Saturday, March 28, 2015

It's Garden Tour Time on Washington's Long Beach Peninsula

A seasonally inspired Rhododendron Tour, including a lecture with breakfast and garden tour, will take place on May 2 at the peak of the hybrid rhododendron season on Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula. The new event, one of three garden tours offered this coming year, is presented by the Water Music Festival Society, originators of Music in the Gardens.

The Rhododendron Tour will lead off with a Rhody presentation by Steve McCormick, John Stephens and Steve Clarke. They will trace the heritage of hybrid rhododendrons on the Long Beach Peninsula stemming from the work of Dr. J. Harold Clarke, his connection to the American Rhododendron Society, and regional legacy of his Clarke Rhododendron Nursery. The lecture will take place at Seaview’s landmark Shelburne Inn at 10AM. Cost is $15 per person including a sumptuous breakfast. Early ticketing is advised as seating is limited to 40 persons. For online ticket sales and more information, please go to

The Rhody Garden Tour is a self-guided, mapped, motor tour of several historic gardens including portions of the former Clarke Nursery. Gardens will be open for ticket holders from 11AM through 4PM. Tickets are $10 per person and are available online now  and can also be purchased a week prior to the tour at The English Nursery, Seaview, and Bay Avenue Gallery, Ocean Park. Both locations will exchange tickets for tour maps.

“We have great history in rhododendrons to share on the peninsula,” said Steve McCormick, whose home is located on a portion of the former Clarke Nursery. “Dr. Clarke was well respected and renowned for his contributions regionally and nationally.”

After the lecture and tour, rhododendron admirers might also enjoy a leisurely stroll through the towns of Oysterville and Seaview to view additional rhododendrons in full bloom.

On July 18, the enchanting Music in the Gardens Tour will open a variety of local, private gardens to ticket holders.

“Gardens are selected to provide a glimpse into how each garden has been creatively adapted to the particular needs of beach or bay sides,” said Nancy Allen, tour organizer. “Settings vary from windy waterfront climates to more sheltered spaces and garden plantings, from robust vegetable beds to equally lovely showcases of annuals and perennials.”

Many Music in the Garden hosts provide small bites and refreshments; all invite lingering to enjoy the live musical entertainment. Tickets are $20 per person and will be available online April 1 and at two peninsula locations – The English Nursery and the Bay Avenue Gallery. Tickets can be exchanged at these locations after July 11 for a tour map. For more details, please access

The Edible Garden Tour, a benefit for local food banks, is scheduled for August 9, and shares the benefits and beauty of growing one’s own food as well as sustainable ways to do so. Admission is $7 or five cans of food. For details and updates nearer to the tour date as well as images from previous years’ tours, please visit