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

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Northwest Perennial Alliance Tour of Gardens on Vashon Island -- Part One

On Saturday, Peter the Outlaw Gardener, his partner Tom, and I went on a tour of four gardens on nearby Vashon Island. Vashon Island, also sometimes called Vashon-Maury Island (it was once two islands, one called Vashon, one called Maury), is a 10-15 minute ferry ride from Tacoma. The island is one of three large islands in the Seattle-Tacoma area (the other two are Mercer and Bainbridge), and is the only one of the three not connected to the mainland by a bridge, which contributes greatly to its charm and its sense of isolation and "otherness." There is also a ferry from its northern end which goes to West Seattle. The island is home to an eclectic mix of people, from hippies to retirees to young professionals who commute to the city.

The Garden of Anita Halstead and Kelly Robinson

Described in the NPA brochure as "a half-acre of perennial-lined meandering paths with whimsical and traditional garden features," this garden had some delightful touches, as well as a lovely view of Quartermaster Harbor, which I didn't think to photograph. Probably the smallest garden we saw that day, it fit perfectly with the architectural style of the house.

A circular gravel drive on one side of the house is home to a large swath of lamb's ear

Several beds contain a mulch of pine cones -- something I've been thinking of doing, I am forever cleaning up the cones of Douglas firs

A little cement hedgehog sits near the edge of a path in a bed of ground cover

It's impossible to miss the two enormous bronze Phormiums in the garden, which survived our two recent Phormium-killing winters because of the garden's proximity to the Sound and its warming maritime influence

The garden's owner said the Phormiums once were even larger, but because they were getting a bit too ratty-looking, they were severely cut back to the point where they thought they might have killed them. Apparently not.

One of them is preparing to flower

The chess board and pieces in the lawn are one of many whimsical touches.

One side of the front garden is anchored by a labyrinth with a mosaic at its center

Another beautiful mosaic made from a mailbox

An old cracked birdbath holds a cache of colored glass

Wonderfully evocative of waves

A rebar bottle tree backed by a dark-leaved Ninebark

A set of totems topped by a concrete statue head

Gorgeous flowering honeysuckle

The color of this ceramic globe matches this smaller Phormium perfectly!

This was a sweet garden with a sense of fun.

Peter and I are both blogging about this tour, but to avoid too much duplication, we're posting about the gardens in the opposite order to each other. He started with the first garden we saw, and I've started with the last. You can read his first post about the Open Gardens here.

Next up for me: The Garden of Mary and Whit Carhart, a large garden built into a steep hillside