ALKI GARDENER'S RETREAT
(This is a 2016 garden description. Gardens for the 2017 tour will be announced this spring.)
Plant aficionados* will not be disappointed with the small garden of a botanist who was head gardener at Seattle Center for 20 years and goes to plant nurseries for entertainment. The parking strip hints at the complexity and variety in the garden, with two varieties of late blooming manzanita, and Shrubby Hare’s Ear with its clusters of tiny chartreuse flowers.
A 20+ year-old Japanese black pine stands near the sidewalk in front of the fenced garden, where two vines grow over the Japanese-style torii gate. On the north side are a flowering currant and a Chinese mahonia. A large hydrangea anchors the north corner of the house. South of the walkway, the Magnolia sieboldii with white, pendulous flowers provides shade for perennials and shrubs below.
Toward the side gate of the garden you’ll pass a large viburnum and yew, and be greeted by a 15 year-old chartreuse-blooming bottlebrush. A crow sculpture sits in a patch of Solomon’s seal in front of a honeysuckle vine. The large tree by the deck is a bay laurel. Continue along the deck to a Magnolia stellata and two more mahonias.
A graceful wisteria draped over the end of the garage welcomes you to the peaceful back garden encircling a brick patio. The Abutilon at the corner of the garage has leaves that look like velvet splashed with yellow paint. Prominent plants in the back garden are a wheel tree, a tall ‘Nymansay’ with an abundance of white flowers in July, a Calycanthus with burgundy flowers all summer, and hardy schefflera. Scattered among these shrubs are lilies, ferns, sedums, tree peonies, Cymbidium orchids, Agapanthus, and several varieties of Eucomis, a South African bulb with pineapple-like flower clusters.
Exit at the back gate next to the Golden bamboo.
*A more complete description of this garden, including scientific names of most plants, is available at the gate.
Not wheelchair/stroller accessible.