One of the perks of volunteering at the Miller Garden is that I got a chance to go on a garden tour with the team last week. As we took the ferry to Vashon Island on a misty morning, I had no clue how enchanting my day was going to be!
I loved the beautiful, pastoral setting of the island and the magnificent views of the water. It seemed to me that life in general took a slower pace here, so that I could take the in not only the sights, but also absorb the tranquility it offered. I was mesmerized by every garden I visited. Each had its own unique style and at the end of the day, my head was brimming with ideas inspired by each garden.
DIG Nursery and the Johnson-Matlock Residence
Creativity is abound in every nook and corner of this nursery. Sedums are planted in all sorts of planters, even metal boxes recycled from shipyards. Brightly colored containers are artfully placed all through the nursery instead of being stored in a section. The gabion walls add a sculptural dimension to the nursery. The dry shade garden of Ross Johnson and Sylvia Matlock is simply delightful. Reclaimed metal art combined with succulents and drought tolerant plant borders in the garden act as a complement to a very stylish and modern house.
Frogsong Gardens (Owner – Cindy Stockett)
A formal garden with a Northwest flair is how Cindy describes her 16-acre property. Plants with contrasting colors and textures are beautifully combined to creates focal points as you turn every corner. The towering Cardoon with its silver foliage is such a show stopper and the beautiful blue blooms of Milky Bellflower (Campanula lactiflora) has me spellbound. The Hostas and the Japanese Forest Grass are incredibly lush. Cindy attributes this to her regular use of organic compost in the garden, no chemical fertilizers at all.
Carhart Gardens (Owner – Whit and Mary Carhart)
As I descend into this amazing hillside garden, I am completely blown away by its beauty. The path winds down the slope through towering conifers and lush plantings bordered by cleverly placed logs, snags and rocks. A cute little viewing pavilion lets you glimpse the pond below. The pond itself is an oasis of tranquility. Going down through the moon gate, I feel I am descending from heaven. Colorful plant borders, especially alliums and the Japanese forest grass draws the eye towards the house. The Indonesian shed, the running kids sculpture, the Adirondacks, the birdhouse collection, the hammock and the cutest ever dollhouse personalizes the garden and connects it to the owners and their lifestyle. A little secret path leads down to the waters of the Puget Sound. Hmmm! I needed many more trips to take in the beauty of this garden.
Pfeiffer Gardens (Owner – David Pfeiffer, Landscape Architect)
A superb Mediterranean garden set in the Pacific Northwest. One has to see it to believe it. The garden feels like an extension of the house, an outdoor living space. An allium allee with fruit trees in galvanized culverts leads to an herb garden and an outdoor dinning/entertaining area. “Musk Starbwerry as ground cover not only provides fruit, but is an excellent weed suppressor,” said Pfeiffer. I find the the gravel paths to be as architectural as the large concrete planters and stone urns. Under-plantings of Japanese Blood grass softens the concrete planters, while the Euphorbia ‘Firethorn’ makes the garden glow. The Bocce-ball Court is flanked by Locust trees on both sides, with gravel spread up to the bark. I could see myself with a glass of wine, playing Bocce. All it needed is an outdoor brick oven to cook pizzas and I could be in Italy. Simply bellissimo!