Fundraising tour offers gardening ideas

The early part of July is when you can finally issue a death certificate to winter-weary roses, perennials and trees and shrubs. If anything still looks lifeless this month, off with their heads or out with their roots and get ready with a beautiful replacement. Life is too short to put up with ugly plants. In our cool summer climate you can add trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals all summer long.

For inspiration on what to plant now and to see what grows great in my neighborhood, treat yourself to the Enumclaw/Auburn garden tour. I may be biased, but these gardens hold the best-kept secrets when it comes to what unusual, creative and imaginative plantings will survive in our sometimes challenging climate.

This peek into my own neighbors’ back yards includes six private gardens, a specialty plant sale (find rare, cool stuff) local art sale and just in case you’re hungry, local fruits, vegetables and herbs for sale at the Auburn Adventists Academy campus.

For tickets: Pleasures of Planting: Enumclaw Plateau Garden Tour, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.  Reserve tickets at or call Alice at 253-833-7910 or just google ‘Pleasures of Planting Garden Tour.”


Roknob at the Owning/Brown Studio


One of the garden tour highlights is the internationally known but seldom open to the public garden called “Roknob.” This private but extensive garden covers more than five acres and highlights outdoor art sculptures and the Owen/Brown art studios. Some of the creative metal work looks like machinery come to life, some of the garden rooms are formal, some funky, some have water features, and many have modernistic archways, pillars and creative plantings that combine contrasting foliage colors.

A gigantic party gazebo welcomes visitors to this show garden but as you meander back into the property, stopping to investigate garden scenes and unusual plants along the way, you’ll discover the charming garden guest house - painted in colors that will remind you that this is a special garden created by two very original Northwest artists.

Take home Ideas from RokNob Garden:

• Plant unusual, blooming trees and shrubs that survive even in the Cascade foothills.

• Use white sand to create open space, trails and texture

• Put the metals to the petal and learn to incorporate steel, iron and stone sculpture as no-maintenance garden focal points.


Country Garden at the Oster Ranch


Here’s a country cottage garden that will wow you with color. The design is arranged like a color wheel that surrounds the house with bold strokes of various colors. There’s a formal, all-white garden with a fountain, the purple garden dripping with wisteria, a blue garden that highlights an easy to build archway and front yard beds that bloom in pink, purple and blue. You’ll learn how to mix easy-care perennials with pops of color from annuals.

Take Home Ideas from Oster Garden:

• Choose one color to dominate in each of your different garden beds.

• Recycle wash tubs, buckets, old beds and wooden window frames.

• Mix groundcovers, artwork and foliage as the backdrop for dramatic colors.

Tickets to the “Pleasures of Planting” Garden Tour may be limited so reserve early. This tour benefits a local scholarship program.

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