It's a cool and quiet Saturday morning in Gig Harbor and as the voice of Alison's GPS tells us that we've arrived at our destination, the slight clean fragrance of salt water wafts through the woods and delights our noses. The morning sun streaming through giant douglas firs illuminating the mossy forest floor. There are times when I can't imagine living anywhere besides the Pacific Northwest! This morning, we have the pleasure of visiting the garden of Millie and Craig Russell. One of the first scenes to greet us was this white garden. In my mind, the white cat piece coupled with the white plants suggested a garden in honor of a beloved white cat. In chatting with Millie, it seems that there was no such special pet, just a desire to grow white plants here.
Dig that crazy cool Acer palmatum with ghostly white leaves.
The entry to the home is beautiful and if one stands at the door, (s)he can see through the house to the windows with water views on the other side. Sweet!
Millie found these faces on a trip to England. Having moved from Colorado, she finds the way moss covers things here quite special.
A view from a side garden. The table top is a former well cover from the property.
It's not obvious in this picture but there are paths leading down to the beach. Can you imagine waking up to such a lovely bay view every day?
Millie has a cool collection of unusual containers. This copper one is my favorite.
A scene like this which shows that someone loves plants and has been shopping is what makes a garden truly special for me. That potting table is very nice.
Some of the bonsai collection. I wonder if they enjoy the view as much as we did?
Alison photographing a couple of sweet birds.
This guy was happily visiting the bird feeders. It's very special to see a native squirrel. Here in town, we only see introduced gray squirrels.
A fantastic idea for hose storage. If I weren't too lazy to put my hose away, I'd be tempted to copy this!
There is a great collection of rusty metal items displayed in a shady part of the garden.
And on the other side of the house are sunny borders. The foliage combination here is especially nice.
As we were passing back through the trees toward the car, we spied these Indian pipes, or ghost flower, Monotropa uniflora. This from mushroomexpert.com: Until recently, botanists believed that Indian Pipes were saprophytes, subsisting on dead or decaying organic material. Recent investigations, however, have revealed that Monotropa uniflora is actually parasitic on a fungus that is in a "mycorrhizal" relationship with a tree. The fungus and the tree are exchanging nutrients in a mutually beneficial relationship; the Indian Pipes have duped the fungus into "believing" it is in a second mycorrhizal relationship--but in reality the fungus gets nothing out of the deal, and is being parasitized by Monotropa uniflora. Chlorophyll is not involved in the process, which accounts for the plant's ghostly colors.
It is impossible to buy this or get it to grow in one's garden but Millie reports that it just shows up and in slightly different places each year. I'd only seen this in pictures before and was delighted to encounter it in person.
Here's the amazing Millie, the gardener who makes this place what it is!