Monday, July 2, 2012

The Outlaw Gardener

As anyone who writes a garden blog knows one of the primary benefits is conversing with like minded gardeners, even better if you get to meet them in “real life.” I don’t remember exactly how long I’ve been corresponding with Peter, but I finally met him last fall. When planning my recent trip up to Seattle (and points beyond) I hoped to work in a visit to his garden in Tacoma, WA, thankfully…it happened!

Peter is a true plantaholic, and one with great taste. Every random plant that I mention (and I like to think I’ve got a few obscure ones) he either has, or knows about and has considered purchasing. Above are the blooms of his Argyrocytisus battandieri (Pineapple Broom) a plant I’ve been lusting after for quite awhile. Did you know they smell like pineapple? I guess that’s where the common name comes from eh?

This first group of pictures are of plants in his very wide (by Portland standards) parking strip.


In case you’re wondering why I called this post ‘The Outlaw Gardener’ it’s because Peter has had a few run-ins with the City of Tacoma. Seems they get a upset when plants “infringe” on the sidewalk or obscure stop signs. It’s also because that’s the name of his new blog, which he just launched last week: The Outlaw Gardener.

Here he is (glass of wine in hand…cause he knows how to give a garden tour) showing off his big-leaf Magnolia (he really does have all the cool plants).

Macleaya cordata (Plume Poppy)

A gorgeous Rosa glauca…

And a pretty happy group of Lobiela tupa against the fence.

Did I mention that it was raining as we toured the garden? Not hard enough to make you grab an umbrella, but just enough to have you good and soaked by the end (and cause a few raindrops to appear on the camera lens).

Peter is a glass artist (teaching, gardening and singing in a choir doesn’t take up enough of his time), and he's created these beautiful glass insets which appear all along the brick pathway…

Plant lust!!! He’s got a Schefflera delavayi…oh how I want this plant…

There were a few Tetrapanax patches throughout the garden.

And lots of texture!

Looking backwards towards the beginning of the pathway.

As you've probably realized this garden is a very personal space…there are numerous artistic and humorous touches throughout. Many you might expect to see…

Others, are kind of a shock…

I’m always surprised when an Impatiens stops me with its dramatic foliage (sorry Derick, I should know better!).

Look at those happy succulents!

Did you notice that some of them are ready for the sun to show up?

He’d just scored this amazing agave right before my visit; it was still in its nursery pot.

You know it’s only now that I realize I forgot to turn around and look at the front of this naked person in the bamboo grove…

There were several “tributes” to Little and Lewis through-out the garden...

This one made by Peter himself, and changed up just a bit…

… did you see the face looking back at you from inside the orb?

Yikes! Yes it’s Bishops Weed…but it’s held in check but the thirsty thuggish Bamboo…(or so he hopes…).

Looking back at the house and where we’d just been…

Am I toasting the Schefflera taiwaniana? You bet!

I believe I was introduced to this vine as his “pride and joy” and it is a beauty, Tropaeolum speciosum.

In fact he’s already blogged about it!

Morbid? Or fun? I pick fun…after all he assured me there weren’t actually any bodies in the garden…

…or are there?

This creatively clipped shrub and its layered colorful surroundings reminded me of the best of the Butchart Gardens.

Looking down a path with my back to the house…

And then I turn around and see these!

And there are more…

Our tour is drawing to a close…

And I’m left feeling there are so many great pictures I didn’t get during my quick (rainy) visit. Luckily he’s already been posting pictures of the garden, like this tour of the shady side of things. Hopefully there will be many more tours to come…thank you Peter!

35 comments:

  1. What a totally awesome garden......there are a few things there that I have been wanting to add to Beech Street. Now that I have seen them on a grown up scale, I'm on the search. But I will pass on the headstones, I think the Death Valley Shack title for the greenhouse is enough.

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    1. I think I need to angle an invite over to see your garden and greenhouse...

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  2. I love this garden, thanks for sharing all the wonderful plants and objects in it.

    Off to check out his blog.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed Shirley. I think you might want to add his blog to your regular reading, me thinks there are good things to come.

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  3. Wow, what a garden. Packed to the gills with fantastic plants. And I love the whimsical elements, even the headstones. I've wanted a head planter like his for a long time!!!

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    1. Glad you liked the headstones too, they are pretty fabulous.

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  4. His garden is terrific, and I too love the pineapple broom and the tetrapanax.
    And here's to infringing parkway strips---they make neighborhoods better!

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    1. Agreed! As long as you can still walk on the sidewalk of course...

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  5. I just discovered his blog about 10 minutes ago! I already commented on his cool brick path with the round stepping stones. Thanks for showing so much more of his garden, it looks fascinating, and weird, and wonderful! Those Brugs are gorgeous! The headstones are a bit creepy. I love the face in the orb!

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    1. Fascinating, weird and wonderful just about sums it up! I bet you two bump into each other at Jungle Fever sometime soon.

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  6. Wow, wow, wow! That's a dream of a garden! Thank you for all those great photos. I spotted the grown-up version of my new purple cactus. I'm off to check out the outlaw's blog now!

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    1. You know what...I got a piece of that purple cactus before I left! If you look close there is one pad hanging down, some critter broke it off and I got to take it home...yay!

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  7. Thats a really wonderful garden. Pineapple broom is well worth lusting after and subsequently hard to find as well. I certainly think you need a pineapple broom! stunning~!

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    1. Really? It's hard to find for you? I've ran across several great plants...I just don't know where I would put it!

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  8. So amazing and so entertaining! I'm not sure if the orb or the legs protruding from the hakone grass are my favorite.

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    1. You don't have to pick a favorite...you can love them both.

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  9. What a lovely garden!

    Peter obviously has a great eye for garden design.

    Shots 117, 141 and 145 are my favourites.

    On a side note the rain over here in the UK carries on unabated. Some plants like my ground ferns and Rodgersia have never been better and bigger - one of the leaves on my Rodgersia has the diameter of two wine bottles (that's the standard measure used by us gardeners isn't it?)!

    However, some things have not done very well. I had to put my last big Yucca, a beautiful thompsoniana (well it was beautiful) out of its misery at the weekend. It was obvious on its last legs and when I pulled the trunk it left all of its roots in the ground, they had just rotted off. Oh well, I have been switching to growing things that like it cool and moist over the last few years anyway and I am jolly glad that I made the change in design and mindset as it stops a lot of potential heartache and disappointment.

    I am now going off to check out Peter's shady tour and his blog for some inspiration!

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    1. Good to hear from you Adam!

      I agree about his garden design talents, although he would beg to differ.

      I'm going to start using you wine bottle measurement, I love it! And I'm sorry about the Yucca...

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    2. Hi Loree,

      Hope you are well.

      I have been away on holiday and I have been dropping in every so often before then and catching up with your blog, but for some reason I ended up with some sort of "comment block" and couldn't think of anything to post, so I didn't and I think my mood is a bit washed out like my garden at the moment, lol!

      Adam

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    3. Away on holiday sounds good...hopefully someplace warm and sunny?

      My garden isn't too far behind yours. We ended June with it being the 2nd coolest in 20 yrs, and either the 2nd or 3rd wettest on record. Luckily the switch looks like it's gonna be flipped tomorrow and nothing but dry sun ahead. Ah July...bring it on! Hope the same happens for you.

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  10. sandy lawrenceJuly 02, 2012

    LOVE faces in the garden, so naturally this is one of my favorite posts of yours. Coveting the columnar plant stand with faces and the head planters. Great tour. Thanks.

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    1. Thank you Sandy, glad you enjoyed the tour!

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  11. That pineapple broom looks really cool! And the whole garden looks so lush. Thanks for sharing, and now I'm off to look at Peter's new blog.

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    1. I was lucky to have visited when the tree (large shrub?) was in bloom. I've admired the plant for it's foliage but seeing (and smelling) the flowers was great.

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  12. Loved it! As everyone mentioned, the Pineapple Broom, which I sadly know only by it's older name. Big question for me is what the cultivar of tht Cordyline shooting out fo the head planter is? Much more PINK that the muddy dull types I see in the nurseries down here.

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    1. Naturally I haven't a clue what it might be. Peter...are you reading this? Might you know?

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  13. I LOVE that Peter has a big leaf Magnolia in his parking strip! Way to go outlaw, Peter! And lots of iconoclastic art fun too. You really can't take things too very seriously, right? This is a fabulous garden with fabulous plants!

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    1. His Magnolia is a beautiful thing with multiple trunks...I won't say I liked it better than Clifford, but it was pretty darn sweet!

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  14. There's always something exciting and new to see for every garden you feature Loree, and Peter's garden is no exception. Such a beautiful and wonderful garden full of gorgeous plants, planting combinations, and not to mention the quirky touches. It was fun going through the photos, and inspirational!

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    1. Wandering through the different spaces in his garden and discovering plants I love, as well as new ones, felt a lot like it must feel to wander through your garden!

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  15. What a wonderful garden! A treat to see. Maybe Hilary, our mannequin, should live outdoors like the fellows in the Outlaw Garden.

    - and thank you so much for listing my blog! I am honoured!

    . . . ok that's enough exclamations already

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  16. I love the bricks! This is a really fun garden.

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  17. What a fantastic and fun garden. Thanks for showing it to us.

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  18. Margaret "FlowerKwilter"July 24, 2012

    Lush, exuberant, exciting, macabre, delightfully weird--what a garden! What a guy! Thank you for posting this, and thanks to the Outlaw Peter. You make our Tacoma neighborhoods BETTER!

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  19. How did I miss this the first time around? All that fun injected into a kick butt plant collection and he serves wine on tours? Where do I sign up? :)

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