Monday, August 1, 2011

Private Gardens of Seattle

Last week, I was lucky enough to attend the Garden Bloggers Fling in Seattle, WA. Although many garden bloggers have been meeting in various cities for the past four years, this was my first time attending. It was wonderful to put faces to the blogs I read and to meet garden bloggers from all over the country - some blog for fun, some for professional reasons, some are garden book writers, some are photographers and some have jobs completely unrelated to gardening. But the common thread was the love of gardening, horticulture and landscape design.

Each of the four days was carefully planned by the Fling organizers so that we were able to see both private and public gardens in the Seattle area. I am excited to share with you my photos of the trip, but for the sake of space, I will divide the blog posts into sections. So be sure to come back to read it all!

Here are some of my personal favorites from the private gardens we visited:

Garden #1: Tucker Garden
Shelagh Tucker spent years working to turn her front yard into a xeriscape (a style of landscape design requiring little or no irrigation or other maintenance designed specifically to cope with dry conditions and for water conservation). The sun was shining down on her front yard, decorated with steps, stones and drought tolerant plants. 

In contrast, her backyard was lush with plants, grass and trees. My two favorites were a Dahlia and Clematis combination in a small courtyard:

And the pond:

Garden #2: Birrell Garden
Shelagh's next door neighbors, Suzette & Jim Birrell, had an equally impressive garden. A contrast to the xeriscape, Suzette's front yard was lush and overflowing with flowers, shrubs and trees. Every nook and cranny was planted with something beautiful. 

The backyard was curved, which gave the small space a comfortable feel. She had an impressive vegetable garden with peas, chard, cabbage, beets and artichokes - just to name a few! 

Although we were treated to blue skies on the day of our visit, the owners say the shed was painted bright blue after "the bluest skies you've ever seen" in Seattle. It must be lovely to look at that color on the gray and rainy days, I'm sure!

Garden #3: Epping Garden
The garden of Michelle and Christopher Epping is a past winner of the Pacific Northwest Gardens Competition (3rd place in 2007). Their home is located in Newcastle, just outside of Seattle, and sits on top of a hill. We were again treated with clear, sunny skies and from the house, we could see the Seattle skyline, Olympic Mountains and Lake Washington.

Their garden had many layers and paths winding all around the garden. Here are some of my favorite things from this garden:

Garden #4: Lane Garden
Nearly every inch of Denise Lane's one acre garden in Medina, WA was landscaped with plants, paths and unique garden accents. 
We enjoyed lunch on the the stone patio that was recently transformed from a pickle-ball court. The patio now features an outdoor kitchen, gas fire tables and multiple seating areas.

Her gardens had both sunny perennial beds and shady woodlands. I especially loved the beautiful displays of Calla Lilies and Astillbe:

The beautiful glass fiddleheads were created by glassblower Barbara Sanderson.

But my favorite was the "Ruins." Flowers dripped from the pillars above, and below, the water cascaded into the pond over a large stone leaf:

Have a look at this photo below. Can you spot me?

She had 3 long mirrors placed at the back of one flower bed. They provided an interesting perspective!

Garden #5: Edwards Forkner Garden
Lorene Edwards Forkner's garden was filled with eclectic garden accents, many of which she is highlighting in her upcoming book "Handmade Garden Projects: Step-by-Step Instructions for Creative Garden Features, Containers, Lighting and More".

Some of my favorite creations in her garden were these:
Rusted mailbox nestled among the Sisyrinchium striatum
Topiaries living in an old wagon
A terrarium inside an industrial sized light feature
Vintage travel trailer as a place to relax or entertain
Inside the travel trailer
Garden #6: Farley Garden
The last private garden we toured was the home of Kate Farley, a landscape designer, who specializes in garden structure. 
I was impressed with the tunnel she created in the front yard from her shrubs.

The potting shed in the backyard was furnished with vintage tools and found objects:

Walking around to the back of the house I was amazed at the show of color from the sunny bed filled with purple Delphinium, pale Phlox, magenta Poppies and orange Astromeria, set off by two purple trellis:

Nestled in the shade, an old tree house surrounds a tree trunk and is now covered in climbing rose branches:

Stay tuned for more from my Garden Blogger's Fling to Seattle - next I'll highlight some of the public gardens we visited!


  1. So much to see and a feast for the eyes. Lots of ideas to get from these gardens too.

  2. Great way to capture our fling - private then public gardens. I've been struggling with how to show everything since there was so much! Kate, it was great to meet you and I hope to see you again in Asheville.

  3. You got a lot of really nice photos! Wasn't the Fling wonderful? And we got so lucky with the weather too.

  4. What a great trip. You are ahead of me! I am still sorting pictures and catching up with work. Will add posts soon to my blogs. Great pictures, Kate

  5. What a great post~Loved going back to see all the gardens again. gail

  6. Thanks for a lovely picture of some of my fiddlesticks in Denise Lane's garden Kate!

  7. Glad you are enjoying the "tour"!
    Barbara - so happy you posted because I couldn't remember your name. You are so talented and you glasswork is gorgeous!

  8. You have an eye for beauty in the lens. Kate, it was a pleasure meeting you at Fling. We are not so far apart geographically so if you are ever in RI, stop in for a visit.

  9. Kate (and other bloggers too)
    What a wonderful idea!! A bloggers' Fling!! And, thanks for sharing these wonderful pictures of such beautiful places. I am bringing a group of Wisconsin Master Gardeners to Seattle the last week of June and would love them to see at least a few these beautiful private gardens, so different than what we have in Wisconsin. Do you have a feel for which owners might be likely to host us? And do you know how I might get contact information? Any information you can provide would be GREATLY appreciated. I so want this to be a quality experience for the Master Gardening group.

  10. Impressive write-up. Lovely pictures. I'm happy that you are enjoying your trip. Thanks for sharing this.


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