Arts and Entertainment

Learn about gardening and design on the Garden Tour

This outdoor room with a view was designed and created by Brad and Lori Kittredge.  - Courtesy Photo
This outdoor room with a view was designed and created by Brad and Lori Kittredge.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

Time to put on your sensible walking shoes to stroll through five exceptional landscapes selected for Vashon Allied Arts’ 24th Annual Garden Tour.

The tour, slated for Saturday and Sunday, will feature island gardens plus artwork by island artists. Billed as a feast for the senses, the tour opens the doors to gardens filled with beautiful vistas and fragrant blooming plants that are sure to delight many tour visitors.

Throughout the weekend, specialists will share their gardening expertise at various locations in more than 15 talks . Subjects of the talks include tips on incorporating stones into landscapes, how to create a modern-day stumpery, ways to capture gorgeous flora on film, insights about eating and growing the most nutritious food, information about the birds of Vashon and the art of vertical gardening.

Art exhibited in the gardens will be for sale on-site and include works by David Blad, Brian Brenno, Shannon Buckner, Mary Lynn Buss, Penny Grist, Larry Halvosen, Gunter Reimnitz, Rodger Squirrell and Barbara Wells.

Work by other Vashon and regional artists and craftspeople will be for sale in the Garden Art Market and will include garden sculpture, tile work, glass, soaps, garden tools and more.

Enjoy a weekend full of gardening seminars, music, artwork and of course, the five gardens on this year’s tour.

Jo Robinson and Rick Mellen

Jo Robinson and Rick Mellen’s edible garden offers stunning views of Puget Sound and Mount Rainier. Robinson is the author of The New York Times bestseller “Eating on the Wild Side.” Ten years ago Robinson began researching the phytonutrient content of edible plants and discovered that  many of the fruits and vegetables we eat have low nutritional value. Robinson and Mellen’s garden is a showcase for an impressive collection of some of the Northwest’s most nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables. Robinson’s work has been featured by The New York Times, The Seattle Times, NPR and CBS.

Pat and Walt Riehl

Tour organizers have billed Pat and Walt Riehl’s garden as the “largest privately owned stumpery in the United States, a garden of fairy tale magic, rich in pre-historic plants with oversized leaves and bold textures.” A popular garden design in England from 1840 to 1890, stumperies were brought back in vogue by Prince Charles and his Highgrove Garden. In 2007, British fern expert Martin Rickard designed the Riehls’ 10,000-square-foot ravine garden that features 155 stumps rescued from local construction sites, over 1,000 ferns and 13 tree ferns. The Seattle Times called the Riehls’ stumpery “a deep green curiosity of a place.”

Steve Paschall and Katy Jo Steward

The west-side farmland grounds of Steve Paschall and Katy Jo Steward offer an array of colorful and textural gardens.There is an aromatic, mini lavender farm, an enclosed rose garden with many varieties of roses in bloom and a meandering brook lined with stream-side plants. Other elements include formal gardens surrounding the couple’s residence, a vegetable patch, custom rock walls and a new plunge pool designed by Terry Welch. Trails landscaped with woodland plants lead to the beach along Colvos Passage with views of the Olympic Mountains beyond.

Brad and Lori Kittredge

Tucked behind the Dockton home and art studio of Brad and Lori Kittredge is a peaceful backyard sanctuary. Cobblestone paths, trellises wrapped in wisteria vines, lush beds of local and exotic plants, a wide variety of ornamental shrubs and Japanese maples, and an array of fruits and vegetables fill out the Kittredge gardens. The landscaping and construction were done entirely by the Kittredges over the past 15 years.

Hope and Anthony Bloesch

The hillside gardens of Hope and Anthony Bloesch’s Gypsy Dream Farm include a broad assortment of dahlias, lilies and annuals, many of which are cut to become bouquets sold from their Gypsy Wagon. The farm also has a shaded woodland garden of rhododendrons, Japanese maples and mixed perennials. Originally from Australia, Hope prides herself on breaking gardening rules with her unique and creative arrangements of companion planting in the sloping beds of her garden. She describes Gypsy Dream Farm as an Australian’s interpretation of an English garden in America.

Garden Tour

The Garden Tour runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets, $25, include admission to all gardens and talks on both days. Tickets can be purchased at Vashon Alllied Arts, Heron’s Nest, many island businesses and Complete Garden Tour information is available at

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