Bowen Island Cottage Garden

2016 | Site 26 000 sq ft | Design - Stephen Stewart | Architectural - Scott Posno Design

Construcution-Carrot Top Gardens, MacInnes Landscaping, Raincoast Stoneworks

This Bowen Island ocean side cottage garden sits atop an embankment overlooking a cobble beach at the south end of Howe Sound. The new garden was part of a renovation of the existing family Pan Abode cabin and was completed in two stages: the first being the paths, steps, decks, patios and planted areas immediately serving the cabin and the second being the surrounding gardens further out from the cabin that blend into the natural forested areas and embankment.

The locally quarried basalt and brohm basalt stone walls, steps and paths match well with the imported sandstone used for the patios, keeping a natural and endemic feel. 

To create more space for lawn games and a more expansive ocean view,  the grade was raised and leveled at the top of the bank, retained by a wall built of engineered geotextile soil bags planted with Stipa tenuissima (Mexican Feather Grass) and Carex caryophyllea 'The Beatles'  (Mop Top Sedge) thus hiding the retaining wall and blending it into the natural environment of the embankment.

The plantings are in a naturalistic, meadow style incorporating different types of grasses and summer flowers such as Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’ (Switch Grass), Calamagrostis brachytricha (Korean feather Grass), Sporobolus heterolepsis (Prairie Dropseed), Veronicastrum virginicum ‘Lavendelturm’ (Culver's Root), Salvia verticillata ‘Purple Rain’ (Lilac Sage), Achillea millefolium 'Terra Cotta' (Yarrow), Astrantia major 'Claret' (Great Masterwort) and Echinacea purpurea 'Magnus' . Through out the garden, spheres of ornamental onions – Allium 'Mount Everest', Allium cristophii (Star of Persia) and Allium sphaerocephalon (Drumstick Onion) – dance through the late spring and early summer enduring even as their colour fades. Most of the plants are deer resistant so as not to entice the occasional intruder that slips in through an open gate. The plantings were also chosen to endure the harsh, cold, salty squamish wind that howls down Howe Sound thrashing the property each winter.

Beneath the wood deck, an 11 000 litre rain harvesting system with pump and drip irrigation was installed to carry the garden through the water rationing of the island summers.