Each year, the Orcas Island Garden Club hosts a tour of some of the fabulous gardens on the island. We attended last year’s tour and this year’s. Each garden is unique and always a treat. This year showcased five gardens.
You can find the photos that I took on Flickr.
Below, I post the garden club’s comments on each garden since, next year, their page on it will likely be replaced by the next set of gardens.
Coffelt Farm is beloved for its beauty, historical significance, and as an example of island-scale agriculture. Covering 185 acres of pasture, woodland and wetland at the north end of Crow Valley, the farm sells grass-fed lamb and beef, pastured pork and chickens, organic vegetables and fruits, and eggs and wool products. Peek over the farmhouse fence at the cottage garden that Sidney Coffelt has nurtured over 30 years.
Michael Sterling’s 12-acre “Dream Ranch” is the creation of a man with boundless imagination and energy. This wonderfully varied garden includes a moon-gazing circle of 12-feet high grasses, a veggie garden, rows of berries, espaliered apples, a labyrinth, a bog garden, a propagation garden, an amphitheater, a gazebo, waterfalls, rocks, steams, and gargoyles.
Founded in 1927, the Indralaya Retreat Center draws visitors from around the world. As the Indralaya mission states, from the moment you pass through the gate, you are keenly aware you have entered “a sanctuary of natural beauty and peace celebrating the inter-connectedness of all forms of life.” The 78-acre retreat includes nearly a mile of shoreline, forests, an historical orchard, a labyrinth, and organic gardens including 30 raised beds of veggies, herbs, and flowers.
Jeffri Coleman’s and Michael Rivkin’s Crow Valley Pottery is an island treasure, dating to 1959 at the historic “Cabin” location. Their personal garden is filled with architectural salvage and treasures from travels around the world, including heritage perennials and shrubs, a fern grotto, a veggie and berry garden, a contemplative garden, and Jeffri’s cactus collection in the greenhouse. This garden never fails to delight.
Dick and Judy Evans 3 1/2 acre- garden surrounds a small cove near Obstruction Pass, with a perfectly framed view of Mt. Baker. Gravel paths wind through a woodland garden containing hundreds of rhododendrons, to emerge at a mixed border filled with hundreds of roses, accented by flowering trees and perennials. Be sure to peek in the greenhouse, the garden house, and the Winnie-the-Pooh house Judy built for her grandchildren.