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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Get Me A South Sound Specialist In Artful Outdoor Living, Stat!

Totally dig groovy, South Sound oriented plants? Do you like to grow them, look at them, learn about them, or all three? Are you masterful with your gardening results or pretty hopeless?

My attempts at gardening have yielded some strange results. I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a “black thumb” (though I have been known to horribly neglect a houseplant or two). But I am awkward with plant design, although I try with all my heart. My unseen side garden and some large containers in the unseen backyard have been the source of my “experiments.” Typically, I struggle with things that end up growing way too big, or don’t grow the right way, or the plants have clashing colors and textures. My last concoction was a whole pile of “what the heck is THAT?” But, I am eager to learn and happily teachable.

So, I sought a teacher. And I found one in the form of Scott Gruber from the South Sound’s Calendula Nursery and Landscaping.

The word “calendula” itself intrigued me, so I looked it up. A “calendula” is a member of the daisy family and is related in some ways to the marigold. The key words that defined this flower were: reliable, edible, medicinal, and most importantly, versatile. It has been through my recent experience that Scott and the team at Calendula Nursery and Landscaping lived up to its name. Here’s how:

Reliable: Scott came over and met with my husband and I to discuss our front yard. As a sculptor, artist, and plant expert, we liked him immediately. He educated us on what plants we already had and really listened to what we wanted (easy, cool, and relaxing). I guess what I liked the most was the eagerness and interest—it’s like you could see the wheels of his mind working, thinking, processing. When we concluded our visit, he said he’d e-mail us a plan. And oh man, that plan was detailed, well written and exactly what we wanted. For us, we didn’t need to go further. We were done. We found our guy. I found my teacher. And he found fresh landscape to make his new muse.

Edible: Calendula really grooves with the idea of edibles in the garden. When Scott was installing blueberry bushes and an aronia plant (berries that are like, health-wise, blueberries on steroids, click HERE to learn more) in our yard, I was intrigued. Not because the plants were beautiful, but because they were interactive and fun. The kids went wild for this concept wholeheartedly and picked and devoured all of the blueberries in short order. Cool.

Medicinal: The medicinal effects for calendula involve treating acne, reducing inflammation, taking care of bleeding and irritation. Our previous look I suppose could be related to “acne,” but certainly, our new landscaping got rid of my “irritation” of an unworkable yard. And the beautiful new plants was the salve to heal our yard’s wounds.

Versatile: Scott and Calendula created a phenomenon in our neighborhood. Everyone in the area got a terrible case of rubber neck. And slow downness. And looky-loo. Masterful plantings, creative rock turning (seriously, he turned our original rocks on their sides to create fab sculpture), and seeing through the artist’s eye, it was a treat watching him work. And the coolest part was the description of what was done. During orientation, he exclaimed with a childlike delight, “…and this, in the fall, will give you OUTRAGEOUS color!” Anyone who uses the phrase “outrageous color” (and means it!)soars to the top in my little book of life.

Explore the Calendula nursery and landscaping website. I’ll make it easy for you: click HERE and go! High energy, fun, and locally spirited, you will learn many things. You’ll learn about plants obviously, but more than that, you can see some great creative art pieces that are custom made (I love the custom designed clocks, so check ‘em out). The nursery is only a hop, skip, and a jump from Tacoma and if you want a little in-town face time with Scott, hit Tacoma’s Proctor’s Farmer's Market to ask questions, learn, buy, and dream. You will not be disappointed.


Stephanie Frieze said...

Thanks for the wonderful post, Kim. One summer I took a really great herbal class and we made calendula ointment and tincture. The whole world of herbal medicine is fascinating.

Loved the post,

Kim Thompson said...

Hi Stephanie:

Oh, how cool! What a great class--I'd totally dig that. I did something like up in Seattle many moons ago and I learned some cool stuff.

I appreciate your kind words. Scott is so cool. You know, when you back in town, you should visit with him and/or go to the nursery. I think you'd really, really enjoy it.

And my aronia berries are close to being ripe! I'll let you know how they turn out and taste.


Your friend and much love,


KR said...

Three years after transforming our baren post-construction wasteland of a yard into an urban oasis, passersby constantly stop us and ask, wonder, comment: "What is that plant? I love your yard! Look, look, look!" My response is: "I forget the name, here, take some to a nursery! My friend Scott designed the yard, it's not me!" And every day still, there is something new that I notice in my perennials, an element of the hardscape that I appreciate even more. When you hire Scott, you don't hire a landscaper, you befriend a plant shaman.

Stephanie Frieze said...

Hey, besides a contractor we are looking for landscape advice for our GH yard. This is good stuff. Thanks again, Kim!

Patty Cake said...

Your yard looks great, Kim and I am happy to hear Scott worked out so well for you. The native plants are a treasure to grow here in the Northwest. What a ture marketing testimonial you are for Calendula!

Kim Thompson said...

KR, Stephanie, Patty:

Thanks gang for the great comments!

KR your yard totally rocks. I am always blown away by it and I've seen it a gazillion times.

Stephanie, Scott would be a lovely person to chat with for some advice. Check out the website, too, as that is loaded with great info.

Patty, yes, I want to really highlight this business in every way I can think of, you know?

Thanks all,


Lorraine Hart said...

Plant Shaman...I like that!!

I'd recommend you also grow some Comfrey...they call it the Bone Plant (you can find it all around here) and would be so good for your ankle, Kim. You take a leaf, pound it a little to get the juices going, then put on your ankle with a hot, wet cloth on top.

Everything looks beeyoodiful!!!

Kim Thompson said...

Plant shaman! Scott would love that!

I like the idea of Comfrey. I'll look into that.