Featuring Kate Domoszlay’s Garden; Molbak’s Annual and Perennial Plant Buyer
Our Home Garden Tour at Kate’s is a journey through a mature, low-water use escape. We can usually find Kate at Molbak’s researching the next great perennial variety or previewing new annual color combinations. Kate, with Molbak’s for almost 30 years, is a talented and passionate garden designer, and we are honored to take a tour of her home garden.
Layers of color repetition rule this flower bed along the lawn.
How did you get into gardening?
My Dad always loved to garden with flowers and strawberries, and I guess I picked it up from him. He was raised on a farm, and his Mother, my Grandmother loved to grow Dahlias. I never met her but I feel a connection to her somehow. I have always loved being in the garden playing with plants for as long as I can remember, seeing and experiencing the beauty and magic in nature.
A quiet escape for two on the she-shed patio. The afternoon sun filters through the tall trees surrounding the backyard.
I’ve heard people say being a plant buyer is a “dream job.” What do you love about it?
I love to learn about new plants that are improved, unusual, interesting and beautiful, and to bring these plants to our customers. Hand-picked for our specific Pacific Northwest gardens.
I get to travel (pre COVID) to visit breeders, growers and professionals who are passionate about plants and meet people who help folks around the world to grow their own food, or beautify the/their world. Meeting and collaborating with such interesting people who are super innovative and creative is very rewarding.
I’ve also been lucky enough to tour some super amazing gardens all over the country, while working. I like to think that I’m helping to ‘plant the planet.’ Helping to restore the environment for the benefit of wildlife and humanity, and that is very rewarding.
A ceramic planter turned into a water fountain is nestled in the garden bed. The gentle flow of water is within hearing distance of the patio; an invitation to relax.
How would you describe your style of gardening? Has it changed over the years?
I would describe it as naturalistic, low-water, low maintenance, and experimental. My garden focuses on low-water, creating a haven for birds and bees, and creating a place of quiet. Contrary to that, I love hosting a garden party! I like using the many spaces in the garden that invite you to sit, play, and visit and enjoy whatever is going on at that moment.
I am also somewhat of a plant collector, always trying new annuals and perennials. Making interesting combinations is what I call fun! The biggest changes happen in my garden because one plant doesn’t play well with others, or a plant needs more water than I’m willing to give, so I change it out or move it. I’m always redesigning and experimenting.
A small gravel path runs through her garden bed connecting areas of the backyard. With a meandering look, it blends into the landscape.
Where do you find inspiration for your garden?
Texture, color and light in nature. Shape, form and functionality. I love perusing through books and magazines, to see what others are doing.
Touring gardens is always inspiring. Talking to other individuals who love to spend time with their hands in the dirt is too.
Texture, structure and layers give this garden bed multi-season interest for viewers and pollinators.
What are your go-to gardening tools?
Gloves, Hori Hori knife, Trug, Felco pruners, Stihl electric hedge trimmer (perfect for taking the work out of cutting back deciduous grasses and perennials), knee pads, and a multifunction watering wand. These are the tools that I use all the time.
This blue container is a colorful focal point on the she-shed deck: planted or empty.
Creating an escape can be as simple as a chair on a balcony or in the backyard, or as complex as altering the sights, sounds and smells in your garden – no matter how big or small.