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

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hardy Plant Study Weekend -- Susie Marglin's Garden

Every four years, the Northwest Perennial Alliance hosts Hardy Plant Study Weekend, an annual four-day conference that rotates with three other regional gardening groups, the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon in Portland and the Hardy Plant Groups of Vancouver and Victoria in British Columbia. It was four days of total immersion in gardening that included lectures in the morning and garden tours in the afternoon. The theme this year was "Married to Your Garden: How to Save the Relationship." My relationship didn't really need saving, and the lectures didn't really stick with that theme (thank goodness, because it's silly), but for the most part they were informative and entertaining nevertheless.

Susie Marglin's Bellevue, WA garden was another big favorite from the tours that I went on during Hardy Plant Study weekend. Here's the blurb from the booklet:

"Susie has been gardening here for just a decade and a half -- having moved many of her favorites from her former garden (which was beloved by all who visited). Now she gardens half-time here during the best seasons and the rest in Mexico, that influence can be seen throughout. Here she has a place to gather in the evening, remember the past and plot the future. Note the arbor that divides the garden and the many fountains and plants used to get the most out of a compact city lot. Explore the many vignettes as you wander from Latitude 48 with redwoods to Latitude 23 with palms and more!"

You'd never know what hides behind this plain wooden fence.

Outside the fence, poppies and Nicotiana are a well-matched plant combo, colorwise. Just wait till you get inside!

The small front garden contains borders and a stone patio, as well as a handful of containers

Rosa glauca

The stone patio with a pale pink Dierama

The route to the back garden is through the impeccably furnished house (pausing only to pet the friendly little dog), and as you step through the back door, this is the sight that greets you. I stopped still and gasped. This is the arbor that divides the back garden in half, into sunny and shady areas.

The bright fountain makes a magnificent focal point

There were numerous small water features throughout the garden as well, leaving me to wonder if the entire yard was wired. Everywhere in the sun are collections of pots and potted plants.

Lizards seem to be a favorite theme.

There's always an Agave. Sometimes several.

I loved this fellow, bedecked in wind chimes and jewelry.

There's a Gila monster on the roof of the house!

As you step through the arbor and look to the right, this is what you see.

As I took the photo, I didn't realize two of the pillows were real and two were trompe l'oeuil paintings.

Perhaps not the most comfortable seat, but then, many gardeners have a hard time actually sitting still when out in the garden. We really should take the time to enjoy our own creations more.

Even the book cover and the pink liquid in the glass match their surroundings.

Fabulous head planter! I want one.

Far in the back of the garden are two enormous Sequoias, providing shade

Perennials in a holding area -- I'm always heartened to see a gardener's pot ghetto

I did!

Read my previous post about Bob Barca's Hummingbird Hill Garden on Whidbey Island here.

Read about the NPA and the Hardy Plant Study Weekend here.


  1. Alison, thank you! What a sunny, cheerful garden! Is it really NW? I felt like I was in Mexico. Love these garden accessories. Your pictures are great!

  2. Lovely garden, like one of the ones at Hampton Court show. And very clever with the trompe l'oeuil pillows!!

  3. Another gorgeous garden! Love the lizard pots! That head pot is great because there's space for plants to cascade over the top and create a hat without obscuring the face.

  4. I've totally enjoyed your post.... inspiration doses need to be had from time to time when work overload invades one's own garden retreats... thank you for inspiring me today!

  5. Lovely! Where is the study weekend next year? I've lost track of the order of things.

  6. Pretty garden and so different from most gardens in your area although there are a few clues like that Japanese Maple to give it away. Good to know you attended the event despite the silly theme.

  7. With a few exceptions, this garden could easily fit into my neighborhood. I need to find some ceramic lizards for my own garden (even though I have an ample supply of live ones skittering about). Thanks for sharing your tour!

  8. And than I saw: the big terra cotta pot with the lizzard. I have the same pot in my greenhouse and got it for my fiftieth birthday from my daughters. Surprising I am almost living on the other side of the world. You show us a pretty garden which is different, lots of garden accessoires but so interesting and full of inspiration for our own gardens.

  9. As you know, I did love this garden!

  10. Wonderful garden, the hardscaping and structures really make it. All that stone makes it look really warm and inviting, and I like the lizard pot handles.

  11. Great photos of a great garden!

  12. I'm always amazed at people how decorate their gardens with walls and water features like this. My garden feels so comparatively plain. Fun stuff.


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