U.S.A., Washington State. USDA zone 8a. Sunset climate zone 5

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Peter's Garden (Washington State, U.S.A.)

                                                                                                        'If you look the right way,
                                                                                                You can see the whole world is a garden"
                                                                                                             F.H.Burnett "The Secret Garden"

I feel almost bad publishing this post: I don't want to take away a 'surprise' moment 
from the people who haven't seen this garden yet. 
So, dear guests of this blog, if you plan to visit Peter's Garden in the close future, 
please restrain yourself from looking at the pictures. 
It's like getting a preview of a movie before you see it. 
I don't want to take the Wow factor from you. You've been warned!

If I thought I'd see just a garden, I was mistaken. 
What I saw that sunny July day was a concoction of museum of modern and not very modern art, 
headquarters of some secret service, 
chamber of Riley's 'Believe it or Not' type of place, 
a jungle, a toy store, a labyrinth and a lot of other things
 that I'd never ever guess could exist in the middle of a town. 
And, after all, it was a Garden! 
Unexpected, unbelievably entertaining, creative, full of contrasts and very-very personal.

Peter, you treated visitors of your NPA Open Garden with something they'll never forget.
Your place is so unique and almost unreal that it took more than a month for me 
to get ready to show it on my blog. 
It takes several minutes to look at some of the pictures. 
You just can't absorb everything in a pic by just glancing at it briefly. 
You need to sit and indulge yourself by slowly moving your eyes from object to object, 
admiring the multitude of big and small details.
I am so grateful to you for opening this treasure grove to us!

There could be a dozen posts written about Peter's Garden. Let's see... what would be the tags?
1- Cacti and succulent garden
2- Art in the garden
3- Humor in the garden
4- Container gardening
5- Perennial garden
6- Trees, vines and shrubs
7- Rear and exotic plants
8- Greenhouse
9- Shade garden
10- Paths, pavers, stepping stones
11- Found objects and collectibles in the garden
12- A Garden of a glass art instructor
13- How to create an oasis in the middle of a city
Etc., etc.

There won't be many comments below. 
Don't expect to see many names of the plants either. 
I need a second chance to see the garden for that. 
My first encounter with this place was all about emotions, 
oohs and aahs, about discoveries and just pure amusement.
You might see the same corners of the garden several times. 
It's because I made two circles around the garden... no, three circles.... or four?
Let's go! 

Excitement starts brewing already upon approaching the Garden...

 If I wouldn't know which garden on the street is an NPA Open Garden, this guy would tell me, he has a sign:

 Heavenly Romneya greets the visitors

There is a promise of something special ahead...

Can you believe, it's not a garden yet? It's what  passersby and neighbors can enjoy daily:

Big leaf magnolia, bamboo, fig tree, plume poppy, lobelia tupa, acanthus, rosa glauca, dracunculus v. ... !!!

 Secret Garden Gate

 I am in. Where is a neighborhood with its power lines, parked cars, garages, trash cans prepared for a pick-up, tired pavement and burned grass?
 I am in a separate world under a dense green canopy, walking on narrow brick paths toward a labyrinth of the Unknown. 

Beautiful glass pieces are created by the gardener himself!

Splashes of color stir the feelings of excitement

 Mashmallows, anyone?

This gate is a bomb! 

It's a Handrail!

Where are these steps leading? Who does that throne belong to? 
To a wizard, to a jungle king, or to a fortune teller?

And the head starts to spin... 
Containers, vases, blooms, foliage, sculptures, spheres, faces, palms, animals, birds, birdbaths, mosaics and plants, plants, plants ...
Shapes, colors, sizes, textures...
Explosive mix. 

As Peter says, he has never yet met a plant he didn't like. 
And plants, common and rare, love him back!

 Peter's Garden has many faces, literally and figuratively.

Magnificent bamboo makes me forget that I am in the middle of a residential neighborhood.

 What happens if something beautiful gets broken?
Fragments of beauty are still beautiful.

From the exotic bamboo grove to a northwestern stumpery:

There is The Man and The Sea. Do you see? C!

 Shady refuge on a sunny day

Here She is, again. The most photographed, I think, ornament in the garden:

Look at Her and imagine that those blue glass balls are not there. It wouldn't be the same. 
They make her the Princess of another, mystical, world.
Oh! It just donned on me! I know who She is!
She is the Goddess Flora
because this is what Peter calls himself on his blog:
"A slave to the Goddess Flora shares his garden adventures". 

How many Fuchsia plants do you see in the next picture? I see four.

Glass artist and instructor garden...

Who will be hatching from these eggs nestled under the magnificent Spider Web Aralia?
This is who!

 The blue color is bold and beautiful in Peter's Garden.

The next scene stops everyone in their tracks! Cacti! Succulents!

Love this planted bowl!

I told you, some secret service is here... You're being watched!

I took a break here. Too much to absorb. 
How much time and labor is needed to haul all this prickly and plump beauties 
from a greenhouse and then back again...

These narrow paths are not meant for two. 
Be alone, bathe in your feelings, be a child who entered a magic gate 
on an ordinary street and got lost in a magical garden...

While already excited and surprised, I discovered a greenhouse... it was like an unexpected treat,
 a generous bonus. 
I could spend several hours there. 
Tricked by mirrors, the former garage seems to be enormous. 
Packed with treasures, it left me speechless.
A medieval cabinet of curiosities? Balzac's Gobseck treasures beyond belief? 
A pawnbroker's shop? A toy store? A storage of rare plants? All together!

I, myself, am a minimalist when it comes to decor, but oh boy, 
I enjoyed being in that vivid, crazy place! 
There are thousands of objects in the greenhouse, even a rug that, accidentally or intentionally, harmonizes with the girl's hair color, terracotta things, etc.

 What are you peeking at?!

Did I say I spent hours looking at the photographs of Peter's Garden? 
While there, you get a bit overwhelmed. At home, pictures come to your help, 
and you are able to stare at these flashcards of vivid imagination, unleashed fantasy and humor.
It unleashes your own imagination.


 I love this!

As Peter says, his garden is not everyone's cup of tea. Right.
The same cup of tea everywhere and for everyone would be boring!

 Hello, 007! I see you've gotten tired spying on guests.


 Toy story!

 Is a horror movie about to start?

 Dichroa fibrifuga

 Ready for vacation?

And, to add to our feeling of awe, here are these pictures of Before and After.

 20-year old Contorted Filbert

My kingdom for this tree! 
(As in Shakespeare's play Richard III "My kingdom for a horse!") 

 Is She the sister of that Princess with a crown of blue balls above her head, the Goddess Flora?
That one watches over the garden, and this one over the house.

 How can I make my own Impatients omeiana to be as lush as this one?

 Containers are abundant in Peter's Garden. I take it as a reminder: 
If there is no space in the garden for a new plant, there is always a container for it!

Bye-bye, magic house with a Secret Garden.


THANKS again, Peter!
And, merci for the cookies!
And, for turning a hellstrip in front of your house into a mini botanical garden, 
I am taking my hat off to you!
 I'll keep my promise, and when a national gardening magazine schedules its visit, 
I'll come and help you to prepare the garden.
I remember reading a story a long time ago: a person was walking along the street, 
saw a gate among the greenery, entered and found herself (himself) in a beautiful place. 
She (or he) tried to find that place again later, but there was no gate 
that seemed to be a portal to another dimension.
I am so glad that I can find YOUR place again!

The Outlaw Gardener is Peter's blog. Enjoy!

***Copyright 2017 TatyanaS


  1. Oh, be still my heart! What a wonderful, unexpected treat it was to find your post in my feed this morning, chock-full of richly colorful, beautiful photos of Peter's garden, so I could relive that great day, seeing the garden (and you). Thank you so much for sharing your pictures and commentary. I know now where to come whenever I want to remember the tiniest details of Peter's clever garden.

  2. As usual, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Peter's garden through your artistic eye. And, yes, what a pleasure to have the privilege of getting lost in this beautiful garden. I would take two steps forward and have to look all around me or else I'd miss out on something beautiful. I already see from your beautiful photos, Tatyana, that I must go back again because I was in total over-load the first time. Thank you so much for opening our treasure to us, Peter! I'm always inspired by visiting other gardens...but, this one was over the top. Karen Mashburn

  3. I have just spent the last 45 minutes on your blog, Tatyana. It's taken that long because I couldn't stop staring at the photos. I am in awe. What a magical place. I feel very inspired and invigorated. Kudos to you for you quality photos. Kudos to Peter for his fantastic garden.

  4. Thanks for posting this, Tatyana! I had hoped to be able to see Peter's garden but couldn't make it on Saturday, and I think he wasn't open on that Sunday. Amazing, intricate, wonderful space, and beautifully captured by your photos! I'm so hoping that he considers opening for NPA again (hint to you, Peter, if you're reading comments!!!) I enjoyed meeting Peter when he came through my garden a few years ago on an NPA open. At the time he said something to the effect that he wasn't yet brave enough to open for NPA but maybe it would happen sometime... WOW. It can make one feel very vulnerable when sharing something that is so personal and such an expression of one's self, as this garden obviously is, but how fortunate for us that he did. Thanks for opening, Peter, you've created a thing of beauty. Just 'WOW'. And thanks Tatyana, for your in depth tour! Peggy Fox

  5. I enjoyed your presentation of Peter's Garden. I love the heads. Well, I love everything about it. Everywhere you can see the hand of a gifted plantsman and an acquisitive soul. I think I know the guy with the fig leaf. I used to date his brother. ;) Thanks for all your effort to compile a good grouping of photos.

  6. Thank you Tatyana for the kind words and beautiful pictures if the craziness of my weed patch. It's always a delight to see you and you're always welcome to return!

  7. You have captured Peter's garden beautifully! I think it took me three posts to cover it on my blog, shortly after visiting this magical place. It was a visit I planned for months in advance, not allowing anything else to bump it off the calendar. We walked through it twice, and still were not really ready to leave.

  8. Thanks for the great views of Peter's garden. I read his blog daily and even though he often posts wider views of his garden, this really put a lot of things in context. And your photos are beautiful.

  9. Just Wow. I can't imagine how many hours Peter pours into his work of art. So inspiring. It did make me at least run out and turn a drip on my thirsty Ashe Magnolia. I'm never going to be a a Peter, though. He's incredible. Thanks for sharing.

  10. This post is mind-blowing, the fullest immersion yet I've had in Peter's extravagant garden. That man is a force of nature himself! The explosion of color sets off some of the quieter moments, like the contorted filbert with the statue underneath clutching his knees, the black mondo grass with fluorescent creeping jenny, and that gorgeous clump of Parahebe perfoliata, which I must grow again as homage -- thank you so much for this extended tour. All hail Peter!

  11. Thanks so much for posting this. Peter's garden is truly one of a kind. Your photography is beautiful. I have been texting back and forth with a friend while we go over every picture. We visited the same day and we missed so much! I need to go back...slowly and attempt to take it all in. And it was great seeing you again.

  12. What a wonderful post! And made all the more so accompanied by your beautiful photos. For as many times as I've visited Peter's magical garden via his blog, this is the most thorough coverage of it I've ever seen. There are surprises around every corner and under every leaf.

  13. Peter never shows this much of his garden in his own posts, so thank you! Whew!

  14. After all the photos I've seen of Peter's garden, with this post I feel I've seen what it's really like to visit there. Wonderful! Thank you Tatyana for the beautiful photos and care you've take to show us his garden in a way that makes it seem as if I had visited myself.


  16. Don't you just love to gather ideas from other people's gardens? Peter's is especially charming.


Thank you for stopping by and for your comment! I appreciate your time! See you soon on your blog!

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