Sunday, June 24, 2012

We Have a WINNER (or 5)!

Announcing the lucky winners of the Garden Tour Raffle Prizes....

Planted Container donated by Me(!), retail $250
WINNER - Carol Maki

Salt & Pepper Granite Bench donated by Marenakos Stone, retail $575
WINNER - Gary Koch

5 yards of Organic Compost delivered from Vashon Bark & Soils, retail $250
WINNER - Dan & Nancy Connolly

14 cubic foot Garden Cart & Tools donated by Vashon True Value, retail over $350
WINNER - George Thieme

$250 Shopping Spree to Kathy's Corner Nursery
WINNER - Christa Gomez

A BIG congrats to all our winners! 
Also, a HUGE thanks to the businesses who donated these wonderful raffle prizes.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Peony Photo Courtesy: Tom Conway

Check out Tom Conway's blog post on for a little sneak peak at the beautiful blooms gracing the stage for his garden talk tomorrow at the Foster garden, "Grand Dames of the Garden".

A little Rain Never Hurt No One...

Secrets to Fantastic Container Creations Garden Talk with Melissa Schafer (that's me!)

Despite the bouts of torrential downpours, I'd consider today a success! The die-hard gardeners were out in force donning their finest rain attire and umbrella accessories. The Garden Talks entertained enthusiastic crowds and the Art Market maintained a steady flow of visitors admiring the fantastic garden art & the great plant selection at the Robinwood Nursery booth. For those of you "fair-weather" gardeners out there - don't despair - the sun is beginning to peak out this afternoon and promises to make an appearance throughout the day tomorrow.

Tour tickets can be purchased at the Blue Heron (Vashon Allied Arts) for $25 and don't forget to pick up a couple $5 raffle tickets for your chance to win one of the 5 fantastic raffle prizes including my fully planted demo container with free delivery. Follow the link to find out more about the raffle prizes. Garden Talks will continue throughout the day Sunday and a description of the individual garden talks can be found here.

See you there! 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sunday's Garden Talks

Jonathan Morse - Recognizing Design Details in Inspiring Landscapes
Garden Entrance at the Morse Garden, Photo Credit: News Tribune
Jonathon Morse has been a part of the design and horticulture industry for fifteen years though his interests in the field were cultivated as a youth. “I am living my dream, gardening on my family's land here on Vashon; it has given me the opportunity to express my creativity without limits.” Jonathon will be leading tour guests through the Carhart garden Sunday at 11 identifying and discussing design details they have implemented to create a landscape to be remembered. “I will discuss where we can seek out inspiration for the details that will make our own garden a truly unique work of art; our world is filled with inspiring features that can be adapted to our home landscape.” You’ll walk away with a renewed approach to seeking out inspiration for your own garden designs.

The Lavender Sisters - Essential Oil Distilling

Photo Provide by Chris Beck
The Lavender Sisters; Merrilee Runyan, Dana Illo and Katy Jo Steward have been collectively farming lavender and handcrafting a variety of fine lavender products on Vashon for going on 13 years; selling their lavender bouquets and sweetly scented balms and lotions to wholesale florists, Puget Sound Metropolitan Markets and farmers markets throughout the greater Seattle area. The Lavender Sisters will be sharing their unique process of distilling essential lavender oils which are then used to create their organic lavender products Sunday at 11am in the Soholt garden. 

Sara Van Fleet - Gardening for Wildlife

Photo Credit: Sam Van Fleet

Designing the garden with wildlife in mind doesn’t just mean selecting plants that deer won’t forage but also incorporating plants and creating habitat to encourage a wider range of birds, pollenators and other animals. Sara Van Fleet, a passionate gardener and wildlife enthusiast has transformed her 3 acre property on Vashon into an oasis for wildlife by providing a mix of natives and ornamental plants with attractive flowers and berries as well as protective habitat for nesting birds and animals and a thriving pond eco-system. Sara will be exploring some of the key components to creating a wildlife-friendly landscape at noon in the Pearson garden.   

Tom Conway -  Introducing the Grand Dames of the Garden

After years of urban living, blogger Tom Conway of opted for the “country life” moving to Vashon Island and settling into a sweet old farmhouse on four acres of possibilities. “Gardening has always been a passion and constant in my life; there is joy to be found in the blossom, and the leaf.”  When Tom’s not making compost, plotting against scotch broom, and shooing (not shooting) deer, he’s blogging about his exploits in gardening and cooking as well as the comical antics of his two bulldog companions. “As a fan of big bossy flowers, I’m eager to share my gardening tips for growing bodacious blossoms that can’t be ignored.”  Stop by the Foster/Fillinger garden Sunday at noon where Tom will introduce a few of his favorite “Grande Dames” of the garden: Lilies, Peonies, Dahlias & Roses.

Saturday's Garden Talks

Jan Nielsen - Stone in the Garden
Surrounded by over 8 acres of river rock, quartzite, granite and basalt it’s safe to say that Jan Nielsen, Project Manager at Marenakos Stone in Fall City, knows a thing or two about this versatile design element. Stone is often used naturally among plantings, as pathways, retaining walls and to provide sculptural art in the landscape. Join Jan at 11am Saturday where he will be discussing the stone installations featured within the Carhart landscape and share with listeners how to select and install stone for their own garden projects.

Dave Hunter - Mason Bee Expert & Educator

Dave Hunter of Hunter’sMason Bees in Woodinville and Crown Bees educational website and online mason bee product supplier, is working to change pollination methods for future orchards across North America. Dave has partnered with 500 gardeners across the NW (70 just on Vashon) to raise mason bees to improve the health of their orchards, gardens and overall landscape and promote healthy mason bee populations. For more information on Mason Bees and how to get involved, stop by the Pearson garden at noon on Saturday.

Melissa Schafer (Hey, that's me!) - Secrets to Fantastic Container Creations

I'll share my secrets to designing a container using design elements focusing on plant structure, texture & color to bring your container to life! Similar to incorporating art into your garden, a single container in the landscape provides a focal element and by grouping containers together, your able to create a versatile extension of the landscape with a condensed pallet of plant texture and color combinations. Watch step by step as the container comes to life Saturday at 1pm at the Soholt garden and be sure to purchase a raffle ticket to take the container planting home with you! 

 Leda Langley - Top Plant Picks for the Garden

Hollyhock, Columbine & Scabiosa
Leda Langley is part of the husband and wife team behind Langley Fine Gardens, a wholesale nursery specializing in the unique and hard to find varieties of vegetables and annuals including over 100 varieties of tomatoes, peppers and eggplants suitable for the PNW and custom blends of salad greens. Leda will be sharing some of the exciting plants they are growing this year including the “black” flowering varities such as ‘Sooty’ dianthus, Scabiosa ‘Ace of Spades’ and ‘Watchman’ Hollyhock as well as some of her continued favorites like the night scented flowers, hummingbird attractors and the rare Echium pinninana - a 12’ tall biennial from the Canary Islands producing tall cones of lavender colored flowers, a favorite of honeybees. Leda will be sharing Saturday, 2pm in the Foster/Fillinger garden and their unique plants will be available for purchase at their farm stand conveniently next door.

Garden Talks & Demos Schedule

This year's Garden Tour boasts a wide variety of Garden Talks & Demos being offered free to tour participants. Garden experts, artists and enthusiasts will hold presentations in the gardens throughout the day Saturday & Sunday sharing their knowledge and expertise to fuel inspiration and cultivate confidence in tackling gardening projects. Learn the latest in gardening trends, how to select and install stonework, create beautiful container arrangements and how to design a garden that fits your lifestyle. In addition, garden hosts Sylvia Soholt, Barry Foster, Whit Carhart & David Pfeiffer will engage listeners with an introduction to their garden highlighting their design inspiration and features that make their gardens unique. Each host will be scheduled to speak throughout both tour days. Check out the Garden Talks Schedule below and plan to make a full day out of your Garden Tour experience! For more information about the individual garden talks, you can check out the posts to follow highlighting Saturday & Sunday's speakers.

11am – Jan Nielsen in the Carhart garden 
11am – David Pfeiffer (Garden Host)
11am – Sylvia Soholt (Garden Host)
Noon – Dave Hunter in the Pearson garden
Noon – Barry Foster (Garden Host)
1pm – Melissa Schafer in the Soholt garden
1pm – Whit Carhart (Garden Host)
2pm – Leda Langley in the Foster garden
3pm – David Pfeiffer (Garden Host)

 11am – Jonathon Morse in the Carhart garden
11am – David Pfeiffer (Garden Host)
11am – Lavender Sister in the Soholt garden
Noon – Sara Van Fleet in the Pearson garden
Noon – Tom Conway in the Foster garden
1pm – Sylvia Soholt (Garden Host)
1pm – Whit Carhart (Garden Host)
2pm – Barry Foster (Garden Host)
3pm – David Pfeiffer (Garden Host)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Mukai Update

Mukai Homestead Surrounded by Fence

In an unfortunate, albeit not totally surprising turn of events, the Mukai Garden Open House did not go as planned. However, the turn out of islanders eager to show their interest & support in the efforts to restore & revitalize the organization & property did not dissapoint with over 100 people in attendance. We feel confident that with the support of our wonderful community and the hardworking and dedicated team driving the effort, the Mukai property will once again thrive.

Mukai Homestead with Barreling Facility in Background

Mukai Barreling Facility

For more information about the effort check out this recent Vashon Beachcomber article. For more details about the debacle Monday night at the open house, you can read this Vashon Beachcomber article. Please note that you must be a subscriber to the Vashon Beachcomber in order to view these articles.

Garden Sneak Peak

The gardens have been primped and primed for months now and this weekend is their time to shine! The tour will boast 5 beautiful gardens, each with a unique style. To take a sneak peak at the gardens, check the blog, "Garden On Vashon" where Karen Dale features a full & lengthy article for each of the gardens sharing highlights and interviews with the hosts. And, check out NW Garden Writer, Valerie Easton's blog for a wonderful review of the Pfeiffer & Klein garden.

"Gardening With Weeds" Postcard courtesy of David Pfeiffer

Monday, June 18, 2012

Mukai Garden Open House Tonight from 5:30-7:30

The Mukai Residence, date unknown

The Vashon Island Mukai farm and garden is a historic treasure and precious community asset.  Island Landmarks, a local non-profit, was set up in 1995 and charged with stewardship of the property.  Over the past several years, Island Landmarks has been inactive and the property is in need of restoration.  To remedy this situation, over 70 islanders recently became members of Island Landmarks, convened a special meeting on Monday June 4th, removed the old board, and unanimously elected 11 islanders as new board members, with the goal of revitalizing the Mukai house and garden for the benefit of the broader community.

Island Landmarks new board members would like to invite you to an Open House at the Mukai farm and garden on Monday evening, June 18th, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.  Please stop by, tour the house, view the gardens, become an Island Landmarks member, and meet the new board.  At 7:00 p.m., the board will meet to discuss next-steps; all are welcome to attend this meeting as well. There will be lots of opportunities for islanders to become involved in the Mukai farm and garden community initiative.  Contact one of us if you're interested in helping or join us on Monday June 18th at the open house as we celebrate our efforts to reclaim this property for our island community.

The Island Landmarks board:  Glenda Pearson, President; Ellen Kritzman and Helen Meeker, Vice Presidents; Yvonne Kuperberg, treasurer; Rayna Holtz, secretary;  Bruce Haulman; Lynn Greiner; Bob Horsley; Anita Halstead; Kelly Robinson; and Sally Fox.  

The Mukai farm address:   18017 107th Ave. SW , Vashon.  We hope to see you then!!

For more information and photos detailing the history of the Mukai Cold Process & Barreling Plant, Property and Family visit,

Enter to WIN!

You can link to the KPLU Ticket giveaway by clicking on the photo above for your chance to 
WIN a pair of free tour tickets!


We've officially crossed the 1 week mark on the countdown to garden tour weekend and things are really in full swing now! A big thanks to everyone that stopped by True Value this weekend to pick up their tour & raffle tickets! It's great to see people so enthusiastic about the tour this year. I like to think that people are not only excited about the 5 fantastic gardens we have lined up but also all of the new tour features including the garden talks & demos that will be taking place both days as well as the chance to win one of the generously donated raffle prizes. We have over 5 raffle prizes each retailing over $250! Check them out...

A 14 cubic foot garden cart & tools donated by True Value retailing over $350

Or how about a $250 shopping spree to Kathy's Corner Nursery

Perhaps instead, 5 yards of organic compost with free delivery from Vashon Bark & Soils retailing over $250

Don't forget the salt & pepper granite bench donated by Marenakos retailing over $575

Finally, a container planted with year-round interest plants retailing at $250, not pictured above

Raffle tickets are only $5 so be sure to pick up a handful when you purchase your tour ticket or when you stop by the Art Market at K2 next weekend. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Stop by True Value this Saturday during the Annual Grill Out Event to purchase Garden Tour & Raffle Tickets. This year is sure to be the bigger & better than ever with tons of new offerings for tour participants including free Garden Talks led by gardening experts & the chance to win 5 fantastic raffle prizes like....

a salt & pepper granite bench donated by Marenakos Stone retailing for $575
 or perhaps

5 yards of organic compost with free delivery from Vashon Bark & Soils retailing over $250
and maybe....

A Schafer Specialty custom designed container planting featuring plants with year-round interest retailing $250 
one more thing....

14 cubic foot garden cart & tools donated from Vashon True Value retailing over $350
and finally....

A $250 shopping spree to Kathy's Corner Nursery


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Hanging Terrariums by Melissa Schafer

Just wanted to share the terrarium creations I made for the new SAW gallery up town on Vashon. Although I'm admittedly biased, I think they turned out GREAT! I've planted them with a variety of design styles and each of the beautiful glass vessels are uniquely hand-blown by the local & talented artists behind Bluejays & Bumblebees. If you haven't had the chance to check out SAW yet, I highly encourage you to stop in and explore the beautifully handcrafted works by Vashon's local artists. We truly have an amazingly creative community!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Rise & Shine Vashon!

Check out that handsome guy, up with the sun, to water Vashon's hanging baskets!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Wow! Time has truly escaped me this spring and I thank my fantastic blog-o-sphere audience for their patience. And, as a special way to thank you, be prepared to be inundated with tons of new posts and updates leading up to Garden Tour weekend! See - I told you I've been busy!

A big thank you to one of our favorite NW garden writers, Val Easton for the fantastic write-up about this year's Garden Tour. Check it out here

And Don't Forget....
Renowned Plantsman, Dan Hinkley
 If you have not already purchased tickets to attend the pre-tour lecture with renowned plant expert & explorer, Dan Hinkley you can stop by the Blue Heron or purchase online by linking here. If you have never had the opportunity to see Hinkley up until now, you have no idea what you've been missing out on! Hinkley's enthusiasm for plants is permeating and his fondness of unique and interesting plant color & texture in his design style is truly inspiring.

The Gardens at Windcliff
This Sunday, join Hinkley as he shares his personal journey designing the gardens that define "Windcliff", the sunny bluff perched above the Puget Sound that he & his partner call home. The gardens at Windcliff provided Hinkley with a second chance to reinvent his garden design style after leaving behind the shady forested property of his previous home and the inspiration that launched his career & well known rare plant nursery, Heronswood. Hinkley will share the diverse palette of plants he incorporated into the aptly named Windcliff property where plants are exposed to a variety of challenging sunny, blustery & dry conditions considered unique to many NW gardeners living near the Sound.

The lecture will take place this Sunday, June 10th at 3pm at the Blue Heron and wine & appetizers will be included with the ticket purchase.  Tickets purchased online through Brown Paper Tickets will be $30 or stop in at the Blue Heron to purchase a discounted Lecture & Garden Tour ticket combo for $45!

Plunge Pool Custom Designed by Terry Welch for the Carhart Garden

Check out....
the June edition of the Island Arts publication for a 6 page spread with fantastic photos and information about this year's Garden Tour.The publication has been mailed out to Vashon residents and is available for pickup around town at most stores.

Check in often as the countdown to the Vashon Garden Tour weekend has begun, 16 days to be exact! We'll not only explore the 5 fantastic & unique gardens that comprise this years tour but I'll highlight some of the fantastic garden artists that will be featured in the gardens and also introduce readers to the lengthy list of speakers offering free garden talks & demos during both tour days providing tour participants with the knowledge & inspiration to get out in their own garden & grab the buttercup by the horns...or rather roots!

Marenakos Bench

 Also new this year & a huge opportunity to get you started on the right path in your garden, we will be giving away over $1500 in raffle prizes including a custom stone bench by Marenakos, a 14 cubic foot garden cart stuffed with all the essential garden tools from Vashon True Value and so much more!