Ketzel Levine’s Garden has Everything – Except Ketzel


I was NOT going to spend 5 days in Portland for the Garden Writers thingie without taking Ketzel up on her invitation to see her garden, so I found a couple of her fans with a car, and off we went for a private tour.  Ketzel2400

Turns out her garden is just as wild and sociable as you’d imagine, and packed with plants I can’t grow in Maryland.  Seating areas start in the front yard (fenced and very private, top photo) and continue in the back where there’s a stunning water feature to mask the sounds of the city.  And check out the great colors of the house itself – pea green, orange and brown on a cute bungalow.  Ketzel3400

Too bad the gardener herself was missing – still back in D.C. talking to her NPR bosses – and not available to ID all her weird plants for us.  Not to mention pour us a nice Oregon wine.


  1. You visited the garden and the gardener wasn’t even there! You’re a wild woman, Susan. But then I knew that about you–and was sad not to be with you.

    Ntl Gardening Examiner
    (and chicken lover)

  2. Susan – hey, has this Portland trip been a trip, or what? It was so much fun to hang out with my cross-country blogging buddy and get to know you a wee bit better. I’m writing to give you your props on this last little post – I’ve thought of gardens as being wild, but “sociable” is a descriptor I’ll have to add to my word collection. Hadn’t thought of using it for a physical garden. It works.

    Later, skater. Safe journey back east.

  3. Oooo ! I’d love to see more photographs of this garden!
    It looks alluring.
    Do I detect a Marcia Donahue sculpture standing in the charcoal colored water feature , hiding behind that Firmiana simplex ?

    Hope to see more photos and hear more tales of your recent trip to the PNW.
    I’m flying off to Spain to explore some gardens and will probably have a few tales to tell too.


  4. What kind of siding is on her house? That is not cedar but looks REALLY nice – what do my fellow and green gardeners recommend for siding on their houses? Cedar is a real pain!

  5. I’m remembering advice from that Christopher Lowell guy on TV and he said trim should be lighter. Those colors just look wrong and too contrived.

  6. Readers, Mary Ann has received a full mea culpa about the spur-of-the-moment opportunity to run see this garden, how I solicited people on the last bus back to the hotel from a day of touring, blah, blah. I hope it worked coz she’s the BEST.
    Also, I DO wish I’d been better organized while in Portland, and that I had a cell phone that actually worked.

  7. In case you didn’t hear, Ketzel got the axe from NPR as a result of the economic downturn. Let us all wish her the best under the worst of economic conditions. At least she has the ability to grow her own food.

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