creative juice / personalities

allovus gardens

Take a walk through any neighborhood in America and you’ll see a variety of gardens—from sculpted hedges and rose bushes to overgrown and wild weed gardens. Chances are, if you walk by the garden of a designer/creative, you’ll be in for a treat.

It turns out, that some of the most beautiful gardens are right here in the Pacific Northwest—and they might even belong to someone you know. (Hint…Allovus employees.)

Let’s visit a few of our gardens and you’ll see why they deserve a green thumbs up.


RMassa_garden03I have a small garden area outside my home office. It is surrounded by an ivy covered fence so it gets limited sun. It also has boxwoods and evergreens. A few years ago I took over planting annuals in the few beds in front of the boxwoods. I’ve also added planters with bright green grasses. I use potato vines in bright green and black… I add coleus, petunias, marigolds, also heucheras, ferns and hostas for darker areas.


RMassa_garden01The color palette comes from what catches my eye. Picking colors is my favorite part. Whatever pops and has a rich or interesting color. I’ve found that the colors change from year to year. Coleus and heucheras come in rich and varied color/texture combos.  I’m surprised to find that the plants purchased at home depot or in front of QFC are sometimes hardier and more robust than plants purchased at the nursery. 

I also have this bear-shaped wire frame that I’ve stuffed with moss and covered in plants. This shows it covered in red petunias. I’m trying ground covers on the bear this year. This could take a lot more time. I always see what the garden could be, but have to contain the amount of time spent in it. After planting I use my limited time on watering and slug control.

In my future I see moss gardening…. and real topiary.



For me gardening is a nice respite from the digital world, and I love being outside. Of course it’s designing too.




I call gardening my “free therapy.” I can have a crazy day but once I’m in my garden, that all falls away and I’m surrounded by beauty. My garden requires very little and gives so much back in return. Plus gardening’s great exercise! ​


DSCF3199[1]Gardening tip #1 – Work with your setting. When I lived in Seattle we had a badminton court sized, city lot. We had to figure out how to incorporate an alley, the rental house next door, and the neighbor’s funky garage into our garden. Luckily our neighbors liked us and let us build a trellis on the backside of their garage that butted up to our patio. I grew a deep purple clematis, hop vine and Virginia creeper on the trellis and had lemon yellow daylilies in front of it. It was the prettiest spot in our garden. I also took over the alley and planted black bamboo, crocosmiaDSCF3201[1] lucifer, shasta daisies, and a dogwood on the opposite side of the alley from our house. It covered up the funky rental, was  beautiful to look at, and the whole neighborhood got to enjoy it. Our current lot is a 1/2 acre on Chuckanut Bay. We live in a gorgeous setting and are surrounded by water, mountains, madronas, cedars, ferns, etc. So for this garden, Mother Nature provided the backdrop. We kept as much of the native backdrop as possible, and filled from there.

Gardening tip #2 – Work with what you have. Both our gardens were beautiful, but very different from each other. Designing around the setting is half the challenge and fun! I also love planting in crazy or colorful containers. Heads and faces are great containers for flowing plants.



Gardening is zen to me, it relieves my stress and makes me feel more grounded. I love getting my hands in the dirt. I also love that my neighbors (even strangers walking by) stop to have a conversation as they pass. It has helped to strengthen my sense of community and has provided hours of entertainment. I have no other advice then to just have fun with it. Plant some crazy vegetable you’ve never heard of and see what happens. You don’t have to be an expert, learn as you go, work with what is available to you. Seems like a great metaphor for life!


Jill_GardenBedsI don’t have much land in the city, a postage stamp would be an accurate description of the size of our yard, but I do what I can. I have two raised bed gardens in our front yard. I plan to remove the grass from one side of the front yard completely to better accommodate the gardens. Grass is overrated anyway. I am a novice gardener, but I try to grow a variety of vegetables; kale, leeks, lettuce, radishes, zucchini, squash, broccoli raab and pole beans. I also have a mature flower garden at the front sidewalk that I inherited when we bought the house. I have slowly been adding to it and discovering what will grow there.

I have everything in the front yard hooked up to a watering system on a timer. This cuts back on my hands-on gardening time immensely! All I have to do is get out there every few weeks to fertilize (thanks to the chickens I have a steady supply!), weed the beds, and harvest the goods!

Jill_frontsidewalkIn the back yard I have two trough style container gardens. One is specifically for tomatoes, of which I usually grow 3 varieties. This leaves me with enough to eat and with the rest I make tomato jam for our friends and neighbors. The other trough is for fresh herbs. I LOVE having fresh herbs! I use them on a daily basis either for seasoning our dinners or drying out to store for winter, or even to freshen up the chicken coop. We’re slowly creating a flower/greenery garden around the perimeter of our yard. Every few weeks I’ll make a trip out to Swansons or Molbaks to pick up a few new plants to add to our ever evolving creation.


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