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Washington Voices

Expect quite a show at upcoming garden tour

Thu., June 16, 2011

Natural pillow basalt rock walls are accented by Scottish moss and colorful rock garden plants in Donna and Stan Canter’s “Sound of Music” garden. (J. Bart Rayniak)
Natural pillow basalt rock walls are accented by Scottish moss and colorful rock garden plants in Donna and Stan Canter’s “Sound of Music” garden. (J. Bart Rayniak)

If you aren’t doing anything this weekend and even if you are, make some time to do the Spokane in Bloom garden tour this Saturday. The Inland Empire Gardeners have chosen “The Greatest Show on Earth” as this year’s theme, and they aren’t kidding.

The six gardens in this year’s tour are in Nine Miles Fall and Colbert.

• The “Gone with the Wind” garden sits on a high bluff overlooking the confluence of the Spokane and Little Spokane rivers. The owners have framed the spectacular view with simple, broad brush plantings of perennials, conifers and ornamental grasses that tie the plantings to the native grass prairie that surrounds it. In the more intimate areas of the garden are sculptures by Harold Balazs and Melissa Swan.

• Back down on the Little Spokane River, the “On Golden Pond” garden is a 50-year labor of love that began as an empty farm field. The gardeners have let whimsy and creativity drive the design so that each section of the garden is unique. Don’t miss the riverside summer house that will take you straight into the children’s story “The Wind in the Willows.”

• The “Days of Wine and Roses” garden is located next to the Seven Mile Bridge and has a long history. The house was built in the late 1800s and was everything from a stagecoach stop to a speakeasy and a wheelwright shop. The present owners have restored and further developed the gardens, taking advantage of the historical structures and the Spokane River. They now offer the gardens as an event and wedding venue.

• The “A River Runs through It” garden is a plant fanatic’s dream. Over the last 31 years, the owners have developed a huge plant collection – all labeled – including a huge hosta collection. The owners have also decorated the garden with a collection of bronze statuary picked up over the years at estate auctions. A year-round stream runs through the garden, drawing in all kinds of birds and wildlife. After the tour, the property will be on the market.

• When the owners of the “Where the Wild Things Are” garden built it, they took advantage of the extensive meadows and wetlands around the property and left as much as they could to preserve the natural environment. As a result, you never know what kind of bird or critter you might catch a glimpse of as you walk. Look for them from the 50-foot suspension bridge over the dry creek bed.

• The “Sound of Music” garden began as a bare, rocky basalt bluff 39 years ago and grew to include a uniquely designed house and barn surrounded by a large vegetable garden and a large gazebo built for family fun. Seven years ago in an effort to improve the view, the owners blasted the bluff in front of the house and created not only a better view but a spectacular grotto garden. Several levels of decks now overlook the one-of-a-kind plantings while waterfalls feed a large koi pond.

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