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

Friday, July 28, 2017

Lawless in Tacoma

My friend Peter The Outlaw Gardener opened his garden last weekend as part of the Northwest Perennial Alliance's Open Garden Tours, and I attended, even though I'm not actually an NPA member this year. I've only ever made very quick visits to Peter's garden in the past, usually I'm either meeting him at his house and we're taking off for somewhere, and there isn't time for a tour of anything other than his bathroom. (Always follow Mother's advice, pee when you can, especially before a car trip).

So I jumped at the invitation to get a good, long look at things, and take pictures. Unfortunately, it was a very sunny day in a very shady garden, not optimal conditions for good photos, but you'll have to suck it up and bear with me.

"You are traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. Your next stop -- The Outlaw Garden"

Just behind that handsome fellow was a large Romneya coulteri in glorious bloom.

And just past our Rod Serlingesque host on the right is a small bed at the foot of the stairs to the front door, with a blooming orange daylily and blue Salvia ('Black and Blue'?).

And the only patch of lawn (I believe) in the entire garden, with this combo of Sedum, Yucca and Agave ovatifolia.

And this abundantly flowering smoke tree

Do we dare to proceed further, through the gate?

Inside is a veritable labyrinthine warren of brick paths, full of intriguing leafy combos and dappled shade.

Overhead the sun sparkles through Tetrapanax leaves high above

Whose shape is mirrored in the Fatsia polycarpa 'Needham's Lace' below

Inset into the path at various points are these daisy shapes with stepping stone centers

It's important to look back once in a while to make sure you haven't missed anything.

This monolithic column holds the first of many face planters

A bench to the left of the column

My attempt to take a photo of Peter's pond -- can you even see the water?

This simple combo of golden creeping jenny and black mondo grass which edges the pond is lush and charming

Peter's koi swam lazily about in the deceptively deep pond

You may have noticed the wire in the shot above of the koi. It's part of an electric fence, to deter raccoons from eating the koi. Peter shared a heartwarming story of hearing raccoon screams the night after installing it.

A rose flowers in a rare patch of sun

The path, and a glimpse of royal blue, pull you on through the garden

But first, a distraction:

At your feet, a hand (Snow White?) reaches out from below a pot

An array of glass insulators line the right-hand side of the path

A blue stained glass flower amongst variegated bamboo(?)

A hand holding a heart, another head pot with black mondo grass, and an array of glass crab figures

It's a lovely shady spot. Do we sit?

To the left against the fence is the first of several visual puns -- the Old Man and the C (Sea)

The path continues to the right of the blue table, past a ferny stumpery on the left and a timber bamboo grove on the right -- and ahead, a wall with an illusion-inducing mirror

Broken porcelain crockery mulches the bamboo

The ferny mini-stumpery and another enormous mirror (and me, in the upper right)

An about-face leads you through a series of shady arbors

Watch out for hatching dinosaurs!

A trio of "eggs"

In this one, two fish and Artemisia 'Seafoam'

If I remember correctly, that patch of bright sunlight is the "Danger Gardenette"

But the greenhouse is on the left, and it's calling

There's a surprising number of plants still thriving inside, despite today's heat

Faces stare at you as you examine the plants and props

Outside again, you head to the "Danger Gardenette."

A bubbling fountain, colorful Bromeliads, and an obese mermaid

The pots are as fabulous as the plants growing in them

Of course, I didn't get any photos of the Agaves growing in full sun, getting pics of the most well-lit plants would have been silly.

Along a path, around the corner, you meet another dinosaur, this time, much bigger

Heading back toward the house, it's hard not to miss the color coordination of this glass flower, swath of lilies and the curtain across the back door.

Some of the newest garden art -- flowers made from cutlery

He's got the whole world in his hand

And more visual puns -- a handrail

A bird in the hand
Had enough? Hardly. I could go around again and again. I'll end with some shots of tuberous Begonias.

Sigh. So much beauty and cleverness all at once. Peter's garden is one of a kind.