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  • The art of gardening. By Patti McFerran. Photo by

Gig Harbor Garden Tour

Gig Harbor Garden Tour

This year’s Gig Harbor Garden Tour poster is a beautiful splash of color called ‘Double Tulips’ by artist Victor K. Andres. A Gig Harbor resident, Andres was inspired by boats and the sea but his floral water colors are what caught the eye of those choosing the art for the poster. Following a lead to check out the website for his paintings, they fell in love with his depictions of flowers. After Andres died in May of 2017 after a long bout with leukemia, his daughters set up the website in his memory and to offer some of his paintings for sale. The proceeds will benefit his beloved wife of 51 years. You can access the website at

So many artists have been inspired to paint flowers and gardens: Think of Monet’s water lilies, Van Gogh’s sunflowers or O’Keeffe’s irises. Conversely, many gardeners have been inspired by art, but they use flowers and plants as paint and the landscape as their canvas.

It’s obvious to see the beauty in a single flower, but the gardener’s art goes further. In the best of gardens one can’t help but notice the artistic placement of plants for color contrast and complement. But the texture and shading of plants is an even more important talent when it comes to arranging a border, a bed or a grouping of container plants. The shape and color of non-organic objects in the garden also plays an important role in creating a visually stimulating picture.

This year’s gardens show an amazing amount of artistry in color. The window boxes on Nina Dreyer’s front porch fairly drip with bright annuals framed and complemented by green shades ranging from deep, dark geranium leaves to sharp, lime-bright potato vine. The many shades of roses in Claudia Thompson’s Canterwood garden and Karen Beck’s boxwood-enclosed rose bed will turn those of us who have shady gardens green with envy.

But the shady gardeners are the ones who can create wonderful tapestries of green complemented by lush purples and rich russets. Norene Scott moved several truckloads of her favorite Japanese maples and other plants from her huge garden on Fox Island to her new, smaller garden off Reid Road. Norene is an artist, specializing in jewelry, and her talent is echoed in her garden.

The other shady garden on this year’s tour is the Osterichers’. They wanted to keep the native plants that were on the property when they moved in. They’ve added subtle touches such as a natural-looking ponds and non-native perennials that blend in beautifully and create a serene habitat for birds and other wildlife. Monet would approve, even though he got in trouble with the local authorities for diverting a stream to create his ponds!

Keller Willams Realty

A couple of this year’s gardens show the influence of Asian art including a lovely pagoda with temple bells at Claudia Thompson’s. The Lightfeldts’ hillside garden on Horsehead Bay has many touches of the Orient including places of quiet reflection with maples artfully placed by Yang’s Nursery and garden art including temples and pagodas. There are also homages to their daughter’s favorite architect, Frank Lloyd Wright.

In Carol and Tim Williams’ garden there are views of water and sky framed by a gated archway and many other treats for the artistic eye including rows of colorful alliums marching along in shiny galvanized troughs.

So there is (to quote a line from the 2017 exhibit ‘From Monet to Matisse’ at the Royal Academy in London) “a link between the humble trowel and the paintbrush.” When you attend the 2018 Gig Harbor Garden Tour, keep your artist’s eye open and you, too, will find that link in this year’s gardens!

When you buy a ticket to see and hear the tales of the beautiful gardens of Gig Harbor and the surrounding area, you are also providing the joy of reading to a worthy child or adult, as The Garden Tour’s cause is literacy. Last year’s recipients included five Elementary Schools in the area: Discovery, Purdy, Voyager, Vaughn and Minter Creek. Grants also went to Pediatrics Northwest and to the Harbor History Museum.

To find out how to volunteer as a docent or greeter at one of the gardens, please visit and click on ‘participate.’

Pop Out Boxes

(These 2 parts can go in boxes off to the side or at the end.)


There will be many local artists from the Peninsula Art League painting in the gardens during the tour. As always, vendors selling plants and garden-related crafts will be located in the gardens.

Victor Andres’ art will be available; his daughters will have a vendor booth at one of the gardens with prints and smaller, ready-to-hang canvases.

Other vendors at the gardens this year include Blue Frog Nursery, Natures Lover Clayworks, The Mossy Maven, In Nature Designs, Sunburst Metalworks, Miriam Barnett, Dan Barnett, Madrugada Pottery, Tami Sioux Gallery, Kathy Thurston Art, Emerald Greens Yard Art, Moss Port Studios, Kate Larsson Watercolors, Jana Fisher Pottery and Jack’s Unique Birdhouses.

Date & Ticket Information

The Gig Harbor Garden Tour will take place Saturday, June 23, 10am to 5pm and Sunday, June 24, 10am to 4pm. Tickets are on sale now ($25 each and $20 each for groups of 10 or more) and available online at or at Ace Hardware, The Garden Room, Rosedale Gardens, Tickled Pink, Wilco Farm Store and Wild Birds Unlimited in Gig Harbor; Sunnycrest Nursery in Lakebay; Garden Sphere Nursery in Tacoma; and Willow Tree Gardens and Interiors in University Place.

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