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Wednesday, March 16, 2011 • Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber

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Page 15

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Read about a tangled stumpery on Vashon. Page 20 Discover some of our nursery owners’ favorite plants. Page 22 Learn how to protect yourself from a landslide. Page 24.

summer

The rebirth of a

A gardener’s nemeses

Sure, fuzzy critters are cute — until they lop off all your roses

cabin

A beloved family cabin takes on a new look — but continues to hold sweet memories — after Kay Longhi and her sister undertake a full remodel.

F

By SALLY FOX

For The Beachcomber

Longhi takes pride in the fact that she’s rescued a modest cabin and turned it into something that will stand the test of time. But hers was not simply an effort to transform a summer cottage into a beautiful home. Indeed, for Longhi, it was an intensely personal experience — in part, because of what this cabin meant to her and her family. Longhi, 62, grew up in the house next-door, where her 90-year-old mother Patricia Longhi still lives. Kay Longhi’s uncle Dudley George built the cabin, and for many years he and his wife Catherine summered there. It played a central role in her family’s life, she recalled — a place for family gatherings and holiday celebrations as well as a refuge for family members in need of a place to live during significant transitions. Five years ago, when her aunt and uncle stopped coming to the house, Kay Longhi and her twin sister Gail realized they didn’t want to see it leave their family, so the two women

Gardeners, beware: There are weapons of mass destruction lurking on Vashon. Evidence abounds. You go out to your garden in spring expecting to find a sea of tulips, and instead you discover rows of bare flower stalks. You turn and notice that your young apple trees have been pruned of all their new growth. Then in the corner of your eye you see the hooved culprits, sauntering away, barely acknowledging your presence. In summer, the reign of terror continues with a new adversary. You go out to harvest the first five plums off your new plum tree and find a disaster: broken branches, including the tree’s leader, on the ground and, of course, no plums. Your blueberries have also disappeared. Mighty claws have destroyed the fresh finish of woodchips you spread on your garden bed only yesterday; today it looks like a war zone. How can we peacefully co-exist with our furry assailants in the garden — the deer and the raccoon that even I can’t help but think are cute? Each summer, Islanders come to our Vashon Master Gardener clinics with tales of woe and questions about how to deal with pesky deer and raccoons. Rhonda Hart, author of “Deer Proofing Your Yard and Garden,” presents a variety of ways to cope with deer and describes the pros and cons of each. Perhaps you don’t like the look of smelly

SEE CABIN, 24

SEE WILDLIFE, 23

Story and photos by Leslie Brown

rom the outside, Kay Kay Longhi, above, and her sister Gail bought their aunt and uncle’s cabin in part so Kay could be next door to her Longhi’s small, brown childhood home, where her mother still lives. Her kitchen counters (top photo) are flush with the windows — no home perched above the backsplash needed. Below, a lamp she purchased during a year she spent in Thailand adds to her home’s elegance. north-end ferry terminal seems dancing with this challenge from generation Gib Dammann, Longhi’s architect, called it ordinary, a modest 1975 house to generation.” a classic Vashon remodel — a modest house, with a no-frills architecture.

Step inside, and one experiences a different story. After an 18-month remodel, the house now boasts dark-stained oak floors, a kitchen with soapstone counters and Turkish stone tiles, walls painted in hues of a warm gold and pale gray and, of course, large, woodcased windows looking out onto an expansive 180-degree view of Puget Sound. The living room and dining room spill into the kitchen, creating a bright, airy grand room. A bay window has been installed in the living room, adding to the sense of spaciousness. The kitchen, too, has been punched out just a bit, so that when Longhi is at the kitchen sink she has windows all around her. As remodels go, it was far from wholesale. The layout remained largely the same; only one interior wall was moved. And yet, Longhi said, the result feels transformational. “It’s a whole new house,” she said.

built years ago as a summer cabin, transformed into a place for year-round living, with modern appliances, energy-efficient windows, insulation and a touch of elegance. “It’s a classic model of what happens on this Island — sometimes successfully, and sometimes not successfully,” he said. “There are a large number of Islanders living in homes full-time that weren’t meant for full-time living,” he added. “We’ve been


Page 16

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Sally Fox and Steve Brown find they have

VAA’s 2011 Garden Tour offers a window onto a garden with many rooms.

Room to grow

By JANICE RANDALL For The Beachcomber

When they describe their sprawling, year-round garden, Sally Fox and Steve Brown say the sunny five-plus acres near Point Robinson actually hold a

collection of 15 gardens, each one different. Their home is located at the center and looks out onto the colorful ornamental garden. The property offers a peek-a-boo view of Mount Rainier and expansive territorial views.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 • Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber

Originally a red currant farm, the property’s dry, gravelly soil offers a plethora of mature native madrona and Douglas-fir trees. They have designed their garden in the spirit of its origins, with an emphasis on drought-tolerant, native plants. Near the entrance, visitors are met with the “farm area,� about 4,200 square feet dedicated to organic vegetables and berries (blueberries, raspberries, currants, loganberries and strawberries) as well as a small orchard of apple, Japanese pear, plum, pluot, apricot and cherry trees. Adjacent paddock, pastures and buildings add to the property’s farm feel. Fox and Brown were named a “Farm of Merit� by King Conservation District for their efforts to develop and maintain an eco-friendly horse area for Fox’s two horses. Fox and Brown are relatively new to gardening and call their expansive landscaping a “garden in process.� “We never gardened before coming to the Island five years ago; it’s been on-the-job training,�

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said Fox, who was president of the Vashon-Maury Island Garden Club last year. The original garden nearest the house is 20 years old. Others are four months to four years old. “Our biggest challenge may be the fact that we have several garden-able acres, far too much for novice gardeners, but a nice problem to have,� Fox added. They discovered lots of glass bottles and car parts that had

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been dumped at several locations throughout the property. After removing many pickup loads of forgotten debris, they took it as an opportunity to add new gardens. “One of the gardens that most pleases me is an area that was covered with junk and blackberries,� Fox said. Another big project was to eradicate invasive plants, such as Scotch broom, Himalayan blackberries and lamium from woodland areas in order to restore and replant natives. They also added trees to their inherited large lawn so as to create, over time, an arboretum feel. “We decided to forego having a weed-free lawn, thus avoiding use of the bags of chemicals we found when we bought the property,� Fox said. In addition to Northwest natives, they have added ornamental grasses, a modest collection of Japanese maples and a number of drought-tolerant plants acquired from local nurseries. Their driveway entrance hedge was built around selections from drought-tolerant plants, thanks to Colvos Creek Nursery. Some trees and larger rhododendrons were “adopted� from benevolent Puget Sound area gardeners. “Which means that they’ve come to us with great stories from people who like to share,� said Fox. “We are gardening on a budget and don’t have a lot of exotic plants.� They both agree their favorite aspect of the garden is how the house is situated — in the middle of all this verdant life. “Each garden can seem like a child, with its own particular virtues and quirkiness. We like the variety through all four seasons — flowers in spring, vegetable garden in summer, pond area and grasses in fall, different woodland gardens in winter. We also like the paths through the lower woods and views across our neighbors’ landscapes,� Fox said. The couple frequently visited Vashon before they left Seattle to move here — a move prompted by Fox’s love of horses. “We had been coming over for years because my horse trainer lived here, then my horse. The thing that has made the difference is this out-of-body experience of becoming a gar-

Watch for this Garden Section

on our website www. vashonbeachcomber. com

www.vashonbeachcomber.com

dener.� Fox adds that Brown masterminds projects involving hardscaping and heavy equipment. They have added a small patio, pond, gate and fence (an intricate system to conceal his car collection). “He’s the master thinker on that sort of project,� Fox added. “I love rocks and have old Island rocks in my ‘turn around’ garden for texture and punctuation with sword ferns.� Her advice for other novice gardeners? “The first thing is to hang out with local gardeners and go to local nurseries to find out what grows best here; talk to Master Gardeners. I like the plants that thrive here. This is a great place to start.� — Janice Randall is Vashon Allied Art’s director of communications and performing arts.

Janice Randall Photo

Steve Brown and Sally Fox say they still have much to learn about gardening.

Page 17

From floral grandeur to Asian-inspired simplicity, VAA’s Garden Tour offers up beauty, inspiration Vashon Allied Arts will host the 21st Annual Vashon Island Garden Tour from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 25, and Sunday, June 26. The Garden Tour offers the beauty, simplicity and grandeur of Island gardens, as well as seminars, live music, garden art and more. This year, six diverse gardens will offer a rich array of beauty and inspiration: Take in the fragrance and color of 1,000 lavender plants or the textured nuance of an Asianinspired shade garden; experience a Maury Island spread with 15 planting areas, from a sunny perennial bed to a cool woodland walk; breathe in the sweet scents of an elegant 70-bush rose garden; step back in time and stroll the mixedshrub and flower borders, vegetable and berry gardens of an 1890s homestead; relax under tall firs in a cheerful Northwest shady rock garden punctuated with eclectic and colorful accents. The Sunset Garden Gala, slated for 6 p.m. until sunset on Friday, includes dinner catered by The Hardware Store Restaurant, summer cocktails and live entertainment set in a private garden with serene pastoral views. Tickets are $125 per person. Call 463-5131 to reserve. Tour tickets, $25, are valid both days and are only $20 until May 31. Group rates are available. The tour tickets include admission to daily seminars. Jonathan Morse, celebrated garden designer and horticulturalist, will present

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a seminar called “Creating Space in the Garden: Design Techniques with Hardscape and Flora� at Blue Heron Art Center at 11 a.m. to noon, Saturday and Sunday. Cheryl Prescott, a consulting rosarian and master gardener, will offer up her rose-care seminar, “For the Love of the Rose,� at the Farner Garden, 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. There will also be a new event at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, when Elizabeth Murray, best-selling author of “Monet’s Passion: Ideas, Inspiration and Insights from the Painter’s Gardens,� will discuss Monet’s color theories, design elements and use of light and shade. She will also talk about the development and maintenance of Monet’s estate. Book-signing, French wine and cheese tasting included. Tickets for this event are $45, which includes the two-day tour, or $30 for the event only. Tour tickets will soon be available at Blue Heron Art Center, Heron’s Nest, Kathy’s Corner and Dig Floral & Garden or at BrownPaperTickets.com. To complement the tour, through June the Blue Heron Gallery will showcase works of eight Island artists in The Barn Show — Art Hansen, Pam Ingalls, Karen HershCrozier, Mary Liz Austin, Terry Donnelly, Kathleen Webster, Marilyn Blitz and David Erue. For more information about Garden Tour 2011, call 463-5131 or visit VashonAlliedArts.org.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011 • Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber

The Garden Club honors

some of the best Vashon gardens

The Vashon-Maury Island Garden Club highlights outstanding gardens every year, beautiful spreads worthy of communitywide attention. Here are the club’s 2010 selections and a little bit about the people who have worked hard to create them. And

Carol Ahlfors Flowers are the profession and passion of this 2010 honoree. If you’ve stopped in at Blooms & Things, the Island florist, you’ve

if you’re interested in joining the club, it meets at 10:45 a.m. on the second Monday of the month at Vashon Lutheran Church. Bring a lunch and enjoy a fabulous speaker.

Story by Martha Gebhard

probably met Carol Ahlfors. Carol worked at Blooms as a designer for three years, then bought the shop last June. She’s got a strong background in European and Japanese design styles, and now her cutting garden at home grows what she can use in her shop for her arrangements — liatris, delphinium, Dutch iris and sweet peas. And in an effort to make bouquets affordable, Carol turns the sweet peas into $5 posies and sends them home with customers in Mason jars, which can be returned later, next time they’re in town. Florists sell a lot of lilies, and Carol has those, too, a 50-square foot bed of Oriental lilies. There are rudbeckia, coreopsis, peonies and amaranth. And dahlias! Not the longest-lasting cut flower but so spectacular that a true flower-lover must have them. But for all this, Carol’s true joy in her garden is to see her grandchildren having fun there — eating peas off the vine, picking blueberries and strawberries, riding their ponies in the pasture, carefree in a natural and beautiful place. Every summer Carol throws a party in her lavender park, where 100 or so relatives and friends gather.

Hal and Molly Green

Hal and Molly Green’s Triplebrook Gardens, overlooking Colvos Passage, are part of a historic property homesteaded in 1890 by Jedediah Paige. He built the barn and part of the farmhouse, which still stand here. Triplebrook later became a chicken farm; the old brooder house is a guest cottage today. When the Greens moved there in 2003, the property boasted little more than a few old rhododendrons and some patchy grass. The industrious couple gradually filled in their two-acre spread with English roses, viburnums, hydrangeas, dogwoods and lilacs, turning it into a glorious garden

that will be featured at Vashon Allied Arts’ Garden Tour in June. Molly, who says she and Hal are novice gardeners, describes her garden style as lush, old-fashioned, quirky and wild. She likes to see the plants play off one another, contrasting their foliage and colors. She also likes plants that self-seed and start new colonies across a path. For the most part, she lets them stay where they’ve chosen to wander. To protect all this beauty, the Greens put up hundreds of feet of deer fence around the garden. Decades ago, Triplebrook was home to a large berry garden, which deer eventually destroyed. The deer fence has allowed the Greens to recreate the berry garden, with boysenberries, loganberries, marionberries, chester berries and raspberries. Now, Hal says, the problem is raccoons. Last summer he had corn for the first time, but raccoons flattened the stalks and took a bite out of every single ear of corn. He’s working on a solution to this latest critter problem.

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On a dark December day in 1996, Sam and Sarah Van Fleet first saw their home-to-be, and they fell in love with it because of two beautiful old trees that anchored the place — a

huge weeping willow and a 125-foot tall sequoia. They bought the property and over the years have turned their new home into a wildlife sanctuary that is also a delight for human visitors. The Van Fleets took a class on landscaping for wildlife with well-known wildlife biologist Russell Link and began to turn their acreage into a refuge for birds and animals. A bird bath below the house, for instance, drew many birds, and Sam and Sarah enjoyed watching them from the house. Sam was inspired: If a bird bath was good, how much better would a pond be? So they installed a goodsized pond, planted it with waterlilies, slough sedge, duck potato for ducks and umbrella plant. They’ve now counted 78 different types of

birds visiting the pond. The sequoia still stands. Sam climbs to the top every year (on a clear day he can see Whidbey Island up there.) But the old willow fell down in the storms of last November. Sarah is replacing the tree with a hedgerow of chokecherry, cascara, black hawthorne and twinberry. The plants will attract wildlife and help screen the property the way the old willow used to. This kind of renovation is the ongoing challenge of a mature garden. Something is always changing, and Sarah says this is her focus now, learning to edit and rethink as conditions in her garden evolve. The Van Fleets’ property is now part of King County’s Rural Stewardship program. They welcome the local Audubon Society’s visits and love to invite other groups that want to see how beautiful and full of life a garden for wildlife can be.

off the pale sea-green of the house and the grays of stone and gravel. The equisetum growing against the house is a pretty touch, contained in a planter so it can’t roam into the rest of the garden. Shapes of plantings are clean and simple, soothing and Zen-inspired. It’s a clean garden design, but still lush — big kiwi vines

sprawl over an arbor, hostas and crocosmias bloom with color, and the glorious old rhodies are still there. In the back, a little garden house is the focal point of Joanna’s vegetable beds. This is where they like to have a glass of wine in the evenings, surrounded by all the bounty. Joanna has learned to protect her blueberries and strawberries with netting to keep birds away. Like the Greens, she’s still looking for a raccoon solution. Kirk has installed low-flow dripsystem irrigation in the garden here. The plants they’ve chosen tend to be tough and adaptive; they can get soaked all winter, then make do with little water in the summer. One of Joanna’s favorites is the ground-cover barrenwort.

Kirk Haupt and Joanna Gugliermino “Serene� is the word for Kirk Haupt and Joanna Gugliermino’s garden. When they bought their home 12 years ago, there were wonderful old rhodies and hydrangeas on the property and a cottage garden-feel close to the house. A few years later, when the couple remodeled the house, the newly updated architecture seemed to call for a more modern garden. They hired Tim Holtschlag to put in a beautiful boulder arrangement in front of the house and to advise them on the kinds of plants that would lend a modern feel. The result is dramatic. Grasses and reeds are planted in masses. Black Mondo grass plays

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Master Gardeners to host popular clinics this spring and summer The Master Gardeners on Vashon will once again host their popular clinics this summer at a table located in the breezeway between True Value and Thriftway. Sharing their knowledge, the Master Gardeners help promote healthful and sustainable gardening practices on Vashon. Volunteers staff the clinics, each bringing a wide variety of gardening experience and interests. If the Master Gardeners at the table aren’t able to answer your questions immediately, they can forward the information and specimens to local WSU labs for further analysis. Questions accompanied by a specimen are welcome as it is much easier to correctly diagnose a problem or identify a plant with a piece of it in hand. From April 1 to Sept. 24, volunteers will be available to answer gardening questions most Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Master Gardeners are also collaborating with Amy Bogaard and the Vashon High School botany class to create a native plant garden behind the greenhouses at VHS. It showcases a variety of plants well-adapted to local conditions. Once established, gardens with mixed natives require significantly reduced amounts of maintenance and water, and provide much needed habitat for wildlife. Stop by and watch this garden evolve as students and gardeners bring their skills to the program. The Master Gardeners also sponsor educational opportunities for Island gardeners. At 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 26, the group will offer a class called “Plant Choices for Gardening with Deer,� taught by Master Gardener Colleen James. See page 23 for more details. The Master Gardener Program for King County offers one 12-week session every year to train new volunteers. The 2012 classes will be held on 12 consecutive Saturdays, beginning in early January. For more information or to apply, visit the King County Master Gardener website at http://king.wsu.edu/Gardening/. The site also has links to a wealth of gardening information. — Nancy Lewis-Williams, clinic co-leader for the Vashon Master Gardeners 21st Annual Vashon Island

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Front: Photo, Red Yellow Tulip Glow by Kim Farrell

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 • Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011 • Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber

From tangled roots to leafy fronds, an Island stumpery takes shape.

For the love of

By NATALIE JOHNSON

ferns

Staff Writer

W

hen Whit Carhart learned in 2008 that his friend and fellow gardener Pat Riehl was working to create a stumpery at her Wax Orchard home, he was a little confused.

“I had never heard of a stumpery. ‌ I thought the stumps would be right-side up,â€? he said. Riehl wasn’t surprised by her friend’s confusion. She said most people, even the most experienced gardeners, can be misled by the word stumpery. “Really, it’s more of a rootery,â€? she said. “It’s not the top side of the tree that you want, it’s the root side.â€? Now familiar with the three-year-old stumpery, Carhart has nothing but praise for the garden. “It’s one of the most interesting and unique gardens on the Island because there’s nothing else like it,â€? he said. Indeed, stepping into Pat and her husband Walt Riehl’s stumpery is like stepping into another world.

Courtesy Photos

Pat and Walt Riehl’s stumpery (pictured above) is nestled in a ravine, allowing visitors to feel truly immersed in the garden. The stumpery is home to over 1,000 ferns, from large tree ferns to small woodsia ferns (pictured at right).

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011 • Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber

Nestled in a small ravine near the couple’s home is a 10,000-square-foot web of overturned tree stumps, many piled on top of each other, their tangled roots reaching in every direction. More than 1,000 ferns mingle with the dead stumps — some towering overhead, some living inside the stumps and some peeking out from any wood or rock crevice that provides a home. A few woodland plants and mosses join in, creating a hodgepodge of textures and varying shades of green at every turn of the wide dirt path that winds through the stumpery. Riehl, a longtime gardener who was once a florist as well, was inspired to create her stump-centered garden — one of the largest in the United States — after she fell in love with ferns. “When I started reading, trying to gain knowledge on this group of plants, … this word stumpery came up, and I became more and more curious about it,” she said.

WWW.VASHONBEACHCOMBER.COM

Courtesy Photo

Pat Riehl (left) is the creative force behind the stumpery, while her husband Walt has done much of the heavy lifting required to create the unique garden. Riehl’s curiosity ultimately carried her to Europe, where stumperies were first designed in the 1800s to showcase the plants that European explorers brought back from other parts of the world. Riehl toured Germany

Michelle L. Ramsden

and England to see how ferns are still used in the gardens and stumperies there, visiting the most famous stumpery of all, at the home of Prince Charles. In England, Riehl met British fern expert Martin Richard, who agreed to visit Vashon and design her

Page 21

stumpery. Riehl’s husband Walt, who owns a small construction businesses, was supportive of her dream and provided much of the manpower as the two moved around 150 tree stumps to their property. Riehl said she couldn’t be more pleased with how the ambitious project turned out. “In some ways it’s a hard thing to describe because it has its own magical sense. … For me it’s magical, serene, peaceful,” she said. Riehl said others who have visited the stumpery, either on Vashon Allied Arts’ Garden Tour last year or as part of a gardening group, have had similar reactions. “When we had it open for the first time on the VAA tour, the women who came through said it moved them so much that they couldn’t speak,” she said. “They were moved by the atmosphere. That’s a powerful thing.” Cindy Stockett, a well-

known Island gardener with her own large, lavish gardens, called Riehl both creative and brave for taking on one of the nation’s only large-scale stumperies. “You really have to have a devotion to that type of gardening, because it’s such a big commitment to take that plunge,” she said, “But it’s such a wonderful creation. … It’s got such a range of creativity, and she’s got an amazing collection of specimens.”

Riehl said the bulk of her work in the stumpery is actually over, as it is nearly mature after only a few years. “Ferns are actually incredibly easy to maintain,” she said. “You don’t do a lot to them.” Still, Riehl said, she takes time to tinker in the stumpery, always finding a spot to perfect in the place she loves. “No garden is ever done,” she said.

Courtesy Photo

An epimedium at the stumpery.

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Page 22

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011 • Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber

Susan Lofland: realtor®, John L Scott Real Estate Professional practice centered on service, integrity, and knowledge dedicated to meeting my clients’ real estate needs and goals. I go beyond the standard to exceed your expectations and meet your needs in buying and selling real estate on Vashon.

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Vashon Island

Courtesy Photos

From left to right: the royal grevellia’s flower, an Oregon myrtle and a bed of echinaceas.

A plant for every place I By SUSAN RIEMER Staff Writer

n the spirit of welcoming spring and a new season of gardening, The Beachcomber asked the owners of the Island’s three largest nurseries about some of their favorite plants this year. In addition to their striking visual characteristics, the plants they recommended are hardy, drought tolerant and deer resistant, characteristics valuable to almost any Island gardener.

Sylvia Matlock, Dig Floral & Garden For its red stems and green leaves arranged like a pinwheel, Dig’s Sylvia Matlock recommended drimys lanceolata, sometimes knows as a mountain pepper. This shrub grows three to four feet tall and about two and half feet wide. The plants flower, but the flowers are not their main attraction. “The plants are about the foliage,” Matlock said. Commonly called an Oregon myrtle, the umbellularia Californica is in the bay family. While it cannot be used for culinary purposes like some of its relatives, it is a good choice in the Northwest. “It is one of the most stalwart hedging shrubs you could put in,” Matlock said.

With its dramatic, variegated foliage, the Fatsia japonica variegata is also a plant Matlock recommends often. It is good in the shade and needs no water. “It is great for the dark corners no one wants to deal with,” Matlock said. For color, Matlock suggests papaver commutatum, or Ladybird poppy — an outstanding red flower with black cheeks. Once established, it is self-seeding, but not invasive. “It is lovely to interweave in a sunny spot,” according to Matlock.

Mike Lee, Colvos Creek Nursery

At Colvos Creek Nursery, owner Mike Lee suggested a variety of trees and shrubs. The royal grevellia is an evergreen shrub that grows eight feet tall or more. Its narrow leaves are gray-green on the top and a fawn color on the bottom, with silvery stems. In the fall, red-orange flowers bloom and last throughout the winter. “The winter hummingbirds just love them,” he said. The silver leaf oak is another of Lee’s favorites. It has a long, narrow leaf, with dark green on top and silver underneath. “When the wind blows, it has beautiful ripples of silver throughout,” Lee said. The atlas broom is a small tree or large See plants, next page

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PLANTS CONTINUED FROM

shrub and is evergreen. The leaves are in threeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, and each leaflet is a velvety, silvery green. Flowers form in large, conical clusters and are orange-yellow. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They smell like pineapple with a little peach,â&#x20AC;? Lee said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re really nice.â&#x20AC;? The coulture pine, a native of Southern California, grows up to 70 feet tall and has 12-inch needles. Its cones are as large as a pineapple and just as heavy. A very bold tree, this pine is a â&#x20AC;&#x153;magnificent specimen,â&#x20AC;? Lee said.

Kathy Wheaton, Kathyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Corner

At Kathyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Corner, owner Kathy Wheaton recommends this year the Dutch lady hydrangea. All six varieties grow three to four feet tall and bloom on old and new wood, so there are no worries about pruning. The new-growth leaves are burgundy, and they have great fall color, too. The large flowers come in a whole range of hues that change depending on the

soil they are planted in. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They are just nice, nice plants,â&#x20AC;? Wheaton said. Many people used to think of barberries as thorny, prickly pants, Wheaton said, but there are several new varieties suitable for nearly every garden. Tall and short, skinny and wide, they come in a variety of shapes and in many new colors. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They are beautiful plants that really need to be looked at again,â&#x20AC;? Wheaton said. Other favorites of Wheatonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s this year are small evergreens that used to be hard to come by: dwarf conifers. With a multitude of varieties and colors, they will fit any piece of the landscape and are a good value. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Dwarf conifers have won a place in my heart,â&#x20AC;? she said. A few years ago, gardeners could get maybe four kinds of echinacea plants, but now, Wheaton, said, there are hundreds of them, and 50 to 60 varieties are excellent. They are fragrant and their color does not fade. From the multitude of these colorful flowers, Wheaton picked her top three favorites: tomato soup, hot papaya and hot summer.

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WILDLIFE CONTINUED FROM 15

soap hanging in trees, fabric softener strips lying across plants or stockings stuffed with human hair. Maybe you would prefer spraying a compound of garlic and rotten eggs, applying bloodmeal or scattering cougar and coyote dung. You can also buy commercial deer repellants, but these can be costly and need to be reapplied periodically. One mechanical device, the motion-detecting Scarecrow waterer, may temporarily frighten deer away. (So can your pooch, if he stays out all night.) All these methods have worked for someone â&#x20AC;&#x201D; but beware: Our Vashon deer are resilient and quick to catch onto our tricks. Better to use deterrents selectively in addition to the two strategies that do work: fencing and an integrated approach to deer resistant planting. If you want a vegetable garden or a nice collection of roses or other deer candy, you will have

Page 23

to fence. There are two approaches to fencing. The first is to build a fence at least seven to eight feet high using deer netting (available in town) secured to a series of poles, trees or rebar stakes. The trick, if you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want break-ins, is to stretch a taut wire at the bottom of the netting so that deer cannot noodle their way under it. Remember to monitor the fence after windstorms. All it takes is one tree toppling your fence, and a new invasion will begin. Another approach is to build a double row fence. Deer can jump high and wide â&#x20AC;&#x201D; but they canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t do both at the same time. The two fences should be four to five feet high and four to five feet apart. This can look quite nice, although it takes more effort to construct. If building a fence doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t suit your site or your budget, Colleen James, a Burton-based master gardener and garden designer, offers a different approach: Plant to

fool the deer. Jamesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; garden is a wonder of variety and color, using plants whose fragrance deer dislike (such as lavender) to surround the plants in her garden that deer would treasure. James is sharing her secrets at a free class â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Outsmarting the Deer in Your Garden â&#x20AC;&#x201D; from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 26, at the Vashon Library. She will discuss her experiences about what plants they avoid, what they will devour and how to landscape effectively without fencing. She reminds us, though, that deer on Vashon have their own unique preferences â&#x20AC;&#x201D; different from deer in other regions â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and their tastes seem to change every year. Raccoons are another story. I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t keep them out, despite the deer fencing that surrounds part of our property. They will chew through netting and even, I have heard, chicken wire. On top of the damage they do in the garden, their feces are

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toxic and can carry fatal parasites, so take precautions when cleaning up the dung. The best strategy for raccoon control, beyond the family dog, is a low electric fence. This year I am going to install two electrified wires, four inches and 12 inches off the ground, to keep the raccoons out of the orchard. But my strategy includes a plea: Please tell your kind neighbor up the street, the one who feeds the baby raccoons, to stop it! Yes, they are cute, but feeding them is not humane. If you encourage them, another neighbor may end up having to trap them. You can buy a Have-aHeart live animal trap in town, but the catch-andrelease idea is problematic on our Islands: I doubt our north-end neighbors would like an influx of Maury Island raccoons and vice versa. â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Sally Fox is a management consultant and Master Gardener living on Maury Island.

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CABIN CONTINUED FROM 15

bought it. And Kay Longhi â&#x20AC;&#x201D; who left Vashon Island as a young woman 40 years ago to lead what ultimately became a full and adventurous life â&#x20AC;&#x201D; returned home. A patient care coordinator at Harborview Medical Center, Longhi now cares for her mother, who is determined to live out her years in the house next door. Longhi had heard plenty of horror stories about remodels before she and her sister decided to embark on one. But that, too, has turned into a deeply satisfying experience, Longhi said. She made a decision early on that she wanted to use Islanders as much as possible for the project, so she started out by going to the Chamber of Commerce website, punching in â&#x20AC;&#x153;Dâ&#x20AC;? for designer and discovering Dammann, who, it turned out, lived

three doors away. The two, Longhi said, have worked together beautifully. And a few months later, when the actual work was ready to begin and Carl Frederickson, the general contractor, showed up, she recognized him instantly; theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d played together when she was 6. Both Dammann and Longhi are pleased with the way the project â&#x20AC;&#x201D; built by Ed Palmer â&#x20AC;&#x201D; turned out. Longhi, Dammann said, was easy to work with â&#x20AC;&#x201D; in part, he noted, â&#x20AC;&#x153;because she knew what she wanted.â&#x20AC;? But Longhiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s especially pleased by what sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s achieved for her family. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I feel good that the next generation will have a place like this to come to,â&#x20AC;? she said. During her years away, she said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;The sense of place I had growing up stayed with me. I always felt I had a home.â&#x20AC;? Now, she added, her sisterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s children will likely have that same â&#x20AC;&#x153;tangible tie to the Island. And that feels really good to me.â&#x20AC;?

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Precautionary measures help prevent landslides By STEVE KICINSKI For The Beachcomber

The recent spate of rains has highlighted a periodic environmental issue on Vashon â&#x20AC;&#x201D; landslides, a fact of life in rainy Puget Sound. Geologically, landslides occur frequently, though only infrequently in a personâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lifetime. Since we know they will happen, the questions then are when and how a landowner can cope with them. To better understand the timing of landslides, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll use the following measures â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Human Time (HT) and Geologic Time (GT). In simple terms, Geologic Time is much, much longer than Human Time, and Human Time spans a personâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lifetime. (There is also the widely acknowledged, but never measured, Island Time, which is whenever you want me there plus 30 minutes, or whenever I get there. But thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s another story.) Sometimes, GT intrudes upon our HT. Consider these examples. Mount St. Helens has had at least five major eruption periods over the last 220 years. Before the dramatic 1980 eruptions, the previous eruptions occurred in the 1850s. Another example is digging holes on Vashon. Our famous Vashon till was wellcompacted by a mile-thick gla-

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Follow current laws and regulations: Observe proper setbacks from the top and toe of slopes, and grade the site to drain away from the top. Maintain slope vegetation: Maintain vegetation on the slope and encourage the growth of â&#x20AC;&#x153;water-lovingâ&#x20AC;? deep-rooted plants, such as willow, firs and salal. Remove trees that are unhealthy or would pose a threat to buildings if they fell. Maintain Drainage: Maintain all drainage systems on your site. Keep as much water as possible away from the slope. Research your site: Hire a geotechnical engineer to assess your specific site and follow his or her recommendations. His or her report will describe the geology of your land, the landslide risks you may face and recommendations on how to mitigate those risks. Do what you can afford.

What not to do: Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t add water to top of slope: Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t install anything that will deliver water to the top of the bluff â&#x20AC;&#x201D; no irrigation system, no septic drainfield, no downspout water. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t dump debris on the slope: Debris, prunings and clippings may kill underlying plants that help stabilize the slope. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t change natural drainage paths: Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t fill in or change natural drainage paths such as swales or seasonal streams. Nature chose those paths for a reason; to change them is to invite problems. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t cut the toe of a slope: Cutting into the toe of a slope is one of the surest ways to encourage a future slide. If a slope toe must be cut, an engineered retaining wall system should be installed. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t overlook slide indicators: Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be lulled into complacency because a slope has been stable for a long time. Watch for soil cracks, water springs on the face of the slope, dying vegetation, tilting trees and small erosion problems.

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cier covering the Island about 10,000 years ago. In GT, that glacier was yesterday. If you were digging holes yesterday (HT), your back is probably sore today (HT). This brings us to one of the biggest GT intrusions on our HT Island lives: landslides. Typically, landslides occur every 20 to 50 years, often triggered by the kinds of La Nina rains weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve experienced recently. The resulting damage can range from nuisance, to costly, to tragic. Landslides are a fact of GT life. They will likely continue throughout Vashonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s GT existence, until our Island finally erodes into Puget Sound. Present-day â&#x20AC;&#x153;Human Timers,â&#x20AC;? however, should probably not worry too much about Vashonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s eventual demise. Seriously, there are things you can do to improve your odds against a landslide, as noted in the list that follows. While GT sometimes intrudes on our personal HT, hopefully it doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t happen too often. Deep down, we all probably hope itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s left to the next generation.

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Page 25

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011 • Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber

At Kronos, consider a Baroquestyle picture frame. At $28, the frames are very affordable. And they’d add a splash of color to any room, coming, as they do, in chartreuse, hot pink and purple. “They’re inexpensive but opulent,” said Kronos co-owner Eugenie Mirfin. At only $16 for a pillar, hand-made beeswax candles, such as this one sold at Good Merchandise, are an inexpensive treat for the home. The candles sold at Good Merchandise are crafted by Heather Brynn, owner of the Vashon Candle Company. The beeswax, says store owner AnnaLisa LaFayette, comes from Washington state, making the product about as local as it gets.

Blown-glass adds artistry and flair to any home, and these simple, one-string wind chimes (above), made by Seattle artist Polly Cook, are particularly lovely. They’re available at the Heron’s Nest for $32, one of several blown-glass items that the Heron’s Nest — Vashon Allied Arts’ consignment store — offers up. Drop by and drink in the beauty: The store also has small bowls, elegant vases, plates and trinkets made of richly colored blown glass.

While they may seem a tad too lovely to hold pretzels, these burl-wood bowls at Blooms & Things are food-safe and perfect for party snacks, says store owner Carol Ahlfors. What’s more, they’re among her most popular item. The bowls sell for $45. They’re part of a line of items the store offers made of gorgeous fir. Consider platters, cutting boards or coasters — all the color of warm honey and with the character of fine-grained fir.

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At Giraffe, consider placemats woven with vetiver and cotton from Indonesia. Vetiver is a natural growing and fragrant root. And these mats — $36 for a set of six — are machine washable, with a sweet odor that will last through multiple washings. They come in green, blue or wheat. And of course, says owner Priscilla Schleigh, they’re fair-trade. Leslie Brown/Staff Photos

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011 â&#x20AC;˘ Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber

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A GARDEN-LOVERâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S CALENDAR Welcome summer with kidsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; crafts, live music and a special cooking demonstration.

Reading, Wine and Cheese Tasting

Ralph Moore Photo

Dahlias have long been a favorite at the Vashon Farmers Market, which opens for the season April 2.

March

Gardening with deer 10 a.m. Saturday, March 26, at the Vashon Library Learn how to make peace with some of the Islandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wildlife at â&#x20AC;&#x153;Plant Choices for Gardening with Deer,â&#x20AC;? taught by master gardener Colleen James.

April

Vashon Farmers Market Opens 10 a.m to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 2, in the Village Green Celebrate the early spring greens at the marketâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s opening day.

Vashon Island Pet Protectors Plant and Garage Sale 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 16, at the former Island Variety store next to Vashon Market This year VIPP is combining its plant and garage sales to benefit the organization and offer a variety of home and garden treasures.

on tomatoes, fuchsias, geraniums, perennials, exotics and native plants.

Farmers Market Motherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Day/ Gardening Day 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 7, in the Village Green Families can enjoy kidsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; crafts and gardening displays.

High Fiber Day at the Farmers Market 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 21, in the Village Green Get your fiber with demonstrations of all of the fiber arts, including spinning, weaving and sheep shearing.

June Farmers Market Summer Solstice Celebration 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 18, in the Village Green

Page 27

6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, June 25 Best-selling author, Elizabeth Murray reads from her book, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Monetâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Passion: Ideas, Inspiration, and Insights from the Painterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Gardens,â&#x20AC;? accompanied by wine and cheese tasting. See www. vashonalliedarts.org.

Vashon Island Garden Tour 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 25 and 26 This annual event features some of the Islandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most beautiful gardens, seminars, a plant sale and more.

July Lavender Harvest Celebration 10 a.m. to 2 p.m Saturday, July 9, in the Village Green Vashonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lavender farmers offer crafts, art and food made with their freshly harvested, fragrant flowers.

August Zucchipalooza 10 a.m. to 2 p.m Saturday, Aug. 13, in the Village Green

Tomato Taste Off

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27, in the Village Green Sample a wide range of tomatoes grown by Vashonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s farmers and gardeners or enter your own tomatoes.

September Island Family Harvest 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, in the Village Green Learn tips on preserving your harvest, enjoy kidsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; crafts and enter a preserves contest.

Farm Tour Sunday, Sept 18, around the Island Tour up to five of Vashonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s farms that will participate in the event.

October CiderFest at the Village Green

Saturday, Oct. 8 Celebrate fall with kidsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; activities and a display by the fruit club

Halloween Festival 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29, at the Village Green

Take part in the costume contest and pumpkin carving extravaganza

November Pumpkin Pie Contest

10 a.m. to 2 p.m Saturday, Nov. 19, in the Village Green The Islandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best bakers compete in this annual event.

December Holiday Farmers Markets

Saturdays, Dec. 3 and 10, at the high school commons Enjoy live music and a wide selection of arts and crafts for holiday gift giving.

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206-463-0555 vashonstorage.com 10015 SW 178th St.

Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll take care of the before and after, so you cn enjoy the in-between.

Take part in a zucchini cookoff, the Largest Zucchini Contest and more.

Farmers Market Earth Day Celebration 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 23, in the Village Green Enjoy kidsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; crafts and information on sustainable living.

We offer delivery, set-up and take-down for party and event rentals.

May Vashon-Maury Island Garden Clubâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Plant Sale 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 7, at the former Napa Auto Parts store near Island Market Stock up

10% off

USE THIS COUPON TO SAVE 10% ON YOUR EVENT BOOKED BY 05/01/11.

VASHON TRUE VALUE

VASHON TRUE VALUE 9715 SW 174TH ST VASHON WA 98070 TEL: 206-463-4019

www.vashontruevalue.com

9715 SW 174TH ST VASHON WA 98070 TEL: 206-463-4019

Some restrictions may apply. See store for details. Coupon good for only.

Š2011 by True ValueŽ Company. All rights reserved.

Find the right products for your project and expert advice at True Value.


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