Orcas Garden tour at the end of June

Submitted by the Orcas Island Garden Club.

Gardeners are natural teachers and learners who love to share what they know about growing plants. This year’s garden tour theme highlights the Power of Perennials that enrich our gardens and enhance the natural environment of Orcas for plants, animals, insects and people.

The Orcas Island Garden Club invites you to join us at our 2024 Garden Tour on Saturday, June 29 and Sunday, June 30 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Tickets for the tour cost $25 per person and can be purchased at Darvill’s Bookstore in Eastsound, online at www.orcasislandgardenclub.org or for $25 cash at each garden. Supervised children age 12 and under are free. No dogs or strollers are allowed inside gardens. Bring your boots and rain gear – the tour will take place rain or shine. All the gardens are open both days throughout the tour.

Five lovely gardens are featured on this year’s tour, each with a unique character that celebrates this year’s theme – the Power of Perennials. In addition to wandering through the gardens, visitors will find other fun and educational activities at each garden such as live music, gardening demonstrations, garden artists, Master Gardeners information, a noxious weed expert and raffle baskets.

Gardens on the 2024 Tour

Tucked on a terraced hillside, Nancy Jones’ garden offers a wide variety of ornamental and native shrubs, vines, ferns and groundcovers. Check out the two greenhouses to see an art show and learn more about companion plants. A small orchard features apple, fig, pear and cherry trees. Look for the veggie garden and visit the lively chicken house. Interspersed throughout are a variety of shrubs such as peonies and hydrangeas and perennial flowers such as gladiolas, irises, hostas, dahlias and lavender. Stop to rest in one of the many outdoor chairs positioned near climbing roses and clematis and observe the garden from different perspectives. Explore the cutting garden along the garden’s border that is designed to be a color wheel palette of perennial flowers that changes as the season progresses.

As you enter Stephanie and Jon DeVaan’s property, look for a variety of perennials and trees lining the roadway. Rock walls feature various evergreens and succulents flowing over them that provide color and texture. Located along the shoreline with a view of Cayou Channel, the garden surrounds the house with an array of evergreen and deciduous trees and lots of flowers that offer splashes of color. Enjoy the water view as you wander the garden and look for carpets of ground covers, cherry trees, ferns, lots of different rhododendrons, ornamental grasses and a lovely rose garden.

Located in a picturesque valley, the Laughing Donkey Farm is surrounded by trees, meadows and three ponds that provide habitat for herons, geese and ducks. Follow the pathways up the hill to visit the rock garden and the fenced garden that offers a wide variety of flowers, veggies and fruits including: raspberries, strawberries, sweet potatoes, grapes and cherries. Explore the greenhouse that also features original stained-glass art created by the owner. Spend some time meeting the friendly donkeys and horses who make this farm their home and learn more about their histories.

Although most folks on Orcas have visited the Orcas Public Library many times, have you noticed the many lovely mini gardens surrounding the building? As you wander around the hillside, you encounter groupings of ornamental trees such as cherry, crabapple, madronas, and paper birch, mixed with a variety of evergreens. Look for an assortment of ornamental grasses, shrubs and perennials that are tucked into the various plant habitats. Check out the terrariums and old historical photos and learn more about the library’s seed-sharing program.

As you enter The Little Farm, you are amazed at the incredible variety of flowers, veggies, fruit trees and shrubs filling all the spaces. Look for hydrangeas, David Austin roses, hellebores, irises, dahlias, day lilies, peonies & lavender. Wander through fruit trees and grape orchard. Explore the pond, greenhouse, hoop house and barn and enjoy a garden demo. Visit the lovely garden of ornamental grasses designed by Emily Aring that surrounds the house. Before you leave, stop at the farm stand where you can pick & purchase eggs, flowers & berries.

The money raised from our annual Garden Tour helps fund all the great programs that bring knowledgeable experts to our monthly meetings throughout the year. Each speaker shares information from their experience and study that we can use to raise beautiful flowers and shrubs, heathy veggies and fruits, and care for native plants that attract bees, birds and butterflies to our gardens, allowing the whole community to share in the enjoyment of the natural world. Some of our funds are also used to award community grants to help other Orcas nonprofit organizations preserve and enhance the natural beauty of our Orcas environment.

Please bring your friends and visitors to enjoy these gardens and learn more about growing perennials and other plants. We look forward to seeing you on the tour as we all celebrate the joys of gardening.