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

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

NPA South Sound Garden Tour -- Part One

On Saturday, Peter The Outlaw Gardener and I visited a handful of open gardens that were listed in the Northwest Perennial Alliance tour booklet. After the NPA's Vashon Island tour, which had a lot of impressive, large, rambling gardens (I was overwhelmed and I still haven't covered all of them in my blog posts), as well as the Gig Harbor open gardens, (I was disappointed because I had already seen three of them on previous tours), I wasn't sure what to expect on Saturday. But there were two gardens that really impressed me with their beauty and old-fashioned charm, not to mention the friendly home gardeners who greeted us.

The Garden of Karen and Larry Decker

In the front garden was a small patch of green grass, surrounded by large, full beds of roses and hydrangeas, with an island bed in the center. An arbor to the right of the front door led to a side yard, and thence to the back garden.

Tall Phlox

Gorgeous, bright blue Hydrangea

Tall Phlox

Stunning red Lily

Hollyhocks grew at the side of the house, an uncommon sight here in the PNW because of the prevalence of rust. But as Peter pointed out to me, rust doesn't kill them, it just gives them unsightly leaves, a look you can improve by removing the  lower leaves.

As you enter the back garden, you have a choice to follow the path further into the garden toward a creek and pond, or turn left and head to the deck and the greenhouse. We opted to go further into the garden.

The view to the left

Strappy foliage mingles here with a wide hart's tongue fern (which Peter coveted)

A wishing well perched beside a stream that meanders down into a pond

A wooden arbor with branches attached to it, and metal bird silhouettes on it

The path leads further into a shady area
As we continued onward we heard and briefly glimpsed the Deckers' free-roaming pet ducks as they quacked and waddled away from us into the underbush, like pedestrians in the city announcing "Coming through!" I tried calling to them, but ducks don't come when called.

A secluded spot at the back for sitting and resting after a hot day

Through an opening in the trees you see the greenhouse

A collection of garden implements decorates the side of a shed

A working cold frame sits propped slightly open

I loved this wheelbarrow full of succulents, tucked into a bed, as if odds and ends were left there to grow on their own

Eventually you make your way back to the deck and the shady umbrella

The gardeners Karen and Larry Decker waited on the deck with tales of the cottonwood tree that fell on their house a few years ago, not to mention refreshing cold lemonade, and delicious homemade peanut butter, oatmeal and Heath bar cookies.

Our view from the deck -- Luscious!

Thank you to the Deckers for opening their garden to NPA members. We appreciated your hospitality!

Tomorrow: The Garden of Tom and Linda Reeder