The Lopez Garden Tour

Spring has arrived on Lopez Island, and the air is filled with the delicate scent of lilac and honeysuckle, as well as the drone of bees busy at their work. And with the jonquils and johnny-jump-ups comes the annual Lopez Island 2009 Garden Tour, sponsored by the Lopez Island Garden Club. This year the tour is being held on Thursday, June 11, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and includes five gorgeous gardens of Lopez Island, representing a variety of focuses. An intensive vegetable garden is featured, as well as a garden with an integrated water catchment system, to a focus on a wildlife-friendly garden. The tour this year runs the gamut and features the following five gardens on Lopez.

Jimmy and Annie Houston: This lovely park-like landscape is located on three and a half acres, which includes forest, meadows, a small fenced garden and a pond. Winding through the forest area are tranquil trails with outdoor sculptures using metal, glass, copper, and stone including a Cheshire Cat, which occasionally disappears. All the playful garden art is created by owners, Annie and Jimmy Houston.

Jon and Carol Avent: Jon and Carol live on 20 acres with a lovely view downhill to pastures and Swifts Bay beyond. They have been clearing and developing their gardens over a 25-year period. The gardens include a rhododendron garden, two vegetable gardens with fruit trees, and a small greenhouse all watered by rain catchments. The Avents appreciate the opportunity to be outside doing something useful, and enjoy eating the healthy products of their labor.

Irene Skyriver: Irene Skyriver says that her garden is the best employment of her time and energy. She says, “There are and always have been crazy things going on in the world, but in my garden while I am providing perhaps 80% of our food everything makes sense. It’s a happy, peaceful place.” This garden has been cultivated over forty years and includes a pond, orchard, vegetable gardens, and a greenhouse.

Kate Scott: This whimsical Lopez garden is the evolving work of owner, Kate Scott and Mom Nature. Kate likes her garden to fit in with the natural surroundings, which are a little bit wild and blend in with the native ferns, salal, and wild berries. She sees her role as making a structure for this circle of life to happen.

Lopez School Garden: The school garden originated about twenty years ago as the Rishi Memorial Garden consisting of an amphitheater and beautifully landscaped surroundings. Over time, raised vegetable beds and individual classroom plots have been added as well as an orchard and most recently four hoop houses. As the “Farm to School” coordinator, Lorri Swanson describes the garden as a “children’s garden” tended by the students and volunteers. Activities are based on lessons taught in the classrooms, and produce from the gardens is used daily in school lunches.

Tickets are 10.00 for Garden Club members and 15.00 for non-members, and can be purchased at Blossom, Paper Scissors on the Rock, Islandale, and Islehaven.