Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Gig Harbor Garden Tour -- Part 1

On Saturday I went on a garden tour in the nearby town of Gig Harbor. It's about a 30-minute drive from my house, through the larger city of Tacoma and across an infamous bridge -- the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Gig Harbor, nicknamed the Maritime City, is a pretty, albeit somewhat touristy, city with a cute little downtown area and waterfront.

 The patio area of the Java and Clay Cafe, where I had a quick, tasty sandwich for lunch between garden visits.

You can read a little more about the town of Gig Harbor here and here.

The garden tour included 8 gardens (I only visited 7, and all in one day!) The eighth, which I missed, was the community garden. The Gig Harbor Garden Tour Association hosts the tour, which runs on both Saturday and Sunday. I did all 7 at once, despite my protesting feet, because I planned to attend the Garden Conservancy's Open Days Tour on Sunday on Bainbridge Island (I did attend, and it will be the subject of a future post). The Association's mission statement is: "To promote literacy by supporting educational programs for children and adults in the greater Gig Harbor and Key Peninsula area." The ticket to all 8 gardens cost $25, and 100% of the revenue from the tour goes to adult and children's literacy programs. The tour ran from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

The Garden of Susan and Jim Newell

This charming cottage garden was enclosed with a white picket fence, very much in keeping with the cottage style of the house.

Loved this front entry! The white wicker furniture was a feature throughout.

This sweet birdhouse made me realize that I need something more on my front step than lots and lots of pots.

Lovely little vignettes such as the following appeared at every turn, in every nook and cranny of the garden.

 I wanted to stay until dark so I could sit on that patio and see those lights twinkling.

My first encounter with Monkshood -- I thought it was Delphinium till I took a closer look at the flower
Doesn't it look like a helmet?

According to the blurb about this garden, Jim built this potting area and the arbor in the next picture as a gift to Susan.

Wonderful sentiment on the plaque

The Garden of Millie and Craig Russell
This garden began life as an Oriental garden, but after recent renovations to the house and gardens is now an interesting hybrid of Oriental and plant collector's paradise. And it has a lovely water view.

Garden Entrance

Sambucus 'Black Lace'

Primula viallii

A reminder to me that I need to tuck seedlings into the stones at the edges of my path

 Believe it or not, there is a stairway down through this rockery to the putting green below.

Can you see it?

Don't you love these mossy faces?

Five more gardens to come in future posts!


  1. Love Primula viallii. I keep buying seeds in the Netherlands but they don't grow. Lovely, lovely gardens.

  2. What a lovely garden tour!So many ideas.

  3. Alison, I'm running so far behind in reading posts, but I sat down this morning and caught up with yours. The Van Dusen garden is amazing, (and the grotto was just what I was trying to recreate with our 'something else' bed, but failed miserably) I am so glad you took me along to this horticultural gem. I was given a start of petasites a few weeks ago, but I didn't plant it after all. Was that a mistake? I was thinking about putting it in the pond, but after seeing how big it gets, maybe I'm glad I didn't.

    I loved the way the Van Dusen was laid out, with sweeping curves and their use of rocks was outstanding. (Of course, it's all about the rocks with me.)

    The Newell garden was so lovely and cozy-looking, I too, would have loved to see the lights after dark.

    The Russell garden looks very hilly, and what a view they must have. The 'Black Lace' sambucus is a stunner as well as the rest of the garden, and all their mossy rocks are wonderful too.

    Looking forward to your next installments!

  4. Wonderful. Every photo is inspiring. Looks like that second house was perched on a cliff. I bet it was awesome. I look forward to more.

  5. I've never been to Gig Harbor and had no idea that it was such a cute little town. Love the two gardens you shared. I love the art throughout them, especially the cottage one.

  6. Wow what a fantastic tour it is. Gardens are very lovely which you share. small garden design

  7. Alison,
    Lovely tour, enjoyed very much. Never heard of Monkshood, very cool. The mossy faces are so much fun in the garden!

  8. Beautiful and very unique gardens! I love the Monkshood (I didn't realize it got that big!) and Allium viallii.

  9. The mossy faces are wonderful. I'm thinking I'll need to add something like that in my garden.
    And that primula is gorgeous.
    Great garden tour--thanks for taking us with you!

  10. Alison,
    Thanks for taking pics & sharing. I especially like the 1st garden's woodland patio & mirrored window frame with spilled pots as a filler. Practical ideas that make empty places beautiful.

  11. Great post. thanks for sharing these beautiful posts.

    bill ackman


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