Only a week or two after our Tacoma road trip, Laura and I braved the October rain and headed west to see our friend Ricki. She and her husband Richard wisely turned their backs on the city and opted for country living. Both are marvelously creative, and craved space to practice their various crafts. I have to admit to a little sting of envy here – as you will soon see, the setup the two of them enjoy is the stuff I dream of. As you will also see, Ricki is one of those people who do a lot of things really well. Not only did she write a lovely book which reads like an inspiring conversation, she is also a graphic designer, makes fabric banners, killer bouquets, cooks up a storm in her kitchen (with things she very likely grew herself). And, of course – what got me introduced me to her in the first place – our mutual, break-neck passion for gardening.
Almost as soon as we turned into the gravelly driveway, I saw the Hornbeam! It’s one of my favorite trees, – I just had to stop and take a picture of it…
… before heading out of the rain to shelter under the roof of their wonderful covered porch. If I lived here, I would probably hang out here every day, wrapped in a warm blanket, taking in the natural beauty that surrounds it. Bliss…
From the porch, your view is framed by these two gnarly old apple trees. Loved the rustic, old bird feeder.
Baskets of harvested apples and pears were sheltered on the porch.
Another one of my favorite trees – a Katsura – transitioning into its fall color. Just look at that lush evergreen forest back drop!
The herb garden – lined in bottles. I imagine the contents of both are frequently used as marvelous things are created in the kitchen.
Cute little Guinea hen, and White Carrot no doubt waiting for a White Rabbit.
The fabulous seed heads of Phlomis compete with the other garden decorations. I absolutely love these – they are so cool!
Hostas, Persicaria, and Hellebores blend seamlessly…
… with our native sword ferns at the woodland edge. The blue bottles glow like jewels in the background.
Don’t remember the name of this beauty, but there were a couple of baby ferns sprouted right next to it. Our gracious and generous hostess dug them up, so we got to take one home each. It is such a lovely fern – thanks Ricki! 🙂
The showy flowers and fruits of Leicesteria – Himalayan honeysuckle – dangled seductively nearby.
I adore the black fruits of the St. John’s wort – they are so decorative!
A young Rhododendron sinogrande (I think). When it grows up, it will be a majestic plant. Right now, it has those endearing too-big leaves – you know, like the out-of-scale paws of a tiger cub. Grandeur in the making!
Verbena bonariensis, gracefully bending from the rain. Love the conifer, but don’t know what it is. So pretty…
Oh, the colors! I also love the jagged edge of the Coleus contrasted with the needles of the conifer – stroke of genius!
Another captivating vista as seen from the front porch.
A Grevillea in stately bud!
Berries glowing red in the damp weather.
The graceful appearance of Anemone seed heads, silhouetted against the wall.
As we wondered around the garden, I saw this odd contraption – chicken wire wrapped around a tree that had number of small holes in its trunk.
Turns out, there is this woodpecker that is taking his job very, very seriously. The wire is an attempt to give the poor tree a break. Wow – I wish I had that woodpecker’s kind of focus and energy!
At one end of a path is Richard’s studio. Both windows and skylights ensure optimal lighting for all the various undertakings. Inside their house is one of his latest pieces – a fabulous bench, which I can’t believe I didn’t photograph. Too stunned, I suppose… UPDATE: Oh no, I just noticed I DID capture a glimpse of this fabulous bench. You will see a partial view of it two photos down from here. Pretty awesome, huh?
Woodworking as well as painting happen in here.
Their house was just like I imagined it – large windows letting in the outdoors, and warm, bright colors. Ricki’s book is called BeBop Garden – this is the perfect space for sipping wine and listening to jazz. I can see where she got the inspiration! Of course there are indoor plants – each one in a more interesting pot than the other. Note also the owl decal on the window. I imagine without it, there would be quite a few avian accidents with all the glass expanses.
The smell as we entered the house was magical! There was jam stewing on the range, and Ricki had made pie – for us! Pretty flower arrangements were everywhere!
I’m not exaggerating when I say that the pie was one of the best ones I have ever eaten – with some kind of plum and almond filling. It was heavenly!
Paintings on the wall, and a beautiful old chest with books resting on top caught my eye.
But wait! Those aren’t books! They are some of Richard’s work – polished wooden slabs with inscriptions. How cool is that?!!
So shiny that the flowers are reflected in the surface. I also love the aged patina of that old key in the lock! What a great vignette!
We had a wonderful time, and of course time flew too fast. It was a treat to visit these two creative forces – each, the other’s muse. I think I’m going to refer to them as R2 (as in “R squared”) from now on. Laura and I had planned to visit a couple of nurseries while we were out this way, but our day was wrapping up quickly. We bid our gracious hosts adieu, and went on our merry way. When we got into the car, we realized we missed one major thing – we never got to see Ricki’s studio!!! Darn – how could we miss THAT??? We need to go back – soon! Well, we DID get to see her garden, which was wonderful – even on a rainy October day. On the way back to town, we stopped to see Michelle at Jockey Hill Nursery. You can always count on finding nice stuff there, plus it’s always fun to visit with Michelle. We’re saving Joy Creek for another day…
Jockey Hill Nursery – a gold nugget as nurseries go. Ricki is the one who first told me about it, and I’m so glad she did!
Laura and Michelle chit-chatting in front of a massive Grevillea.
On our way home, we felt a little guilty that we had pretty much blown off dinner with our respective families, but really – we had so much fun. I really do love a good day with my gardening family. It’s a different kind of family, but one that I crave just as much – for my mental well-being. 🙂