Did You Miss this Year’s ‘Whidbey Island Garden Tour’?

Posted in Community, Feature, More Stories

Whidbey Life Magazine Contributors
July 2, 2014

On the last Saturday of June, more than 800 people toured five “patches of paradise” during the Whidbey Island Garden Tour.

The event requires a full year of planning by the Garden Tour board and an entire day of participation by the 120 volunteers serving as parkers, greeters and docents. Along with the board and phalanx of volunteers, the garden tour has both friends and patrons—local businesses and individuals who regularly pledge their expertise and financial support.

The first tour in 1995 was organized by campaigners attempting to save Saratoga Woods; to this day, the proceeds of the garden tour are donated to local charities.

“We try for a variety of gardens to put on display, from postage stamp to grand, new to mature, sun to shade,” said WIGT President Penny Harger. “Over the years we’ve acquired all the gear needed for event parking, so we lend it out to the Maxwelton Fourth of July Parade and the Chicken Coop Tour. It’s all about community!”

If you missed the tour, here’s your chance to walk down the garden path—albeit virtual. After you’ve taken the tour, mark your calendar for next year’s event. For more information, visit www.wigt.org or call 360-321-4191.


Cynthia Tilkin




The breathtaking views of Saratoga Passage from “Bluff Bliss” are enhanced by tall trees, raised beds and sunny stretches of lawn. Native vegetation, artfully pruned by owner Cynthia Tilkin, is viewed against a backdrop of stone walls, benches and ponds. The garden is designed with an eye to outdoor entertaining and quiet contemplation.

Tom and Robin Callison







The in-town garden of Tom and Robin Callison is a backyard getaway that displays an array of plant material suitable for the small-scale cottage garden. The owners’ love of art and poetry is evident in the sculpture and plaques—including the lyrics to John Lennon’s “Imagine”—found in the garden.

Carol Livers




Nestled deep in the forest, the garden of Carol Livers invites exploration. The owner, originally from Britain, flies the Union Jack flag above her beautifully cultivated “English Idyll.” The garden surrounds a house that is equally detailed and colorful.

John and Margi Bachert






By taking advantage of the natural kettle formations created thousands of years ago, owners John and Margi Bachert have designed a garden that offers numerous vistas. Winding paths lead from one garden room to another: the serene philosopher’s garden, a hillside of flowers, vegetable garden, a hedge of roses. Contemporary and classical art abound.

Debra and Colin Campbell






Overlooking Saratoga Passage, “Eagle Sanctuary” enjoys sweeping views of Camano Island, Mount Baker and the Cascades. Owners Debra and Colin Campbell have created paths that wind through stands of rhododendrons, native shrubs, and shade-loving plants. The many sculptures found throughout the garden add to the feeling of drama created by the owners’ contemporary house.


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  1. Thanks for the virtual tour! Lovely gardens. The Garden Tour is a wonderful event that we are so fortunate to have. Your articles, reviews and interviews always bring me closer to the people, places and events our island has to offer.

    • Thanks Mary Ann! We love sharing the creative bounty of our island on our pages. Thanks to all the gardeners who volunteered their gardens and the volunteers to pulled this event off in fine style this year!

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