Gardens of Note

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The Skagit Symphony Orchesta’s annual fundraising garden tour, Gardens of Note, was held last weekend. This is the second year I’ve headed down to our neighboring county to check out some wonderful gardens and I wasn’t disapointed. Here’s a condensed visit to the gardens.

All of the gardens on this year’s tour were on Samish Island, which used to be an island accessible by land only at low tide but now drivable all the time. It’s the first of the San Juan Islands, all residential although once proposed as the site of a nuclear power plant (remember the WPPS debacle?). Four of the gardens were neighboring properties so you could park once and walk among the gardens. I really like that in a garden tour, and so did several other visitors I talked to. The other gardens were within less than five miles so once you got to the island everything was super convenient.

Another thing about the tour that I really liked and haven’t seen on many other garden tours was having food and beverages available in one of the gardens. The organizers had a caterer, a baker, wine, and espresso in one of the large gardens overlooking the water. The food was good, and it encouraged people to sit and share their experience with each other, slowing down the pace of the tour.

As individuals we often talk about wandering our garden with a cup of coffee or glass of wine, but it was nice to do that in someone else’s garden Sunday afternoon. Since it was a symphony fundraiser there were musicians in each of the gardens, too. Afternoon rain put a bit of a damper on the music, but they were resourceful and found dry places to perform.

With the gardens so nearby, I chose to bicycle down Chuckanut for the tour. It was about 25 miles from my house to the most distant garden, so a 50-mile round trip. The ride down was great, but coming home in the light rain wasn’t so fun. There were other garden visitors on bikes, but they’d driven to the island and then pedaled from garden to garden.

The video slideshow was shot entirely with my iPhone. It’s fun to work with the limitations of a device that has only one focal length and fixed focus. Then it becomes all about camera position to compose. As photographers we often get hung up on the technology and all the choices we have and forget about the basics. I ran the images through Lightroom to do some color correction and contrast adjustment before uploading them to Animoto to create the slideshow.

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