Growing in the Round
A circle of raised beds in the Northwest brims with flowers and produce
Rich and Anita Burkholder of Sammamish, Washington, wanted their garden to be beautiful yet productive enough to supply a large part of their family’s fresh produce as well as flowers. So they created a garden in a circle 70 feet across to grow plenty of everything. Arrayed like pie slices, wedge-shaped raised beds are divided by 3-foot-wide gravel paths for easy access. Low boxwood hedges define the garden’s inner circle, where a table is set for alfresco dining.
Dahlias and annuals like cosmos, sunflowers, and zinnias fill many beds, while others are used for vegetables, including beans, bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, and ‘Walla Walla Sweet’ onions. The Burkholders plant successive crops of basil, corn, and lettuce so they have a steady supply over a long season. They grow kiwis over one of the entry arbors and ‘Buffalo’ and ‘Interlaken’ grapes over the other.
The beds are watered with soaker hoses. In fall, the Burkholders pile fallen maple leaves over each bed. In spring, they dig the decomposed leaves into the soil along with compost and chicken manure. Rich Burkholder starts annual flowers and crops from seed in a greenhouse just outside the circle.