Debra Prinzing

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Charm in the country: my early fall trip to Skagit Valley and Bellingham

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Isn't this border pretty? Corn, sunflowers, zinnias - all in a row!

 A few weeks ago, at the invitation of the Whatcom Horticultural Society, I spent a relaxing 24 hours surrounded by gardens, flowers and nature – as well the company of like-minded plant-lovers. 

“Why don’t you come up to my house on Wednesday morning and we’ll go see some gardens before you give your lecture?” my friend Dawn Chaplin suggested. With established Bellingham landscape designer Susann Schwiesow, Dawn organizes the monthly lectures for WHS. This is the third time over the years that the society has invited me to speak. It’s always enjoyable, especially since the drive to Whatcom County and the enticing gardens and kindred spirits make my trip north so pleasurable. 

After meeting up with Dawn, who lives on a beautiful bluff outside Stanwood with her husband David, we hopped in the car and traveled to Fir Island, a small, bucolic place that’s reached by a bridge, so you barely realize you’re crossing over Skagit River to a real island. We toured the timeless garden created by Lavone Newell-Reim and her husband Dick. I’m hoping to publish as a magazine story in the future, but I can’t help but treat you to a few of the luscious images from this very special, lived-in and loved-in landscape: 

To me, this is a perfect vignette, camera-ready for a magazine. Lavone and Dick have a natural gift for placing plants in community with ornamentation and salvaged materials.

A circular patio with a thyme garden at its center. Inviting!

Chartreuse at its finest - in twin conifers and a potted succulent.