Hidden away in Lake Forest Park are six secret gardens that do not need a key to enjoy — just a ticket.
Tomorrow, Saturday, June 16, married couple Victoria Gilleland and Doug Gochanour will open their garden to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. as part of the Secret Gardens of Lake Forest Park Garden Tour.
Those who may remember the Gilleland and Gochanour garden from four years ago when it was part of the first garden tour will notice some changes, while others will walk through the various green and blooming “garden rooms” for the first time.
“Once the kids grew up a bit it became easier to become more serious about gardening,” Gilleland, a certified master gardener and retired Seattle school teacher said.
The couple, who has lived in Lake Forest Park for 30 years and has three adult children, live on a pie-shaped property with tall maple trees, an assortment of colorful and fragrant plants and a portion of the yard that is purposely “kept pretty wild for the mountain beavers’” liking.
With plants blooming throughout the year, Gilleland and Gochanour have their work cut out for them, but it’s easy for an observer to see that the couple enjoys the kind of work their hobby requires.
“A saying is that a garden is never finished and that is very true,” Gilleland said. “We try to do something new every year.”
Their garden features various rooms or areas, including a meditation garden, a shady spot with a Japanese Maple, pond and new garden shed, a small kitchen garden where tomatoes and herbs grow and a nursery with plants for the sun and the shade, purchased directly from growers.
“She tries to get some things that are more unique and exotic,” Gochanour said about Gilleland’s work as a garden designer.
Gilleland and Gochanour have several underlying themes throughout their garden. Garden art has been placed with great consideration. Many plants have animal names and the colors purple and gold compliment one another.
Those on the tour can look forward to smelling the scent of the Kiftsgate rose, a white rose with a yellow center that smells like honey. Or to finding a Dutchman’s Pipe, a flower that when not in bloom looks similar to a pipe, growing along a vine and probably hidden behind large leaves. They will also see a Korea Kousa Dogwood tree with white flowers that will someday soon turn into red berries. A purple Voodoo Lilly that is still waiting to bloom has already attracted a large metal dragonfly.
Tour participants may also enjoy informational booths, a live radio broadcast by Ciscoe Morris from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the lower level of the shopping center and attend a tea party with author Christina Pfeiffer at 4 p.m.
Advance tickets for The Secret Gardens of Lake Forest Park Garden Tour are $12 and can be purchased at Wild Birds Unlimited or Two Trading Tigers in Lake Forest Park. Tickets are $15 the day of the tour. More information may be found at www.thesecretgardensoflakeforestpark.org.