After just one day in Seattle and a couple ferry rides to both Vashon and Bainbridge Islands we are off to the East Side and South End for the rest of the tour.
On day four we travelled to the east side of Lake Washington. We started the day with a visit to Joanne White’s garden. Joanne, a former apartment dweller, has made a place to pursue her passion. She began by planting rhododendrons and azaleas, leaving in some pasture for views of fences and grazing horses. Timbered pergolas tie the house to the garden. There is a weeping sequoia, massive copper beech and spreading Cedrus Atlanticas which provides scale, shelter and structure for the house and garden. Little creeks appeared all over the property, and rain came down the hillside directly toward the house. Curbing the length of the driveway solved the runoff problem, directing the water away from the house. She hired someone to dig a series of three large ponds. Lined with the natural blue clay, they’ve never leaked, and remain filled with water even in summer.
Next we were off to Denise Lane’s Garden, Denise says “Over 25 years of intense planting and furnishing “garden rooms” with unique hardscape and art has created a one of a kind large garden. A wide variety of growing conditions (wet boggy clay and dry gravel, shade and brilliant sun) allows unusual plants to coexist with bird friendly natives. Beautiful vistas and picture perfect combinations of texture and color echoes surround a custom entertainment terrace with fire trough.” Denise had invited us to have lunch in the garden.
Joanne and Denise are on the board of the Bellevue Botanic Garden, http://www.bellevuebotanical.org our next stop. Bellevue Botanical Garden is an urban refuge, encompassing 53-acres of cultivated gardens, restored woodlands, and natural wetlands. The living collections showcase plants that thrive in the Pacific Northwest. The Interactive Garden lets visitors easily find information about plants and gardening using personal mobile devices or computers. Bellevue’s demonstration of good garden design and horticulture techniques inspires visitors to create their own beautiful, healthy gardens.
Our last stop was Kathy and Ed Fries garden.This large property encompasses Woodlands leading down to a private beach on Lake Washington. The property includes a miniature castle garden room, charming chicken house, pirate playhouse, and grotto made from salvaged pieces from a Seattle theater. Cobbled paths lead to statues, groupings of huge stones, bridges and a vegetable garden. Kathy and I share a love of chickens and gardening so we always have lots of stories to tell.
Thursday evening had an option to join the Northwest Horticultural Society’s “Nerd Night.” The event includes unusual plants, food, and entertainment. It is one of the biggest summer garden parties. About half the group attended giving them the opportunity to meet many of the areas gardeners and nurserymen.
The fifth and final day started with a private tour by Richard Hartlage the designer of the Chihuly Garden, http://www.chihulygardenandglass.com. The centerpiece of Chihuly Garden and Glass is the Glasshouse. A 40-foot tall, glass and steel structure covering 4,500 square feet of light-filled space, the Glasshouse is the result of Chihuly’s lifelong appreciation for conservatories. The design of the Glasshouse draws inspiration from two of his favorite buildings: Sainte-Chapelle in Paris and the Crystal Palace in London. The Glasshouse has an expansive 100-ft long sculpture in a palette of reds, oranges, yellows and amber. Richard was the director of the Miller Garden and the person who hired me there so our friendship goes back awhile. He occasionally has me growing plants for the Chihuly Garden and it is always a treat to see them grown in such a spectacular spot.
Next it was off to Old Goat Farm http://oldgoatfarm.com .for lunch and a tour. This is Gary and my garden so I was excited to share it with the group although a bit intimidated after seeing so many fine gardens during the past week. We discovered this beautiful little place quite by accident while plant shopping with a good friend. It is located just outside Orting, WA, tucked below Mt. Rainier. We fell in love with the place, and a few months later we became the owners. Talk about impulse buying. Our goal is to offer well-grown garden plants that are showcased in the garden. We are plant enthusiasts so there is usually something that will appeal to everyone.
Next it was just down the street to the Chase Garden http://www.chasegarden.org . It sits on a bluff overlooking the Puyallup River Valley featuring a spectacular view of Mount Rainier. It is one of the Garden Conservancy preservation projects noted for its exceptional beauty and originality. The garden was the lifework of Emmott and Ione Chase, who devoted more than forty years to building and refining the landscape to create one of the finest examples of mid-twentieth century Pacific Northwest design. They created Japanese-inspired ponds and bridges surrounding the house and a colorful meadow filled with drifts of rock garden plants inspired by wildflower fields on Mount Rainier. They planted native shrubs and carpets of trillium, erythronium, and vanilla leaf in naturalistic woodlands of second-growth Douglas fir trees. Their artful, modernist landscape truly captures the unique spirit of the place and has been called one of the ten most beautiful gardens in America.
Next we tour the tropical garden of Julia and Ernie Graham. The site is plagued by poor soil so Julia turned to tropical plants for their ability to thrive in the solar heat reflected from the swimming pool’s deck. To overcome the soil problem, she put the plants in containers ― mostly glazed pots whose blue-green color echoes the water and the pool’s tile. The cool tones also set off the plants’ hot-colored foliage. Each pot is fringed by cascading plants. To give the plantings height, Julia included cannas and hardy bananas. Through the lower shade garden Julia has combined perennials and Japanese maples in a very colorful fashion. It is a striking example of northwest and Japanese garden styles.
We ended the day at the Owing Brown Studio, http://owingsbrownstudio.com . Sharman Owings is a painter and Ross Brown is a sculptor. Ross has a unique style. He says he makes future, primitive, ritual, artifacts. Together they have created a lovely garden with art strategically placed sculptures. Being artists they look at plants as pieces of art so the plantings are very artistically done. Sharman is also a great cook, one of the best I know so I asked her to do the farewell dinner. It was the perfect end to the perfect trip.
I would like to thank Sterling Tours from San Diego for consistently coming up with great tours. Working with them on this tour was a real pleasure. I have used many of their garden descriptions in this blog because they know how to cut to the chase and describe the gardens perfectly. Touring Seattle with people from out of the area made me realize what a wonderful place we live in.
Having travelled the world and toured many gardens I can honestly say there is no place like home.