Tour shows off South Hill oases

Norma Gavin will welcome visitors to her garden during the Associated Garden Clubs’ tour on Aug. 3. (Susan Mulvihill)
Norma Gavin will welcome visitors to her garden during the Associated Garden Clubs’ tour on Aug. 3. (Susan Mulvihill)

Norma Gavin loves working with plants. Long active in the Spokane gardening community, she is looking forward to sharing her garden during the Associated Garden Clubs’ tour Aug. 3.

Now in its 28th year, the tour will feature seven South Hill gardens located within close proximity. The tour runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A native of the Philippines where she was a registered pharmacist, Gavin came to Spokane in 1956. After retiring as a medical office manager in 1998, she joined local garden clubs and quickly found great fulfillment in gardening.

Michael and Norma Gavin’s garden, located at 6107 S. Madelia St., is a tranquil place with plenty to see. It’s filled with dappled sunlight, beautiful plantings, meandering paths and birdsong.

“I don’t mind that it’s shady here,” Norma Gavin said. “I just choose plants that will grow well. And the birds are very happy in our garden.”

The shade in the garden comes from tall pines, mountain ash, a Japanese maple and tulip magnolia. Shrubs such as rhododendrons, boxwood, hydrangeas, birdnest spruce, lilacs, roses, bamboo and a variety of evergreens are located throughout.

In the curving planters, visitors will find perennials including hostas and bleeding hearts. Clematis and honeysuckle vines scramble over arbors.

One skill Gavin has developed over the years is the sculpting of shrubs and trees.

“I just love shaping plants – that’s my art in the garden,” she explained. “My neighbors often ask me to shape their shrubs, too.”

Gavin also has a knack for planting attractive containers filled with petunias, fuchsias, abutilon (flowering maple) and geraniums. They lend splashes of color to the serene setting.

Her biggest challenge is when deer and the occasional moose come calling. But she is certainly looking forward to welcoming human visitors during the tour.

“Whenever I go to a park or someone else’s garden, it inspires me,” Gavin said. “I want visitors to my garden to feel the same way, go home and start planting because everyone can garden. I never get tired of gardening and I enjoy sharing it with others.”

The following gardens are also on the tour:

• Bill and Jean Greene, 5922 S. Helena St.

• Jim and Mary Lou Brinkman, 6106 S. Madelia St.

• Mark and Maureen Smith, 1706 E. 62nd Ct.

• Brian and Lori Scott, 6310 S. Pittsburg St.

• David and Jill Morin, 6212 S. Regal St.

• 1614 E. South Ridge Drive

Organizers of the tour encourage attendees to visit the historic Moore-Turner Heritage Gardens, which was established in 1889 and restored under the guidance of the Spokane Parks and Recreation department. The Associated Garden Clubs of Spokane has donated funds for the purchase of plant materials there. The gardens are located adjacent to the Corbin Art Center at 507 W. Seventh Ave. and admission is free.

Proceeds from the tour will go toward beautification and gardening projects in the Spokane area.

Susan Mulvihill can be reached via email at inthegarden@ live.com. Visit her blog at susansinthegarden.blogspot.com and Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ susansinthegarden for more gardening information.

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