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Camille and Dirk Paulsen's Garden in Puyallup

I've now been to Puyallup but I still don't think I can pronounce it. This was the last day of our trip and as we headed south, there were still gardens to see. This was the last private garden we visited. It is the spectacular garden of Camille and Dirk Paulsen. The description from our itinerary- "When we moved here in 2011, we were thrilled to inherit numerous conifers, magnolias, Japanese maples and other beautiful trees that lent the garden a mature feel. It was hard to pick a favorite, but the giant weeping sequoia (aka the Dr. Seuss tree) captured our imagination with its whimsical nature. A true living sculpture! We kept the trees but redesigned most everything else. As Camille's passion for plants grew, the lawn kept shrinking. Our former front lawn is now a sunny plant-filled oasis with a welcoming pergola, pond and waterfall. Dirk's hand-built Torli gate graces an Asian-influenced shade garden, while a mossy fernery adds interest to the other side yard.

Revisiting Thomas Vetter's Garden

Back in the day when I gazed longingly at photos of gardens in the Pacific Northwest, I would bet that I came across some of Thomas Vetter's gorgeous garden in Portland. I got the chance to see his garden in person three years ago and stopped by again last Sunday for another visit. It continues to inspire me and is one of my favorite gardens.

It was hot and the sun was bright on Sunday but there is a calming and cooling factor the minute you enter. 

At the driveway entrance, a large collection of potted plants greet you.

A pathway leads through the small front garden. His garden is jam-packed with plants, all artfully arranged with lovely combinations and contrasting textures.

 A narrow side garden leads to the back -

The back garden is a dream. 

Underneath a porch are more potted plants and a collection of succulents -

And, back in the corner, a towering locust (Robinia) . A big crow sat in it almost the entire time of my visit.

Thank you again for opening your garden to us Thomas. It is an artistic gem!

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. Thanks for the photos! I haven't managed to visit Thomas' garden for years, its still looking as wonderful as ever.

  2. Beautiful indeed. The photos provide a sense of an enclave cloistered from the world around it. I'm glad you got a chance to tour it again before the heat descends on Portland.

  3. And thank you for sharing this artistic gem. I can see where you would get a lot of inspiration from this garden. It is beautiful.

  4. Gorgeous garden! Thomas is masterful in layering plants perfectly for hight, texture and color. The covers porch is a jewel. Is it a climbing hydrangea in photo #5?


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