Garden lovers delight
June 25, 2008 · Updated 9:13 PM
There are private gardens on South Whidbey so splendid that one has to resist the temptation to knock on the owners door and ask, Howd you do that?
An upcoming garden tour is giving the community a chance to check these gardens out without experiencing the awkwardness of being an overzealous stranger. Instead, theyll be welcomed with enthusiasm.
The Whidbey Island Garden Tour opens five private gardens to the public, each encompassing a variety of distinctive traits.
The gardens vary from serene to radiant. They include features such as flowers and shrubs, sculpture and rock gardens.
The garden tour doubles as a good cause. It was established as a non-profit group in 1996. In 10 years, the tour has raised more than $165,000 to gather money for groups that work to improve the islands common habitat.
Sue Fessenden has gone to every one of the annual garden tours.
Theres some fabulous gardens that Ive seen over the years, she said. Theres always different kinds of gardens, and its always fun to see what other people have done.
This year Fessenden and her husband Warren will have their garden on display for the first time.
Their garden features old apple trees combined with a variety of new and easy-to-care-for plantings. Fast growing grasses, shrubs and perennials splash across the one-acre property, creating a series of colorful and richly textured gardens.
The Fessendens garden is four years old. Despite its youthful age, it features a variety of plants.
This particular garden shows how to do a mixed-shrub border with low-water needs, Fessenden said.
The Fessendens property allows its owners to enjoy the setting without becoming slaves to the garden.
Thats important in todays world because people are interested in not doing as much work. Fessenden said. Shrubs can give you a variety and interest and still keep the maintenance down.
The diversity of garden climates and themes is sure to provide ideas for all types of gardeners.
The Fessendens garden has taken on its own unofficial theme.
I like grasses. I like a lot of the purple plants, and the gold foliage, Fessenden said. I seem to kind of hone in on those two.
Having a variety of vegetation is also important to the gardener.
I like flowers, but I want the texture of the foliage to be more important, she said.
In addition to the public viewing of private gardens, tour participants will get the inside scoop about their colorful features. Tour-goers could ask for tips about how to grow certain plants, learn which plants thrive in certain conditions or how to prepare soil and keep weeds to a minimum.
Fessenden has some tips of her own.
Dont ever let shotweed go to seed, She said. Get it before April 1 thats the time its getting ready to shoot.
Once thats accomplished, the gardener wont have to spend all their time weeding.
Before planting, Fessenden said, there is one thing every gardener must do.
I say soil prep is the most important thing you can do, she said. There is nothing that you can substitute for it.
Fessenden said shes been gardening since she was just a little girl. Shes had several gardens and is trained as a Master Gardener.
Gardening is something she has never and most likely will never get tired of.
I just enjoy all aspects of it. Its very relaxing. It takes away a lot stress, even doing the nasty things like weeding, she said. And when Im done for the day I like to sit down and look around and take pleasure in the work Ive done.