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Gardens of delight

Catherine and Tom Mix moved to Sequim in 1998 with a dream to have a garden that would appear in national magazines.

That dream has been fulfilled several times, the latest being an article in the April 2010 issue of Fine Gardening. This time Catherine wrote the copy herself.

The Mixes started with 24 acres of farmland pasture. They enriched the soil and with the help of a landscaper laid out their dream garden. The garden has grown to four acres around the farmhouse they built.

The Mixes rent the garden and house for a variety of purposes, the most common being garden weddings in the summer. In 2008, 42 weddings took place on the grounds. Twenty-one already are booked for this summer - including lower-budget ceremonies Catherine calls "elopements."

Catherine helps with the wedding details, saying, "My goal is to have the wedding as easy and enjoyable as possible." This includes setting up chairs and putting them away as well as providing a tent if it is needed.



A cut above

On another part of the property they established a cutting garden. Every spring they plant hundreds of seeds in a greenhouse. This year they have seedlings of 160 varieties of flowers that grow well in the Sequim climate and work well as cut flowers for floral displays.

When it's time, Catherine and a helper transplant the flowers to the cutting garden. This year she will have 19 varieties of sweet peas, one from England that blooms a bright acid green. From May 1-2 they will sell the extra seedlings.

This year Catherine's helper is Kayla McCann, granddaughter of LaVonne and Bill Meuller of Sequim. McCann is interested in farming in the Dungeness Valley after she graduates from college.

When the flowers reach maturity in June or July, the cutting garden is open to the public for self-service cutting.Catherine asks that visitors bring a clean bucket for their flowers. She provides water, cutters and a hydrating formula to help keep the flowers fresh.



Be sharp

She recommends making sure the stems are cut with a very sharp tool and leaving the flowers in a dark cool place for several hours to help keep the blooms fresh and alive for many days. She also recommends not cutting in the heat of the day.

Flowers cost $7.50 for a bunch that fits inside the twist ties Catherine provides. Bunches generally are large enough to fit into two hands.

Catherine and her new floral design guru Kindryn Domning create a variety of fresh and unique bouquets for many weddings, not just those on the grounds.

The rest of the farmland is fenced off for horses and llamas that Tom raises.

During the winter, Catherine, an award-winning artist, paints with watercolors and pastels. This year she is the featured artist at the Soroptimist Garden Gala Show, March 20-21.

For more information on the gardens, see cuttinggarden.com or call 681-3099.



At a glance

Who: Catherine and Tom Mix

What: The Cutting Garden

Where: 303 Dahlia Llama Lane, Sequim

For more information: Call 670-8671, e-mail catherine@cuttinggarden.com, or visit www.cuttinggarden.com.



Reach Dana Casey at dcasey@sequimgazette.com.





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