Becky Graham moved to Gearhart not long ago after selling her dream home in Knappa.
“It was my dream home but it felt isolated,” the Portland native said. “And my dad lives in Seaside.”
Within two months of selling her Knappa paradise, she asked the universe to direct her to a wonderful neighborhood where she could grow her garden.
Almost immediately her real estate agent told her about a 1970s-style ranch in Gearhart; it was love at first sight. The house, sadly, had been vacant for some time and had a defeated, neglected aura. The property itself was in shambles. Graham, who said this house is her third fixer up, saw only potential.
On an overcast day in late May, Graham, a professional garden design consultant with her own business, Harvest Moon Design, shared her thoughts on outdoor living, the importance of planting for pollinators, and creating environments that embrace and welcome nature. Every spare moment the first two months she owned the house was spent repairing walls, installing flooring, and replacing base heating. The house itself is classic ’70s-style ranch charm, but it’s the property itself that beckons Graham to spend as much time as possible outdoors. “I like to plant what attracts butterflies and hummingbirds,” she said over home-brewed mocha lattes. “Plants are individuals. They respond to kindness.”
Graham said before she puts anything in the ground or in a container, she considers who will be visiting the space beside herself.
“Birds, salamanders, bees, butterflies, the point is to share the space with nature,” she said. She carefully selects plants that work in harmony with each other. In her over 20 years of professional garden design, she’s never had an outbreak of insects or pestilence.
Container gardening is one of her specialties.
“It’s an instant design that can change the look and feel of a place,” Graham said. “But you have to remember when you put a plant or tree in a container, it’s your hostage.”
The majority of Graham’s professional work is in Astoria where she maintains numerous commercial accounts. Creating a harmonious garden at home is where her heart lies. In addition to twinkly outdoor lighting, her garden has a water feature. She recently excavated hundreds of pounds of broken up chunks of cement buried below her front yard’s surface, salvaging the fragments to create a mosaic of pavers to form pathways through her contemplation garden.
In Graham’s world, there is no waste. She’s a composter to be sure and a repurposer. Weeds, if they are pretty, are permitted to thrive; wild flowers and meadows are encouraged.
“When I nurture plants, they nurture me back,” she said. “My garden is both my playground and my sanctuary.”
An auspicious piece of advice she offered is to set aside a portion of your yard to be wild. “Even if it’s just a corner by your back fence, there should be a place where nature can do its thing.”
Becky Graham’s Harvest Moon Design is available for commercial as well as private consultation. Contact her through her website, www.harvestmoondesign.com or text 503-791-7664.