Whidbey Island Garden Tour’s annual event Saturday June 22, from 10 AM to 4 PM, offers a peek at some of our island’s most delightful gardens, some of which include art studios. Ticket proceeds support groups such as 2023 grant recipients: Good Cheer, South Whidbey School District, South Whidbey Commons, Meerkerk Rhododendron Gardens, Price Sculpture Park, and Readiness to Learn.

Since the non-profit’s inception more than 25 years ago, the tour and its sponsors have raised more than half a million dollars, whose proceeds benefit community organizations.

Five gardens that opened their homes to the public this year include:

  • A Collector’s Garden—a collection of unique garden art and rare and wonderful plants.
  • Bayvista Orchard—60 dwarf and pear varieties used for making French Cidre and English Perry (a fermented beverage). The orchards include cherry, plum, Asian pear, fig and peach trees. Perennial gardens and mosaic art by Priscilla Zimmerman.
  • A Tapestry Garden—is a pocket neighborhood garden that shows what can be done in a small space. This artist’s haven includes multiple hellebores, peonies, shrubs, containers and garden art, and fits in well within a neighborhood of beautiful cottage gardens.
  • The Sanctuary—invites visitors to walk through native forest to a bluff top Salish Sea view framed by evergreens, rhododendrons and tasteful plantings.
  • Just a Little Bit of Blue—a whimsical garden of the owner’s artwork, flowers, and vegetables, accented by cobalt blue pots and art pieces.
  • Bonus—WSU Master Gardener Education garden at Greenbank Farm.

For this year’s tour, local artists donated their creations for an online raffle that raised more than $1,000. The artists and their creations will be featured within the  gardens on the day of tour.

Sarah Birger, board president for the Whidbey Island Garden Tour 2024, said: “This is the second time I’ve served on the garden tour board. I’ve been in love with this organization for so long. We raise $15,000 to $20,000 for our community with each annual event. We work hard. The garden owners who are on our tour say it’s wonderful to have all these people visit and tell them how beautiful their garden is. This year we wanted to showcase what you can do—whether it’s a small urban lot, or large rural acreage – how a garden can be a sanctuary, even without that many flowers,” Sarah said.

The Whidbey Island Garden Tour began as a fundraiser in 1996. Its goal was to save the 118-acre Saratoga Woods from development as a destination resort and housing tracts. Along with the newly formed Saratoga Orchestra of Whidbey Island, the Whidbey Island Garden Tour raised enough funds to help preserve the Langley-based forest land for eternity.

Since WIGT’s inception, more than 80 private gardens have been open to the public. The annual event attracts visitors from all over the country. Half the tickets sold are to people off-island.

Those who bought tickets to Saturday’s tour can re-use them the following day to receive free entrance at the Meerkerk Rhododendron Gardens in Greenbank.

Tickets are $30 and available online at www.wigt.org

Tickets are also available on Whidbey Island at Bayview Garden, Flowers by the Bay, Lavender Wind Farm, Venture Out Nursery and Rain Shadow Nursery.

Sarah is grateful to the WIGT board, who is supporting this year’s event. “My board is beyond wonderful,” she said. “I work with really good-hearted people who have jumped in with both feet. We laugh and have fun. It’s not work when you are with friends.”

For more information, email: wigt@whidbey.net

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