Alison’s garden

In early October last autumn, a few of us Portland garden bloggers ventured north, up I-5, to see our friend Alison’s garden. Alison makes her home in the Tacoma area and volunteered to host our Fall plant swap – a cherished event we all look forward to. I rode up with Laura, accompanied by a cello destined for a new home. I think Laura had thought of it as an interesting planter, but Peter – the happy recipient – may not have the heart to expose it to the elements. He just might have different ideas as to what to do with it!

Peter with his new cello!

Peter with his new cello!

Here are Laura and Peter, admiring Alison's new greenhouse.

Here are Laura and Peter, admiring Alison’s new greenhouse.

Those of you who have followed Alison for a while know that she is an east coast transplant, and has a great sense of humor. Her entire garden exhibits the plant geek revelry of a relatively recent transplant (trust me – I know one when I see one), but it also showcases an affinity for the absurd, quirky and delightful. I LOVED walking through her domain and discovering all the little details. I have a feeling that this is one of those places that will continuously reveal new secrets every time you return – it is just so wonderful and personal.

Here is Nigel - Alison's lucky husband, stretched out in the Cabana.

Here is Nigel – Alison’s lucky husband, stretched out in the Cabana.

I love how the red foliage in the foreground is echoed in the red-flowering Sedums.

I love how the red foliage (Begonia??)  in the foreground is echoed in the red-flowering Sedums. This photo is from the front yard.

One of many quirky details found around the garden.

One of many quirky details found around the garden.

The stunning foliage of a Canna lily, embellished with a glass flower.

The stunning foliage of a Canna lily, embellished with a glass flower.

There was a lot of glass in the garden - like these exquisite mushrooms. As I bent down to see the little blue elephant, I noticed the slug gliding across the rock. The three make such a nice vignette together, don't you think? Although I imagine the slug is the least welcome of the three...

There was a lot of glass in the garden – like these exquisite mushrooms. As I bent down to see the little blue elephant, I noticed the slug gliding across the rock. The three make such a nice vignette together, don’t you think? Although I imagine the slug is the least welcome of the three…

A stellar combination of Angelina sedum and Eucomis (I think).

A stellar combination of Angelina sedum and Eucomis (I think).

Exuberant foliage/glass combo.

Exuberant foliage/glass combo – so vibrantly beautiful!

Great gatherings of textures, spikes and quirky details. I want one of those baby heads...

Great gatherings of textures, spikes and quirky details. I want one of those horned baby heads…

Great use of gabions in the garden - a pedestal for a planted pot.

Great use of gabions in the garden – a pedestal for a pot planted full of succulents. Tetrapanax towering in the background.

There are many things one could do with a large pot, but Alison kicks the trends and does her own thing. Love the little Delospermas peeking over the rim. :)

There are many things one could do with a large pot, but Alison kicks the trends and does her own thing. Love the little Delospermas peeking over the rim. 🙂

This was my favorite surprise of all. Who else would think to put holographic glasses on an Agave?? Alison - you are my hero!

This was my favorite surprise of all. Who else would think to put holographic glasses on an Agave?? Alison – this is pure genius!

The sound of water - a stream emerging out of a wooded area in the back of the garden. So peaceful...

The sound of water – a stream emerging out of a wooded area in the back of the garden. So peaceful…

Penstemon and Coreopsis making for a meadow-like feel.

Penstemon and Coreopsis making for a meadow-like feel.

And of course - the Bottle Tree!

And of course – the resident Bottle Tree!

I loved this combination of Lupine leaves with the Aster. So pretty!

I loved this combination of Lupine leaves with the Aster. So pretty!

Not sure who this is, but he seems to have command over the situation...

Not sure who this is, but he seems to have command over the situation…

And don't think she didn't have a veggie garden... What a luxurious army of onions!

And don’t think she didn’t have a veggie garden… What a luxurious army of onions!

And beans...

And beans… pretty red ones!

From the left - Jane, Alison and Emily, in admiration.

From the left – Jane, Alison and Emily, in admiration…

... and Loree wondering if it's starting to rain. Naah...

… and Loree wondering if it’s starting to rain. Naah… not this time.

Some kind of Spiraea, I think.

Some kind of Spiraea, I think.

Love how the Hops is draping over the fence.

Love how the Hops is draping over the fence.

Not every house can say it has its own Raven!

Not every house can say it has its own Raven!

Plenty of opportunities for chit-chat!

Plenty of opportunities for chit-chat!

2014-10-04 14.26.25

Love that Mourdry grass. At least, that's what I think it is...

Love that Mourdry grass. At least, that’s what I think it is…

By far, the best Halloween decoration EVER!!! I really do love this!

By far, the best Halloween decoration EVER!!! I really do love this!

Jenni and Matthew hanging out on the stoop.

Jenni and Matthew hanging out on the stoop.

This visit took place barely four months ago and I imagine most of this glorious garden is currently asleep – except probably stirring to start its spring growth in our abnormally warm temperatures. As always – it was great to see everyone, and to meet a few new people too. I didn’t take a picture of my oversized haul (does anyone ever leave one of these meet-ups with only a plant, or two???) but I’m happy to say that most of it still seems alive. The Agave pups are even growing! Thanks Alison and Nigel for opening up your home and garden to us all. It was indeed a treat that I would love to do again! 🙂

About annamadeit

I was born and raised in Sweden, By now, I have lived almost as long in the United States. The path I’ve taken has been long and varied, and has given me a philosophical approach to life. I may joke that I’m a sybarite, but the truth is, I find joy and luxury in life’s simple things as well. My outlook on life has roots in a culture rich in history and tradition, and I care a great deal about environmental stewardship. Aesthetically, while drawn to the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia, I also have a deep appreciation for the raw, the weathered, and the worn - materials that tell a story. To me, contrast, counterpoint, and diversity are what makes life interesting and engaging. Color has always informed everything I do. I’m a functional tetrachromat, and a hopeless plantoholic. I was originally trained as an architect working mostly on interiors, but soon ventured outside - into garden design. It’s that contrast thing again… An interior adrift from its exterior, is like a yin without a yang. My firm conviction that everything is connected gets me in trouble time and time again. The world is a big place, and full of marvelous distractions, and offers plentiful opportunities for inquiry and exploration. I started writing to quell my constant queries, explore my discoveries, and nurture my curiosity. The Creative Flux was started in 2010, and became a catch-all for all kinds of intersecting interests. The start of Flutter & Hum at the end of 2013 marks my descent into plant nerd revelry. I occasionally contribute to other blogs, but those two are my main ones. For sure, topics are all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blogs!
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15 Responses to Alison’s garden

  1. mattb325 says:

    What a fantastic combination of plants and art! It looks like it was a really great day 🙂

    • annamadeit says:

      It really was, Matt. Looking back at all the beautiful colors and combinations, and all the quirky, fun little details brighten’s my days this time of year. And, it’s always fun to get to spend a day with fellow garden geeks! 🙂

  2. rickii says:

    The combination of Alison’s wit and your eye for detail make for a lush and entertaining post. You got some swell people pix too.

  3. Alison says:

    Oh Anna! Thanks so much for sharing your pictures of my garden, and for reminding me how it looks when everything is lush and growing, not now, when it is indeed full of dead, brown sticks that need to be cleaned up. That day was so much fun! Feel free to drop in whenever you are in the area.

  4. Great photos of Alison’s garden, and us bloggers too (I was holding my breath waiting to see what silly expression I would have on my face, sure that you’d managed to capture one).

  5. Kris P says:

    It never ceases to amaze me what a different view of a blogger’s garden you get when it’s photographed by someone other than the blogger herself. Thanks for sharing your tour of Alison’s wonderful garden!

  6. What a fun day! I wish I’d been there! Love the agave in glasses. :o)

  7. Pingback: A visit to Ricki! | Flutter & Hum

  8. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Thank you for the sweet reminder of this wonderful day spent with so many gardening friends! Alison’s garden is full of beauty and humor, just like it’s gardener!

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