Garden Tour: JJ Trips The Light Fantastic

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The HPSO garden tour fun continues! This one was so good that my Mom visited three times in a 24 hour period--the first time on her own, and then the next day when she had to bring me twice so we could see if before and after dusk. You will see why the after dusk visit was important in just a moment.

I think every garden should have a greeter and nobody gets the job done quite like a gurgling Easter Island statue.

This is the Mt Tabor garden of JJ who owns the wonderful garden store Digs on Alberta. You will likely accumulate a wishlist of cool things for your garden as you see the photos, and much of them can be found at her store.

Take note of the GIANT red containers holding a pair of windmill palms. As if they weren't already exciting enough, they have another surprise up their sleeves...

It's easy to spend ages wandering through JJ's garden because there are SO many details to admire. Bright crushed orange glass turns out to be the perfect foil for some cool blue-green succulents.

You can see right away that this is the home of a gardener with a sense of humor and an outsize sense of fun. JJ was also the most gracious host--when we arrived she was holding court at a table under an enormous umbrella but managed to holler out a warm welcome to everyone who entered and make sure they were invited to a glass of vodka-spiked lemonade. You really wanted to hang out all day. And night.

As a lover of orange, this place was heaven for me. JJ really has a knack for creating fun little vignettes around the garden--so many good ideas at play. 

For some people a giant pair of malachite green foo dogs would be the centerpiece of their garden, but this was just one of many jaw-dropping tableaux. Aren't they incredible?

It's a totally cross-cultural environment here where the Chinese foo dogs, Easter Island dude, and Virgin of Guadalupe all party amongst the succulents.

This should really have been the first photo of the post because this is the entry in the front of the garden. A bright orange carrot gate really signifies that this way fun lies.

Bold and striking color combinations were present in the accessories but also in the plantings. I love this dark begonia mixed with coleus and creeping jenny.

When we returned after dinner, the garden had transformed into a magical light show.  There were lights drawing you towards the back garden gate.

You can nap, read, eat, and party here--there is seating for 60 people. JJ's use of light was to me the most extraordinary thing about her garden. There were all sorts of lights, from small fairy string lights, to lanterns, to...see below.

Remember those planters from before? BAM SHAZAM!  Turns out only the upper portion of the pot held dirt (giving you a sense of their size) and the body was hollow creating a stunning illumination after sunset.

Holy agave! Just too much gorgeousness. I'm getting a lot of ideas for plantings that will match my orange house.

And finally, my personal favorite, these punched lanterns are on my wishlist now. I'm told they come from Digs. They remind me of Indonesian batiks and the light they put out is really magical.

Three things I learned from JJ's garden:

1. I'm an orangaholic, through and through.
2. More is more fun.
3. You need a lot of different wattages of light in your garden so it doesn't look like an airport runway.


  1. It's been fun seeing this garden from different points of view. Several of your photos failed to come up...which makes me sad, because each one I saw was a not to be missed treasure.

  2. Oh drats! I'm sorry some of the images weren't loading for you--I think maybe this post is just a little too image heavy.

    I agree, it's really fun seeing other perspectives--I noticed after the fact that most of my photos are close-ups of the different vignettes and you don't really get a look at the whole garden.

  3. Wonderful post! So fun to see another view of JJ's garen, and you know, I realize now I've never seen it after dark! We were there for a party on the 4th but left once the fireworks started getting too crazy and the lights weren't on yet. I really need to follow her lead and get some lighting in my garden, there currently is none! ( so sad) Thanks for the fun pictures!

    1. You should get over there with a bottle of wine asap--it's really so amazing with the lights on! And I would LOVE to see some lights in your garden. I'm itching to add some lights too but haven't really got a clue where to start. That will be a perfect Winter research project. And then I'll need a fat tax refund check to fund it :D

  4. Every time I see posts of this garden, I fall further in love. Thanks for this eye candy!

  5. I love malachite green foo dogs...can I ask where you purchased them?


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