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

Gardening: Annual Spokane in Bloom garden tour features sustainable landscape practices

By Pat Munts For The Spokesman-Review

Mid-June is the height of gardening season in our region. Our gardens are full of blooming iris, alliums, peonies, dogwoods, rhododendrons and a plethora of perennials. That means it’s also time for the Inland Empire Gardeners to host their annual Spokane in Bloom garden tour.

This year’s tour will be 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday at 10 gardens located around Spokane’s South Hill and Browne’s Addition, rain or shine. This year’s theme is “Happy Days Are Here Again” and celebrates, along with the rest of Spokane, the 50th anniversary of Expo ’74. Many of the gardens on this year’s tour are at historic homes that, in the spirit of the environmental focus of Expo ’74, have reimagined their gardens using sustainable landscape practices.

Two facing gardens at 2805 and 2806 E. 16th Ave. are examples of the SpokaneScape Program, a city program that helps homeowners replace their lawns with drought tolerant perennials, grasses and shrubs in exchange for a credit on their water bill. Both gardens here have converted their front lawns into colorful beds of lavender, catmint, Russian sage, iris, lupines, California poppies and coreopsis. In addition to being drought tolerant, the plantings are magnets for pollinator insects.

At 504 W. Cotta St., Beth and Fred Krassowski’s Walking in Sunshine garden is sheltered behind an arborvitae hedge that makes the double lot garden seem far away from the city bustle. The gardens that surround their restored 1910s house are filled with a mixture of roses, peonies and perennials informally gathered around patios and a pickleball court. Pieces of art by well-known local artists are scattered throughout the garden. The gardens are lush enough that a covey of quail hangs out in the protection of the plants.

Next door to the Krassowskis’ garden is Monica Flaherty and Erik Contzius’s Happy Together garden at 503 W. Sumner Ave. The three-quarter-acre garden is built around a classic Kirtland Cutter house that is on the National Historic Registry. The garden is perched on a large basalt haystack behind the house that gives the garden some privacy from the street. The owners have interplanted the perennial beds with edibles and built raised beds backed into a basalt outcrop for more vegetables and herbs. They restored an old pear tree for its fruit and enjoy old catalpa, cherry, dogwood and chestnut trees for their shade.

Tickets are $15 (free for children 12 and younger) and available at Blue Moon Nursery, Gibson’s Nursery, Judy’s Enchanted Garden, NW Seed and Pet, and Barn & Blossom Garden Nursery, or online at There is a service fee for these purchases. The online payment confirmation email copy must be exchanged for a ticket and map at will call at each garden. The link has a list of the gardens on the tour.

To add to the fun, garden artists and vendors will be featuring their art work and garden goodies at several gardens. Some gardens will feature live music. Lunch and ice cream will be found at the Happy Together Garden.