The Whidbey Island Garden Tour in an incorporated, non-profit organization. The purpose of the corporation is to provide funding for local groups that work towards improving the common habitats on Whidbey Island. Established in 1996, the company is made up entirely of volunteers. Since its inception, the tour has donated more than $285,000 to these groups.
Every year the board chooses four or five of the finest gardens Whidbey Island has to offer. Gardens are selected for their style and design concept. The tour has become well known for showcasing gardens of the highest quality and diversity. More than seventy-five private gardens have participated in the tours over the years and many of the owners continue to support the tour as volunteers.
The tours attract many visitors and locals, alike. The one day tour attracts an average of 700-800 people. That is a lot of feet trampling through these marvelous creations, that is why the organizers take extra precautions to ensure no damage comes to the gardens or any other part of the owner's property.
Volunteers are stationed at the entrance of the property to direct parking and control access, and throughout the gardens to manage the flow of visitors and to provide information. For safety or privacy reasons, some areas of the owner's property are off limits to visitors. These are clearly marked and you are asked to respect these restrictions.
Handling 700-800 people is quite a task and it takes a lot of volunteers. Fortunately, the Whidbey Island Garden Tour doesn't have any problem getting all the help they need. Volunteers include local residents that support the objectives of the tour, gardening enthusiasts, garden owners that have been featured on previous tours and their friends and members of the groups that have benefited from the proceeds.
All of the board members volunteer their services for the tour, as well.
The gardens showcased on the tour change from year to year. Some that have been spotlighted include:
Fox Hollow Farm – There are several gardens on this farm. Some have been strategically crafted to accommodate wildlife such as rabbits, deer and hawks and domesticated chickens, sheep and miniature donkeys. The sublime grasses and perennials are elegantly mixed with native Pacific northwestern plant species and beautifully arranged between two ponds and a cascading waterfall.
Marsh's Edge – Located on half an acre, this charming
garden is tucked in a neighborhood overlooking Mutiny Bay. Over the
years, this garden has grown to span over two lots. The attention to
detail is evident in every corner. Situated on the edge of a ten acre
marsh, this garden offers a peaceful habitat for a variety of birds and
Rhythm Waters – As soon as you turn off the road and head up the driveway, you instantly see and feel the time and effort that has gone into this meticulously maintained masterpiece. Surrounded by cedar and fir trees, the heart of the garden is beautifully displayed around two small waterfalls and three koi ponds.
The Gathering Place – This is more than just a beautiful garden. The owners have spent years building up a garden that provides them with food all year, including wine. You won't see any straight lines or clear rows, instead the garden is allowed to flow naturally down the slope. As you tour the area you will be mesmerized by the astonishing views.
Lewis and Beckman Garden – Lovingly carved within a five acre wooded area, this garden sits in its own little bowl created by nature. It collects heat during the summer and channels sufficient amounts of rainwater during the winter. The owners have created an ecosystem that provides a good supply of organic food with a minimum amount of maintenance.
Point of View – This amazing garden and surrounding wilderness filled with art work should be on the tour every year to give every one a chance to enjoy its splendor. Throughout the spectacular twenty acres of woodland, you will see garden art, musical references and thousands of trees, shrubs, annuals and perennials that blend and harmonize perfectly. There are approximately seven acres of sculpted gardens connecting the house, concert hall and guest house with the woodlands. Plus, the area offers breathtaking views of Puget Sound.
The whole purpose of the tour is to raise awareness about the importance of preserving nature, that is why the beneficiaries are chosen for their efforts. Proceeds are donated to non-profit organizations that work towards improving, restoring and maintaining natural environments. Some of the groups that have benefited from the tour include:
To get tickets to the Whidbey Island Garden Tour visit their website and download an order form. Just follow the instructions on the form. Prices are $20 for adults and $10 for children aged 2 to 12. Along with your tickets you will get a map and directions to the gardens on the tour as well as details about the gardens being showcased.
If you love nature and want to help the continuing efforts to keep our planet beautiful, check out the Whidbey Island Garden Tour. You will be glad you did.
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