*Warning, long post, but lots of good pictures!
I attended the Willow Garden Tour yesterday, and it was fabulous! The weather cooperated ALL DAY! I couldn't believe it! It was very obvious that many people put a lot of effort into this event, and it was well worth it. And this was the 25th anniversary of this tour, which made it a little special!
There were 6 amazing gardens on the tour, so I will divide the pictures up that way and make it a little easier to follow along. I just wish I could post all the photos I took, but there were WAY to many for that.
Don't forget to click on the photos to get a better look!
Jim and Kathy Huston Gardens (Alaskan Host B&B)
Hands down, the best part of this garden was the water feature, but there was lots to enjoy. The wildflowers edged the lawn beautifully, and there was lots of wildlife (both real - swans and a muskrat, and not so real - geese and the moose). This was a comfortable spot, with lots of beautiful rock incorporated throughout.
William and Kathy Mailer Gardens
I loved this garden from the minute I walked up to it. They had TONS of Columbine and Delphinium, which are two of my favorites. This was a garden in which you could wander aimlessly for a very long time, although I found myself stopping every 2 or 3 steps to just look around. So much to take in! There were nice touches of garden art throughout, without being gaudy. This garden had FANTASTIC TEXTURE!!
George Murphy and Dorothea Taylor's Gardens
Honestly, the first thing that struck me at this stop was the beautiful log home. And the dark slate everywhere. The slate was used for the house, the paths and the walls, and provided a nice dark background for all the color. You could really tell that this is an older garden. Plants have really made their own way. Very natural and unmanicured, peaceful and wandering. There are Forget-Me-Nots woven amongst most everything and they really added a nice, whimsical Alaskan touch. I got the sense of a "tamed" meadow.
Jerry Freeley's Vegetable Garden
This garden was awesome, although the pictures don't really do it any justice. Different from all the others as this was strictly a vegetable garden. Not ornamental at all, yet still beautiful in its own right. There were tons of huge Rhubarb plants, and the veggies looked amazing! I was surprised that he had all his tomatoes and cucumbers right out there in the ground, with no cover or protection of any sort, and they looked fine! Mr. Freeley uses only compost and lime in his garden, no chemicals. One day I hope my vegetable garden is this big!
Albino Hare Garden & Gallery
This was a fantastically whimsical garden. Toys and trinkets were a big feature here. It had a very cottage garden feel with lots of bent willow adorning the beds. There were several upside-down trees used in creative ways, lending it a very playful tone as well, almost like a fairy land! The gallery had some great pieces for sale, and it fit well in the garden setting.
Les Brake's Coyote Garden
The last garden on the tour and well worth the wait. This garden felt big and small at the same time. Lots of large trees and old growth really made you realize that you were in the middle of a big, old forest. There were vegetables worked into the borders, and lots of volume to the plantings. Beautiful structures everywhere went well with the large trees, giving some size to the garden which couldn't be achieved with plants alone. This garden had tons of flowers, but they weren't the predominant sight by any means. There were tons of big ferns, beautiful moss, and lots of leaf color and pattern. It was very peaceful here.
For those who weren't able to make it this year, be sure to make time next year. It was well worth it and gave me LOTS of ideas for my own spaces!