The Buffed Garden - [Flex Your Garden]
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Excursion to Oudean's Willow Creek Nursery
[Snohomish, Washington]


Seattle Trip - July 2005

Seattle has to be up there on my list of favorite cities. It reminds me so much of San Francisco. Fortunately my wife and I went to Seattle during the only 2 weeks out of the year that it doesn’t rain there.

Like I said, it is much like San Francisco except for a few differences:

1.) The people were friendlier. I don’t know what it is, or if its just me – but people there were much happier. Don’t get me wrong – I love San Francisco. It's where I live, but there is just something different about Seattle. People are more welcoming.
2.) Drivers. Yes. People will let you merge and not stick any weird fingers up at you.
3.) Lack of pigeons. In SF it seems like everywhere you turn that there’s another one of those flying rodents. I only counted about 36 pigeons during my week stay in Seattle.
4.) Coffee everywhere. I think this is the explanation for #1, 2, and possibly 3. There may be just too much caffeine in the water and pigeons can’t take it. That’s my hypothesis. Perhaps those 36 pigeons I saw were developing caffeine immunity.

Anyway, we saw many things there in Seattle – our walks thru the market and downtown Seattle, coffee morning, noon, and night, and – the scrapbooking – ah yes. The rubber stamps. (We made friends at, more about this in a future article…)

Well, my trip there was memorable, and one of those things that made it so was a trip to Oudean’s Willow Creek Nursery in Snohomish county, Washington. In researching our vacation to Seattle, I discovered Oudean’s Willow Creek Nursery. I then contacted Karen Oudean (owner) a couple weeks prior to our trip. She was very friendly and helpful to this tourist in giving me information on how to get there (very important).

So off we went from the hotel we were staying at (Edgewater hotel [] and then we proceeded to beautiful Snohomish county. [] (By the way, I still can’t say it. Smosh-smish? Smush, Shmashmoch-mish? Er, Smishmish county is what I call it for short…) Thru the beautiful Pacific-Northwest we journeyed. We only forgot one thing. Breakfast. (Long story.) All we had, of course, was some good Seattle coffee.

The scenery itself in this beautiful county was just so refreshing. The majestic countryside evoked feelings of tranquility and rest. I am reminded of the bond that we as human beings have with the earth and land whenever I go thru such beautiful country-like vistas. The sights, the sounds, and the smells were also quite memorable, for we drove behind a truck loaded with cows on a two lane highway for a few miles. Whooo boy, was that something. Bond with earth all right. It was worth it though, fighting my way thru that foul stench to reach the place that I had so longed to be. Down the gravel road we went. My wife and I weren’t sure if we indeed reached our destination at first for what we initially saw was only a single greenhouse. We thought it was just another one of the homes in the neighborhood, but as we drew closer…

OH JOY, OH RAPTURE! At first I was greeted by a happy head of Darlingtonia. As I walked closer, I noticed all sorts of pitcher plants, flytraps, sundews … and all in mass quantities! A plethora of carnivorous plants surrounded me. Talk about pure bliss… My entire being was filled with laughter, my heart sang, my knees got weak, and pure delight and merriment welled up within me. I could hear Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus so loudly within the confines of my then overexcited mind. I forgot all about the odor that previously tormented me. I forgot that I hadn’t eaten the whole day. Now I was doomed since I wanted to spend the rest of my vacation in this very nursery.

Karen Oudean came out and greeted us and showed us around the nursery. I seriously was going to faint. I was surrounded by nothing but carnivorous plants. There were several watering trays used for the plants that were quite a few feet long by a several wide that were made from 2 x 4’s and pond liner. Karen also showed me the mini bog-container gardens that used a special watering container -protective weed-liner technique. The greenhouse was filled with all sorts of beautiful carnivores. I just couldn’t get enough. Karen’s surrounding yard was a vast sea of pitcher plants. I was moved to tears, and was on absolute sensory overload. (But you know, I still have a heck-uv-a time trying to pronounce all the scientific names of these plants.)
 Karen Oudean and me.  [More photos of Oudean's at the Buffed Garden Gallery]  

I roamed around the nursery for a little bit, just absorbing everything, since I knew that I wouldn’t have anything like this back in SF. So anyway, I then chose a few plants out trying to convince myself that this was all I was going to take back with me -- that was until I looked back at the vast forest of plants and hear them calling my name, beckoning me to come closer and take


Ohhh the madness, ohhhhh the agony – adieu, adieu, parting is such sweet sorrow.

Note to Karen:
Thank you once again for your time and hospitality! I truly, truly enjoyed my visit to your nursery. The plants that we took back are doing still doing well. I look forward to visiting you again! And… one more thing. Are you doing anything with that bamboo? You know the one I’m talking about – I just gotta find a container big enough for it and I’ll be happy to take care of it for you!

For those of you who are going to Seattle and are considering a trip to Karen’s nursery, I would like to suggest the following, prior to your excursion to Oudeans Willow Creek Nursery.

1.) Contact Karen by email or phone as a courtesy letting her know you are comin’.
2.) Ask her for the best way on how to get there. (If you use Mapquest or Yahoo, you’ll end up stuck behind some cow’s behind.)
3.) Eat breakfast.
4.) If you flew in to Seattle, have a sturdy box ready to use as either carry on, or an even sturdier one if you plan to check them in.
5.) Have some Seattle coffee. Good stuff.

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