Recently the Heldreths held an open garden for fellow bloggers. We’d seen snippets of Laura & Charlie Heldreth’s garden in photographs, but most of us had not visited in person–and never en masse. If you’re a plant nerd, you know there is nothing better than kibitzing with other gardeners. No worries about dirt under your fingernails in this crowd.

Garden bloggers, kids, giant pooch. We had it all.

Garden bloggers, kids, giant pooch. We had it all.

From left to right, Matthew “the Lents Farmer” Hubbard. Laney and Emma checking out the fish. Linda “WhatsitGarden” Coombs. Our host Laura “Gravy Lessons” Heldreth. Carter, artist extraordinaire. The very modest Amy “The World’s Best Gardening Blog” Campion. And gentle giant Barnaby. Bloggers could also be found in the garden party room. Isn’t it fabulous–a pergola AND sails.!

The Heldreth Garden Party Room

The Heldreth Garden Party Room

The couple staring adoringly across the table, Lonnie and Mindy “Rindy Mae” Northrop — are parents to the cute kids shown checking out the fish. That’s Charlie Heldreth in the black shirt, co-creator of this terrific garden–and head mixer of the Italian Margarita! At center in the green shirt, Evan “Practical Geek” Bean. With his back to us, Alan “the Mardi Gras Gardener” Bertin. And the other side of Alan below. He recently started blogging and claims to be a novice gardener. I’ve visited his place, and I can safely report that he is a quick study. Gardeners–all so modest!

Alan Bertin claims to be novice gardener, but he's out of the gate fast.

Alan Bertin claims to be novice gardener, but he’s out of the gate fast.

Loree “danger garden” Bohl (in a super cute half-pic. The photographers had had two of Charlie’s Italian Margaritas at this point. If you’d tasted them, you wouldn’t blame me for imagining them harmless.)

Loree, Anna, Lonnie, and Mindy--with Barnaby at backup.

Loree, Anna, Lonnie, and Mindy–with Barnaby at backup.

And the talented Anna “Flutter & Hum” Kulgren with jug of cough-suppressant in hand.

I hope you’re enjoying the people pictures, but since these are bonafide garden blogger, it seems germane. And I like people pictures. Is there a rule about that? Plus, the internet is not the boss of me.

Jennifer "The Rainy Day Gardener" Gibson Dennis. This girl can take pictures.

Aaron Dennis and Jennifer “The Rainy Day Gardener” Gibson Dennis. This girl shoots fabulous photos.

And now for pictures of the garden.

The Heldreth Garden: a tropical paradise.

The Heldreth Garden: a tropical paradise.

The Southwest Washington garden is nestled under tall firs, yet pulls off a tropical feel. Laura says her interest in gardening began with edibles–which comprise their front garden–but her skill in layering variations and textures is abundant throughout the space. (I’m working on edibles, just haven’t gotten that far. I do a couple of tomatoes limping along. Next year, I’ll be better. I swear.)

Misters not only keep the garden cool, but ad to the ethereal look.

Misters not only keep the garden cool, but ad to the ethereal look.

The garden is teeming with fabulous plants and scenarios–ideas which I intend to borrow liberally.

Gently layered foliage texture and sheen.

Gently layered foliage texture with the sheen of Bergenia ciliata at center.

Big sexy leaves on this “easy” Arisaema ringens. I’ve killed a couple Arisaema, but I’m ready to give it another go.

I must have Arisamae ringens.

Must have Arisamae ringens. Megan’s silver shoes aren’t bad either.

Megan doesn’t much like it when I take her picture, but I didn’t let her scare me–this time. And I needed to show you the door over her right shoulder.

Megan with mister, market lights, and green door.

Megan with mister, market lights, and green door.

The green door leads to a…

The door leads to a Parallel Universe.

Door to a Parallel Universe.

Plus it prevents fence fighting between dogs. Clever, no?

Uber cool planter had former lives as bridge lights.

Uber cool planters led former lives as bridge lights.

The now-purple planters began life as lights on a highway bridge. Laura and Charlie repurposed, and they dot the garden landscape to fantastic effect.

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Here, a miniature forest floor.

A different scenario appears from the opposite side.

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I give up on the name of this heavily veined plant–but wanted to show anyway.

My envy knows no bounds.

Planters cool enough on their own, then elevated on square stumps.

Planters cool enough on their own, then elevated to a new level on squared tree stumps.

I’d seen pictures of the planters before, but didn’t fully appreciate their super grooviness until I espied in person.

Planters incorporated to perfection.

Planters incorporated to perfection.

Another terrific idea worth stealing are the 6 x 6 inch juniper posts. The Heldreths employed them as terracing, planter boxes, and the center party pole. So smart.

Terracing with a terrific mix of materials. Love.

Terracing with a terrific mix of materials. Love.

My yard is pancake flat, but I’d like to step it up…

Planter box constructed with 6x6 juniper posts.

Planter box constructed with 6×6 juniper posts.

The earthenware urn tucked in next to the planter box is a perfect touch.

An upright juniper post is at the center anchors it all.

An upright juniper post is at the center anchors it all.

The center upright anchors the sails, lights and misters–and it creates a party circuit wherein you can waltz all the way round.

I’ll leave you with a few more goodies. I can’t wait to visit again. The Heldreths employ so much stagecraft, I know there’s much more to see.

Yet another material, stone edging--which blends perfectly.

Yet another material, stone edging–which blends perfectly.

and

A fallen nest in bridge planter -- with emerald stones, of course.

A fallen nest in bridge planter — with emerald stones, of course.

and

Another perfectly employed planter. Check!

Another perfectly employed planter. Check!

I so appreciated Laura’s restraint in color palette. But every garden can take a bit of white. I see white anemones making their way back into my garden.

Simple white anemone used to terrific effect.

Simple white anemone used to terrific effect.

Thanks you so much, Laura and Charlie, for sharing you beautiful garden.

Cheers