John Culhane and Nathan Williams, 1004 Alvarado Terrace, have a garden that combines many elements that bring them joy. When they purchased the home in 2012, they got a work project, both inside and out. But the garden offered some respite from the interior projects and vice versa.

They got the benefit of some mature plantings — some trees that had been there quite awhile. But they also had some plants they wanted to remove. Originally, John says, the place was bordered by many, many pink simplicity roses.

“I was sick of them,” John says. So he told people they could come over dig them up and have them if they wanted. So exited the roses, thorns, aphids, lots of work pruning and all.

The next step was to separate the garden growth from the structure of the house.

“Then Nathan started hacking away at the ivy,” John says. “Portuguese laurel had grown under the siding.”

While refurbishing the interior of the home, Nathan would decide to take a break, go outside and work in the garden to relax a bit and change his perspective on the projects at hand. “I’d work for about an hour or so,” he says.

When he was out pulling weeds and organizing the flower beds under the magnolia tree, he found some refuse such as old paint cans, but he also found old brick that he recycled into a stylish and usable brick pathway.

They also planted bamboo that is very hardy and prolific in addition to its graceful beauty.

John says Nathan really is the gardener. Nathan admits to enjoying the garden, getting great inspirations and sometimes getting carried away with things. But the results have been spectacular.

While they were putting together a plan for planting the parking strip, John was considering drought-tolerant plants, such as some native grasses. Nathan wanted flowers. About this time, Nathan got inspired to plant a few low-maintenance bulb flowers. Not lacking in energy to back up the inspiration, he ended up planting about 800 bulbs. They waited through the long-overdue spring to see the colorful results.

The garden features plants that bloom throughout the year, so there is constant variety and texture. Some potted plants winter over in the basement to be displayed again in the warm weather. Some of the flowering plants include dahlias, holly hocks, monkshood and butterfly bushes.

It’s all a lot of work, planting, pruning, hand watering, but it is a labor of love.

“I like being outside,” Nathan says. “I’m a putter gardener.”

It also provides them a sense of peace and accomplishment.

Karlene Ponti can be reached at or 509-526-8324.

Karlene Ponti began as Special Publications Writer in 1999, work includes Lifestyles, The Weekly and Business Monthly. After Wa-Hi, Ponti attended Whitman and is a UW graduate. Later she was ordained a Christian minister at CDM Spiritual Teaching Center.

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