While visiting a friend in Gig Harbor, I decided to make a day trip of it. After our visit, I headed out to find a local botanical garden and came upon Albers Vista Gardens in Bremerton, WA and even got to meet John Albers, the owner and designer of this beautiful home garden turned public and author of several books including Gardening for Sustainability, and his most recently published book in 2017, The Northwest Garden Manifesto: Create, Restore and Maintain a Sustainable Yard. It was such a pleasure to stroll the gardens and see all the gorgeous views and vignettes that he had created throughout this stunning sanctuary.
This salmon-colored Geum was a favorite variety that I saw in the garden. The color stopped me in my tracks as it was just so vibrant. Thinking it could possibly be the variety “Sangria” or “Totally Tangerine“, whatever its name I would love to find it and add it to my garden. The color is absolutely gorgeous.
John is just an absolute master designer in my opinion. He has selected different colors, textures, heights, hardscape to enhance the natural beauty of this land. When speaking with him, I asked what genera he was most drawn to and he replied evergreens specifically Spruce. There are hundreds of different Acer cultivars as well. John highlighted that focusing on biodiversity and sustainability within the garden are topics that he is very passionate about and hence why he has written two books on the subject matter.
The view of the water and mountains from the garden was just spectacular. I loved how he placed the American flag right in this location. It was almost as if he was designing the garden with a camera in hand to see what would be captured in the frame of the lens.
A pathway to pure heaven! Well, that is how I envision it in my mind anyway filled with God’s creation and beauty upon beauty. I just love all the different colors in this image and textures. Really a masterpiece of garden artistry!
The stone pathways are throughout the garden, which made it a bit difficult to navigate with a stroller, but I’m that type if you give me a challenge I will do my darnest to conquer it. If you do visit with small child, consider wearing them instead.
What is it about pine cones and contorted branches that I am SO drawn too?!? This is a Pinus strobus ‘Contorta’ (Contorted White Pine) which makes a great focal point in the garden. Whenever anyone asks me about what plants to put in their garden, I almost always recommend Corylus avellena ‘Red Dragon’ or ‘Red Majestic’, not only does it add color to the landscape, but it also is absolutely amazing in the wintertime when the branches are in their full glory and covered with snow. Really a four-season plant! Now I have another new recommendation to give out!
I can imagine myself sitting in this very spot for hours on end reading an gripping novel . I love the wood stump to the left that was kept to bring a vertical element to the garden. Many would take a tree down to the ground, but leaving a stump can add such natural beauty to a garden. It also becomes a home for baby plants and wildlife.
Driftwood has always been a favorite design element in the landscape for me. How they are tumbled and shaped by the waves of water; making them so unique and creative. I love how John has surrounded it with these large flat rocks and accented it with Coreopsis ‘Zagreb’, Nepeta ‘Cat’s Pajamas’ and Agastache ‘Tango’ among others.
This entire planting was very inspiring to me as I am going to be removing more of my grass (yeah!) and adding another garden to the front of my house. I could see this same plant selection residing in that area. Don’t you love the sign as well – Pollinator Pathway?!? Found a cute option at Gardener Supply’s website!
Another favorite when walking through the garden – Tradescantia andersoniana! The flower buds almost look like berries and give it this very interesting look and feel. They were such a deep purple color as well that I fell immediately in love. I believe this may be the variety ‘Concord Grappe’.
This Abutilon megapotamicum (Brazilian Bellflower) is hardy to 7b and looks like it is striving and overwintering in this sun/part sun location. I’d love to add it to my garden, but I feel I would lose it to winter in the Snohomish countryside. The flowers are so very unique and just pop out of the landscape.
To top it all off, there is a Madrona Woods on this property that features the largest Madrona (Arbutus menziesii) in Western Washington. I’m obsessed with this tree because it doesn’t grow in Michigan where I attended horticulture school at Michigan State University. Really anything with exfoliating bark pretty much wins me over! However, the deep dark red color of the bark is just gorgeous, having me constantly wishing that I had room for several of these trees in my garden, but such is life – you can’t always get what you wish for!
If you want to buy John’s newest book, Northwest Garden Manifesto, it is available on Amazon here and includes many amazing images from David Perry of the gardens.
Happy Gardening All!