APLDWA Study Weekend - a Smashing Success

By Maggie McFeeley
Professional Member, APLD

In the midst of a summer boasting record-breaking heat and no measureable rainfall, I had the good fortune to participate in the recent APLDWA Study Weekend. July 17th and 18th brought together some 19 of our members for a trek up I-5 to Bellingham. The first day we stopped to explore several nurseries and two private gardens before checking into our hotel in Bellingham. Our second day we toured several of Susan Harris’ gardens, her office and Architectural Elements, a metal fabrication design studio. What follows are some of the highlights:

As one of our sponsors, Mike Keeling at Western Nursery Sales was the first to greet us with price lists and warm, home-made muffins. I had never been there and must say I was impressed with the quality of their plant material. They have a broad range of shrubs and nice specimen trees. If he doesn’t have a plant we’re looking for he’s happy to source it for us. For orders over $1,000 they provide free delivery.

Barford Garden
Barford Garden
The residents/owners of Barford Garden (Klara & Donald Barford) greeted us and took us through the beautiful perennial borders in front of the house and then out to a large pond.

Lisa at Barford Garden Pond
Lisa at Barford Garden
Although man-made, the pond looked very natural and was home to water fowl, song birds and cat fish which apparently keep in check the large cattails. On the way to their European style courtyard, we passed through their “Dutch Gable” style home. From inside their house, one could enjoy lovely views of the surrounding gardens and pond through the enormous windows. The “outside” really did come in.

Wakefield Farm and Garden, is the home of Dawn Chaplin and her husband David and where we enjoyed our lunch. Similar to the Barford’s gardens, Wakefield was also created entirely by Dawn and David. Dawn’s landscape design expertise was evident in both her hardscape design and her planting compositions. She made it clear just how much work had gone into clearing the land, building the home and the surrounding garden; truly a labor of love.

After lunch we continued our tour of more nurseries and again they greeted us warmly and with food. Sally Isaiou showed us around Skagit Gardens encompassing many fields of lovely annuals and perennials. Upon our departure, she handed us their catalog and served us yummy, homemade chocolate cookies.

Urban Forest Farm
Urban Forest Farm
Jim Barborinas, owner of Urban Forest Farm, could hardly contain his enthusiasm as he escorted us up and down rows of gorgeous, mostly deciduous trees. He has numerous choice cultivars of Maples, Elms, Hornbeams and Parrotias, to name just a few species, and many are suitable for smaller gardens. It’s definitely worth checking out his tree list online.

Our own Everett Chu welcomed us to his Azusa Farms and Gardens. He escorted us into a small room where he presented case studies for two of his projects. His presentation culminated with a layout of the actual plant material from one of these projects; we could see first- hand how he’d envisioned the plants fitting together. There was too little time to spend wandering around his beautiful nursery. I know I will definitely be going back.

Our last stop on Friday was Wiggin’s Nursery. Terry Wiggin and his wife Cheryl were waiting for us and after a brief introduction we were free to wander acres of gorgeous trees and shrubs; what a place. They pointed out a very impressive specimen Katsura some 20’ tall that was balled, in a HUGE basket, awaiting delivery to the Microsoft campus. We ended our day ended here, at Wiggins, with snacks and libations. It gave us time to chat informally with Terry and Cheryl and amongst ourselves, reviewing all we had seen that day.

Those people not staying for Saturday’s tour, departed after Wiggins while the majority of us drove the last leg to Bellingham. After checking into our hotel we all met at Giuseppe’s Al Porto for dinner. Susan Harris joined us for dinner. We toasted three of the five founders of APLDWA, Susan Harris - APLD, Tina Nyce - FAPLD and Daniel Lowery - APLD. A yummy dinner and good time was had by all.

Saturday we toured five gardens designed by Susan Harris. The gardens she chose for the tour showed us a nice cross-section of her work, each offering creative solutions to the clients’ design objectives. Overall, the gardens illustrated her broad range of skills including her knack of enclosing spaces, screening and framing views and specifying appropriate plants for diverse areas of a property. And all of the gardens reflected her close attention to detail. Over and above discussions about design challenges and solutions, she also shared examples of how things can move in the wrong direction when we fail to listen attentively to our clients. I found this particularly generous on her part.

We were privileged to have lunch at what has to be one of her most glorious projects, The Kaiser Garden, in Bellingham. Though not the largest property, it may have been one of the most challenging in terms of the site itself. The house sits high on the site and provides breathtaking views of the ocean. The grounds slope away on every side and provide plenty of opportunities for meticulous stone work and lush plantings.

The Kaiser Garden, in Bellingham
The Kaiser Garden, in Bellingham

Meticulous Stone Work and Lush Plantings at Kaiser Garden
Meticulous Stone Work and Lush Plantings at Kaiser Garden
It’s no surprise the property is profiled in several books; one entitled Perspectives on Design – Pacific Northwest. The Kaiser property was not occupied so we were able to lunch in their garden, picking any one of many seating areas and taking in the spectacular view at the same time. There was much to inspire us and much to aspire to.

We also toured Susan’s office; the perfect space to nurture ones creativity, both the inside space as well as the small outside courtyard. We wrapped up our Saturday tour at Architectural Elements, a metal fabrication shop, owned and operated by Joe Clark. We saw examples of Joe’s work in several of Susan’s gardens. He showed us some of the projects in development at his shop...

Joe Clark in his studio - Architectural Elements
Joe Clark in his studio - Architectural Elements
and even took us to see one of his installations – very impressive. Made me wish he’d open a shop closer to Seattle.

Sculpture by  Architectural Elements
Sculpture by Architectural Elements
The Study Weekend was a smashing success! From the selection of sites we toured, the logistics of getting us all there, deciding where we’d eat, sleep, get coffee and take bathroom breaks - it was all perfectly planned and orchestrated. The amount of time it took to develop the events of the weekend and to make sure it unfurled as planned was no small feat. Our collective thanks go out to you Susan Picquelle, Laura Kleppe, Angie Bradbury, everyone on the program committee and all those wonderful people who hosted us. On behalf of the APLDWA Board and all those who attended, THANK YOU, one and all, very much.

A Smashing Success
A Smashing Success

 

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Top

Find a Designer

Looking for the right landscape designer for your project? Our directory lists our trained and highly qualified members.
Click here to find the perfect landscape designer for your needs.





Are You a Landscape Designer?
Watch these videos on the benefits of APLD membership

Contact Barbara Lycett, APLD at blycettlandscapes@gmail.com, or (206)784-2521 to discuss how you can become APLD certified.





Our Sponsors

Platinum Sponsors
Environmental Construction

Gold Sponsors
All City Fence
Bartlett Tree Experts
Ragen & Associates
Vibrant Plants

Silver Sponsors
Northwest Nurseries
Terris Draheim