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Gardens of Vashon Island 2012 – Part 2

Flashback: Vashon Island Garden Tour 2012 – Part 2

It was a soggy day in paradise — the clouds determined to empty all their vapor contents onto our heads. The moisture came down sometimes as large droplets beating on our umbrellas and occasionally as mist. Despite the rain, I was on a mission enjoy the tour. I slipped on my rain poncho and carried a large umbrella, tripod, and camera, and a juggling act ensued with all the items. I tried in vain to keep my camera and me dry as I walked and photographed my way through garden after fabulous garden. A few images ended up with watery blobs marring the scenes, however. I could have used some “Photoshop magic” to take them out but decided the rain was an essential part of the ambiance for the day and left them in.

David Pfeiffer and Dan Klein Garden

Usually, I don’t care for modern-style homes or gardens. I prefer an eclectic art of borrowing elements from various styles and blending them for a personal look. David and Dan’s house was modern, but the garden gave way to a much looser style. It had a glimpse of control, yet without the contrived, one-style rigidity to it.

Buddha Garden

David and Dan are not afraid to add modern elements while allowing the plants to soften the look. A meadow dotted with trees below the house transitioned the “kept garden” to the sweeping views of the Puget Sound. As a practical and sustainable garden, many of the plants utilized in the landscape are edible. Arbors are draped with grapes, and the ground was covered with what I mistook for an alpine strawberry but was actually another non-running strawberry — Fragaria moschata.

David offered me one, and when I bit down on the fruit, I was surprised at the burst of flavor that landed on my taste buds. He explained to me that he liked to use the plant as a weed-suppressing ground cover. Suppresses weeds, tastes great? It sounds like a winner for the landscape!

A large Buddha statue is surrounded by a stand of non-edible Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fireglow’. At its feet grows an edible clumping musk strawberry (Fragaria moschata).

Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fireglow’

Euphorbia ”Fireglow’ bracts resemble their Poinsettia relatives.


Racemes of foxtail lily flowers live in the Buddha garden. Also referred to as desert candles, Eremurus — possibly the cultivar’ Cleopatra’ — the blossoms echo the hues of the Euphorbia bracts.

Fruit tree allée

We were greeted by an allée of fruit trees growing in sizeable corrugated metal containers as we walked from the shuttle van down to the house. At the base of the trees, golden forest grass (Hakonechloa ‘All Gold’) filled the containers and softened the harshness of metal. Musk strawberries grew down at the base of these planters covering the ground with their weed smothering, chartreuse-green foliage, creating a pleasing repetition of color.

Herb Parterre

Just steps outside Pfeiffer and Klein’s kitchen door, an herb parterre grow edibles within easy reach of the cook.

Grape Arbor

Grape-covered arbors surround the home. This arbor connects a long breezeway to an outbuilding to the house.

Arbor View

An arbor frames the sweeping views into the meadow and the Puget Sound beyond.

Formal Water Feature

In front of the home, a formal water feature is filled with plants and a small burbling fountain, which oxygenates the water.

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