Friday, July 12, 2013

Garden Tour in the Northwest

Today I went on a garden tour with a dear friend to Chase Garden in Orting, WA.

This garden was once the private retreat of Emmott and Ione Chase, and is now in the hands of The Garden Conservancy, a national organization dedicated to the preservation of America's foremost gardens. 

Emmott Chase transferred the garden deed to the Conservancy in 2010 just before his death at age 99. Ione died in 2006 at age 97. This garden represents nearly 50 years of their loving dedication. 

At the edge of this lawn there is a spectacular view overlooking the Puyallup River Canyon and majestic Mt. Rainier, a mere 15 miles away. 

This was the view today, but if the clouds were lifted you would see a most outstanding view of Mt. Rainier. (You can see that on the website.) 

Of course it was the only cloudy day we have had all week! 

Nevertheless, it was still pretty spectacular. 

Ione Chase was the vision for the garden and Emmott was the brawn. 

Her vision was of alpine meadows as they move from meadow to forest. She has blended the natural flora of the Pacific Northwest with a Japanese-inspired design. 

The area surrounding the mid-century styled home is a rolling landscape of alpine plants, including lithodora, phlox, adjuga and other low growing plants. 

Natives were a favorite of Ione, but she wasn't a purist. 

Alpine meadows drift into woodlands, making the transition with low growing grasses, ferns, wildflowers and sub-shrubs such as heather, false Solomon's seal, and Oregon grape. 

Tall wands of wildflowers, give way to small native trees, hydrangeas, azaleas and rhododendrons. 

One unusual feature was allowing clematis to scamper over and around the woodland flowers on the ground, left to find its own natural trellis. 

True to a natural style, tiny wildflowers popped up here and there, scattered among colonies of ground covers or peeking out from around moss covered logs. 

Trails led into the woodlands under a canopy of 100 year old Douglas fir, hemlock and cedar. 

Native dogwood, vine maple, red elderberry, and huckleberry make up some of the understory trees. 

Horticulturist and head gardener Jeannette Matthews works very hard to stay true to Ione Chase's gardening philosophy. She has been at the garden since 1998 and got to know the Chase's and their wishes. 

The garden is at its peak the first two weeks of May. The Chase's spent August and September at their cabin in British Columbia and did not design their garden with much summer color, so the volunteer group, Friends of the Chase Garden, are working to add more interest to the summer garden. 

A large bed of daylilies add bright color along the edge of the forest. 

This monarda was nearly as large as a dinner plate! 

The drive to the gardens was almost as pretty as the gardens! With towering trees and peeks of river and mountains along quiet country roads. 

If you are ever visiting the Mt. Rainier area of Washington State, this garden is a lovely place to spend an afternoon. 

Don't forget to bring along a little picnic! 

I know I will be visiting this beautiful garden again to see the changes over the seasons and to get inspiration. 

Do you have a local garden that you like to visit? 



  1. Thank you for taking us all on a walk through these beautiful grounds!

  2. There is a garden close to my parents house that is on a seaside bluff and it is so beautiful and unique. It is definitely my favorite garden. I love mid century architecture and that house is awesome. The garden is a perfect mountain retreat. The 100 year fir trees are amazing. I am glad the Chase's preserved their garden for future generations.

  3. Hello Karen - thanks for the ride in this beautiful area. Wishing you and your a good weekend :) Hugs!

  4. What a wonderful place Karen? How can we think that the earth is dying?


  5. So pretty! I love all the brightly colored flowers mixed in with all the lush green in the garden. Thanks for the tour!

  6. Beautiful! I love the woodland gardens - they're so natural and pretty!

  7. What a lovely home and garden. I am especially fond of your shots with the skyline - it complements the woodland and flowers.

  8. I've never heard of the place and I can feel your gratitude for garden. This my kind of garden. My favorite photo today is number 14 -- these huge trees and all that green plants at the tree base is a lovely setting.. Gee, really -- all the photo are beautifully taken..

  9. Oh my goodness what an absolutely beautiful and mesmerizing garden tour! Wow. I love each and every one of these pictures.

  10. Gorgeous home & peaceful gardens...I can't think of a better way to spend some free time... Beautiful photo's....Thank you for the walk... Hugs May x x x

  11. Thank you for taking us along on your garden tour. It will be fun to see the changes of the seasons.
    I went on a garden tour of several homes this week and will be showing some photos soon.
    My favorite garden to visit is the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum near the Twin Cities. Since is about 3 hours away I don't get there very often.

  12. A charming garden tour. I love that they used so many native plants, and I've met some new ones today on your blog. The views are spectacular and the flowers are wonderful. I love a good garden tour. I'm not sure we have one up here in Bellingham - I will have to look that up. Thanks for the tour.

  13. What a lovely garden tour, sweet friend! And very interesting :) Thank you for taking us along and I hope you have a great weekend.

    Hugs to you!

  14. That was a lovely garden tour what a beautiful place.
    We have Auburn gardens just down the road, they also have a small zoo there and chinese gardens a lot of people get married there.

  15. AMAZING!!! I am so fond of alpines and the textures they create in this garden are beyond spectacular! And the combination of the mature trees with the under plantings are jaw dropping! Wow! I admire gardens like these and hope to one day have a mature space that tells a story! I bet you had a blast going through this garden!

  16. That is such an unusual and beautiful garden! I love the way the house seems almost incidental to the garden. And I'm sure that what appears to be a natural graduation from the alpines through to the forest must actually take a great deal of care and management. It's very like your own garden, and I think it's great that you can go back to get some inspiration for your similar setting and climate.

    You know what my favourite garden near Aberdeen is! Crathes Castle Gardens. How I will miss being able to get there quickly... I will certainly find some new favourites near Glasgow.

  17. It looks wonderful! I love all the natural plantings and I'm sure there were many surprises. I love going on garden tours that the small towns around here put on. Thank you for this one:)

  18. Such a pretty garden! So different then the gardens we have here. It's huge and all those trees. It's like having your own wood :-)

    Wishing you a happy new week!

    Madelief x

  19. What a gorgeous place! It's amazing how green and vibrant everything is. Thanks for taking us on the tour.

  20. What a beautiful place to spend an afternoon. It's nice that more summer blooming flowers are being added for that summertime pop!!

  21. So glad you were able to enjoy this lovely garden with your friend....Flowers just make us happy, don't they.....Beautiful shots...

  22. Dearest Karen,
    What a huge garden this couple established and maintained; wow a full 4-½ acres! But the bonus for them was that they lived a very long and happy life and still continue to give to others. Great that Jeannette got to know them so she can continue in their style.
    We don't have such a garden in our area but a good hour away there is a nice Arboretum where I've been with my brother and sister-in-law. Of course we can walk our own garden (not now as it is too soggy...).
    Hugs to you,


Thank you for stopping by! Your comments are important to me and are very much appreciated. xx Karen

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