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Summer 2003 | Volume 26, Number 3 | Features

Into the Garden
SPU Hosts Its First Annual Queen Anne Garden Tour

Saturday, May 31, 2003, was a sunny spring morning perfect for trimming hedges, planting sweet peas and spreading mulch. But nearly 750 Northwest garden enthusiasts set down their trowels and headed to Seattle Pacific University for the inaugural SPU Queen Anne Garden Tour.

A perennial border — including more than 75 plant varieties from Acanthus to Zantedeschia — encircles Alexander Hall, the University’s oldest building.

Horticulture expert and Seattle Post-Intelligencer columnist Marianne Binetti kicked off the sold-out event with the lecture, “Shortcuts to a Show Garden.” She made transforming one’s garden sound easy: Just follow the “Four P’s.” Choose “powerful plants,” employ “pots with pizzazz,” showcase “personal art” and “paint anything you want” — her top suggestions being pots, birdhouses and other garden accents.

Self-guided tours of the University’s award-winning landscapes and borders followed Binetti’s presentation. Featured SPU gardens included the tapestry of perennials surrounding Alexander Hall, the ornamental grass garden in the courtyard of Weter Memorial Hall, Martin Square’s large-scale planters, and the rose garden next to Tiffany Loop. Seattle Pacific head gardener Jeff Daley was on hand to answer plant questions and share the history of SPU’s gardens.

“I’ve admired Jeff ’s work for quite a while — he’s a real plantsman and gifted garden designer,” says Debra Prinzing ’81, one of the event’s chief organizers. “The tour offered a wonderful chance to share SPU’s showcase gardens and inviting campus with the greater community.”

Later in the day, participants toured five private residential gardens on Queen Anne Hill, many of which have been spotlighted in gardening books and magazines. On the itinerary was the garden of Ralene Walls and Burton Walls ’66, featuring more than 30 antique garden roses; the tiered landscape of Virginia Hand’s garden; a cottage-style garden tended by Thomas Talcott; Stephanie Ellis-Smith’s and Doug Smith’s semi-formal, foliage-strong garden; and Robyn Cannon’s and Don Cannon’s European-style garden.

Sponsored by the SPU Alumni Center and The Society of Fellows, the garden tour was a brainchild of Alumni Director Doug Taylor and Prinzing, a garden writer and horticultural expert. “It was fun to open SPU up to people who’ve never visited the campus before,” says Taylor, “and it was wonderful to see the huge numbers of people who participated. This was just the kind of experience we wanted to create for our neighbors.”

“Of all the garden tours I’ve attended, this one was the best value for the price of the ticket,” says Binetti. “A variety of garden styles within a small area, entertainment in the gardens themselves and breakfast as a bonus — I can’t wait to see what SPU comes up with next year.”

May 22, 2004, is the tentative date for the second SPU Queen Anne Garden Tour. “I think this event will become a favorite among garden enthusiasts and those who appreciate God’s beauty in the garden,” says Prinzing.


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