Last Saturday, under nearly flawless, warm sunny skies. Mother Nature offered up some of her "best dressed children in Gold Beach.
It's called the Garden Tour and this year marks the 20th anniversary of the event hosted by the Gold Beach Innominata Garden Club, a non-profit organization that promotes the annual self guided tour through several local homeowners' gardens to help fund community AND state-wide projects.
The first two stops were located approximately 5 miles up the North Bank Rogue River Road, off of Cedar Valley Road, where Don Hamilton first welcomed visitors to his astounding hillside manor. Hamilton has lived there for 10 years and his home is a veritable paradise of floral finery.
Exotic primitive species - tower of jewels, hanging fuchsia trees, brugmansia - are found interspersed among more traditional blooms such as bottle brush, shasta daisies, and honeysuckle. Cobblestone paths weave their way up and down hillsides opening up to panoramic vistas of the Rogue River canyons below. Hummingbirds zip to and fro while bees work overtime on thousands of flowering plants. If tranquility could be packaged it would look like Hamilton's elegant home.
St. Marie home
A little farther up Rumley Hill, Dale and Diana St. Marie's home has wonderful 700 year old growth trees guarding its entrance. A majestic redwood towers nearby; it's considered to be a youngster - merely 100 years old.
A wide assortment of apple trees span large vistas of neat, manicured lawns.
The St. Marie home features an attractive wrap-around deck. A greenhouse is full of starts, and raised flower beds feature a menagerie of edibles: blueberries, tomatoes, lemons, pole beans, sweet meat squash, sunflowers, strawberries and more.
Like their neighbor Hamilton, the St. Maries enjoy pristine views of the river below from high above.
Just past the south end of the Patterson Memorial Bridge, a sharp left takes tour-goers up the sharp paved incline of Tom Cat Hill. Loni Munson's beautiful home is perched high above terraced switch back paths, offering up a riot of colorful blooming plants interposed with eclectic artist renderings made by Munson herself.
A stunning design feature is a retaining wall topped with bowling balls in silver, black, maroon, pink, and sky blue sparkle colors.
From atop her porch where the artist lovingly builds perfect-scale, miniature doll houses, stunning views capture the mouth of the Rogue, the city of Gold Beach, and the ocean beyond. Below her vantage point are neatly kept bark mulched pathways with fantastic cement pavers created by Munson with colorful decorated glass art work embedded into each stepping stone They wind their way through potted succulents, clematis, annuals and more.
A koi pond is in the early excavation stages.
Library and church
These two stops both afforded neat gardens midway through the tour. At the Gold Beach Library an English garden is a nice addition to the newly completed venue. It is dedicated to longtime Gold Beach community volunteer Anita Harper. Benches are placed in close proximity as a thoughtful gesture.
At Bethany Lutheran, behind the church, looking like a rainbow staked to the earth are row after row of dahlias. More than 55 different varieties being tended to by Bob Chibante whose hoe is busy keeping wanna be weeds at bay. Chibante also sells dahlia bulbs at this location and is preparing the flowers for the first annual Wild Rivers Dahlia Society "Rogue In Bloom" show slated for August 24 and 25 at the Event Center on the Beach in Gold Beach.
Clay and Teri Dalrymple live south of Gold Beach in nearby Hunter Creek.
The Dalrymples have a massive vegetable garden that would make the folks at V-8 jealous! In addition, Clay has a tremendous assortment of delicate flowering orientals, a must-see collection that is both eye-appealing and soothing to the senses. A greenhouse nearby is packed full of all stages of ripening tomatoes, some a week away, others ready to top a sandwich or salad right now.
Heading down the coast in the direction of Brookings is Eighty Acres Road and the last tour stop - the Ferguson Ranch. Lori and Mike Ferguson have horses, donkeys, and ducks for a western-themed background.
Wood decks showcase mixed flower arrangements, potted corn stalks, and an attractive passion plant whose purple alien looking flowers hug a wire fence.
A nifty forest garden is cut in near the homestead with indigenous plants - rhodies, azaleas, ferns, hydrangeas, and spearmint on display all under the welcome shade of a large pine.
Linda Stokes, spokesperson for the Innominata 2013 Garden Tour was upbeat about the show. " It was absolutely fabulous. We had over 100 attend.
"Kudos to the homeowners who opened up and shared their homes. We all had a great time."
The Gold Beach Garden Tour funds local projects such as 4-H camperships and snack pack, pocket park maintenance, airport planters, handling the fair floral entrees, decorating the historic Hughes House for Christmas, and more.
For more information about the Gold Beach Garden Tour, contact Stokes, 541-247-2689.