Posts Tagged ‘garden touring’

Saturday, 23 July 2022

Master Gardeners of Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties present:

On every garden tour I attend, I have a favorite. I don’t think there has ever even been a tie. This does not make the other gardens lesser, as it’s a matter of personal idiosyncratic taste. This garden was our favorite for this year. This means there are about a million photos, so I will arrange them in galleries which you can enlarge by clicking through them, if you like this sort of thing as much as we do. We did our best to get every item in the correct spot.

We arrived at a handsome house with an interesting array of signs and containers on the front porch. One of the docents checking us in was Wendy, whose garden we loved the first time we attended this tour.

We then walked down the side driveway and came upon a huge parking area between house a long garage and shed. Against the wall were appealing arrangements of automotive relics and plants. I said to Allan, “Wow, these people really know how to display their stuff.”

I noticed people up on the large porch and went up a convenient ramp to see what was to be seen. I love the way all the plants and objects were displayed. It is a talent to put vignettes together so well.

Through an arbor is a secluded back porch room with transparent ceiling. I said to Allan how very much I want a room like that.

A lower level one step down had more delightful displays.

I peeked inside the open shed to see the well set up potting area.

The L shaped garden was off to the side (and front) of the house, and in the middle of it was an outbuilding which houses more vintage items.

I wanted to but did not go inside because of my Covid protocols; it was small with other tour guests coming and going. However, Terri of Markham Farm sent me her photos of the interior, so you and I can peruse them together. Garden owner Glenna, whose husband Mike gives her full credit for all the great arranging of stuff, sat on the porch and regaled us with a story of how one day while working on restoring the house, which had been full of rats, cats, bats, and blackberry vines when they bought it, she found a piece of wood with a man’s name written on it and wondered what the story was about it. Within a few hours, a truck had pulled up in front of the house with a man driving, who turned out to be that man, and out of the back seat emerged a tiny 99 year old woman who had been an original homesteader in the neighborhood. “We were all in tears by the time the visit ended,” said Glenna. The man then mailed her a packet of photos of the house as it once was.

Glenna and Mike restored the house and added the dormer and porches.

I explored the back corner of the garden…

…and the long side garden past the vintage display shed…

…and discovered that the large side porch had even more impeccably curated displays.

Around to the front of the house, I admired the porch closer up but did not go out the gate. I liked the whole place so much that I walked around the whole thing in the other direction before we departed.

This sort of thing is exactly my cup of tea.

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Saturday, 23 July 2022

WSU Master Gardeners of Grays Harbor and Pacific County present:

We entered down a long driveway…

…and were greeted by the gardeners, family members, and a cute, soft and friendly dog.

To the right was the kitchen garden.

In the back garden, we found lots of sit spots, shady shelters, homes and water for birds, flowers for pollinators, and a rustic greenhouse and shed.

The garden was chock full of the gardeners’ creativity and humor. I observed guests enjoying the signs.

I’d have liked to spend more time with that darling dog, but we had four more gardens to see.

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Saturday, 23 July 2022

Master Gardeners of Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties present:

In a neighborhood near Aberdeen, we toured a garden with the spectacular feature of ancient tree stumps overgrown with native plants and shrubs. Fascinating. The huge landscape is surrounded on two or three sides by woodland.

This was another garden that was easy to navigate with a rollator, maybe something all gardeners should think about, as we all get old if we’re lucky, and most of us know or will know someone with walking disabilities. As always with a very large garden, and with two people taking photos, we are not completely sure that the progression of our walk is entirely in the right sequence. We have included some of the text of a handout that was given to tour guests.

The entryway had some bright annuals added.

As we entered the former home of giant trees, the look became more woodsy and naturalistic. We applaud the garden owners for preserving the giant tree stumps.

Allan noticed this clever signage that shows what the garden looks like in its autumn finery.

We came upon a vertical strawberry patch and kitchen garden along the back fence.

Allan found this clever usage of a tire to protect the faucet from damage.

We walked through the behind the house garden to another large area surrounded by woods.

The signs told us that we could not wander off into the woods, tempting though those paths were.

Back to the start

The garden most definitely had lived up to its tranquil name.

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Saturday, 23 July 2022

Master Gardeners of Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties present:

Our first garden was in Montesano, a town just east of Aberdeen. The home is next to Vessey and Sons contractors and its work yard full of big trucks. How enviable to have such a great source of wonderful rocks (which we assumed, perhaps correctly, were sourced by the Vesseys). As Allan and I tour together, we notice similar and different things.

As always, the tour program is a keepsake booklet with each garden getting two pages.
Each garden got this nice sign as a memento.

This was my first foray into rollator touring. I’ve been in many gardens where it would have been a struggle to get through with such a device. This one was a dream to start out in, very easy to navigate.

A place to show painted rocks

The front garden is a parklike setting with shrubs and trees and beautiful rocks with pools of bright annuals.

The front entry garden with annual accents segues into a flawless lawn with massive boulders in the center.

Spectacular and enviable boulders!

At the front of the house, annual color brightens up the weedless beds.

Walk through to back yard

The back garden is set up for entertaining in sun or shade.

A shed with a garage door like this would be ever so useful to us!

The business work yard also has landscaping.

This was the only Montesano garden on the tour. We were now off to Aberdeen, a city that I love. We saw some wonderful old houses as we drove west through Montesano, and I wish we had stopped to photograph them, but the lure of garden touring was too strong to allow for getting sidetracked.

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Saturday, 24 July 2021

WSU Master Gardeners of Grays Harbor Tour

Today’s tour features three large country gardens in the countryside around Elma and Satsop, east of Aberdeen. Each had so much to offer that three gardens easily took up all the tour time.

As we approached the first garden, I had a lovely chat with a gentleman whose garden had been one of my favorites on a previous north county tour.

the sign on a shed

There was a lot to look at even before we got to the official ticket check in table, starting with the orchard and berries, where a wealth of information was provided.

Two outbuildings lured us away from the check in table.

A fairy garden for the grandchildren (and grandmother, too):

In a bed of ferns, we admired a cleverly enhanced pump house.

Looking across to the fenced garden

We finally checked in like proper tour guests.

Our next exploration was of a border that was two years old. Allan overheard someone say, “Last time we were here, you were chopping wood in this area!”

We turned our attention to the planting at the side of the house.

We walked the passageway between the side of the house and the fence.

I like words in a garden.

Where the path continued…

….we turned to the garden on the other side of the house.


Who did we then see but Debbie and her sisters! Debbie told us they had found out about the tour through our “real time update” in a blog post.

Dawn, sister in law Laura, Debbie, Dana

They had been touring since earlier in the day and were able to give me some reassurance about a long gravel road that would take us to the next garden.

We had a delightful natter until I suddenly realized I was much too hot and had to get out of the sun. The temperature was approaching 80 degrees. On the side of a large shed, I found a shady dell with a fire circle.

A farewell look back to a paradise

As I left there and emerged back into the sun, it was time to move on to the next garden.

From our vehicle, driving away, we had one last view of the orchard and berry patch from below.

This garden left us well pleased. The long drive from home had already been proven worthwhile.

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Saturday, 7 September 2019

Castle Rock, Washington

We continued our exploration of Castle Rock public gardens with the

Castle Rock Visitor Center.

According to an article in The Daily News, the majority of the $247,000 project was completed by community volunteers and public works employees…including the landscaping around the building.  The center opened in May of 2016, so the garden is still young.

I walked this path away from the building…

…and back again.

By the wheelie bin enclosure at the end of that path, we had found a picnic shelter and pretty bed of annuals.

The hanging baskets were padlocked.

Allan’s photo

The enclosure had some useful posters.

More posters described assorted trees.

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
the tree our bogsy wood is made of

Across the big parking lot….

…is a pollinator meadow.

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo

I could not find on my phone the location of the old jail, so we drove back downtown and got out and looked for a pedestrian to ask.  We found one just as I saw, across a parking lot, a garden that looked promising. Indeed, the pedestrian said it was the place we sought.  I noticed his t shirt for the Crosscut Taproom, which was one of two restaurants recommended at Nancy’s garden.  He was the owner, so that settled which one we would dine at (the other was Wine Down Dog).

Old Jail Park

Allan’s photo

The walls are reinforced with scrap iron and old horseshoes.

Allan’s photo of a horseshoe

A diseased tree had been recently cut…

…resulting in some scorched hostas.

Allan’s photo; beds are sponsored by local businesses.

downtown Castle Rock

We took a two block walk up and down one street a block from the park.

Allan’s photo of a poster behind the window display.

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
a curbside garden and an apartment building

One of the apartments had its own little garden display, freshly watered and next door to the library.

The double baskets are gorgeous, as they were two years ago.  Then there were more trailing potato vines; this year, the theme is pink.

In the containers, the theme was green.

I liked it very much. The big containers had plants which I feel sure like lots of water.

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
another street heading off south (Allan’s photo)

It took me till now to realize that Wine Down Dog is a pun (wind down).

Allan’s photo

We ate at the Crosscut Taproom, having gotten directions from its friendly owner.

We got there just before it got busy with the dinner crowd, including a large party who recognized us from today’s garden touring.

We enjoyed teriyaki rice bowls, cider and ginger beer…

Allan’s photo

…and petting a nice dog named Loki on the way out.

He was maybe a little tired from having had attention from many people.

As we drove away, we saw the other side of the apartment building with another sidewalk garden, one which I think I noticed two years ago.

Allan’s photo

We got home by dark.  I am already looking forward to next year’s tour.




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Saturday, 7 September 2019

Castle Rock, Washington

 The Gardens at Sandy Bend 

The last private garden belonged to plantswoman Nancy, who is the Castle Rock Bloom Team Leader of the  downtown volunteer gardens program, Castle Rock Blooms.  You can find her on Facebook at The Plant Station.  We had already admired her opulent container plantings at the Partridge’s garden.  More big containers marked the parking area at her home.

I wish I could grow abutilons as huge as hers.

I think it takes more heat than we get at the beach—and I don’t like heat—but wow!

Abutilon ‘Red Tiger’ planted in the ground.

Her tomato display also credited the warmer inland weather.

Below the parking area, I was drawn to a magnificent shrub border (and later I heard her invoke the name Dan Hinkley about at least one of the specimens).

Allan said, “That car won’t hold many plants.” I thought it toned well with the big cotinus (smoke bush).

Nancy has Buddleja lindleyana and assured me that it is not on the invasive list, backing up my research with authority.  It does not set seed, she said, but does spread from runners (as I know, which is why I have three now).

Buddleja lindleyana

Looking back to the house…

entering the front garden

variegated climbing hydrangea
on the porch

For some reason, an attack of the shys I guess, I did not go onto the enticing porch.  Allan did:

Allan’s photo

I did look thoroughly at the intricate planting in the entry garden.

Abutilon ‘China Bells’

 I am pretty sure that the tree below is one that had us all circling and admiring and wanting to identify on a Hardy Plant Study weekend tour a few years ago.  Nancy’s labeling is superb so today all I had to do was read the tag.

‘Trost Dwarf’ birch

I was lured into an enticing winding woodland path, similar to the one at The Gardens at Stillmeadows.

The Secret Trail

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo, deer fence?

Allan was coming the opposite way.
Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo

wisteria climbing a ladder and tree
returning to civilization; note the giant greenhouse to the left

This must be where Allan entered the secret trail:

Allan’s photo

I meant to explore that path…

Next to the greenhouse, I was about to fall in love.

This kitten had come to visit from next door.

Its fur was even softer than my Smoky’s fur.

Nancy works with Proven Winners and the local high school students to test new PW plants and to propagate plants for the downtown gardens.

On the back porch is some more of her container magic.

I turned away from the back garden because of a couple of railing-less steps and because of a kitten distraction.  Usually, I would find my way around the other side of the house to avoid the steps.  Somehow I managed to miss the whole back area.

Allan took some photos but said he did not realize he was the only one photographing it.

I missed a pond with fish!

When Allan and I reunited…

…he did not know that I had not found the back yard garden.

We talked with Nancy about the downtown gardens and saw the fertilizer and pots that they use.

The hanging baskets have a water saving system that Nancy says actually cuts down on watering. It was a pleasure to talk with her about the Castle Rock gardens, mostly maintained by volunteers (although the city crew waters the baskets).

Proven Winners had provided stacks of free catalogs.

As you will see, the Proven Winners partnership with the volunteers is helping Castle Rock’s downtown gardens thrive, and the hanging baskets are amazing.

As we left, the kitten was being petted by a little girl. I saw this road with bamboo and banana trees…

…and I might have found a vegetable garden had I walked back there.  In fact, as I wrote this, Allan said “There was a second garden down there that may have been hers!”  No wonder it is called the Gardens (plural!) at Sandy Bend! Next year, when I hope it will be on the Bloomin’ Tour again, I am determined to miss nothing of this place.

By now, it was 3:40 PM.  Our plan to see all the nurseries and private gardens by 4 PM (tour end time) had worked perfectly.  I would even have had time to see that back garden!  Now we still had daylight to find four floriferous public gardens in Castle Rock.




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Saturday, 7 September 2019

Cowlitz River Dahlias and Succulents

We drove down a long woodsy road, one lane with turn outs for oncoming cars…

…till we arrived at a field full of dahlias.

You could wander the field with a clipboard, writing down which dahlias you wanted to mail order.  I could have but did not because I already have so many assorted ladies in waiting at home.

Allan’s photo

My photos:

The fluffy ones are amazing and have great colors, especially when they have speckles or are two toned…

…and picotee.

This one almost looks fasciated.

I love the spider dahlias.

The huge dinner plate style, though astonishing, are not my cup of tea.

My favourites are the ones with tidy spoon shaped leaves, especially the smaller pom pom ones (didn’t see many of those here).

Allan’s dahlia photos:

Apart from dahlias, we saw chickens…

and succulents and a few perennials (including Salvia ‘Amistad’, of which I bought two). I got me one of these:

Sempervivum ‘Oddity’ (Allan’s photo)

I had to get me one of the Albuca ‘Frizzle Sizzle’—new to me.

Albuca spiralis ‘Frizzle Sizzle’ (Allan’s photo)

Also had to try one of these (sorry, no photo was taken of the plant, yet).

For next year’s Bloomin’ Tour, I intend to be mentally prepared to order some dahlias, speckled, picotee, and spidery.

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Saturday, 7 September 2019

Castle Rock Nursery

331 Buland Dr
Castle Rock, Washington
(360) 274-8388

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

I did not want to be greedy when offered free annuals.  I would take them all for compost!  So I only took a few geraniums and begonias that I might be able to winter over.

Allan bought a fern.

Allan’s photo

The Book of Lists is an excellent book of plants that thrive in various conditions, and other such things.  It, and another book called Plants for Problem Places, were invaluable to me before the World Wide Web. I was pleased to see a book like that still in use.

Allan’s photo

Again I wished I still had my grandma’s old sewing machine (at least the stand).  I actually did used to sew on the old treadle machine, back when I sort of knew how to sew simple things, and it was the only one I had.

I saw a gorgeous tall Panicum and asked what it was.  Our garden host did not know.  When I saw three pots of Panicum ‘Heavy Metal’ and its base, I was astonished.  Could the little knee high Heavy Metal Panicums under a tree in Long Beach get that tall if they had good water?

the three pots of Heavy Metal and the big specimen

But then the daughter and plant expert returned from lunch and said the tall one was Panicum ‘Dallas Blues’.  There were two gallon pots of it left and I snagged them both.

Panicum ‘Dallas Blues’

Any other admirers would be out of luck because of my buying the last ones.

I did later google ‘Heavy Metal’ and learned that it could get to four to five feet in better conditions.

I also bought some small gauras because I want them at the Ilwaco Fire Station. Someone at the nursery told me, and I later confirmed, that gaura is the official flower of Castle Rock.  Could be true of Long Beach and Ilwaco, also, as I sure do use a lot of them.

Here is where you pay.
Allan’s photo

That was such a pleasant shopping experience.  I hope to visit again next year, when perhaps the Bloomin’ Tour will be in early August rather than early September.  May would be even better…if it were less than a two hour drive from home.  I imagine that it is the shopping hub for gardeners of the Castle Rock area.

Next: a deliriously delightful display of dahlias.



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Saturday, 7 September 2019

Castle Rock, Washington

Partridge’s Garden

The Partridge’s garden had been fairly recently installed by Backyard Blitz Landscaping, with one area toward the back still under construction.  The whole yard was beautifully laid out and of interest even though it was so new, and the house itself, also new, had an appealing and pleasing design.