Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Meet Our Community: Phillip Oliver, blogger and transplanted 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.)

Phillip Oliver

My passion for gardening started 30 years ago. I easily get bored and scattered, but gardening remains my chief solace in life. In 2007 I started my blog, Dirt Therapy -- an extension of my website A Southern Garden -- while working as a librarian at the University of North Alabama. In addition to documenting what my husband, Michael, and I are doing in the garden, I like to share other gardens, garden books, and recipes. Blogging is an excellent way to meet other gardeners and discover new plants and gardening concepts. And more than anything else, it makes an excellent gardening diary. 

Our lives took a major detour 5 years ago when we relocated across the country to Vancouver, Washington. I had always felt an affinity for the Pacific Northwest. When an opportunity came for me to retire from the academic world, we took the plunge. Looking back, it was a daring decision, but we are thrilled to be living here. The only downside is, in our quest to downsize, I now find myself running out of room for plants. 

My favorite part of gardening is creating a design and putting it all together. My plant obsession, however, often gets in the way, and I find myself deviating from my original plan in order to cram in more plants. I love a wide variety of plants, but I’d say heirloom roses are at the top of my list. We had a lot of them in Alabama. I don’t have as much room here and am always trying to figure out how to incorporate more. I absolutely love David Austin roses as well as trees, conifers, and camellias. 

I have visited many wonderful gardens, but my favorite may be Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C. I’ve studied and admired how it all came together. Dumbarton Oaks: Garden Into Art by Susan Tamulevich was very influential for me. Many more gardens, especially here in the Pacific Northwest, I've yet to see. 

I work at a retail nursery during the growing season, which gets me into trouble plant-wise. I am also active with local gardening groups, and I serve on the board of the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon. Gardening is huge in the Pacific Northwest, and I feel fortunate to be a part of it.


Thanks for sharing your work and your gardening passions with us, Phillip! You can follow Phillip on his blog Dirt Therapy and on his Facebook and Instagram pages.

Photographs courtesy of Phillip Oliver.