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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spokane in Bloom Garden Tour celebrates Expo ‘74

This year’s Spokane in Bloom Garden Tour is partnering with the celebration of Expo ’74. In keeping with the theme behind the 1974 world’s fair, this tour will be about sustainable conservation practices and combining the old with the new.

“What is old is new again, so we’re going be offering a mixture of classic older gardens and new funky modern gardens from the historical past to the sustainable future,” said ViAnn Meyer, president of the Inland Empire Gardeners Club and organizer of the Spokane in Bloom event.

Meyer was 14 years old and had recently moved to Spokane when Expo ’74 took place. She witnessed President Nixon opening the expo, Jim Nabors’ comedy act, the Royal Lipizzan stallions show and Chinese acrobatic dancers.

“It was a wonderful time, so it’s kind of thrilling to be just a little part of that with our guided tour,” Meyer said.

There are 10 houses on the tour, and each house will have vendors and artists selling all things garden-related, such as art, plants, trees and bird houses and baths.

Live music will be played in more than half of the gardens throughout the day, including acoustic, contemporary, gospel, Celtic, alternative pop and rock.

Each house on the tour has been given a special nickname to remind tour-goers of the hopeful theme: “Happy Days Are Here Again!”

The nicknames give each garden a “personality,” and to “put a lot of positive energy out in the world, that would be the main thing,” Meyer said.

Three of the 10 houses on the tour are on the Spokane Register of Historical Places: the Chamberlin house, the Koerner house and the Nuzum house.

“The Good Vibrations Garden … it’s called the Koerner house, and it was built in 1912,” Meyer said. The house was built by Carl Koerner, Peter Moe and Carl Jabelonsky, and it’s perched on a South Hill hillside surrounded by basalt rocks and terraced gardens.

“The Over the Moon Garden … is the Chamberlain house,” Meyer said, which was built in 1906 by William J. Ballard. This bungalow is surrounded by cottage-style gardens full of native plants and river stones from the Spokane River.

“The Happy Together Garden … this is the Nuzum house built in 1912,” by Kirtland K. Cutter and Karl G. Malmgren. With a 17th-century Tudor-style exterior, the Nuzum house seems like a manor.

The “Jerusalem Middle Eastern cuisine food truck will be there serving lunch,” Meyer said. There will also be ice cream available for purchase from Mary Lou’s Ice Cream.

Meyer advised to enjoy the tour “at your own pace and when you get to this big mansion, that’s where the food will be and we’re going to provide tables and chairs for folks.”

Some of the houses are within walking distance of each other, but participants may have to drive or bike to certain houses to visit the gardens.

When asked if homeowners would be in attendance to answer questions about their gardens, Meyer replied, “Yes, we entirely encourage that and they’re just very proud.”

This tour isn’t just for the community, but it’s for owners of these gardens to show off their skills and share their wisdom.

“(The tour’s purpose) is to recognize the homeowners for their work and then it’s giving the people that go to the tour a chance to think, ‘What worked in their yard? What might work my yard? Give me a little bit of inspiration. Give me a lot of new ideas,’ ” Meyer said. … “All this work for this tour is like a culmination of a lot of dreams come true.”