PENINSULA — Seven gardens at homes up and down the Peninsula were open for the six-hour Long Beach Peninsula Garden tour Saturday, July 13.

The tour offered strong contrasts from the start. It opened with a colorful, densely packed garden on Diane and Fred Marshall’s small lot on Sahalee, with a steep drop-off from the edge of the garden that directs the eye to the Port of Ilwaco. Next was Dawna and Terry Hart’s much more open display built around rocky beach decorations and featuring a few small plants, with thick woods behind the see-through fence.

The tour closed with two neighboring gardens along Sandridge: a fruit, vegetable and vineyard garden at Deb Howard’s Willapa Bay Heritage Farm, created in the past year, and the rhododendron garden of John Stephens and Steve McCormick.

In between was still more variety. Dave and Linda King’s three-and-a-half-acre garden is divided into sections, creating an overall impression of an enchanted forest. Interpreters were on hand to discuss each section. Barbara and Eugene Norcross-Renner’s five-acre site had a similar atmosphere, with meandering paths and small gardens that seemed to be carved out of a vast forest. Shelley Pollock and Jeff Stevens’ garden, tucked away at the end of gravelly K Lane, featured grassy gardens planted in rich black soil in an ascending series of raised beds, with a small wooded area to the side of the house.

Musicians and artists at work contributed to the ambiance at the sites. The event raised funds for the Water Music Society, which presents other music events and supports music programs in local schools.

Aaron Mead is a sports writer for the Chinook Observer. Contact him at 360-642-8181 or

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