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Yesterday I had the good fortune to take my friend, Kathy Hubenet, along with me on the 2100 Seattle Central Area Garden Tour.
It was very inspiring to see the great work that Seattle gardeners are doing in producing eclectic, sustainable, creative and unpretentious gardens. In those elements there is a constant band of beauty wove, but, as is often said of design, form follow function in all of these gardens.
The Kirlay and Bravo-Stacey’s gardens both have an a passionate focus on sustainable, urban food production. The Bravo-Stacey’s have spearheaded a highly successful program to transform a neglected and trash-filled alley into a mulched garden trail lined with native plants that choke out most weeds, require very little water, and provide excellent visual appeal for humans and great habitat for a range of other living things. This alley can be a great model for anyone in the Northwest who is hoping to keep a garden low-maintenance, sustainable and beautiful. It may not be appropriate for every goal and every garden but is very successful here.
We followed up with the McDonnal-Wyman garden, a wonderful reflection of the style, sensibility, and grace of the owners. They have a riveting blend of formality, practicality, grace and beauty. Found objects and antiques seamlessly blend into the planting and lap-pool. They charm the local children (and most adults) with their miniature horse and Nubian goat.
The day got away from us and we had to finish at the James W. Washington Jr. home and the Fowler Art Garden. These neighboring gardens reflect the creative energy and relationship to home and community of a legendary Seattle sculptor and a contemporary mosaic artist and motorcycle collector. The James W. Washington Jr. home serves as both a homage to the past of a great artist and view into the domestic and horticultural values of an artist working from home in a community setting as well as refuge, inspiration, and breeding ground for contemporary artists.
The Fowler Art Garden (and garlic farm!) shows how rich an artistic life can make a neighborhood. This home and garden are surrounded and interwoven by his vision, collection, and craft. The sterile surrounding townhomes but in high relief how bare our neighborhoods get when there is not room left for individuality and creative expression.
More photos and captions can be seen at:
Hats off to the organizers.