-

-
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.

Friday, September 8, 2017

The Garden of Karen Guzak and Warner Blake

"In 1993, Karen and Warner bought a 100 year old Victorian Catholic church and rectory in the Snohomish Historic District.  They named it Angel Arms Works" began the description of this garden in the Northwest Perennial Alliance book of open gardens.  Sounded right up my alley and indeed it was!


"The buildings were renovated for an art studio and residence, and Karen started working on the garden desing, considering this an extension of her work as an artist." (Talk about a parking strip!  Can you imagine the spectacle when all of those iris were in bloom?)


Every detail of this garden is a visual delight.  

"Katsura trees held by custom-made tree guards line the front sidewalk."

The mingled feelings of peace and excitement that came over me on entering this space, the vibe of the place, is difficult to describe.

"Karen created 'flowers' mode of industrial parts to serve as plant support stakes throught.  Look also for Warner's abstract angels."


"Because the garden is relatively small, paths were created to weave through curving beds. A brick patio was built on a central entry axis, covered with an arbor Warner built."




This poem, written by Karen as the U.S. was dropping bombs on Afghanistan, adorns the four beams of the arbor.








It was about at this point that I met Karen herself and started asking questions about various objects. I'll never forget her question, "Do you like stuff?"  With racing heart and dancing eyes, I wiped the drool from my mouth and calmly responded that, yes, I enjoy admiring things.

We were invited inside the house.  Karen is an artist, yoga instructor, and the mayor of Snohomish a combination as successfully eclectic as her home's interior.  I'm usually not a fan of the marriage of modern industrial objects and Victorian-era homes but this was done in such a seamless way as to seem quite natural.  Modern and antique furnishings cavorted as if made for each other, all holding collections of stunning objects centered on the idea of harmony, glorious artwork dripping from the walls.  I wasn't bold enough to ask to take pictures of the interior but you can see a few accompanying this article in  Western Art and Architecture.  One of my favorite things about the former church rectory was a rather large antique armoire with three mirrored doors in the dining room. The two side doors opened to reveal storage for tableware.  The center door, when opened, revealed a portal to Blake's studio, probably the former sacristy of the church.

A quote from that article: “We are very aware that this was a house of worship. Years of prayers and forgiveness put us in touch with a sense of spirit,” Guzak says. “I would call that spirit a universal life force. And, isn’t that what artists hope to capture and reveal in their work? A life force that touches our souls.”

As Karen mentioned, the garden is not huge but it holds many spaces to relax, reflect, and enjoy the wonder of the space.






Learn more about Angel Arms Works on their website.

My only regret is that I don't live closer to  Snohomish so that I could pass by this garden on a regular basis.

Thank you Karen and Warner for opening your garden (and home) for so many to enjoy!
  
Happy weekend all.  The Cascade Cactus and Succulent Society Odd Plant Show and Sale takes place at Sky Nursery on Saturday and Sunday!

22 comments:

  1. The interior is as glorious as the garden. I know you were in heaven.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The flow of the entire space, the finesse and style of Karen and Warner, really spoke to me. Like you, they have achieved an artistic refinement that I admire greatly and would like to achieve if I ever grow up.

      Delete
  2. This is an unusual and striking building and the paint they used enhances it's structural details so beautifully. It's a marvelous art-filled garden, where the creative vibe (providence?) is felt at every turn. The question "do you like stuff" cracked me up. If she only knew... Thanks for the heads-up on the Sky sale.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Odd Plant Show and Sale was great fun last year and the people from the Cactus and Succulent Society are really knowledgeable and nice.

      Delete
  3. Linda stole my line! I was going to say you must have been in heaven. So was she selling the spikes/plant supports? There were so many of them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think they were for sale, just part of the garden.

      Delete
  4. Another fantastic garden and talented gardeners/artists in residence. A wonderful new life for the church, too. I feel so lazy when I see the work others have done, what accomplishments they have to their credit.

    As always, I love my stroll through your posts, Peter. You're always showing me the world I'm missing by staying put on my patch of dirt. I have a front row seat to the gorgeous gardens right in my own living room. Thank you, dear friend. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my goodness Karen, how you could ever feel lazy with all the work you have done and continue to do in your huge wonderland of a garden is beyond me.

      Knowing that I get to share these beautiful gardens adds an extra bit of enjoyment to seeing them myself.

      Delete
  5. What a great garden! I remember you telling me about it, and about the house and its furnishings, when we last got together for an NPA tour. Like Chavliness, I had to laugh at the stuff question. Is that sale at Sky the one we went to last year?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is the sale at Sky that we went to last year!

      Delete
  6. I loved Karen's poem in the arbor. Cool garden!

    ReplyDelete
  7. A beautiful garden. Thank you for sharing it.

    You like stuff?!? I'm shocked, shocked!

    ReplyDelete
  8. People after your own heart. One cannot have too much stuff. I like all the overhead arbors and pass throughs. Fabulous art.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes I dream of a minimalist garden of low maintenance, drought tolerant evergreens. It passes. For me, the garden is more about the process of gardening, being outside, nurturing plants, making and moving around stuff, digging in the dirt, etc.

      Delete
  9. I wonder: did Karen ask all her visitors that question, or did she sense a kindred spirit? A LOT was packed into that garden but it still created a coherent whole. That this couple has been able to merge their myriad interests into such a cohesive package is also impressive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wondered that myself as I felt a connection to this creative spirit.

      Delete
  10. I do love this garden. We have visited it several times.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Wow, it looks like a garden filled with so many wondrous treasures to discover! One could spend a lot of time in the garden wandering around! I clicked on the link and saw the armoire that opened in the middle to the room beyond. So cool!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Lots of structure really sets off the plantings.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Karen's got my vote - except I think I'm not eligible to vote!

    ReplyDelete
  14. What a neat place. I love the writings and the cool architecture on the roof of that pavilion. The world needs more loving people like Karen.

    ReplyDelete

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