known locally as the “top-o-the-hill neighborhood in midtown Arcata. When purchased in 1988, the property was minimally landscaped in old school north coast style with lawn, woody tree-size rhododendrons, camellias, azaleas, juniper, and lilac. Though a number of these original shrubs remain intact, most landscaping viewed today was planted during the 1990’s in the English cottage garden style (inspired by the book “English Cottage Gardening for American Gardeners” by Margaret Hensel) featuring waves of red and white valerian, linaria, hardy geranium, crocosmia, ixia, penstemon, bergenia, and Santa Barbara daisy. Five weeping white birch trees (Betula Pendula) weep magnificently on 13th Street, flanking the entrance to the main residence. Presently, there are about 100 roses planted on the property, only 2 of which were planted by the original owners, Lester and Ana Johnson, who built the residence in 1939.
The street-facing garden boasts perennials, bulbs, gray-foliaged shrubs, white dogwood, lace-cap hydrangea, campanula, foxglove, and roses, including David Austin’s “The Pilgrim” trained on the rose tower on the corner, Jude the Obscure winding around one of the birch trees and Jubilee Celebration, Young Lycidas, Teasing Georgia, Grace, and Lady Emma Hamilton filling the garden beds. Roses Albertine and Sparrieshoop climb horizontally and vertically against the house. In the H Street borders, Austin’s Leander presents a stunning coral display against the side of the house, Molineaux blooms as a tree standard, and Climbing Eden is trained against the chimney. Other Old Roses punctuate the landscape.
The courtyard entrance to Rose Court Cottage showcases an array of fragrant roses, namely David Austin’s English varieties, which thrive in our coastal climate. Spectacular bloomers include Golden Celebration (Christy’s favorite rose), Pat Austin, Evelyn, Eglantyne, Gertrude Jekyll, Benjamin Britten, Mary, Constance Spry, and Sophy’s Rose. Typically English hardy geranium, and lady’s mantle bloom beneath the roses. Fragrant Confederate jasmine is trained against the fence adjacent to the cottage entrance and the vigorous climbing noisette rose Claire Jacquier blooms abundantly atop the cottage pergola perfuming the courtyard during May and June. Chinese wisteria climbs vertically beside the bay window presenting lavender panicles in spring. Colorful flowering perennials and asparagus fern fill white window boxes and trailing Lobelia Sapphire accents planters throughout the cottage courtyard. Cheerful Happy Chappy miniature roses fill containers and Flutterbye climbers bloom in brick planters aside the arbor entrance gate.
The fully fenced rear garden is truly a hidden garden room. A focal point is a boxwood-edged diamond planted with a stunning princess flower standard surrounded by an understory of Simplicity roses. A Columbia magnolia displays saucer sized flowers in February-March and bears chartreuse foliage until leaves drop in winter. The gated entrance, arch, and tower, support climbing roses and clematis, and in June-July laburnums display bright golden chains of flowers along the back fence. A variety of climbing roses cover the fences, and rocked borders are planted with lavender, artichokes, agapanthus “Storm Cloud,” hydrangeas, and The Fairy rose standards.
Portrait of Christy by Lisa Marie Waters (www.watersart.com).