The Idaho Botanical Garden (IBG) presents the Garden Tour in Boise and the surrounding area each June. It is a one day event where multiple private residential gardens are open to the public for touring. The gardenkeepers (homeowners) are present during the tour and you can visit with them about their garden and gardening experiences. A rather enjoyable opportunity I must say!
This is Part II of my experience visiting the gardens that were part of the tour and covers the last three gardens I explored. There were two gardens on the tour that I missed simply because I ran out of time. My apologies as I am sure they were lovely.
As for the gardens visited, they were such a delight to discover. Take a look to see if you discover something inspirational for your garden or outdoor space. Of course, this is a limited view that does not capture all of the amazing features and personality but I have selected some photos that I believe show a bit of their stand-out character and charm.
Garden 5 – Delicious Design. This garden was sort of nestled into a hillside and made use of every bit of space. It packed a punch as far as design goes (come to find out the gardenkeeper is also the owner of Madeline George Garden Design Nursery) and the central water feature was an immediate attraction. Beautiful Koi and water plants in a lovely pond just naturally garner your attention! There is a nice sitting area to enjoy the pond and beyond that an outdoor kitchen and kitchen garden. Just a hop-skip to get fresh herbs and veggies for dinner!
A path from the pond winds through the property to the front yard which is grass-free and shows off a subtle water feature, a lovely sitting area and interesting perennial plantings.
I think I see Hellebore argutifolius planted with Lavandula ×intermedia ‘Grosso’. Who knew these two could exist together? I always thought hellebores had to be in the shade but this one looks happy and I love the contrast of the big leaves with the thin spikes of the lavender. And one of my favorites, Agapanthus, off to the side, makes this design a real draw for me.
Garden 6 – Charm Like No Other. So much to see in this most comfortable, welcoming, whimsical garden that starts out with a shady courtyard area and pretty shade plant plantings. On the other side of the courtyard is a short path that takes you to a hillside garden offering a lovely seating area and plants that handle mixed shade and sun. There is much to see in this sweet spot and I love the bright splashes of color from Impatiens and others that are tucked into the understory of this area. As you continue to follow the path towards an iron arbor there is a bit (just the right amount in my opinion) of garden whimsy here and there.
Once you walk through the arbor it’s as if you’ve entered a tiny lavender farm and edible plaza. In full bloom the lavender was beautiful and quite a source to attract pollinators to the nearby edible area that contained the cutest little corn patch I have ever seen.
I only left the sweet smelling lavender area because of the inviting patio ahead. The patio area was cozy, yet open with a variety of structures surrounding it. One of the standout structures was a weeping cedar or spruce that served as an entry point on one side. I noticed it immediately and found out from the gardenkeeper that they had trained and supported the tree in such a way that it could indeed serve as an “arbor” to the patio. So creative! I also liked that the patio featured a single color as a draw for the eye. A summer red was splashed about and it was beautiful.
Reluctantly moving beyond the patio area I found a most unique vertical garden! This vertical garden was quite interesting because it was composed of shade plants. Most vertical gardens or living walls I’ve encountered the last couple of years have been composed of sedums with small root systems. This system offered a variety of perennials with larger size for larger impact. I met the designer Jason Doran of Willowglenn Landscape as he was on-site visiting with folks interested in learning more about vertical gardens. He also has a display at Edwards Nursery in case you would like to see one of his vertical gardens first-hand.
Garden 7 – Sol-Full Garden. I chose this title as this sun-drenched, Mediterranean style garden speaks to the soul with it’s beautiful colors, tropical accents and hidden spots for resting, reflection and rejuvenation. Oh, and did I mention is has edible plantings as well!
I noticed the creative use of front/side space as an edible garden upon entering the property. I love the tomatoes in grow bags mixed with herbs and the creative climbing system for pole beans off to the side. A nice raised bed garden is part of the mix too.
After checking out the edibles I start to notice the artistic planting and the amazing color that stands out so nicely in the bright wide open skies of Idaho. This is the kind of color needed to be noticeable in a sun-soaked garden in big sky country. The bright light here can wash-out soft colors. Gorgeous and most are low water.
A fun steppables/stone path takes you to the first hidden spot for taking a break from the sun. A little french “room” – perfect for sitting a bit to think about what you might plant next!
Next, a steeper path takes you to the top level of this garden where an amazing pergola and seating area beckons. This thoughtfully placed relaxation center is behind the house and surrounded by beautiful plantings but situated so that the amazing view and sunset of the Boise valley can be enjoyed as well.
A delightful spot for rejuvenating is just across the way. The bright colors blend well with the exterior plantings and it’s hard not to have a seat and wait for the iced tea to appear.
Some additional stand-out features I took note of were the pear espaliers and the wonderfully concealed air-conditioning equipment. I absolutely love this idea of the iron door flanked by iron screens with akebia quinata growing on it! Such a clever, pretty disguise.
I really enjoyed my first Boise Garden Tour and would like to thank all the gardeners for allowing me to show their lovely gardens here. If you haven’t been to the Garden Tour before consider it next June. The IBG website posts information about the tour well in-advance to get it on your schedule. Feel free to leave a question or comment as the gardenkeepers may be checking in and can provide comment as well.
How about you? Do you enjoy attending local garden tours? Has your garden ever been featured in a tour? If so, what was it like getting ready for the tour? If not, do you have any aspirations of participating in a tour someday?