Monday, August 31, 2020

Meet Our Community: Michelle Olivier, blogger at Sound Gardener


Let's get to know each other!


Since we're not able to meet up in person this year, let's meet online. Every week we're introducing a member* of our Fling community here and on Instagram, in their own words. We're excited to see what everyone's talking about and sharing with their followers!

(*Any garden blogger, vlogger, podcaster, or Instagrammer who follows our Instagram or is a member of our Facebook group. If you'd like to be considered or recommend someone for a Meet Our Community profile, email us.)

Michelle Olivier


Foliage in my garden
I garden in Seattle, near Puget Sound, hence the bad pun of my blog
Sound Gardener. This is my first in-ground garden, but I still have a huge container-plant collection from many years of living in apartments.

I blog primarily to record changes (hopefully positive!) to my garden in Seattle. My husband and I purchased our home in 2017, and the garden was massively overgrown, a fact clearly visible even in satellite images. Much of our initial efforts went towards renovating the house, so the garden is still in its early stages of taking shape.

My gardening style is all about the plants that capture my interest, to the detriment of developing any steady design concept. The plants I love have bold foliage, interesting architecture, or are otherwise oddities, with little emphasis on flowers. I enjoy the hardy tropical look, including the usual suspects of Tetrapanax (or practically any plant ending with panax), bamboo, Schefflera, and bananas. But I’m also fond of true tropicals, so my dream is to have a greenhouse.

Many dimensions of plants interest me  sentimental, scientific, aesthetic – which makes it impossible to pick a favorite. But I currently have a huge soft spot for ferns in the Pyrrosia genus and epiphytes generally.

Native clubmoss (Lycopodium clavatum) in the Cascades
It’s very clich├ęd, but my favorite garden is probably Kew in London, for sentimental reasons. I first visited when I was 7 or 8 years old, and it made a huge impression on me. On the flip side, one of my other favorite activities is hiking, and some of the most beautiful “gardens” are plants growing in their natural habitats, such as a meadow of bear grass (Xerophyllum tenax) blooming near Mount Rainier or a stand of yellow lady's slipper orchids (Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens) in Arkansas.


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Thanks for sharing your work and your gardening passions with us, Michelle! You can follow Michelle on her blog, Sound Gardener, and her Instagram.

Photographs courtesy of Michelle Olivier.

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