Each garden begins life as a vision in the mind of its gardener. Soil, sun, shade, insects, exposure, hardiness and moisture become that garden’s language. Each new plant tells its own story and becomes part of the garden’s living palette. Over time, as the garden matures and thrives, the gardener learns to understand the subtle details within that ecosystem that reflects each gardener’s vision.
This year’s garden tour highlights “A Garden Vision.” Each of the five Orcas gardens selected for the tour demonstrates the evolution and owners’ vision for their gardens. Gardeners and nature lovers can visit each of these beautiful and thoughtful gardens on Saturday, June 29 and Sunday, June 30 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at Darvill’s Book Store and Driftwood Nursery. Tickets can also be purchased at any of the gardens on both days of the tour.
The Orcas Garden Tour is sponsored by the Orcas Island Garden Club. With the help of over 60 volunteers, the annual tour attracts over 250 visitors who enjoy the plantings and find inspiration and delight in these unique gardens. Proceeds from the garden tour enable the garden club to bring expert guest speakers who make presentations about gardening topics at each monthly meeting. These proceeds also fund grants that support community projects including the gardens at both the public elementary school and Salmonberry School, supporting a new generation of gardeners.
Located in a lovely pastoral setting, Ann and Richard Griot’s garden overlooks scenic pastures, ponds, and forest. Stroll the arbored walkways covered with wisteria, roses and clematis. At the center is a pavilion, designed and built by shipwright Chris Smart with a roof of succulent plants. Radiating from the pavilion are raised beds featuring dahlias, roses, delphinium, iris, peonies and zinnias. Visit the chicken house, meet the friendly birds and enjoy the fruit orchards and the vegetable, herb and berry gardens.
Nestled in beautiful Crow Valley, OrcaSong Farm invites you to explore beds of colorful annuals and perennials surrounding the Sky Lodge, a covered open-air structure designed for gatherings. This working farm offers a delightful pond and waterfall as well as a variety of fruit trees, the Three Sisters garden and a greenhouse. Learn about the different varieties of lavender that are raised in nearby fields and visit the urban demonstration garden where backyard produce and herbs are raised.
Tucked behind the Outlook Inn lies a magical garden that has starred in many wedding celebrations. As you step into Sara Farish’s enchanting garden, you’ll cross a charming bridge whose arch twinkles with fairy lights. After you enjoy the colorful rose garden that edges the pond, wander through the gazebo and explore the beautiful chapel that has hosted many marriage ceremonies.
A rose-covered entryway welcomes you to Robin and Lyn Kuclick’s garden where you can explore a variety of different gardens designed by Robin offering four seasons of bloom and leaf color. After visiting the pond and resident koi fish, wander the expansive hillside setting of native trees and plants. Stroll past viburnum, hydrangeas, clematis, roses, camellias and rhododendrons. Amidst flowering magnolia, bamboo, crab apple, Japanese cherry, dogwood, plum, pear and apple trees, visit the rock garden, kitchen garden, herb garden, vegetable beds and fruit gardens.
Through a cedar gateway, you enter Barbara and David Evans’ peaceful Japanese-inspired hillside garden. Following the Japanese design aesthetic that celebrates form, texture, color, mood and season, this woodland garden features bamboo, rhododendrons, wisteria, roses and lilies. Meander along paths through native madrone, maple, alder red cedar, hemlock and Douglas fir. You can spend some time at the waterfall, listen for melodic windchimes, discover garden art pieces and visit the moon garden. Don’t miss exploring the delightful Teahouse of the Orcas Moon.
The garden club has been a community organization for over 60 years. The tour is one of many community events held during the year. The club welcomes new members and encourages islanders to come to its monthly meetings held September through May.