Marietta and Ernie O’Byrne, owners Northwest Garden Nursery, Eugene
Marietta and Ernie O’Byrne’s book A Tapestry Garden – The Art of Weaving Plants and Place tells the story of creating their amazing private garden. It is considered to be one of America’s most outstanding private gardens. Filled with an incredible array of plants from around the world, the garden is renowned for its stunning patchwork of combinations and variety of habitats. Marietta and Ernie will speak about creating the garden and take us on a pictorial tour of the exuberant 1½ acre wonderland that has everything: a shade garden, perennial borders, a chaparral garden, a kitchen garden and a collection of rare plants. Marietta and Ernie’s book will be for sale at this lecture (cash or check only).
The O’Byrnes, both have bachelor’s degrees in biology and are self-proclaimed “plant nerds”. Marietta’s love of gardening began when she was a young girl growing up in Germany. She also completed a two-year landscaping program at Lane Community College in the mid-‘70s. Ernie was raised in Colorado and California. He graduated from UC Santa Barbara and then worked at Manning Park in Montecito, where his tasks included planting and raising greenery as well as lots of pruning and raking. Marietta and Ernie met in the ‘70s after she (along with her two young children) settled in at the farm on Central Road. They quickly discovered their mutual interest in gardening and decided to join forces, both professionally and personally, and began developing their Northwest Garden. Together they recently authored a book, The Tapestry Garden: The Art of Weaving Plants and Place. Published by Timber Press in Portland and featuring colorful, exquisite photos by Doreen Wynja, the book reveals the couple’s deep passion for plants, landscapes, and soil, and offers important advice to gardeners at all levels of expertise. The O’Byrnes also share their horticultural trials and tribulations and stress that making mistakes is part of the process of becoming an accomplished gardener. Marietta and Ernie have one of the most popular wholesale nurseries in the Pacific Northwest, Northwest Garden Nursery in Eugene, Oregon. It was formerly a retail nursery specializing in unusual plants and it is now a wholesale nursery specializing exclusively in the ‘Winter Jewels’ series of Hellebores developed by Marietta and Ernie.