Whidbey Island blooms for the annual garden tour

Diane Stone takes out weeds in her vegetable garden. She said she tends to her garden every day. - Celeste Erickson / The Record
Diane Stone takes out weeds in her vegetable garden. She said she tends to her garden every day.
— image credit: Celeste Erickson / The Record

South Whidbey’s finest residential gardens will welcome everyone from experts to enthusiasts to experience the beauty the island has to offer.

Four gardens will be on display for participants during the 18th annual Whidbey Island Garden Tour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 22. The tour will include tips for all gardening levels and types.

The first garden features a landscape with history. The Home by the Sea was the first bed and breakfast on Whidbey Island established in 1978 by owner Linda Walsh’s grandparents. The garden at the bed and breakfast features recycled items as well as a chicken coop, vegetable garden, shade garden and areas to sit and enjoy the landscape.

The tour continues with a garden featuring a Northwest Asian theme by owners Tom and Sharon Vos. The garden opens up from a wooded area to a spacious one-acre landscape. The garden includes Japanese maples, conifers and flowering shrubs.

Explore the trails at Greg and Diane Stone’s garden which focuses on sustainable and low-impact native plants. Visitors will have the chance to tour about a third of a mile on their property.

“We’ve been working on our garden for more than 10 years, but really started getting into it five years ago,” Diane Stone said.

Along with native plants, the Stones have built four vegetable gardens and created benches, rails and rock walls using materials found while gardening. Tall bird feeders surround the garden with swallows and other birds flying in and out throughout the trails.

“We work on our garden all day. We love it,” she said. “Both of us are interested in gardening. I love to hear the bees buzzing around.”

Stone said she and her husband are inspired by the work of the Whidbey Watershed Stewards and the Whidbey Island Conservation District for their use of native plants. One of her favorite garden duties is tending to iris’ and thimbleberries.

“We change something every year as some plants grow and some don’t,” she said. “It really depends on the seasons.”

The last garden combines influences from the Midwest and Northwest by owners Ellen and John Welsch. The garden features a view of Useless Bay, Double Bluff and the Olympic Mountains. Look for perennials, annuals, shrubs, vines, a hillside waterfall and a water garden.

Proceeds from the event will be donated to 10 local non-profits for improvement and maintenance of habitats. The tour has generated more than $300,000 to non-profits since its inception in 1996.

The nonprofits include Langley Main Street Association, South Whidbey Lions Club, Meerkerk Rhododendron Gardens, Pacific Rim Institute for Environmental Studies, Whidbey Institute, Good Cheer, South Whidbey Academy, Coupeville Garden Club, Island County Master Gardeners and Friends of Freeland.

A map of the locations will be provided with the ticket.

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