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Published: Wednesday, June 5, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Check out meat-eating plants at Sorticulture

  • Young Darlingtonia

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    Young Darlingtonia

  • Mark Mulligan / The Herald
The flower of a Flava rugelii, a type of carnivorous pitcher plant

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald The flower of a Flava rugelii, a type of carnivorous pitcher plant

These beauties are natural born killers.
They lure victims in and eat them alive.
Not to worry. Carnivorous plants might eat people in the movies, but in real life they help people.
"They eat what bites us," said Karen Oudean, owner of Oudean's Willow Creek Nursery in Snohomish. "They eat hornets, yellow jackets, mosquitoes, flies, gnats."
She'll set up her little shop of horrors this weekend at Sorticulture, Everett's three-day garden arts festival.
Six bucks buys a basic Venus flytrap. Butterworts, sundew, cobra and pitcher plants range from $5 to $65.
Oudean has been raising carnivorous plants for about 20 years.
"I saw pictures in National Geographic from a place in North Carolina," she said.
"They were architecturally different. It was like an abstract form. I'm an abstract artist. The lines were so simple and clean and unique. It struck a chord for me. I ordered a few and tested them."
That was it. She was hooked. She wasn't alone.
Demand for the plants took over her garden-variety greenhouse. "It crowded out the hostas and primrose."
Now she has about an acre of the meat-eating plants at her home nursery. Plants are sold mail-order, wholesale and by appointment.
"It's a whole different kind of gardening because you have to give them wet feet," Oudean said. "It has to be done right. A person has to understand their needs."
Buyers get an instruction sheet to tend to these botanical mutants. The biggest hazard is kids trying to feed rocks to the plants. A bug's movement gets those plant juices going to produce enzymes to dissolve its dinner. Rocks don't get a plant excited and can damage their special glands.
No, you don't have to feed them bugs in the winter. These are plants, not reptiles.
"They're not eating when dormant," Oudean said. "When the light level is low, they're not producing the enzyme to dissolve bugs."
As for her art.
"I haven't had time," she said. "My art now is in these guys. The plants are my medium."
Andrea Brown; 425-339-3443;
Oudean's Willow Creek Nursery
For more information about the nursery, call 360-568-6024 or visit
Find Oudean's at Booth 108 at Sorticulture.
The garden arts festival takes place Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Where: Legion Memorial Park, 145 Alverson Blvd., Everett.
When: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Admission is free. Dogs are allowed on leashes.
A bus runs every 15 to 20 minutes from Everett Community College's North Broadway parking lot. Regular fares apply. You can return to the park with your car to pick up purchases.
  • 10 a.m. to noon: Ranger & the Re-Arrangers, gypsy jazz/swing.
  • 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.: Zsofia Pastor, "Urban Farming"
  • 2 to 3:30 p.m.: A Well Known Stranger, string strumming.
  • 4 to 5 p.m.: Steve Smith, "Happy Hour with the Whistlin' Gardener."
  • 5:30 to 7 p.m.: Blvd Park, harmonious Americana music.
  • 10 a.m. to noon: Pickled Okra, old school bluegrass.
  • 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.: Barry Hoffer, "Pruning Japanese Maples From an Arborist's Point of View."
  • 1 to 3 p.m.: Roving, The Tarantellas, Italian strolling musicians.
  • 2 to 3:30 p.m.: Ciscoe Morris, "Exciting Plants for the Summer Garden, Q & A."
  • 4 to 6 p.m.: Impossible Bird, upbeat alternate-folk music.
  • 10 to 11:00 a.m.: Ronnda Cadle, acoustic fingerstyle guitarist.
  • 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.: Peter Ali, Native American flutist.
  • 12:30 to 2 p.m.: Ali Marcus, Americana folk singer.
  • 2:30 to 4 p.m.: Jr. Geezer, folk rock.

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