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In the Garden: Spokane in Bloom garden tour

By Susan Mulvihill For The Spokesman-Review

Walking through other people’s gardens is one of the best ways to discover great design concepts and new plants. It’s always a good idea to accomplish this by going on a garden tour since you will be welcomed with open arms during your visit.

On Saturday, June 18, six lovely gardens will be showcased in the Spokane in Bloom Garden Tour. The Inland Empire Gardeners, our community’s largest garden club, will host this event from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. All of the gardens are located on Spokane’s South side. There will be artists and vendors at each one. Musicians will be performing at many of the locations as well.

People on the tour should find plenty of ideas from the garden created by Joe Laynor, at 5815 E. 25th Ave. He and his wife, Pam, live on a 5-acre property that they share with their daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren.

“Our homes were built in 2015,” he said. “A landscaping company put in the big trees first, then the hardscaping. In 2018, I started working on the landscaping and that’s when I realized this was such a massive, blank slate! Since I’m retired now, I have plenty of time to work outside every day.”

Visitors will be greeted with bright flowers and colorful gazing balls at the front of the Laynors’ home. The peaceful surroundings mask the challenges of gardening in a forested location, however.

“After moving here from Georgia, I wanted to grow all of my favorite things,” he said. “I spent $1,000 on plants and the deer ate everything. When I go to nurseries, I now look for deer-resistant or at least deer-tolerant plants.”

In addition to the deer issues, he also has to deal with gophers, chipmunks and turkeys. Even so, the property is now a certified wildlife habitat, with feeders and plants for the birds as well as a natural spring that attracts wildlife.

Laynor’s plant choices are very appealing.

“I initially wanted to go with a Japanese theme but I love the colors of flowers so much that I modified my plans,” he admitted. “My favorite color combination is chartreuse and purple because I’ve always enjoyed the contrast.”

He has accomplished this with deep burgundy barberries, purple smoke bush (Cotinus), golden cypress, Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa) and chartreuse-leaved spireas. These shrubs are accompanied by rhododendrons, viburnums, daylilies, penstemons, salvias, catmint and coral bells (Heuchera).

The resulting blend clearly shows Laynor’s love for gardening.

“This is definitely a plant-lovers garden, a hodgepodge of different plants,” he said. “All of the work has been worth it because I can now see the beauty of what I first envisioned in my mind. I encouraged folks to just walk around and enjoy the serenity of the area.”

There will be two food trucks at this location to help visitors keep up their energy levels.

The following gardens are also on the tour:

Walt Woliver and Ashlee Cribb, 1122 E. 20th Ave. – This 1-acre garden, which has been nurtured for almost 110 years, features terraces, splashing water features, rose gardens and pleasant sitting areas to enjoy the surrounding landscape.

Dieter and Julie Lubbe, 1720 S. Rockwood Blvd. – Visitors will enjoy the masses of colorful flowers and a terraced backyard that includes an impressive collection of evergreens and a large waterfall.

Don and Diana Storey, 1724 S. Rockwood Blvd. – The homeowners’ travels have inspired their landscape design. One of the focal points is a replica of the Japanese bridge found in Butchart Gardens’ Japanese garden, which crosses one of two large water features.

Doris Monson, 4521 E. 56th Ave. – This landscape has been redesigned over the past dozen years and is filled with a pleasing variety of trees, shrubs and flowers that are deer resistant.

Paul and Ann Hawkins, 7525 S. Regal Road – A formal, French country garden that features boxwoods and hornbeam hedges will greet visitors here. A colorful contrast is provided with deer-resistant, long-blooming perennials and an iris border.

Proceeds from the Spokane in Bloom garden tour will benefit community service programs.