Paths to pleasure | Kitsap Week

Heronswood Garden will be open June 30. - Contributed
Heronswood Garden will be open June 30.
— image credit: Contributed

Spring on the Kitsap Peninsula can be neurotic — sunny and warm one day, wet and cool the next — but it’s here. And if you’re a gardener, that means it’s time to get out in the dirt and let the beauty of your natural space rejuvenate your winter-weary soul.

Ah, the garden. Its bounty feeds and nourishes us; its colors and fragrances soothe and stimulate us. Bee buzz and birdsong bring out the inner poet in us.

You’re the artist and your garden is your palette. If you need inspiration, you can learn from the experts – and get ideas from the beautiful gardens they created.

Here are three places to check out: One on Bainbridge, one in North Kitsap, one in South Kitsap. Happy gardening.

The Bloedel Reserve
7571 NE Dolphin Drive

Bloedel Reserve, a world-renowned public garden, is celebrating “Nature and Well-Being” in June.  The Reserve will offer an array of wellness-themed events for a month; explore the relationship between nature and well-being, take a garden walk with a health care expert, and walk a labyrinth.

“We see countless visitors coming to Bloedel Reserve seeking healing and rejuvenation,” Reserve executive director Ed Moydell said. “Our founder, Prentice Bloedel, had a deep understanding of the connection between people and plants.  We’re excited to celebrate his vision in June.”

Carolyn Scott Kortage, author of “Healing Walks for Hard Times,” will talk about the healing benefits of keeping your feet on the ground when life gets bumpy.  Kortage wrote her book shortly after being diagnosed with breast cancer and jokes that walking saved her marriage, self-image and, ultimately, her life.

Charles Needle, a professional photographer, will also share his personal story of how nature photography was instrumental in his 12-year recovery from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Here are some other topics and guest speakers.

“Nature Contact and Human Health: Is the Evidence In?”: Dr. Howard Frumkin, dean of the School of Public Health, University of Washington.“Designing Forest Settings with Human Preferences and Well-Being in Mind”: Dr. Gordon Bradley, Ph.D., School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington.

“The Restorative Power of Plants”: Patty Cassidy, registered horticultural therapist.

“Leave No Child Inside: The New Movement to Reconnect Children and Nature”: Martin LeBlank, senior vice president, IslandWood, and founder of Children & Nature Network.

Stop by Bloedel Reserve for a quiet, contemplative walk and visit the temporary labyrinth installation. The labyrinth, large enough to be walked into, has only one path. The path is a metaphor of the journey through life, sending the walker to the center of the labyrinth and then back out to the edge on the same path.

The presenting sponsor of Nature and Well-Being Month, Peninsula Cancer Center, is offering free admission tickets for those that want to participate in “Walk with Your Doc.” Throughout the month, physicians, specialists and healthcare professionals will be available for a rejuvenating walk at Bloedel Reserve.

A schedule of participating healthcare providers is on the Bloedel Reserve website. Tickets are available in person from Peninsula Cancer Center, 19917 7th Ave., Suite 100, Poulsbo.

Incidentally, Bloedel Reserve has extended its hours for June, July and August: Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Thursday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“We want visitors to have the opportunity to take a walk in the Reserve after work on beautiful summer days,” Moydell said. “The early evening light at the Reserve is so beautiful.”

Heronswood Gardens
7530 NE 288th St.

Seven-hundred people attended the most recent Open Gardens event at Heronswood Gardens, the nirvana established by Dan Hinckley in 1987 and owned since 2000 by the W. Atlee Burpee Co. The admission price was $5 and all proceeds went to The Garden Conservancy.

Good news: Another Open Gardens is scheduled for June 30. “Mark your calendar. It will be an entirely different garden,” Nick Rhodehamel blogged on the Heronswood website. “As Heraclitus said, ‘You cannot step into the same river twice.’ Successional gardens — especially ones as magnificent as Heronswood — are like great rivers of botanical variation. Winter was mild this year and the gardens show it — they are verdant and lushly growing.”

Now’s a good time to see Heronswood; Burpee is auctioning it through Racebrook Marketing Concepts and its auction affiliate Sheldon Good & Company.Horticulturalist Dan Hinkley and Robert Jones founded Heronswood Gardens in 1987. The 15-acre estate features a world-renowned private complex of botanical gardens that played a pivotal role in introducing the United States to thousands of exotic plants gathered from remote regions around the globe.

The gardens feature more than 10,000 plants derived from more than 7,000 genera and species. Many of these plants were collected during expeditions to Central America, South America, China, Nepal, South Africa and other locales. The estate is comprised of the gardens, three homes, three parcels of land, a two-story office/warehouse building and assorted nursery facilities.

A wide array of herbaceous and woody perennials, shrubs, trees and other plants grace dozens of carefully planned woodland gardens, Chinese pergolas, French parterres, ponds and terraces.

Racebrook is selling the property via sealed bid auction at a starting price of $749,000, a 58 percent reduction off the previously listed price of $1,795,000. Bid deadline is June 15.

“We hope to sell the gardens to someone who loves it as much as we do, and agrees to maintain the living work of art that spreads over these acres,” Burpee chairman George Ball said in a press release.

Glenwood Gardens
15155 Glenwood Road SW

Kate Easton, founder of Garden Vision LLC, presents  “Sustainable Landscapes to Save the World” at Glenwood Gardens on June 2, noon.

“Sustainable Landscapes” is based on a recent research paper authored by Easton, who has 20 years of experience as a professional horticulturist and landscape designer. She will explain how anyone can easily apply sustainability principles in their landscapes in three areas: design, implementation and hygiene.

“In a detailed and reasoned presentation on sustainable landscapes, Kate Easton invited [the] audience … to consider both big-picture ideas about sustainability and the nitty-gritty practicalities of soil amendments, watering regimes, beneficial and pest insects, plant choices, and, yes, what to do with the dog poop,” an attendee of this presentation to Master Gardeners wrote. “All in all, a thought-provoking and stimulating presentation.”

Register for the drawing when you arrive for a chance to win a free one-hour consultation from Garden Vision. Seating for the presentation is limited; reservations will open the day of the presentation, at 10 a.m.

Glenwood Gardens is a small specialty nursery that specializes in adaptable, hardy, easy-care plants with all-year interest.

Garden Vision ( is a landscape design and horticulture consulting firm founded in 1991.


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