Garden tour to benefit Lake Washington Symphony Orchestra

Tim and Connie Aspinall’s Clyde Hill garden is featured on the tour. - Courtesy Photo
Tim and Connie Aspinall’s Clyde Hill garden is featured on the tour.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo


Reporter Newspapers

A private showing of some of the Eastside's outstanding gardens will be resurrected this year to support the Lake Washington Symphony Orchestra. The Symphony of Gardens will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 29.

The Lake Washington Symphony replaced the Bellevue Philharmonic Orchestra, which folded in 2011. The garden was a fundraiser for the latter orchestra for approximately 11 years.

The private gardens are spread across Clyde Hill, Medina, Hunts Point and Kirkland. The funds from the tour will enable the orchestra to host its next two concerts at Westminster Chapel, in the fall and spring.

The initial concert sent a strong message that although the Bellevue Philharmonic had disappeared, the demand on the Eastside for music had not, said Sue Perry, a violinist who formerly played for the Bellevue Philharmonic.

“It was very well attended,” she said. “It was a function (for which) everyone involved had to work very hard to make sure it was successful.”

“That’s one of our biggest hopes, to keep raising funds to put on our concerts,” Perry said. “Our second hope is to generate some excitement around the orchestra. We want people to have experiences together that are because of the orchestra. We’d like to be a vital part of the community.”

Beth McCaslin, the former president of the Bellevue Philharmonic League, is co-chairing the tours with her husband. She said they got involved after the symphony rebooted and were asked whether they could organize the garden tour. When McCaslin contacted the garden owners to see if they were interested, she said the response was extremely positive.

The gardens in Medina and Hunts Point are located on the waterfront.

The Hunts Point garden, long and narrow with a plethora of rare trilliums and large exotic flora, is maintained by Nancy  Davidson Short, a former garden editor for Sunset Magazine.

“Oliver’s Garden” in Medina contains many unusual species, planted in long rows separated by the lawn. It replaced a former tennis court.

In Tim and Connie Aspinall’s Clyde Hill garden, flora descends from a gazebo hidden by glade. Below is the genesis of a rock water course, which runs toward a fish pond. The garden features many secluded sitting areas.

The gardens in Kirkland are located near the waterfront and on a former homestead property in the Highlands. The Highlands garden is owned by Richard and Lisa Atlig and has been used for previous tours. It features a rose garden, a pond, as well as a massive Sequoia.

Perry said she hopes that the tours will not only help fund future concerts but raise awareness about the symphony itself.

“I think the (Bellevue Philharmonic Orchestra) really left a hole when it closed,” she said.

McCaslin said it also is intended to create a broader audience for the orchestra that reaches more communities.

“The orchestra really wants to be thought of as an Eastside orchestra, not a Bellevue orchestra,” she said. “We really support music on the Eastside.

Additional information on gardens proximate to Bellevue contributed by Daniel Nash.

TJ MARTINELL: 425-822-9166;


The self-guided garden tour will be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 29. There will be one garden each in Clyde Hill, Hunts Point, and Medina, and two in Kirkland. Descriptions and driving directions will be provided with tickets, which are $25 each and are available online at, by phoning 425-746-4148 or by mailing a check, with return address, to LWSO, 1440 170th Place N.E., Bellevue 98008. Mail orders must be received by June 21 or they will be returned. Tickets may also be purchased at Wells Medina Nursery or Sky Nursery in Shoreline, anytime through June 29.


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