Bringing the world to our paradise

Terry Moyemont (left) and Terri Stanley. The co-owners of Mesogeo, with local peers, are becoming international plant evangelists.  - Photo by Jim Henkens/Courtesy of Mesogeo
Terry Moyemont (left) and Terri Stanley. The co-owners of Mesogeo, with local peers, are becoming international plant evangelists.
— image credit: Photo by Jim Henkens/Courtesy of Mesogeo

Dynamic duo helps position the island as a plant destination.

Terry Moyemont and Terri Stanley’s small, round kitchen table has become the epicenter of a group of local plant enthusiasts who are making it their business to start inviting the rest of the horticultural world to Bainbridge.

“To bring someone from outside the circle to say, ‘Wow, what you’re doing is great,’” Moyemont said.

With Mesogeo Nursery, Moyemont and Stanley have turned their passion for Mediterranean gardening into a big slice of their life’s work.

They’ve also helped form and are co-chairs of the Pacific Northwest branch of the Mediterranean Garden Society, whose mission is to help shine a national and international spotlight on what’s happening with temperate gardening on Bainbridge and in Kitsap.

That’s where the kitchen table comes in, since fulfilling its mission involves a raucous regular gathering of islanders and others – including Seattle plant personality Ciscoe Morris – who love to eat, drink, talk and make plans for evangelizing plants.

The group, which has not yet pursued non-profit status, nonetheless holds periodic nursery sales to raise money to sustain the organization.

After one such sale, the group resolved to bring an international expert to the island.

The goal would be to learn a few things, but also to do some of the aforementioned horn-tooting about the gardening mecca that is Bainbridge – with its large swaths of private and public land, its temperate, mostly-zone-8 climate and its rabidly passionate gardening.

Enter Brit and renowned international plantsman Will Giles, whose Norwich, England garden has become the site of a bountiful exotic plant showcase.

These plants, Giles points out on his Web site, “shouldn’t survive on the east coast of England, but in fact they do.” And that’s one of the common threads that made his endeavors appealing to Moyemont, Stanley and the rest of the Pacific Northwest crew.

Because as unlikely as it seems, Bainbridge and the often-gray Pacific Northwest as a whole provide an ideal environment for Mediterranean plants.

Moyemont and Stanley learned of Giles through a fellow international MGS member, and when they saw pictures of Giles’ nursery, they made contact, set his trip in motion and assembled an exhaustive roster of speaking engagements.

These will begin tomorrow afternoon at IslandWood and continue with an April 27 talk at Bloedel Reserve. Giles will also get air time on Morris’s radio show and plenty of time for visiting area gardens including Little and Lewis’s Bainbridge showcase and Dan Hinkley’s Windcliff.

And just as cross-pollination can help produce the hardiest plants, Stanley and Moyemont believe that these types of international exchanges will help Bainbridge grow on the gardening map.

“Travel is one of the most important parts of the industry right now,” Stanley said. “When you bring somebody in like that, I just think it’s so much richer.”

Staking a claim

Will Giles will speak at 1:30 p.m. April 20 at IslandWood, with a book signing to follow. He’ll also speak on April 27 at Bloedel Reserve; reserve space at 855-9017 or email For general info, see or

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