Symphony of Gardens to show 5 homes

Phyllis Warman’s handiwork in the garden is more than just a casual hobby. The local mother of three’s green thumb is literally rooted to her profession as a landscape designer.

  • Monday, June 16, 2008 8:50pm
  • News

Phyllis Warman’s handiwork in the garden is more than just a casual hobby. The local mother of three’s green thumb is literally rooted to her profession as a landscape designer.

“It’s really all about the plants. I’m a plants woman,” she said.

Warman’s expertise with plants can be seen later this month, as her garden is one of five that will open to the public as part of the “Symphony of Gardens” tour Sunday, June 29.

The “Symphony” is a self-guided tour (at a cost of $25 per person), held annually to benefit the Bellevue Philharmonic Orchestra. The gardens will welcome visitors from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Ticket-holders also are invited to visit the Bellevue Botanical Garden for live music and refreshments.

This is the first year that four of the gardens have opened to the public. The event, organized by Bellevue Philharmonic League co-chairs Beth McCaslin and Linda McCredie, brought in $9,000 last year.

Warman’s garden doubles as her showroom for award-winning and manicured landscaping designs, with a variety of water features, native woodland and Asian-inspired plantings. The garden is also completely organic and lawn-free.

Until recently, she worked as Design Review Board member to improve the landscape designs and greenery in local development projects. Her collaborative, public approach can be seen with each plant, labeled to aid visitors searching for a new plant to add to their home soil.

“I want it to be educational, not a looky-loo kind of tour,” she said.

She’s also a licensed nursery retailer, so orders can be made on the spot if the garden so inspires.

Further down the road is the home and garden of Sharon and Paul Rodman. A reflection of Kirkland’s “Green” environmental character, the woodland garden is certified as a bird sanctuary by the National Wildlife Federation and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

They estimate 35 species of migratory birds visit their one-sixth acre preserve. The low-maintenance, drought resistant garden has minimal impact on the ecosystem – an important ethic to Sharon Rodman, who works for the Parks Department in the city of Kirkland.

“Helping connect habitat to wildlife is an important goal,” she said. “People’s gardens can be a tremendous help with that.”

While her native coast rhododendrons have faded, irises and other rhododendrons continue to flower.

The third Kirkland garden offers environmentalism from a different perspective. Lisa and Rick Altig’s working family farm offers a look at how industrious and thrifty uses can yield bountiful results. The property near the home features annual flowers, a vegetable patch and herb garden, while down below the home stand a barn and pasture for livestock.

Tickets are available at Bellevue Nursery, 425-454-5531; Wells Medina Nursery, 425-454-1853 and through the Bellevue Philharmonic office, 425-455-4171.

Sponsors of the event are Viking Bank, Davis Wright Tremaine, Bellevue Nursery, Wells Medina Nursery and Sherman Clay.

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