Monday, October 25, 2021

Camille's garden

Back in early September, after visiting the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden, I jumped in my car and sped over to Camille Paulsen's garden in Puyallup. I met Camille thanks to Alison and Peter... my south-sound (Puget Sound) garden blogging buddies who are no longer blogging. I trust they're still gardening however.

I've wanted to visit Camille's garden for several years, and was thrilled the stars finally aligned and it happened. Here's Camille and her husband Dirk... what happy faces right? The sky may have been cloudy but with smiles like those to greet me I knew it was going to be a fabulous visit.

Camille was very generous with her time and knowledge as we toured the garden. I apologize to her and all of you as I will only be able to remember a fraction of all she told me. 

I do know this very upright eucomis is Eucomis ‘Rhode Island Red’.

This front garden pond is in the area roughly behind Camille and Dirk in the above photo.

I was captivated by the short stream running to the pond. Those plantings were just so picturesque!

The stream begins over near the house, from a double sided waterfall. This is the side that fills the pond, we'll see the other side at the end of this long (photo filled) post.

You'll also see this friendly creature, Sambuca again. Quite the beautiful poser...

I was quite taken with these gabion pillars.

As you walk into the side garden, passing between the above pillars, the wooden torii gate designed and built by Dirk comes into view. Had it been a clear day I would have taken this photo a few steps ahead, so you could see Mt Rainer framed by the gate. Personally I was just as thrilled with this shot of the gorgeous garden surrounding the gate, but if you're curious Phillip Oliver shared a photo of Camille's with a framed Mt Rainer in his post here.

Turning back to look at the gabion pillars again (because I loved them)...

This dark physocarpus (ninebark) was swoon-worthy.

As were the many roscoea thorough out the garden. I've given up on this genus, they don't like my growing conditions.

Look who ran ahead of us and assumed a very photogenic pose...

I really wanted to run my hands through that hakonechloa. 

Hakonechloa, Mahonia (maybe x media 'Marvel') and Osmunda regalis... quite the lovely combination.

What a clever planting! It's a fern table... but more.

I'll spare you the sad story of how moss-covered this charming lantern used to be. 

Now we've walked around to the back side of the house and you see the stairs leading up to the back deck. To my left is a pool, but I was so taken with this planting of callistemon and Agave bracteosa that I didn't care about the pool. Of course the cut foliage of Grevillea 'Ivanhoe' (far right) caught my eye as well.

Pots on the stairs (because every surface needs plants!).

And up on the deck now, with more pots!

We won't talk about that mountain that should be visible off in the distance.

Still up on the deck and looking to my right. Of course I was focused on the plants and didn't even notice I'd managed to hide the structure behind the Robinia pseudoacacia Twisty Baby...

Back down on the ground now and I was happy to see another gardener growing Passiflora 'Amethyst Jewel'.

Such an abundance of blooms on these brugmansia.

I believe that's ipomoea growing up that frame, simple but perfect.

Melianthus blooms! 

Walking past the pool area now and we're down by a large pond, sweet Schefflera delavayi...

A better look at the pond.

That bench looks like it's positioned just so under the Camperdown Elm (Ulmus glabra 'Camperdownii') for a reason don't you think?

Yep, prime mountain viewing spot! (on a clear day)

While I was snapping that photo above, Camille was snapping a photo of me. Blogger in action! (thanks Camille for sharing this photo)

Lots of great rhododendrons in Camille's garden...

Oh, I know this one (because I have it too)! Rhododendron pachysanthum.

Climbing up away from the pond area, but looking back towards it...

The perfect plant for this fabulous container!

The unusual weeping sequoia frames the grasses and rusty metal pieces perfectly.

So just when I thought the garden couldn't get any better, and that we were probably wrapping up, I spot this! A fabulous raised tropical island just in front of the greenhouse.


I'm not usually a fan of head-shaped planters but I love this one with it's agave "hair".

I didn't grow one of these double purple datura this year, but I wish I had...such a gorgeous flower.

Remember the structure I completely blocked with the tree in an earlier photo? Here it is! 

And looking back towards the greenhouse...

And guess what! The mountain made a very brief (and only partial) appearance. I knew it was out there... 

Only a bit left to explore, let's take the long pathway back to the front of the house.

Planted along that pathway is the beefiest syneilesis I've ever seen. Aren't they amazing? Camille shared that it's a hybrid from Far Reaches Farm.

The storage space along the other side of the long pathway features a custom bamboo painting by one of Camille and Dirk's daughters. 

And then there's this! Camille happened upon this rather gnarly stump and had to have it. A bit of negotiating and one piece of heavy machinery and it's hers!

She appears to be having a blast planting it up.

Another look at the front garden plantings...

...and at the containers under the front walkway...

Here's the backside of that two-sided waterfall I mentioned at the top of the post.

With that we've come to the end of this very photo heavy post! Thanks Camille for sharing your garden. So many plants so well grown, this post could have been twice as long. Speaking of, if you're left wanting more you're in luck as Camille has taken the plunge and is now on Instagram. Follow her @tahomaflora for more from her garden and other things that catch her artistic eye...

All material © 2009-2021 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. Beautiful cat, that Sambuca. I love ALL felines but black cats are very special. I have one myself.

    This post is just in time for National Black Cat Day on Wednesday - good timing, Loree!!

    1. I wish I could say that I knew! I remember reading that black dogs are harder to get adopted, because they don't photograph well. I wonder if it's the same for black cats?

  2. That garden is almost laughably perfect. Do they have help? The last photo is so evocative. Makes me think i really need to be more serious about plants in pots. I think it was better not having the mountain in view. It would have sucked your eye to it and you would have missed some of the beauty your captured.

    1. No help, Camille does it all herself. And I agree about the mountain. Since I know exactly what it looks like (having logged 10 years in Seattle and seeing it pop up now and then) I didn't feel like I was missing anything. I would have liked to share it with you all though.

  3. This garden is INSANE! It's spectacular in every aspect--design, planting, and maintenance. Just when I think that I could never garden in a climate colder than my own, I see this. You captured so many magical vignettes.

    The property looks to be huge!

    1. It is a pretty large chunk-o-land, but I didn't think to ask just how large. It would be interesting to see just what garden you'd create here!

  4. Thanks for the tour, Loree! I love this garden. The beautiful wooden structures do a great job of leading the viewer/visitor through the garden, which in turn frames the surrounding views (obscured and not) perfectly. And that's not to speak of the spectacular collection of plants. I'd have loved to get a closer look at that dreamy greenhouse too ;)

    1. Rest assured there weren't any greenhouse photos that I didn't share. I forgot to take any! Such is the danger of talking, touring and photo taking all at the same time.

  5. I’ve been looking at a lot of PNW Gardens lately online, and this has to be up there as one of the best. What a beautiful regional horticultural expression by gardeners at the height of their powers!

    1. It really is! And maybe (just maybe we can talk Camille into opening for the Fling in 2023...)

  6. It was great seeing you again and showing you around my garden, Loree! Next time you need to stay for a glass of wine!

    1. Oh you don't know how much I wish I could have! A friend just reminded me about that time I turned down an agave (gifted)... I think turning down a glass of wine is almost as shocking!

  7. What an awesome garden. Honestly, it's mouth-watering. Wow!

  8. Wow, what a great garden, and a fantastic virtual coverage. I love everything about it from the first photo to the last. Excellent collection of all my NW favorites, beautiful stone paths, wooden pagoda... and that tree stump: so jealous! A most gorgeous Hosta in the tropical bed (Photo 39); could it be Dorothy Benedict?
    I'm glad there is a cute shot of you in this post. How is your ankle doing?

    1. I am not very hosta smart, maybe Camille will chime in and let use know?

      Camille snuck a couple photos of me, I thought this one was fun. As for my ankle, I don't know. It's definitely not back to normal, as much as I wish it were. I did some damage to the tendons and ligaments and I think they're what's still bothering me. Thanks for asking.

    2. Unfortunately, the name of that hosta is… buried in one of my shoeboxes of plant tags. Must get more organized! If I come across the tag, I’ll be sure to chime in again.

  9. Beautiful plants and gardens. I mean, where do I start with comments?! It's just incredible. After I'm done, I'm going back and review again. One thing I really, really like is the rock-filled pillars...awesome. But the entire garden is incredible.

    1. Those pillars were just the perfect proportion weren't they?

  10. Top of the line garden! Quite amazing in its perfection, it must be a full time job maintaining it, not a fading leaf in sight. I'm rather envious, ha! Thanks for sharing your tour.

    1. You're so welcome! And get this... I was warned the garden was past it's prime. Can you imagine what it must be like when it's at it's best?

  11. Wow, if my garden was that beautiful I'd be smiling like that, too. Fabulous stump, in addition to everything else.

  12. It's a great looking garden!

    I can see a lot of Japanese/tropical/exotic design influences in it.

    They are blessed with a lot of beautiful mature trees. They really help to enhance the look of the smaller plants and shrubs.

  13. What an absolutely splendid garden. Beautifully designed and executed featuring everything I love about PNW gardens. I wonder how Camille and Dirk would feel about a busload of Flingers ??

    1. A busload of Flingers would make for one heck of a garden party! Plus, I’ve heard there’s a Fling tradition of dipping your feet in a garden host’s pool along the way. Could be just the spot.

    2. Well I guess that seals it!

  14. It's all been said, but I so enjoyed this most beautiful garden! It looks like heaven on Earth!

  15. AnonymousMay 19, 2022

    Camille and Dirk are fantastic garden creators and hosts. I was blown away. The best private PNW garden I have ever seen.


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