An Oasis for Birds, Pollinators and People 

(This is a 2018 garden description. Gardens for this year’s tour can be found here.)

Photo by Nancy Wilcox

Photo by Nancy Wilcox

Suzanne, a naturalist specializing in bird behavior, and Kimberly, a permaculture educator and landscape designer, have joined forces to create a richly diverse habitat in an urban environment and a peaceful, bountiful and safe home for native birds. Working together since 2013 to create a comprehensive design, they have created a garden that combines the key elements of soil health, drought tolerance, water-retention, year-round interest, companion plantings, and wildlife and pollinator support systems. 

Entering from the sidewalk pollinator garden, notice two towering Douglas fir trees dominating the space. Underneath are wood chipped paths that meander through shade-loving plants, many with edible berries. Look for salal, huckleberry, wild ginger, trillium, and sword fern in the shade and at the sunnier edges, honeyberry and goumi (Eleagnus multiflora). 

As you walk in a clockwise direction through the miniature park-like setting, a bright lime green door signals the transition from shade to sun where most of the edibles and ornamentals are grown. A one-hundred-year-old English walnut tree gracefully anchors the back garden. Also planted here are five young apple trees well-suited to small space gardening: Sentinel columnars, heirloom russet dwarf Ashmead Kernels and a mini-dwarf Spartan. Next to the garage are Crandall currant, black chokeberry (Aronia), blueberries, and a vegetable bed. Containers planted with heat-loving vegetables sit on the sunny patio. Continue around to the fully-shaded north side of the house to find another edible treat—cultivated mushrooms! 

Not wheelchair accessible. 

This garden will serve as an education lab for visitors to learn about responsible land stewardship and native plants. Also, WSU Master Gardeners will be on-hand to answer your gardening questions and to give free horticultural advice.