Sunday, September 1, 2013

Vashon Island Garden and Nursery Excursion

Our fun group of avid plantspeople gathered once again to spend a day and explore the gardening scene across the pond about a month ago. This time it was the island of Vashon.

Vashon Island is the largest island in Puget Sound and a 25 minute ferry ride from West Seattle. With mostly rural country living, those seeking quiet solitude and space in which to farm and garden will make Vashon home. It's certainly one of the best places to retire in our area, but many of its residents work in Seattle or Tacoma.

We met up to see two private gardens and a destination nursery I've only heard about, but never had an opportunity to go. This has been such a remarkable summer. With no recordable amount of precipitation for the month of July, we've been blessed with sunshine, heat and, if you kept things watered, a lush garden such as this.

 Our team this time included a few members of our Heronswood group this spring: Meghan Fuller, Dustin Schulte, and Justin Galicic. We were joined my Preston Pew and Grace Hensley, two very talented individuals and plant lovers.

Dustin is actually a Vashon resident with his partner and we've been trying to find an opportunity to visit so we had the pleasure of checking out his property and work in progress. It was definitely a reality check just to see how much work goes into having a home and property in the island. While it may be peaceful, quiet, content with the potential for such a lavish landscape around you, the upkeep and maintenance involved is something most young couples are probably not prepared for, but they've tackled it and have made remarkable progress. It will be exciting to see them settle in and grow with the property. Dustin has his own garden maintenance firm called D&A Gardens.

Grace gives Meghan some tips on using her new camera
Grace Hensley is a young woman who's gardening prowess and keen eye is no surprise in the Pacific Northwest gardening scene as her mother is the well know photographer, Lynne Harrison. Lynne has done the photography for numerous books including all of Dan Hinkley's titles and she continues to photograph and it's only natural that she share her talents with her young daughter. Grace has a fun blog called eTilth where you can see some of her wonderful photos and experiences as an urban gardener.

and I'm sure they took a much  better photo of this stunning combination

A stunning Nicotiana or Flowering Tobacco

Can you tell what the soil pH might be?

The always lovely Hydrangea 'Izu No Hana'

The second garden we visited has this incredible chess set integrated into their manicured lawn

Meghan enjoys the soft fragrance of Phlox paniculata

Finally, we went to grab food and later hit up DIG Nursery where I finally had a chance to meet the lovely Sylvia Matlock. This nursery has always been known for their unique design ideas, fantastic containers and a plethora of unusual plants! We certainly came away with several purchases and we all chipped in for a gift certificate for Preston who was celebrating a birthday with us!

A creative idea using hardy succulents as a hanging orb

Meghan with a giant Angelica gigas!!

Awesome gabion walls at the nursery entry!

Eryngium agavifolium always looks striking backlit!

One plant that caught my eye and had to ask about: Cyperus glaber. A striking texture!
Straight out of Jurassic Park or "The Lost Gardener", the best stand of Tetrapanax 'Steroidal Giant'!

It's been such a treat to join these folks and marvel at the great gardens we've got here! There's still so much to explore around Vashon; I'm anxious to return!



  1. What a fun day! If I hadn't (finally!!!) visited DIG earlier this year I would be insanely jealous...what a cool place!

    I'm wondering about the sort of frilly/frothy blue in the background of your third photo. I've enlarged it and tried to make out what plant it might be but with no success. Do you remember?

    1. Are you referring to the plant in front of the variegated Yuccas? Hmmm.....totally looks just like kale to me, but it could also be Crambe maritima, the SEA kale.

    2. Ya that's what I was asking about and I suppose it could be just looked a little more fantastical to me...