Whether it’s sunny and charming in-town gardens, meadows with native plants with ponds and water features or shady waterfront settings with beautiful vistas, the annual Orcas Island Garden Club Tour on Saturday, June 7 has something for every gardening enthusiast.
This year’s tour features seven venues. Five are in the Deer Harbor/Spring Point region of Orcas and two are in Eastsound. “We localized the tour this year to minimize the need for driving long distances,” said Garden Tour Committee member Betsy Louton.
“There are a large variety of different settings utilizing the micro-climates of the island,” said Louton. “It’s interesting to see how each land owner deals with the challenges of soil, wind and water.”
The annual garden tour is a prime opportunity to visit private areas of Orcas Island that are not ordinarily accessible to the general public. “The wide variety of the human responses to the desire to create a beautiful garden is amazing,” says Louton.
The garden tour is self-guided from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. A docent will give each visitor a map of the garden and assist patrons with descriptions of the flora at each property.
Tickets are $20 per person and are available in advance at Driftwood Nursery, Smith and Speed Mercantile, Darvill’s Bookstore and at the Master Gardener Booth at the Orcas Farmers’ Market. Garden club members will also be selling tickets at Island Market the weekend of the event or may be purchased at any participating garden on the tour the day of the event.
Proceeds from the garden tour help fund speakers at monthly Garden Club meetings and go toward community beautification projects. The Garden Club plans to donate $2000 for landscaping and plantings at the newly remodeled Orcas Historical Museum this summer.
the William and Valerie Anders Garden
109 Westerly Court, Spring Point
Surrounding the upper guest houses, a peaceful native garden featuring prolific salal, cedar, rhododendron and mahonia leads the way to the main house and a panoramic view of Speiden Channel. Clematis armandi cascading over a high trellis facing a pond, a lush shade garden and a variety of potted plants are some of the features guests will encounter along the walk around the wrap-around deck. Ceanothus and pine descend to the shoreline.
Travel 1.75 miles on Channel Road from Deer Harbor Road. (Channel Road becomes gravel paving at the Karen Lane and Walker Drive intersection.) Turn north (right) into parking just before Westerly Court.
the Robert and Jody Hamaker Garden
Orchard Drive at Spring Point Road, Spring Point
A rocky knoll on a plateau overlooking Pole Pass, this garden features edible landscaping with a variety of old and new trees. Rocky outcroppings and fallen trees provide natural sculptures. Ponds are surrounded by vine maple, dogwood, willow, cattail, amalanchier and high bush cranberry creating an alluring bird habitat. Overlooking the pond, the orchard features an impressive variety of fruit trees. Tour the pond/meadow area and orchard, but not the residential area.
Travel 1 mile on Channel Road from Deer Harbor Road and turn south (left) uphill onto Spring Point Road. Drive for 0.75 mile. Veer right onto Orchard Drive (where Spring Point Road bends left.) Fifty feet past the intersection is the grass driveway to parking.
the Lahari Garden
Potlatch Drive, Deer Harbor
A Japanese Tori gate welcomes visitors to the community gardens designed by Robin Kucklick. Water winds down a flowform water-carrying sculpture, turning in figure eights, to a pond surrounded by deer resistant plants. Ten acres of land, donated by islanders Dick and Becky Greaves, is shared with Opal Housing. These residential gardens are also on display.
The Palette Artists will feature their artwork in the Lahari House.
Travel 0.25 mile on Channel Road from Deer Harbor Road. Just past bridge at the estuary, turn north (right) at Potlatch Drive and drive for 0.25 mile.
Homestead & Nursery, Deer Harbor
Situated on a southwest slope, this island treasure features a variety of soils which transition into a wetland marsh. Learn about permaculture and a wetland habitat to discover all this homestead has to offer. A nursery with a delightful variety of plants, tree crops in the orchard, a marsh and ponds await the visitor in a very natural setting.
Look for the Bullock Permaculture Homestead sign on the right at the driveway on Channel Road just west of Spring Point Road.
The Rick and Jackie Cohen Garden
An Asian style gate and a Monet-like bridge welcome one to this meadowland garden. A series of interconnected ponds provide sub-irrigation to the surrounding gardens. The gardens, established fifteen years ago, offer mature specimens of many unusual trees and shrubs. Several styrax, a paperback maple, wisteria gracing both the bridge and arbor, tall cammas and epimedium border the woodland paths. Behind the house meander up to the orchard and vegetable garden.
Park at Orcas Island Yacht Club and meet the Shuttle Bus at the Orcas Island Yacht Club on Deer Harbor Road just east of Crow Valley Road. Vans will pick visitors up at the east side of the lot for shuttling to the garden.
Emmanuel Episcopal Church
Dale Pederson Memorial Garden
Founded in 1885, Emmanuel Episcopal Church was entered on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994. The garden reflects the English heritage of the early founders of this historic Church. A long mixed border is planted in memory of Dale Pederson, who was responsible for much of the landscaping in Eastsound. Filled with roses, peonies, iris, lilies, yarrow and geraniums, the garden is best viewed in June but was designed for interest all year round. Parish volunteers maintain the garden.
The Dale Pederson Memorial Garden was designed and established in the spring of 1996 with funds given in memory and honor of Dale Pederson, long-time communicant of Emmanuel Church and leading planner of the Main Street Improvement and Beautification Project. The improvement and beautification of all of Main Street are the result of his vision, dedication and leadership.
English Country Tea and light refreshments will be served all day.
218 Main Street in Eastsound (between Orcas Road and North Beach Road in downtown Eastsound)
The Crayola Cottages
Henry Road, Eastsound
The “Crayola Cottages,” as they are referred to by Orcas residents, present a uniform view from the street. Close up they are unique. Each surprisingly diverse garden reflects the style and taste of the owner. Two of the gardens were installed by island designer Robin Kucklick while others were designed and planted by the owners. Japanese maples, mugho pines, pieris japonica and blueberries blend with roses, geraniums, daisies and clematis are planted for remarkably different effects. Stroll down the path and peek at these charming gardens.
Travel north on Prune Alley, in Eastsound, which becomes North Beach Road. Turn west (left) on Henry Road to the end, adjacent to the Orcas Senior Center.