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Chilean Fire Bush - a hidden jewel in our garden

It is heartbreaking that this beauty is hidden in our garden but at least the hummingbirds have found it. Hidden because it is planted behind a 7 feet tall rose. I planted it there because I was under the impression that it would become a tree. It can indeed become a tree and there is one growing about a mile from our house that is around 20 feet tall.  In our garden, it is taking its sweet time and is only 4 feet tall after being planted seven years ago (2017). It did not begin to bloom until its fifth year and this is the first year flowering has been so profuse. Whenever I think about this plant, I always remember what the Gosslers said in their book "The Gossler Guide to the Best Hardy Shrubs". I quote it here: "Since this plant comes from southern Chile, we begin with a word of warning: it will not grow anywhere in the United States outside western Washington, Oregon and northern California. People wanting to grow E. coccineum in the eastern part of the country will

The Fishingham Garden

Here is another garden that I follow on Instagram and have wanted to see in person for a long time. It is the garden of Jeff Fisher and Ed Cunningham, better known as "The Fishingham Garden". Their garden has been featured in many magazines and books. This is a tiny garden, only 50' x 100' but packed with vibrant colors and great plants.

It was overcast and chilly earlier this week when we visited - really the perfect day to see a colorful garden but I unwisely wore shorts and a thin shirt and was downright cold! Incredibly, it is sweltering again today (93 degrees). I do prefer the chill.

The approach to the front garden from the street - 

The color palette is orange(!) and chartreuse with spots of purple here and there. These are some of my personal favorite colors so of course I loved it. The house color is particularly stunning (our living room walls are this color). Jeff says when he saw the first coat go up, he questioned himself but of course it was fine.

A seating area with a tropical flavor - banana trees and palms -

The front porch (I think the yellow color of the ceiling is another fantastic touch) -

The tree in the corner is a rhododendron that has been limbed up. 

A narrow side garden takes you to the back of the house -

A closer look. The color scheme continues here and art and decor add whimsey and punctuation.  The former garage (above right) is now a tool shed. Future plans for a small greenhouse is in the works.

What a fun garden with so much to see and admire - I loved it! Thank you Jeff and Ed for opening your garden and sharing this gem with garden lovers!

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. Very effective use of repetition and color echoes. I love the tropical-themed seating area. And I need one of those "Grow dammit" signs ;)

  2. I loved this garden. The combos and texture juxtapositions are so well done. That marvelous Rhododendron tree might be my favorite specimen. It’s a work of art.
    Thank you to the hosts for sharing. I’ll check them on instagram.

  3. I love the vibrant color everywhere. Orange is one of my favorite colors in the garden.

  4. A fabulous vibrant garden. I love the hanging chartreuse birdhouse and the more mute birdbath with the colorful marbles.
    With fall around the corner and Halloween looming large, orange pumpkins are going to fit perfectly with the color scheme of this nugget of a garden.


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