“Gardens, Sea and Art” is the theme of the WSU Master Gardeners’ annual garden tour, to be conducted in Ocean Shores on Saturday.
This year’s tour includes eight properties that encompass a variety of microclimates, demonstrating the resulting opportunities for creating a garden that will manage these conditions and please the garden owner and guests. As a bonus, see how these eight garden owners deal with the abundance of deer and other wildlife in Ocean Shores:
On the Beach: For more than 50 years, this oceanfront garden has encompassed a conversation among the sea, the Ocean Shores wildlife and the owners. Find whimsical garden art intertwined with plants and flowers such as heather, lavender, calla lilies, sea thrift and lilies of the valley, which have survived hungry deer, pilfering crows and harsh weather. Carvings, painted rocks and stepping stones dominate the landscape until the summer flowers burst out, taking center stage. This garden is a testament to human imagination working with sand and sea.
Living Rooms: This eclectic fairy garden, located a bit inland, apportions features such as a hot tub, a pergola, a gazebo and a hot house full of geraniums into several “rooms.” The back is fenced against pesky deer, while the front is open — though the pond is barred to protect the fish from raccoons. Fruit trees, grapes, rhododendron, azaleas and ferns grow in the ground, while containers provide richer soils for numerous non-native species. The owners’ 25 years of experimentation has yielded this wonderfully random display.
At the Fore Front: You don’t have to be a golfer to notice the putting green here. Lawns are unusual in Ocean Shores, and this one is spectacular. An irrigation system circulates water from the canal for the lawn and plants, then back to the canal. This garden also showcases native plants without deer fencing. Local rhododendron, wax myrtle and iris surround a dramatic waterfall, using water recirculated from the canal. A firepit acts as a gathering place, and a swing provides a peaceful way to absorb the garden and take in the canal view. This garden of just seven years reflects the owners’ approach to waterfront living.
A Garden for All Seasons: Closer to the warmer bayside, this all-season garden is a supreme example of the “right place, right plant” mantra. The sunny, terraced canal side is dominated by a huge gunnera. The side-yard pond area features flowers that call birds to provide a cheerful soundtrack. The shaded front yard features low-light shrubs and ferns. Building on the previous garden’s foundation, the owners have created a garden in just three years where butterflies, bees and birds are welcome too.
An Easy-Care Garden: This is a floral wonderland of impressive roses and flowering perennials. The deck sports container plantings of petunias, begonias and more roses. Hanging baskets overflow with plants and more flowers. An 85-foot sloped waterfront features low-maintenance plantings to cut down on the gardening time needed there. A small greenhouse tucked in a corner provides shelter and warmth for tomatoes. A tall deer fence keeps flowers and other tender plants safe from hungry wildlife. This is the owner’s first garden, and she has been experimenting with it for the past 24 years.
Deep in the Woods: Protected under Sitka spruce, this shaded 15-year garden is at peace with nature and wildlife. Different textures of plants, rocks, driftwood, shells, small fountains, birdbaths and wood carvings create a tranquil variety and whimsically hint at the owners’ creativity. Wildlife may wander among dramatic cannas and quiet hellebores, or under an arbor that lifts begonias and other tasty blooms out of their reach. A greenhouse provides shelter for more fragile plants. The tall trees and deeper soil in this unique part of Ocean Shores provide a unique canvas for the gardeners’ touch.
Beauty and the Bay: This garden features comfort, color and a spectacular view. Find water features, mature rhododendron and roses, vegetables grown in whiskey barrels, an intimate patio, birdhouses and engaging garden art. The greenhouse is as full as the rest of the yard of numerous examples of garden wisdom garnered from the owners’ 60 years (20 of them at this site) of engaging with plants and artwork. Don’t miss the enchanting memory garden. An inconspicuous deer fence protects this garden while preserving the view of the bay.
Fruit, Berries and Roses: Although other areas of this garden are open to wildlife, the “produce” section is surrounded by a tall deer fence. A grape arbor steals attention, but fruit tree flourish here too. Strawberries and vegetables fill raised beds, and a greenhouse offers protection for warmer-season flowers and vegetables. Started only five years ago, this garden proves that you don’t need decades to see the fruits of a beach garden.
The tour is self-guided; those purchasing a $12 ticket will receive a map with directions to each of the gardens. Docents will be available at each site to assist with directions and information.
Tickets are available at Galway Bay and Mermaid Cove in Ocean Shores; at Marshall’s Garden & Pet in Aberdeen; at Harbor Drug & Gifts in Hoquiam; at Valu Drug in Montesano; at Dennis Co. in Elma and Raymond; at Everyone’s Video & More in Raymond; and at the Rose Cottage in Grayland.