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Saturday, 7 September 2019

When we had discovered the Castle Rock public gardens two years ago on a drive to Evan Bean’s garden, we had just missed the annual tour by a month.  Last year, the tour didn’t happen, so I’d been looking forward to it for two years!

We left Ilwaco at 8 AM and arrived at the first garden, east of Castle Rock, just before 11 AM.

The Gardens at Stillmeadows

The garden name had made me eager to ask if the garden owners were fans of Gladys Taber, a favourite author of mine who wrote memoirs about her home called Stillmeadow. No, Still Meadows Lane is the name of the road along which you will find this large garden and overnight retreat.  You can read here about how the owners transformed “a mess of brush and blackberries” into a rambling garden acreage.

As planned in advance, we met Debbie, Dana, and Dawn from up north as we arrived and as they were leaving for the next garden.

me, Bailey, Debbie, Dawn, Dana

This was the only time we saw them all day because they were running an hour ahead of us on the tour.  We had a good but short visit (and they gave me flower pots and some garden decor, thank you!).  Allan and I then walked up the hill toward the garden, guided by our new friend, Bailey.

The gift shop, to the right on the way up the road, was closed for the season.

Now I so wish I had my grandma’s old treadle sewing machine.  (I sold it before leaving Seattle 26 years ago; it was so heavy) Something like this idea is genius for making a window box without attaching hardware to the window frame area….or just the idea of using something other than a standard window box.

To our left, we followed the sound to a waterfall.

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
a bit further uphill

The first of two houses is a manufactured home similar to ours. (Of course, I loved that.)

It has an intricate front porch arbour.

Between the first and second house is the entrance to a secret garden.

Allan’s photo

We continued to explore the entrance garden on the way to the retreat office, located in the second house.

one of four elusive kitties

Take a drippy paint can and turn it into a vase with same colour flowers.
Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

A large seating area near the office would be perfect for dining al fresco while staying in one of the retreat rooms.

We met the friendly garden owners and then wended our separate ways down the hill into the lower gardens.

path to the sauna

A path gravel worked its way gently downhill.

looking back

Allan’s photo

The tour was perhaps not as well attended as it should have been.  I saw only two other people in the garden, a couple who delightedly commented about the imagination required to create such a space.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
lower right, above, seed heads of a favourite of mine, eryngiums
Coreopsis ‘Flower Tower’, one of my favourite late summer bloomers

At the bottom of the hill awaited an impressive stand of sunflowers, cosmos, and zinnias.  I love zinnias but don’t seem to have enough heat to grow them at the beach.

 

A dahlia garden came next as one turns to another path back into the lower garden.

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo

Looking back at the dahlias…

Past the dahlias, a bridge over a river of blue fescue leads to a reflective pond.

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

Chickens!

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

That must be the back of the sauna.

Past the picket fence, a path wound sinuously through the woods….

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

The woodsy path emerged at the base of steps leading up next to a waterfall.

Allan’s photo of a clever break in the railing as it crosses a stream.

Even though the stairs were easy enough, with a sturdy railing, let’s go back around the long way, retracing some of our steps to see more, including a closer look at a grove of Acer griseum (paperbark maple).

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

Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
Allan’s photo
returning to the upper level (Allan’s photo)

As we were leaving, we met Rosemary from St Helens (a lower Columbia River town in Oregon), who had sent me a beautiful greeting card after happening upon my plant sale last May.  What a lucky encounter today.

Rosemary and me

I do hope we meet again.

And I hope to visit The Gardens at Stillmeadows again in late spring or early summer.

 

 

 

 

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