Every June, the Lake Forest Park garden club organizes a tour of six beautiful gardens in our little town. Lake Forest Park is one of Seattle’s oldest suburbs and features a huge, gorgeous canopy of native trees. Many properties are hidden amidst these trees, sometimes even fully hidden as my house is. So it makes sense that the tour’s called “The Secret Gardens of Lake Forest Park.”
This year, I had the honor and work of opening my garden to the public. It was an exhausting but fun experience. I worked most spare hours in the garden for four and a half months and the result though was gratifying. The pressure to show my garden to the public motivated me to finish the projects I’d been putting off these last couple of years. Though my garden is a young garden as we’ve only been in our house for three years, the garden still looked better than ever with all spaces planted, weeded, mulched and decorated. I could have done even more, but I was just too … darn … tired. Instead, I called it good on the eve of the tour and enjoyed the festivities. I even managed to visit a few other gardens.
I’m always inspired when I see other gardens on a tour. The vision that manifests itself in a garden reflects one’s personality and tastes, so when you visit, you’re peeking inside someone’s soul. You discover what they love, how they live, what’s important to them. The garden of Michelle LeMoine was wonderful with its large-leaved plants and unusual conifers. Carolyn Barden, who I think of as the Grand Dame of LFP gardening, sprinkles her forested garden with whimsy via original works of art and the naming of spaces.
Carolyn lives on the property she grew up on and knows well the history of not only her acreage, but of much of our neighborhood — going all the way back to when folks mostly rode on horses to get around. Vicki Scuri’s hillside garden features a rain garden and lovely meandering paths. Mike Munro, son of Jerry Munro of Munro’s Nursery in Kenmore, WA, had a collection of rare plants, many of which I hadn’t seen before. (Unfortunately, I ran out of photo battery that day.) I also ran out of time and ended up missing the Pederson garden, so if anyone out there has photos, I’d love to include them.
Participating in the tour gave me an appreciation of the work that goes into organizing it. On garden tour day, there’s not just a tour but a huge plant sale in our Town Center. At least a dozen specialty nurseries come. Gardening radio personality Ciscoe Morris broadcasts his show from there. It’s a giant horti festival. My friend Angela and I managed to step into the fray for a bit, shopping for plants, chatting up Ciscoe. At the end of the day, I went to sleep feeling like Miss Garden America, overly showered with attention and satisfied with all of the work I’d done.