21st tour to reveal secrets of 7 North Beach gardens June 17

Chris Tucker, ctucker@ptleader.com
Posted 6/6/17

The “secret” of seven of Port Townsend’s most remarkable private gardens are revealed to visitors who take part in the 21st annual Secret Garden Tour, organizers say.

The tour is set for …

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21st tour to reveal secrets of 7 North Beach gardens June 17

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The “secret” of seven of Port Townsend’s most remarkable private gardens are revealed to visitors who take part in the 21st annual Secret Garden Tour, organizers say.

The tour is set for June 17 and features gardens located within half a mile of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The theme of this year’s tour, “Growing in the Wind: Gardening near the Strait of Juan de Fuca,” highlights the unique microclimates of Port Townsend’s windy north coast.

Two of the gardens feature North Beach’s world-class vistas, accented by landscape art and architectural features. Another is inspired by French country traditions, with food, flowers, animals, and a sense of gracious living that may make visitors want to spend a weekend instead of an hour.

“It’s cool,” said John Sabella of the Secret Garden Tour, which is presented by the Jefferson County Master Gardener Foundation.

“They’ve done it for years, and it shows properties where the owners have really put a lot of time and effort to do their gardens.”

Another garden focuses on what is called “growing groceries,” with flowers and grassy paths dispelling any preconception that a food garden can’t be gorgeous.

Three of the gardens are enclosed worlds unto themselves: one filled with pools and birdsong, another with clematis and hydrangea-covered walls, and a third is a peace garden, where the owner finds inspiration in the pursuit of peace, which, like the garden, is always in progress. Some gardens are older than others. Two are legacy gardens, in which a new generation continues the work of a parent. The youngest garden was started in 2015.

FRUIT ORCHARD

A bonus this year is the orchard at Blue Heron School, which is open to ticket holders as part of the tour. The school’s 70-tree fruit orchard is maintained by Blue Heron School and Port Townsend High School students. The orchard displays tags identifying species and cultivars, with more information available online.

Sabella said gardeners in the tour had the expertise to ensure their gardens were developed to endure the cold winds that whip along the Strait of Juan de Fuca. He said this winter was the coldest in 30 years.

“It was so fricking cold all winter … some of these gardeners dealt with conditions they haven’t faced in quite a while,” Sabella said.

“We didn’t have a warm day until a week or two ago.”

Members of the Master Gardeners program take a preview tour of the gardens June 10 to learn about the gardens, so they are ready to answer visitors’ questions during the main tour.

The locations of the secret gardens are revealed to anyone who purchases a ticket.

Tour participants are strongly encouraged to carpool, as parking is limited in North Beach. (The six gardens located in the North Beach neighborhood can be easily walked in a 1.2-mile loop.) The tour’s largest garden, located in Seaview, includes a hospitality table, where visitors can learn more about Master Gardener programs.

For more information, contact John Sabella at 206-714-4732 or mastergardener@johnsabella.com.

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