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Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Wonderful Secret - Visiting Lee Hiatt "The Hidden Grower"

 
When I'm feeling down (January - March) I think that at my age there won't be any more pleasant  surprises in life and that I could die happily.  Every now and then, a serendipitous occurrence  makes me realize that there are still discoveries to make, still surprises to thrill.  The  garden blogosphere has brought many such surprises,  new gardening friends and grand adventures I'd never imagined.   One such happy confluence of events began with my post, a few months ago,  about Lakewold Gardens.  Several people commented, including Vickie Haushild, the former proprietress of the Shop/Nursery at Lakewold.  I'd remembered her because she found a Clerodendrum trichotomum (don't know if that's a blessing or a curse) for me about 16 years ago.  We've been emailing back and forth since. Vickie mentioned a local grower who used to supply her with plants and asked if I'd like to visit his place with her.   Of course I jumped at the offer and when she gave me the address, I was amazed.  This grower lived within walking distance of our old house.  I'd driven and walked by the place for eight years and never knew what was just beyond the gate.
 
From the street, this looks like an interesting garden with some nice foliage combinations.
 

Vickie said that Lee Hiatt had no lawn around his turn of the century home just flat after flat of plants that he's propagated.  

Lee has a 9 - 5 job and this is something he does in his spare time. He knows the name of every plant which amazes someone like me who often forgets.

Lee said that he wanted me to become addicted to miniature hostas.  Seeing so many incredible examples of this tough as nails plant was a treat.  That I could actually buy his plants was another!  AND there was no minimum order.  Heaven!

I fell hard for the one on the bottom of this picture just right of center.  Turns out this is called 'Curly French Fries' and is the one that Vickie was there to get.


Lee has a thing for variegated and gold foliage like myself so there were lots of temptations! 


 Here's Vickie doing a bit of shopping!  She thinks that Lee should start a blog and call it  "The Hidden Grower" and I concur!

This gold leaved Weigela came home with me.

As we neared the other side the house, there was a huge downpour.  Fortunately we were able to take refuge under the side porch.  Just about everything you see in this garden is in pots.  Many of the trees are ones that Lee started from seed, trying to get variegated forms of some of them. 


The rain simply wouldn't let up but Lee and I ventured out anyway.  The camera stayed on the porch with my pad and pen so I've forgotten most of the names of many of the trees Lee pointed out.  I did see his Davidia involucrata (was that variegated too?)
 Bonsai miniature hostas.  Sorry for the blurry picture.  There was a raindrop on the left side of my lens.

One last look at the hostas before getting back into the dry car. 
What an honor to meet this plant passionate man and see his place.  Thanks Lee and Vickie for this cool discovery!  Lee's next visitors this day were going to be the owners of a well-known Portland area nursery.  The good news is that you too can visit Lee and his plants.  You must email as he's open by appointment only.  Leehiatt@harbornet.com 

Here are some of the miniature hostas that came home with me. Please ignore that they're still in their nursery pots. 

I hope that life keeps throwing happy surprises your way from time to time!
!
 

29 comments:

  1. That really IS amazing! (Kind of reminds me of my visit to the perennial sale last week. Quite a surprise - in a very ordinary-looking house viewed from the street...

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    1. And before you know it, you're addicted, writing a garden blog or two and have to get another greenhouse. Hmmm...

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  3. The beauty of their plant collection is undeniable but their niceness somehow can be felt through your photos too. It's so easy to get into miniature hostas.

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    1. They really are very nice people! Who wouldn't love miniature hostas? They're easy and they take up very little space.

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  4. What fun you had (except for the drenching rain of course). It's always amazing to me that there are people here in the PNW who basically run nurseries from their homes. I'm sure life has plenty more surprises in store for you, and all good ones!

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    1. It is cool that we have so many independent growers and nurseries in our area! Life is interesting isn't it?

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  5. Finding your garden blog was a pleasant surprise, and now we are "going steady". I'm very fond of hostas (as are my slugs); I find them easy and reliable plant with awesome varieties to pick from. The charming statue in the last picture caught my eye. The goddess of miniature hostas?

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    1. Oh gosh, I didn't even give you my class ring but I'm glad that we're going steady! The goddess has been there for years but never looked quite right. I think she likes being surrounded by miniature hostas!

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  6. Fun! What a welcome discovery, 'french fries' is pretty cute.

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    1. Isn't it always a treat to find a new grower/nursery? I haven't visited one in days and am having withdrawals.

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  7. As a garden enthusiast, I am always on the lookout for ways to create that special atmosphere one experiences in the gardens of Provence and Tuscany. Recently I found a wonderful resource in West Palm Beach, Florida: Authentic Provence (http://authenticprovence.com). Walk into this oasis of calm, and you will see what I think is the finest collection of European garden antiques available in the USA: statues, fountains, planters (note especially the classic Caisse de Versailles, and Anduze pottery), terra cotta shields, stone animals, copper pots, garden spouts, and on and on. They also have beautiful stone fireplaces, re-purposed tiles, and many other specialty items. The staff is very adept at finding that special item, and in arranging shipping to anywhere in the USA. Definitely worth a visit, AND there is a great coffee shop across the street!

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  8. I have a challenge keeping up with my relatively small (1/2 acre) garden - I can't even imagine how someone manages to propagate and grow plants on that scale in his spare time. Discovering a grower like that around the corner would be astounding!

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    1. He's clearly possessed by a plant demon.

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  9. I would have felt like I'd died and gone to heaven. What a cool place! My favorite is that very last photo of grandma and the strappy golden hosta. I hope he will start a blog. I bet he's got a vast cache of plant wisdom.

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    1. It would be way cool if he started a blog but with his full time work, plant propagation, and appointments with plant addicts, I wonder if he'd have time?

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  10. Propagating plants is a dangerous addiction and it's also an illness and it's going around and it's not curable. So Peter you need to give me all those sweet hostas right away, just to be on the safe side.

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    1. Thank you so much, Linnie, for warning me about this illness. I'll get those hostas in the mail to you right away so as to dodge that bullet. You're such a good friend to care about me that much!

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  11. The garden blogosphere has been life changing for me too, and the source of many treasured friendships. I'm so glad you're part of the community and a friend too! Lots more fun and surprises are in store for all of us, I am sure. Sounds like you just need to plan a vacation for a sunny climate in February. :-)

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    1. It's pretty amazing how the garden blogosphere changes us! Jan - March is the time when I don't get out and garden much because it's usually dark when I leave home and dark when I return. Being able to go outside and see all that's happening in the garden cures the blues every time!

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  12. You certainly have some wonderful gardens near you, how do you find time to go to work?! All those wonderful plants in their pots just waiting to come home with you, how could you resist them!

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    1. Sometimes it's hard to squeeze that 9 - 5 job into the schedule and I can't persuade them to pay me for staying home. I do most of my garden visits on Saturdays since I work the other 6 days of the week. Resistance was futile. Some of those cuties found their way into my car!

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  13. This is plants craziness!! so many plants! paradise

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  14. what a find! that is one crazy plant person!

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  15. Talk about an enchanted forest! Your charming personality gets you invited to the best places.

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    1. Charming personality? You must be thinking of another blogger; I'm that curmudgeonly fellow.

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Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your thoughts.