I was delighted to attend this event, as it really was a new “discovery” for me being my very first garden tour ever. I personally have never been much of a gardener, but after moving to Port Townsend two and a half years ago from the San Francisco Bay Area, I’m learning that gardening is a really big deal here in the Pacific Northwest. No, wait, it’s not just a big deal, it’s a huge deal! The way everything grows here you either have to hire someone to do the gardening for you or learn to do it yourself, that’s just the way it is.  Since I really cannot afford to hire a full time gardener, I have decided to embrace (and love) the concept of gardening and learn to do it myself, together with enlisting some assistance in getting started, of course. Being the newbie that I am to gardening, I must say that I was quite impressed and inspired by all of the magnificent gardens I saw on the tour, so impressed that I have decided to enroll in the Master Gardener’s course next year, which is offered annually in January through WSU Jefferson County.

This year’s garden tour took place in the lovely community of Kala Point. I made it to seven out of the nine gardens but unfortunately ran out of time and rain prevented me from visiting the last two. Each of the gardens I did visit were all gorgeous and special in their own unique way. I have to say that I certainly admire and commend the effort put forth by all of the owners, as I know that gardening requires a lot of hard work, commitment and dedication (just like anything a person wants to excel in, really). Mowing the lawn is simply not gardening! There’s so much more to it. The upkeep and maintenance alone to care for these gardens must take several hours a week, but the “eye candy” and edibles a lovingly cared for garden yields, not to mention the pride and satisfaction one feels when seeing the end result, is well worth the effort I’m sure.

Some of the gardens reminded me of miniature versions of the famous Buchart Gardens in Victoria, B.C. The Zen factor also made me want to take a seat, sip some green tea and hang out for a long while enjoying the many varieties of flowers, trees, plants and of course the stunning water views. What a fabulous way to de-stress after a long day at the office. Fortunately for many of the folks in Kala Point the garden is the office, and what a lovely place to go to work everyday!

imageThey really needed to add to the title of this event “…and Fitness Challenge,” as there was quite a bit of walking involved getting from one garden to the next, but what a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon: meeting new people, enjoying nature and getting a good work out in to boot! The weather could have been better, it was overcast and a little drizzly, but that was in no way a deterrent.

I was grateful to have made it to the sixth garden on the tour, which offered an added bonus. In addition to the the fabulous garden, the owner opened up her quilting studio and home to all of us lucky attendees who made it that far. However, these were not the type of quilts your grandma made (even though I’m sure hers were lovely too); these quilts were stunningly exquisite, like something I have never seen before in my life and will not soon forget. To say that Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry is a gifted quilt artist is quite an understatement. She has a talent like I have never witnessed before in an art medium which was previously unfamiliar to me: Fine Art Quilting. I really can’t even adequately describe how truly amazing her quilts are. You need to see them first-hand to get what I mean. At first glance you would think they were paintings, that’s how much detail she puts into her work. Quilting a face? Now that is not something just anyone can learn to do. A special talent is needed for that and Caryl certainly has it. No wonder she has won so many awards and is internationally recognized in the realm of quilting. By the way, Caryl has graciously agreed to be a future “Featured Artist” on Discover Port so we will “discover” more about her and her work at a later date.

Master Garden Park Coordinator Judy Johnson (R), and her friend Pat Griswold
Judy Johnson (R), and Mary Pat Griswold

In conclusion, I want to say thank you to all of the owners who opened up their lovely gardens, and to all of the Master Gardener volunteers who were so helpful and informative. (And thank you for the cake and coffee too!) Special thanks to Judy Johnson, Master Gardener Park Coordinator, who spent some time with me giving gardening advice and tips. You have inspired me to take up gardening–if I can get past the worms and slugs that is–hey, I’m a city girl! Seriously, I can’t wait till the next Master Gardeners course in January 2017 and in the meantime I’m going to keep my eyes and ears open. Who knows, my own future garden might be showcased on a future tour! Think big and reach for the sky!   


(Click on photo to view gallery)

Carly Bryer Fallert-Gentry