Mosaic Gardens Journal

news, photos and inspiration

Four Views of the Coast Garden August 12, 2011

Filed under: Deer,garden design,Garden Profiles,photos — Rebecca Sams from Mosaic Gardens @ 12:26 am
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Isn’t it amazing how physical perspective can change a garden?  Below are four views of the same section of the garden we built on Coos Bay.







Bigger and Better Coast Garden Photos August 15, 2010

Filed under: Deer,garden design,photos — Rebecca Sams from Mosaic Gardens @ 1:31 am
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We brought out the big camera this time.  Here are a few of our favorite potential portfolio shots of the Oregon coast garden.  What do you think?


Coast Garden Snapshots July 16, 2010

Filed under: photos — Rebecca Sams from Mosaic Gardens @ 11:07 pm
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We took a few photos of the S. Oregon coast project while working down there this week.  It’s coming along!  Hope to get some portfolio shots soon.  Click on the images for a closer look.


Best-ever Coastal Garden?!? September 7, 2011

Filed under: Deer,garden design,Garden Profiles,News,photos — Rebecca Sams from Mosaic Gardens @ 4:52 am
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The Tersigni Garden

Have you seen the wonderful post about the coast garden on Sunset’s Fresh Dirt?  I spent a lovely morning there with Jim McCausland, while he shot the photos you’ll see in the article (there must be 2000 more!).  The Tersignis’ garden has been a delight to develop, and we couldn’t be more grateful to have such terrific clients and wonderful backdrop.  More photos and notes on that garden can be found in some of our earlier posts, many of which are here (be sure to scroll down).  And, of course, there are more photos and notes to come!



Two photos of the coast project July 7, 2009

Filed under: Deer,photos — Rebecca Sams from Mosaic Gardens @ 4:16 pm
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We spent three months each of the last two years building a garden on the S. Oregon coast. The plantings are filling in fast, and we were able to get a few good shots before the sun came out yesterday. Below are two of our favorites. We hope to get more photos over the next month or so, so please stay tuned. The view really makes the garden….

Oh – and for those of you who share your garden with deer, this garden has a few hungry does and fawns that come through daily.




Q&A – photo request March 16, 2011

Filed under: photos,Q&A — Rebecca Sams from Mosaic Gardens @ 11:30 pm
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Have a question? Want more frequent updates? We’d love to hear from you! Read more here and write us in the comments or at

Our last post prompted a great comment from Jennifer:

“I check out garden blogs mainly for the pictures – the more the better!”

Point taken!  It’s a bit early and rainy for great new photos of our gardens, but your words will inspire us to start shooting sooner rather than later.  For now, we hope a scroll through this link to some of our biggest and best photo posts might bridge the gap.  And, thanks to Jennifer, here’s a view of the coast garden we haven’t yet shared.  Enjoy!

Another view of the coast garden




Mosaic Newsletter #4 July 28, 2009

Filed under: garden design,Newsletter,photos — Rebecca Sams from Mosaic Gardens @ 6:23 pm
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This time of year, everyone’s free time fills with daytrips, summer projects and visiting family and friends. When the beautiful, long evenings roll around, we find ourselves wanting to spend time *in* the garden, rather than *on* the garden. In honor of summer fun and spaces that don’t overwhelm us with to-do lists, we’ve put together a few secrets to creating visually rich gardens that don’t require constant attention. We’ll also introduce you to one of our favorite shady places to spend a warm, summer afternoon – Baltzer’s Specialized Nursery.

The past month has been a busy time for Mosaic, but we’ve managed to add a few fun posts. If you haven’t checked in for a little while, take a moment to check out the cool dry-stack stone wall we built, some tips for lowering water use in your garden, a couple photos of our project at the coast and three of our favorite perennials. If there’s anything you’d like for us to discuss, please let us know. We’d love to hear from you!

The big easy - thanks to careful plant and materials selection, prep work and many of our other time saving techniques, this S. Oregon coast garden gives more than it takes.

The big easy - thanks to careful plant and materials selection, prep work and our other time saving techniques, this S. Oregon coast garden gives more than it takes.

iSummertime and the Garden’s Easy

There’s a myth that it takes almost daily work to make a garden beautiful year-round. Some great gardeners love to spend most of their free time deadheading, weeding, pruning, raking and fluffing, but many of us find garden work to become (gasp!) a chore if it takes too much of the time and energy we would rather devote to other pursuits. There’s no such thing as a “no maintenance” garden, but in the years we’ve spent refining our plantings to reflect both the aesthetic desires and the lifestyles of our clients, we have discovered a few ways to create spaces that look great with just a little TLC.

From prep work to plant choices, hard work *before* planting made Joy Gregory's garden easy and fun.

From prep work to plant and materials choices, hard work *before* planting made Joy Gregory's garden easy and fun.

Start from the ground up – Before you plant a new bed or build a path or patio, take time to clear and prepare the site well. Many potential issues, from weeds to poor drainage to wobbly stones can be lessened or prevented by excellent prep work. In our plantings, for instance, we spend much, much more time clearing the site, grading, preparing the soil, re-grading and selecting plants than we do putting plants in the ground. And we never use weed cloth (that could be a whole separate post!).

Think ahead – It’s easy to get caught up in the moment, and select a pretty plant or hardscape material that will add to your to-do list in the future. For instance, many people love the pea gravel in our garden, but aren’t prepared to do the extensive prep work or raking and weeding required to make and keep it beautiful. For them, choosing a different gravel or hard paving will lead to a lower maintenance and more attractive garden in the long run.

Waves of striking foliage look great year round, while flowers add seasonal color.

Waves of striking foliage look great year round, while flowers add seasonal color.

Foliage power – If you select plants for the color, form and texture of their foliage, rather than flowers, you’ll have a longer-lasting effect with much less dead-heading. A few flowers are fun, but bold, spiky, sculptural, fuzzy and colorful leaves are the foundation of our plantings.

Plant in masses – groups of 3, 5, 12 or 25 strengthen a plant’s impact, while simplifying both the garden’s aesthetic and shortening your to-do list. Masses also allow you to shorten your plant list to include only the best of the best, without delving into less attractive, more needy plants.

Layers of foliage form, color and texture in this little courtyard garden capture attention year-round while keeping weeds at bay.

Layers of form, color and texture in this little courtyard garden capture attention year-round while keeping weeds at bay.

The nine month rule – if it doesn’t look pretty darn good for nine months of the year, it’s not worth it! Many plants put on an explosive floral show, and then peter out, leaving half a hole or clump of weedy foliage. One of the exceptions that prove this rule are lilies, which emerge through plants that will cover their fading foliage when they’re done.

Think thick – Plant with the goal of creating waves of foliage that cover the ground to shade the plants’ roots, save water and reduce weed issues. It may seem like more plants create more upkeep, but if you select your plants wisely and plant in masses, you’ll have less work, not to mention a gorgeous, lush garden.

Weed more to weed less – Weed well every week or two, if you can manage it, or very thoroughly once a month through the growing season. In the long run, weeding once a week will take much less time than weeding once a month, because you will break the cycle of reseeding. If you wait much more than a month during the growing season, you’re likely to have a bumper crop of the little devils for years to come. We once met someone who said it was impossible to control the weeds in his yard, even though “I go through it once a year on my hands and knees!”

Mulch! Mulching after planting and again every spring will kill or weaken weed seedlings, reduce water usage, insulate and feed the plants’ roots and look great. Garden Compost from Lane Forest Products is our favorite mulch (and a great way to recycle!).

Last, but not least, have fun – If you do your homework and prep work, there should be time and room for a few fun, higher maintenance additions to your garden. Most of our plants need attention only once or twice a year, and their easy care leaves us time to deadhead a few dahlias and tidy the pea gravel.

A very easy, shady garden.

A very easy, shady garden.

iBaltzer’s Specialized Nursery

A dwarf Japanese maple from Baltzer's is a stunner in the Dobsons' garden.

A dwarf Japanese maple from Baltzer's is a stunner in the Dobsons' garden.

Bob and Nancy Baltzer have a gorgeous, diverse selection of specimen Japanese maples and conifers. It’s easy to spend hours in the rows of their lovely, cool Pleasant Hill nursery. When you finally emerge from studying one after another gorgeous maple, you will discover that the best part of the nursery is the owners’ thoughtful advice and encyclopedic knowledge of their stock. If you find the perfect specimen for your garden, but don’t have the room to get it home, delivery to the Eugene-Springfield area is available.

Baltzer’s Nursery is open Friday, Saturday and Monday 9am-6pm and Sunday, 10am – 5pm. They are located on Highway 58, just outside of Pleasant Hill. For more information, call the nursery at (541) 747-5604.

Thanks for reading!

We hope you’ll stay cool and find a little time to enjoy your garden this summer. We are looking forward to starting a couple of new projects and watching our clients’ gardens grow. Keep an eye on the journal this month – there should be a few new pictures of our project at the coast and some more great ideas for your space.


busy week! May 14, 2010

Filed under: photos — Rebecca Sams from Mosaic Gardens @ 3:24 am
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We don’t have much time to post this week, but we thought we’d post a couple of photos of the coast project.  These were taken last spring.  It’s almost photo season, so there should be lots of new images coming….

We’ll be back soon with a newsletter and more!


Baja Inspiration December 31, 2009

Filed under: photos — Rebecca Sams from Mosaic Gardens @ 10:38 pm
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Central Baja landscape

On the advice of Rebecca’s wise, artist mother, we will not try to contain the sights and experiences of our trip to central Baja in words. We do hope we can share a bit of inspiration through the gallery below. Just click on the photos for a closer look.

Just two observations:

1) Gardeners are everywhere. In dry, windswept, rocky terrain, miles from the nearest asphalt or basic services, people built stone borders and walls and transplanted and cared for native plants. Some were creations of visiting “gringos,” like the river rock garden in the gallery, but most were built by locals. The photo at left, while far from the best of our shots, shows a small garden near a fish camp on the Pacific coast. The buildings in the fish camp had no plumbing, electricity, or even windows, beyond a hole in the wall, but the handful of fishermen had cultivated a handful of striking plants, collected from inland hills, along a path to the bay.

2) A good time was had by all.




Grateful for Gosslers November 29, 2009

Filed under: friends,Uncategorized — Rebecca Sams from Mosaic Gardens @ 6:44 am
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Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday for many reasons, from time with loved ones to mountains of mashed potatoes. In addition to our gratitude for our foundation of good health, family and friends, we are thankful for our creative, trying, engaging, intricate, brute force, dirty, rewarding, nitpicky, joyful work of building gardens. So many people, from our wonderful clients to the nice folks who deliver our soil, make Mosaic possible. In honor of the season, we’d like to highlight one nursery that has been a source of support, information and, of course, plants since we started planting in Oregon.

Roger, Marj and Eric of Gossler Farms Nursery are Renaissance plantspeople. They know something about almost every plant we can grow in the PNW, (as well as quite a few that we cannot), and they have forgotten more than most of us will ever know about Magnolias and deciduous shrubs. We discover new plants every time we walk through their greenhouses, and rely heavily on their detailed knowledge of each variety’s habits and cultivation. Thanks to their mail order prowess, they’ve even selected and shipped plants to our mothers on the East Coast (Hi Moms!). Our moms were thrilled and the plants are still thriving.

If that weren’t enough, they’ve now published a beautiful book, The Gossler Guide to the Best Hardy Shrubs, which features well-researched, insightful, amusing text, terrific photos, and one of our absolute favorite plants. This plant is gorgeous, rare, and an absolute showstopper throughout the growing season. Intrigued? You can buy a copy online, or better yet, get a signed copy and some personalized advice at the nursery. The plant is discussed and beautifully photographed on pages 58-61.

We hope you’ll take the time to read the book, stroll through the nursery, or order a couple of plants for your mom. If nothing else, don’t forget to thank the Gosslers and other great plantspeople for sharing their passion and knowledge with all of us.

Last, but not least, thanks so much for keeping up with us. As you may have noticed, our journal writing has slowed down this fall We’re taking a much-needed break right now, but will return in a few weeks with an idea that we hope will keep the journal moving through the shorter days.

Rebecca & Buell