Thursday, July 25, 2019

This garden has Urban Soule

After following @urbansoule on Instagram, and then drooling all over Kim McCarthy's cramscaped City Living Display 'The Botanist Balcony' at the 2019 NWFG Festival, I was thrilled to visit her personal garden and studio in Seattle...

It is exactly as I thought it would be, crammed full of cool plants, funky furniture and all sorts of interesting things. If I'm remembering correctly this Aechmea orlandiana 'Reverse Ensign' was an eBay purchase, and a bargain one too.

Her labels are tastefully understated, they blend.

But the hand-painted pots and plants shine!

Billbergia 'Limestone' on the left, Billbergia 'Pipeline' on the right. I considered grabbing them and running...

But that wouldn't be very good behavior, and besides, Kim had potted up a baby Billbergia 'Darth Vader' for me, and stuck in a trio of "seed pods" she cast and painted. These were made using Callistemon pods I sent her from my garden. How cool is that!?

That's some beautiful rhubarb...

Just to the side of the rhubarb is "Paloma" the Palm Antelope, by artist Kelsey Neal.

Kim won her at at auction held at the Volunteer Park Conservatory. Doesn't she look as though she was meant to go right here?

Kim pulled back the miscanthus to show me a sculpted piece of her's hidden back there. I swear I thought I got it in the photo—but at least I got her great tattoo.

The opuntia pads are a real plant, the tuna is a cast piece.

Fern lust!

There were so many layers of cool things I wasn't sure where to point my camera.

Simple IKEA shelves pulling duty as bromeliad display space.

Kim traveled to Florida recently and went (understandably) a little bromeliad crazy.

Billbergia sanderiana there in front, waiting to go into its own custom striped pot.

The grey leaf and giant gourd are both Kim's work (visit her website urban soule to see more of what she does)...

I assume this is her work as well...

I appreciate her strong sense of style; the black and white geometric prints with lots of green. Pow!

A little vertical gardening to squeeze in more plants and help hide a view.

Looking back over my shoulder...

Ah, Kim bromeliadizes her trees too!

Inspirational foliage...

...and flowers. Perfect for one who makes her living as an artist.

I couldn't resist another shot under the canopy. Such a dreamy spot to hang out.

There's more vertical gardening too...

Instead of a felt Woolly Pocket type of hanger, Kim used a hanging shoe bag.

Good stuff!

As is that grey pot, which she got at Home Goods of all places.

I always hesitate to take (or share) photos inside my gardening friend's homes, but this one of her kitchen bromeliads tempted me to the point I broke my own rule.

And then how could I not take a photo of these two? Borris on the left, Vinnie on the right.

We'll end this tour with another Home Goods planter, filled with a metal agave, or, er bromeliad, no agave or, wait. How did I never—until this very moment—notice how what a similar form these two plant loves of mine can have?

Thanks Kim, for allowing me visit and snap photos, and thanks for the chartreuse Callistemon seed pods. I will find the perfect place for them eventually, but for now they're stuck in a trash-can lid full of bromeliads...

Weather Diary, July 24: Hi 82, Low 55/ Precip 0

All material © 2009-2019 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. Oh My God! I am so freaking jealous! I messaged Kim a few weeks ago about visiting, but never followed up on it to set a date. It looks sooooo fabulous. Ah, I'm dying.

  2. Awww! Thanks for the lovely written post! Its was great to have you cone visit!

    1. You're so welcome, thanks for sharing your very personal garden with me (and now all my followers...)

  3. How cool that Kim's dogs match her black and white theme! I love Kim's work and always walk away from her booth with a nice haul. Her personal garden is amazing and your post makes me want to see it myself.

  4. That is one wonderful, and nicely curated, garden! I love the canopy-covered area - and the pooches of course.

  5. What a fun place! You seem to have the greatest contacts. Creative design in every corner. The gray chairs and floral pillows are very inviting, and I love the idea of the shoe pockets hanger filled with plants. It looks like there is serious plant migration happening there twice a year.

    1. The gardening world is full of the best, most creative, people.

    2. Oh yes, and I've discovered another sister in the migration.

    3. Oh yes, the plant migration.... I dont even want to think about that yet!

  6. Among the many cool things here, your immortalized Callistemon seed pods are the coolest. The lineup of bromeliads in striped pots is really a knockout (enough of one not to need the juggling elephant, but able to withstand it).

    1. I loved the elephant as a counterpoint to all the vividly patterned bromeliads.

    2. The juggling Pig is my favorite! I actually painted the pots and matched the Billbergia to it for "Circus" style theme, the Pig as the Ring Master and the Billbergia as the colorful characters performing next to it... Lol!

  7. What a really great eclectic garden. I bet you can spend a huge amount of time just exploring all the cool plants. Love seeing gardens that ex tole their owner's personality. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Artists always have the BEST gardens. This one is amazing.

  9. Those seed pods are fabulous. A great garden too.

    1. So densely planted, I loved every inch.

  10. *THIS* is my kind of garden! You could spend hours there and still come across hidden finds. I love love love it.

    Those painted terra cotta pots are an inspirations. I'm getting a bit tired of my bland terra cotta-colored terra cots pots. Maybe I should transform them like that?

  11. The black and white pattern in fabric, pots, and EVEN THE DOGS is brilliant with the plant abundance. (Please note for those who read his and who watch the show Pose: I just wrote that with the tone HOUSE OF ABUNDANCE in mind.) Thanks for sharing this amazing garden Loree!


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