Garden Photo of the Day

The Olympic Peninsula Offers Fresh Opportunites

By Kim Charles

Barbara Starr enjoys her wonderland of a garden on the Olympic Peninsula.

"After my husband and I retired from the Gulf Coast to the Port Townsend, WA., on the Olympic Peninsula, I spent the last four years indulging my passion for gardening in this beautiful gardening wonderland.  There had been mature plantings on the property, but many had been removed, and all had been neglected for years.  I have delighted in rejuvenating what I can and adding new beds and plants, using color and texture to design new garden rooms, while learning everything I can about climate, soil conditions, and plants, all of which are very new to me.  While both the Gulf Coast and the Olympic Peninsula have mild winters, the climates are very different; it is so much fun to grow plants that I have admired for years in catalogues, but not been able to grow where I was.  And I have been fortunate to find gardening help and friends who were willing to share their treasured plants with me.  As the gardens develop, my new goal is to make them as visually rich as possible year-round.  The resulting gardens are a source of great pleasure to us both, as well as to the hummingbirds that frequently visit."

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  1. frankgreenhalgh 10/10/2016

    Hello there Barbara - Congratulations to you and your husband for a wonderful resurrection and improvement job to create such a colourful and interesting garden in a spectacular setting - and all in 4 years! There is so much to like about your garden rooms, including the arbour, white picket fence, colour palette, and the wooded area and mountains in the background. Marvellous effort. Cheers, Frank

  2. User avater
    treasuresmom 10/10/2016

    Absolutely fabulous! You have it all - the scenery, climate, and the wonderful garden you have created

  3. Chalis2 10/10/2016

    Wow, that wonderful vista in the second photo makes a perfect backdrop for your garden. I love all the wonderful color combinations and textures...and that rose arbor makes me sooo envious! Very nice indeed!

  4. User avater
    HelloFromMD 10/10/2016

    Amazing 4 years! Your garden is as magnificent as your view of the mountains. Your rose Eden on the arbor is glorious. Glad you are enjoying your gardens and retirement. Hope if I have to move I make as much progress on a new property.

  5. Chris_N 10/10/2016

    Lovely garden and what a wonderful view of the mountains.

  6. User avater
    meander_michaele 10/10/2016

    Wow, Barbara, your garden areas are just so beautiful. Looking at your stunning pictures makes me feel like I am standing at a bountiful deluxe dessert buffet...everything is so delectable! You chose your retirement destination well and are obviously thriving in creating the garden of your dreams. I love the inclusion of the vibrant blues and purples to set off the softer pinks of the peonies. And, added to all the up close loveliness of your plantings is that gorgeous view in the distance. is your personal heaven on earth.

  7. VikkiVA 10/10/2016

    My, my, my Barbara such a drop dead gorgeous landscape you have created. Of course you have exquisite views to compliment the views of your flowers, however, without the splendid scenery beyond, your garden could stand on its own. Thanks for sharing such beauty. Vikki in VA.

  8. wGardens 10/10/2016

    Stunning! Love your gardens and the views, both within the garden and beyond! nice to see one section of the garden with 2 different seasons. Love the photos and admire your color choices and placement. Beautiful gateway with the climbing rose. Love it all!

  9. digginWA 10/10/2016

    Such a beautiful garden and such a divine setting to garden in, Barbara! You've landed in plant geek heaven there in Port Townsend. Thanks for sharing.

  10. sheila_schultz 10/10/2016

    The 3rd photo shows that you truly have a 'Room With a View'! The backdrops of the mature trees or the magnificent snow capped mountain range provide perfect framing for the sweeps of color and gently curving garden beds. Your hard work has paid off Barbara, down to the very last detail. Beautiful.

  11. wittyone 10/10/2016

    Great photography. The flowers in the first picture are beautiful and the shadows behind them give the photograph much more depth and interest.

  12. schatzi 10/10/2016

    Gorgeous. You have certainly made the most of landing in gardener's Heaven! Your photographs are crisp and beautifully composed. Love the shadows behind the flowers in the first one. Enjoy your piece of Paradise and thanks for sharing.

  13. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 10/10/2016

    Good morning, neighbor. Barbara, our stories are very similar in that my husband and I also retired here to Whidbey 4 years ago from a totally different growing zone, so I know how much fun you're having in your garden. You've landed in a great place with some wonderful nurseries from which to satisfy your plant lust and I love what you've accomplished so far. Everything looks fresh and colorful with just that right amount of blue thrown in to offset the pinks and burgundies. Thanks for treating us this Monday morning.

  14. H2Ogardener 10/10/2016

    This is beautiful; thank you so much for sharing! I'm envious of the rhododendrons and the fact that you can combine plants that we need a whole range from sunny to shady conditions for in Virginia.

  15. Kim_Charles 10/10/2016

    Hello fellow GPOD'ers! Thanks so much for your dedicated following, support and insightful garden comaraderie! I am reaching out in an effort to request future GPOD submissions. We are looking for fresh, new garden photographs and stories as we head into the colder season and put our gardens to rest here on the east coast. Let's keep this community bright and alive as our season turns to fall. I look forward to hearing from you and will be on the lookout for fresh submissions :-)

    Kim Charles

    Web Producer
    Fine Gardening

    1. eddireid 10/10/2016

      You will not be short of material! Arm yourself.

      1. Kim_Charles 10/10/2016

        I'm ready! :-)

    2. frankgreenhalgh 10/10/2016

      Good on you Kim - I'll send some Aussie material in the middle of your winter if you like.

      1. Kim_Charles 10/11/2016

        Thanks Frank! I look forward to some great summer photos from Down Under during our snowy winter days here on the East Coast.

  16. user-7007498 10/10/2016

    I love your gardens, Barbara. The borrowed view in the 3rd and 4th photos dropped my jaw. Great use of color. Sounds like you are having a great time in your new local. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Cenepk10 10/10/2016

    Wow.... That is so gorgeous!!!! Those colors are amazing! Great photos- next best thing to being there ! Your borrowed views are none to shabby either ! Very lovely garden you have there...

  18. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 10/10/2016

    Wonderful, scenic and floriferous! You've done a great job adapting to your new climate and rejuvenating the garden. Your passion shows! Congrats on this new chapter in your life.

  19. eddireid 10/10/2016

    I have to confess that I sighed out loud viewing your beautiful garden, Barbara. All my favorite plants and colors. And the views........Oh! My!
    Thank you for the wonderful treat.

  20. user-7008268 10/10/2016

    Oh, these bodacious pictures make me homesick for the Olympic Peninsula (we lived in Port Ludlow and had a magnificent view of Mt. Olympus) where I first learned to garden on my own, with the generous help of neighbors and friends. Then we moved to Montana where snow lay on the ground for 6 months - which at least put all the perennials to sleep nicely and protected other plants as well. Now we are down in Colorado with a blend of both worlds, but these occasional warm winter days play havoc on our trees, shrubs, perennials and bulbs as they trick them into coming out of hiding only to face more freezing. There are advantages and disadvantage wherever we live!!! BTW, do you have a Daphne Odora - one of the shrubs I miss the most. The aroma is heavenly. Can't grow azaleas and rhodies here - have tried - and ferns are tricky as well. (Do you still have Rhodie drive between Chimacum and Port Townsend?) and miss the Star Jasmine we had --- and the tall, tall trees. My goodness, I'd be here forever reminiscing about all the plants we left behind! Thanks for sharing, Barbara.

  21. chelleisdiggin 10/11/2016

    Oh! What magnificent views and gorgeous gardens. Thank you for sharing! We've only visited twice, but the Olympic Peninsula is always in my heart! I love the peonies and the mix of form and shape.

  22. ptkmwilk 10/11/2016

    Love how the beds are developing over time, Barbara, with your steadfast attention to detail.

  23. GrannyCC 10/13/2016

    Beautiful garden Barbara. I love your use of colour. It looks like you have pretty spectacular view too.

  24. foxglove12 10/19/2016

    Hello from the Kitsap Peninsula! All gorgeous! Love the view in the distance as well.

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