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

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

NPA Tour of Gardens on Vashon -- Part Two

Continuing with the Northwest Perennial Alliance's Open Gardens tour on Vashon Island, which Peter The Outlaw Gardener, his partner Tom, and I checked out on Saturday, June 8.

Mary and Whit Carhart Garden

This garden, part of which is built into a steep hillside, overlooks Quartermaster Bay and was a lot of fun to explore and photograph, but also quite a workout. Peter mentioned that just walking the garden every day to check it out (every gardener does that, right?) would keep you in shape athletically, and I agree. Lots of paths meander back and forth on the hillside, creating switchbacks like on a mountain road. The garden is part of a 20-acre wooded parcel of land, 16 of which are Stewardship forest. According  to the NPA brochure, the garden is "a mixture of evergreens, Japanese maples, unusual woodland plants and ferns, species rhododendrons and many different types of groundcovers, such as cyclamens, hepaticas, trilliums....In 2008, on a hillside, we installed a pond and waterfall. That has led to further garden development with an Asian influence around the pond, as well as a strolling garden above the pond."

All along the wooded drive into the garden were plenty of foxgloves, and throughout the garden as well. Not actually a native here in the PNW, but they grow everywhere along the edges of heavily wooded areas and roadsides.

Calycanthus 'Hartlage Wine' has gorgeous, large, deep red flowers

Dichelostemma 'ida-maia' is a native bulb from the PNW

There was lots to look at on the beautiful, well-tended paths

On the path below me, Peter photographs a dogwood tree. If his photo turned out, you might see it on his blog in a few days when he posts about this same garden.

Salvia argentea, a biennial with enormous furry leaves like a lamb's ear on steroids

I've been trying to figure out what this pretty pink flower is. The leaves don't look like a Penstemon, nor do they quite match Monkey-flower. EDIT: Marta identified this as Rehmannia elata, aka Chinese Foxglove, Thanks, Marta!

Most of the plants were well-labeled, possibly even this one was, but did I have the foresight to photograph it?

Kalmia latifolia 'Pin Wheel'

Such a pretty flower!

Narrow steps maneuver around a curve in the hill

Foxglove encouraged to grow beside the path

A lovely wooden pavilion for resting halfway down the steep hillside -- or halfway up, depending on which way you're going

Cute little terra cotta luminarias line the rafters

Here a stream emerges from within a crevice formed by huge boulders and splashes its way down to a pond

The mountain stream splashes over rocks and ends in the pond at the bottom

A good-sized island in the pond must have a depression in the center deep enough to handle the tree roots

A free-standing large steel hoop acts as a moon gate of sorts partway down the hillside

A trough at the bottom of the path holds various choice plants

Closer look at the Dactylhoriza flowers in the trough

Metal crows perched on mossy boulders, looking very lifelike

Such a beautiful etching of a crane on this huge wooden chair, set just outside the front door of the house

Clematis 'Nelly Moser'

Cotinus foliage mingling with the smaller leaves of a Hebe, maybe?

Cute little birdhouse with mossy roof and tendrils of moss hanging from the front

Old concrete birdbath sees continued life as a container for various succulents

Another beautiful Clematis

A nice large patch of Paris polyphylla

Arisaema triphyllum, with possibly an overlay of tree pollen? Looks like indumentum

Meconopsis, possibly 'Hensol's Violet'

A last look back at the hillside. You can see the trough at the bottom left, and the top half of the steel circle moon gate halfway up.

Up next for me: The Garden of Cindy and Steve Stockett

You can read my previous post about the garden of Anita Halstead and Kelly Robinson here.

For more information about the Northwest Perennial Alliance (NPA) click here.


  1. Amazing site for a garden. Everything is just gorgeous.

    Even though I know there was a lot of work involved, it doesn't seem like it. They did a beautiful job of fitting the garden to its surroundings and working the land lightly.

  2. Wow! what an amazing garden. Just love how all the plantings seem so natural to their setting. Love the paths too. What a nice visit, thanks!

  3. Another beautiful garden Alison, and love those narrow steps and wooden pavilion!

  4. What a beautiful garden! There was so much to ooh and ahh over. And while I'm no fan of crows I LOVE those metal ones.

  5. As always, thank you so much for the tour. I so enjoy getting to see other gardens. I am completely in love with the bench!

  6. My husband figured out the pink mystery flower. He has grown it from seed before either RHS or Chilterns - it is Rehmannia elata - Chinese Foxglove.

  7. Gorgeous garden to wander about. I will put on my list of places to visit.

  8. That is absolutely gorgeous. The touches with the etching in the chair and even the steps are just wonderful. I really love that!

  9. What a wonderful woodland garden. I love the path, the stream, the pavilion, the foxgloves.

  10. Wow, I can't believe that I missed this post until just now when I did a search about the garden and up popped your blog! It's amazing to me how many things you saw that I missed. That kalmia is gorgeous & I also missed the little terra cotta luminarias. Thanks for a fun Saturday!


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