Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Unexpected Garden Tour

by Debbie Teashon

I love finding the unexpected.

Last summer in 2015, I went on the Snohomish Garden Tour in the historic district. I was pleasantly surprised to find some unexpected art and other amazements.

The first order of the day was crossing Puget Sound (I affectionately call the moat) via the Kingston/Edmonds Ferry.

With the exception of one curmudgeon, it was a delightful tour. The plentiful gardens surrounding historic homes made it worthwhile. The docents in each garden made people feel welcome, and answered questions. I met one homeowner couple and enjoyed a pleasant conversation with them. All in a good day's tour.
The sign said it was a church.

The surprise came when walking through the Snohomish historic district I came up to St. Michael's Catholic church that was on the tour. At least I thought it was a church. The sign said it was a church.

It looked like a church.

A castle church
Near the front steps a tall plume poppy (Macleya cordata) stood tall.
The garden entry was on the side of the church building.
I followed people inside.
Down the path we came upon metal art pieces nestled in with the plants.
The light of the sun reveals the shadow of time

A gazebo stood at the end of the narrow path. With too many people already crowded into it, I skirted around to a path along the building, when I came upon a ...

Buddha! There was a Buddha statue in a Catholic church garden. How odd I thought. I came across another Buddha clothed in moss and sitting in a birdbath filled with succulents under a chandelier. 
It wasn't until I was halfway through the garden that I realized this place wasn't a church – I was touring a private garden of artists Guzak and Blake of Angel Arms Works. That will teach me to read the descriptions before entering a garden!

 I didn't get the name of this fig tree loaded with fruit. This healthy-looking shrub also had a clematis growing up through its branches.

Finally the crowds thinned out and I went over to take a good look at the arbor. A large grape vine covered it completely. It too was loaded with fruit.

More metal art placed strategically around the garden.

Another vine is climbing up into a covered entryway. Do you see the faces?
I loved the simple containers overflowing with plant life!
 More unexpected art on the wall behind the conifer.
Down the road in the Kerkley garden a couple of folk art pieces caught my eye. I liked how the door with peeling paint looks abandoned leaning up against the house, with a little angel sticking by its side.
An old weather vane in another part of the garden.

In the Roberge's delightful garden, two urns are filled to overflowing with the white flowering Bacopa and flank the steps leading up to their porch. I like how they placed a candle in each one.
 Have a piece of succulent cake. Made with soil, moss and succulents, this was a fun surprise sitting on one of the porch benches.
Going around to the side of the house a mailbox sits on an old stump. Postcards adorn the box.

An iron scarecrow stands guard over the vegetable garden. What happened to its head?

Finding the unexpected is the best part about touring gardens.


  1. This is the tour I almost went on last year! Sorry I missed it, but I might go this year. You took some wonderful photos!

    1. I am going to try to go again too, it is a great tour!

  2. Debbie, did you ever find the "William and Mary" tulip bulbs? I have been looking for a place to purchase them for two years now. Please let me know where. Love your articles and photos, btw.


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