A visit to Ricki!

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...

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 their wonderful covered porch. If I lived here, I would probably hang out here every day, taking in the natural beauty that surrounds 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 bird feeder.

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.

Baskets of harvested apples and pears were sheltered on the porch.

Another one of my favorite trees - a Katsura - transitioning into its fall color.

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.

The herb garden – lined in bottles. I imagine the contents of both are frequently used as marvelous things are created in the kitchen.

White Carrot no doubt waiting for a White Rabbit.

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!

The fabulous seed heads of Phlomis compete with the other garden decorations. I absolutely love these – they are so cool!

Hostas and Hellebores blend seamlessly...

Hostas, Persicaria, and Hellebores blend seamlessly…

... with our native sword ferns at the woodland edge.

… 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! :)

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.

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!

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. Greatness in the making!

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.

Verbena bonariensis, gracefully bending from the rain. Love the conifer, but don’t know what it is. So pretty…

Oh, the colors!

Oh, the colors! I also love the jagged edge of the Coleus contrasted with the needles of the conifer – stroke of genius!

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Another captivating vista as seen from the front porch.

A Grevillea in stately bloom!

A Grevillea in stately bud!

Berries glowing red in the damp weather.

Berries glowing red in the damp weather.

The graceful appearance of  Anemone seed heads, silhouetted against the wall.

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.

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!

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.

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.

Woodworking as well as painting happen in here.

Their house was just like I imagined it - large plate glass 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!

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!

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!

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I'm not exaggerating when I say that the pie was one of the best ones I have ever eaten - pear with some kind of almond paste. It was heavenly!

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 caught my eye.

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?!!

But wait! Those aren’t books! They are some of Richard’s work – polished wooden slabs with inscriptions. How cool is that?!!

I love that old key in the lock!

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!

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!

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Laura and Michelle.

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. 🙂

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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14 Responses to A visit to Ricki!

  1. Scott Weber says:

    How fun to Visit Ricki…I’m so jealous of all her space…one can dream, I suppose…and she is the one who introduced me to Jockey Hill as well…which I love and makes me want to move to that area even more (Jockey Hill and Joy Creek within a short drive, YES PLEASE)!

    • annamadeit says:

      Oh, to be able to spread out! I would be a little worried about living so close to all that goodness, though. I wouldn’t have a penny left! But what a garden I would have…! Keep the dream alive, Scott!

  2. Alison says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your visit with Ricki. I enjoyed this glimpse into her house and garden very much. I had no idea that Richard was so talented. I never heard of Jockey Hill, Peter and I will have to check it out next time we go down to Portland. Isn’t garden and nursery hopping so much fun when you have a companion to share it with?

    • annamadeit says:

      Yes, I love visiting other gardens and nurseries, Alison! Besides gardening itself, it is probably my favorite pastime. Yes – you truly owe it to yourself to visit Jockey Hill next time you’re down here. It is a gem of a place!

  3. Ricki is a dear, isn’t she? A true kindred spirit. I am sure you had a great time.

  4. I regret that when I was out at Ricki’s for one of our early plant swaps I didn’t get a chance to really investigate the garden or house. Thank you for the tour. I hope you do go back (or I do) share her studio with us. As for Jockey Hill, why haven’t I been there? Must do it!

    • annamadeit says:

      Yes – how could we possibly miss her studio??? Too many other great distractions, I suppose – we had such a nice time! Jockey Hill is wonderful, so yes – when you find yourself in that direction, definitely stop in there!

  5. Kris P says:

    My idea of a perfect day – a look at a friend’s garden, good food with good friends, and a visit to a great nursery as the cherry on top.

  6. kate says:

    Sweet! Love the tour.

  7. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Your tour of Rickii’s garden is far out! I loved seeing larger parts of it and mentally trying to put more pieces together. Two creative powerhouses living together on acreage. Paradise!

    • annamadeit says:

      I wish I would have taken better overall shots, but it was such a gray day, and I ended up focusing on the smaller things in the garden. But yes – they are quite the power duo, and the amount of space is staggering – at least to an inner city gardener like me! 🙂

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