Garden tour season officially begins this month. First up is Saturday’s Spokane in Bloom tour, hosted by the Inland Empire Gardeners. This year’s spotlight is on six inspiring gardens on Spokane’s North Side.
Janie and Jim Edwards look forward to sharing their half-acre garden, located at 404 W. Graves Road. It has undergone quite a transformation over the past 20 years.
“There had been a horse corral behind our immediate backyard, filled with waist-high weeds,” Janie Edwards explained. “I looked at it for a year and realized that since it gets full sun, it could be a great garden. It was all designed around one existing sprinkler head.”
To amend the sandy soil, they brought in 23 cubic yards of compost over the first three years. Her husband and son built retaining walls from basalt rock.
“The plan was to let that sprinkler head water something beautiful,” she said. “I started about 40 flats of perennials from seed on electric blankets and began filling in the area with them.”
Her goal has been to create a garden where there’s always something in bloom.
“This garden is filled with color from April through October because I do a lot with spring bulbs,” she said. “I like to create large swaths of color. Putting the right plant in the right spot is critical: the color, height and bloom times are most important to me.”
Since the Edwards are both vegetarian, growing an organic vegetable garden was an important early goal. They also cultivate fruit trees and berries, with their hive of honeybees providing pollination.
Visitors will enjoy exploring the many outdoor rooms and sitting areas, including a grapevine-covered pergola. A wealth of birdsong provides delightful background music.
“I love having so many birds in our garden,” Edwards said. “They are beneficial to have around and I enjoy the music of song sparrows and wrens. Birds are the one free element in life: you just give them some water and seeds and they’ll make a home here.”
As an artist, Janie Edwards has found gardening enriches her life.
“This is like a palette or a canvas and because I also do art, it’s a living canvas,” she explained. “It brings me color and joy. It energizes me.”
The following gardens are also on the tour:
Donna and Tom Mackey, 11316 N. Astor Road, Spokane – This half-acre retreat has much to offer, including a rose garden, gazebo, clematis-covered pergola, a pond with two waterfalls which attracts hummingbirds and goldfinches, and a newly-created woodland garden.
Vickie and Keith Thompson, 205 W. Chattaroy Road, Colbert – Visitors will have plenty to see and experience on this 10-acre farm and garden. It features a gazebo and pavilion, rustic arbors and a delightful mix of roses, perennials, fruit trees and berry vines.
Pamela and Bob Brown, 5312 E. Deer Park Milan Road, Chattaroy – Located next to the Little Spokane River, this garden has been transformed from a former dairy into a certified wildlife habitat. There are colorful gardens, a boardwalk winding through the trees, arbors and sitting areas for taking in the peaceful surroundings.
Julie and Bill Nesbitt, 3002 W. Trinity Ave., Spokane – Garden guests will enjoy the many trellises covered with climbing roses and honeysuckle vines. Throughout the garden, birdhouses and feeders make a large population of birds feel welcome. Other features include many planted containers and a natural pollinator garden.
Mary Ann and Ken Corman, 7602 N. Audubon St., Spokane – The homeowners have created their own vision of an English garden, with colorful flowers of all kinds, roses surrounding a gazebo, ponds that attract birds, and winding paths to explore.
In addition to the gardens, there will be two bonus stops along the way. At Judy’s Enchanted Garden, 2628 W. Northwest Blvd., tour attendees can enter to win a $100 gift card. Whitworth University, 300 W. Hawthorn Drive, offers a 14-minute walk through their serene grounds.
Susan Mulvihill is co-author, with Pat Munts, of “Northwest Gardener’s Handbook.” Contact her at Susan@susansinthegarden.com. View this week’s “Everyone Can Grow A Garden” video on her YouTube channel, youtube.com/c/susansinthegarden.
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