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The Elisabeth C. Miller Botanical Garden in Seattle

The Sunny Bank I was very excited to get the opportunity to visit this garden because I've heard so much about it. It did not disappoint. The garden was created by Elisabeth Carey Miller and her husband Pendleton who purchased the house in 1948. Mrs. Miller was a self-taught gardener who used her artistic skills (she majored in Art History) to create the stunning garden which features a dense canopy of native conifers. She became a plant collector and tracked down unusual specimens and was known as a well-respected plantswoman in the horticultural community. The front entrance Visiting this garden is not exactly easy. It is situated in a restricted community and there is a limit to the number of visitors per year. You must make an appointment on the website at designated times or you can find a tour group like I did. The address isn't listed either although even if you had it, you would have to get past the security guard at the gate to the neighborhood. I think if I lived in

Staining the Fence


We finally got the fence stained. We were waiting for warmer temperatures to do the job. We started to do it two weeks ago but then decided against it after reading the staining instructions which called for night and daytime temperatures to be at least in the 50s. It is still getting down in the 40s at night although things are slowly warming up.  

We worked all day yesterday with only one panel left to do. Michael kindly volunteered to finish it this morning while I finished getting some containers potted. 

Here is the view from inside the back garden. It looks better without those nasty power lines mucking up the view -

The stain we use is Cabot Australian Timber Oil 'Mahogany Flame'. We've used it for all the other structures in the garden. How I wish that it would retain this luster. Alas, it will eventually fade and probably be soiled with bird poop.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. The Cabot products are really good. Your fence looks great!

  2. It looks fantastic. Sadly, bird poop can't be avoided.

  3. That's just splendid-the hard work paid off. I had two small redwood pergolas built last year and briefly toyed with the idea of staining them - clearly I would hate doing it so much I would be paying to have it done every couple of years. Your beautiful result seems well worth the effort !

  4. I love your garden. You've done so much in such a short time.


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