A feast for the senses


This year’s Petals and Pathways Garden Tour will be from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, June 29.


This 20th annual tour will feature seven beautiful private gardens in the Sequim area. Tour goers will see how these gardeners have coped with a variety of problems and terrain features, ranging from tiny spaces to flat, open areas to rugged and steep hillsides.


The gardens are spread over an area ranging from a location near Kitchen-Dick Road, around to Marine Drive, on to the Sunland area, and then up to Bell Hill. Some of the gardens are the product of a decade or more of effort, while others have been recently established.


• Walt and Sara Johnson have used stones from their property to create a low wall curving along the driveway alongside a pump-fed stream leading to a pond accented with flowering cherry trees. They have an extensive composting system that supports their numerous annual and perennial plantings, lawns and orchard trees.


• Tom and Irma Colvin have turned three acres of pasture grass into a large and inviting garden, with an extensive collection of dwarf conifers, ornamental grasses and an enclosed orchard. The space comprises colorful yard art, mounded planting beds, blueberries and a raised bed vegetable garden. This garden is further enhanced by a view across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Victoria, and an eagles’ nest high in a tree snag.


• Doreen Petersen has converted a small lot of solid clay into a gorgeous woodland retreat including more than 45 Japanese maples in a variety of foliage types and colors, clump bamboo, ferns, hellebores, grasses and many other species. She has constructed an eye-catching grouping of white-barked birches and irises in the front yard. In addition she has devised a simple and unobtrusive but effective method of keeping deer out of her plantings.


• Marty and Ellen LaMarr are creating an earth- and wildlife-friendly small garden that requires relatively little labor for upkeep. A 41-year-old bridge built by Ellen’s dad and surrounded by columbine is the focal point. The entire garden is served by a drip irrigation system on a timer.

Pest control is accomplished with thoughtful companion planting and the use of copper to deter slugs. The resulting garden is a haven for birds of many kinds.


• To see the garden of Larry and Marilynn Elliott, you will walk a series of pathways (sometimes steep, so wear shoes with traction) that take you past seven pools, waterfalls, decorative fencing and surprise after surprise in the form of whimsical examples of yard art. The pools are accented with a coral bark maple, flowering plums, Cryptomeria, black mondo grass, a weeping white pine and a blue Atlas cedar. The path from the drive leads through a beautiful custom-designed gate.


• Winding paths and ponds also are featured in the garden of Byron and Sharan Childs. One pond has a working waterwheel. Magnolias, maples, rhododendrons and Ceanothus add depth and dimension. Numerous bulbs and perennials provide a panorama of color, and sages, fuchsias and other nectar plants attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Several whimsically designed seating areas invite one to relax and enjoy the garden.


• Bob and Linda Beatty have constructed a magnificent garden on steep terrain (shoes with traction highly recommended). An expansive deck overlooks a serene garden with stunning view of the San Juan Islands, Victoria, the strait, Dungeness Spit and the New Dungeness Lighthouse.


Meandering pathways invite you to stroll down to view pools, an assortment of Japanese maples, a golden chain tree, rhododendrons, heathers and evergreens thriving among plantings of kinnikinnick. Before coming back up, take a moment to relax on the lower deck while listening to the splashes of the fountain, filled with water flowing from a hillside brook.


Locations of the gardens will be revealed only with the purchase of a ticket. Tickets are $15 per person ahead of time and $20 on the day of the tour. Advanced tickets can be purchased in Sequim, Port Angeles and Port Townsend. They are available at the Extension office at the Clallam County courthouse and at many local businesses, including Peninsula Nursery, McComb Garden Nursery, Over the Fence, The Red Rooster Grocery, Sunny Farms Farm Store, Vision Nursery, Airport Garden Center, Country Aire, Port Book and News, Gross’s Nursery & Florist, the Greenhouse Nursery, at all Master Gardener plant clinics and in Port Townsend at Henery’s Garden Center. Tickets also are available for purchase online at gardentour.brownpapertickets.com.