Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Monday, May 5, 2014

A Visit With Emily

A few weeks ago Peter The Outlaw Gardener and I went down to Portland for Hortlandia, the big plant sale put on by the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon. We had a blast! While I was there I picked up a plant at the request of Emily, a fellow Seattle-area blogger who writes the blog All Things Emily. A few days later I drove up to Seattle and visited with Emily, handed over the plant, and got a look at her cool urban garden.

I don't remember how I first found Emily's blog, probably from a comment that she left on one of the blogs that I follow.  She blogs about all kinds of stuff, such as her artwork and, of course, her garden.

Emily designed these floating concrete steps for the front of her mid-century house, and hired a contractor to build them.

Emily is an avid DIYer who knows her way around power tools. She built the cool slatted fence that separates her front beds and small grassy area from the more intimate sail-shaded patio behind it.

She built this fence herself, and cut all those slats with a saw and mitre box. The tall narrow trees are columnar apples.

On the other side of the front walk -- vine maples, yippee!

In the back garden, in an area that transitions from side yard to back, is a gabion that she also built. The upside-down plastic drip tray is a placeholder until she finds or makes a pot to sit on top.

She also built this bug hotel
I adore what she did with her patio. Originally it was a solid mass of concrete, but that was both uninteresting and decaying and didn't fit her vision of what she wanted for her garden. So she and her husband cut the concrete up, turned it on its side to show off the aggregate, and set it back down as horizontal slabs interspersed with soil and ground covers. You can read her account of the process here on her blog.

I love the river rock at the edges.

Emily designed and built this fence and the concrete block wall below it.

Although Emily loves plants and is very knowledgeable about them, she's not a plant hoarder like Peter and me, and her small urban garden is meticulously curated. She researches plants before she buys them and doesn't give in to impulse buying. Here's her tiny little pot ghetto.

After I delivered her plant, we spent the afternoon visiting Swanson's and Sky Nursery, and had a nice lunch at the cafe at Swanson's. I didn't take photos of the inside of her house, but her DIY talents have found a creative outlet there as well.

It's always so interesting and so much fun to meet other bloggers!


  1. I depend on a certain few of blogging photographers to visit around and report on what they see. I noticed early on that some few of you report on the same gardens as others and yet you see the things I most like to see, at the very best angles.

  2. Hey, Alison! A true garden (blogging) friend is one who makes your garden look great and doesn't document all the piles of unfinished work lying everywhere. Thank you! I can't believe how it has all grown in the past couple of weeks. The weigela bloomed and the little gillenias are growing up to (and past) the height of the wood pickets.

  3. Hello All:

    We are constantly blogging about new gardening tools and seasonal DIY on our blog. But you can check out what we have to offer right from our online store.

  4. I'm blown away by the crazy skills that Emily has. Making fences, cutting concrete, designing floating stairs. Wow! Her garden is gorgeous and her plant ghetto is more like a plant country place or beach house. About this researching plants and not giving in to impulse buying, I've heard that therapy can sometimes help with that if one really wants to change.

  5. Great tour, thank you Alison! And! You've created quite the amazing garden with so many professionally done features.I wish I could talk my husband into doing something like that (your patio) with our cracked and ugly driveway.

  6. Emily is a brave soul. Well aware of my own limitations, I wouldn't touch these projects with a ten foot pole. Very nice. I love the fence and the patio.

  7. I'm impressed with the range of Emily's efforts and talents!

  8. What a cool person! I love her "Get it done" attitude, although I probably would have lost a limb while making the fence. Is gabion a hip way of saying "metal box of rocks"? I've never heard of that before.

  9. Amazing! I love those floating steps and that patio!

  10. Impressive skill set and an even more impressive imagination coming up with the ideas in the first place.

  11. Emily sounds like a very clever girl! I love the results of her work.

  12. What a cute little pot getto. I'm trying to resist impulse buys this summer, but I think it's giving me a nervous twitch!

  13. Thank you for sharing Emily's garden Alison, it looks fantastic and I love a lot of the things she has done, especially the hard landscaping and that fence! Plenty of inspiring ideas to pick!

  14. Very the hardscape as it is so creative....I am still hoping to meet a few bloggers around me this year even with being sidelined.


Gardening is a solitary activity. But blogging about it is a social phenomenon! I don't make money from my blog by advertising, or use it to drive customers to a business. If you liked my post, or my writing or photography, or even just one picture or turn of phrase, I'd love to hear from you. That's how I get paid.