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Erin Blaser & Doug McAlister

Upon moving to the Island in 2012, Erin and Andy found themselves surrounded by massive fir, alder, and cedar trees on their large south end property. Tackling sections of their developing garden, it became apparent that shade tolerant and deer resistant plantings were a necessity. Erin’s dad, Doug McAllister, visited monthly to assist, bringing with him an array of outdoor art treasures and various plants that he sourced from long hours spent at his favorite nurseries. In 2020, the Blaser’s and Erin’s folks decided an intergenerational compound was ideal for both families. As construction began on the new home for the McAllisters, father and daughter continued their partnership to beautify the surrounding grounds. Distinct seating areas were established; grasses, ferns, and vibrant barberry were interspersed among salal and other native ground covers. Ten varieties of maple trees were added along with cherry, dogwood, and Cedrus deodara trees. Today, lush green lawns provide for children’s play, while picnic tables and a decorative fire pit enhance outdoor family dining. These two households now coexist, their joint compound a success, and their garden is a testament to the diligence of a father and daughter team.

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Erin & Doug

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Jerry Gehrke &

Carol Schwennesen


Imagine a koi pond draped with poppies, lots of poppies, a mason bee mansion secured by the front door. Welcome to the entry of Ferry and Carol's home.  Jerry Gehrke thought gardening would be a great pastime in retirement. His wife, Carol, an artist, has a love for roses.  Together they built a place of beauty that works seamlessly yet also serves as a bustling laboratory.  Their spacious backyard offers an array of linear raised beds, packed full of thriving vegetables in various stages of netting and drapes, providing safety from weather and pests. Dwarf and full-size nectarine trees framed by expertly designed structures shelter the fruits from fall rains and the dreaded leaf curl. Perched in the midst of it all stands a mason bee condominium happily assisting in the pollination process of the fruits and vegetables of this highly product garden. As a founding member of the Vashon Fruit Club as well as the coordinator for the Mason Bee Pollinator Program, Jerry is a treasured asset and inspiration to gardeners.

We honor Jerry Gehrke as our island Mentor/Educator and thank him for his research, tutelage, and support to the gardeners of Vashon Island.

Beth White

In 1982, Beth White moved to her current home near Lisabuela and began her endeavor to turn the blackberry laden grounds into an oasis for both sustenance and spirit. Beth’s design evolved by reading the land; she sought to understand how the garden should flow. Distinct garden rooms were created with pathways lined with rhododendrons, grasses, and pots of colorful tulips. Arbors laden with wisteria and climbing hydrangea, as well as an entry trellis draped with climbing roses and false kiwi, lead to a mixed perennial bed of dahlias, peonies, well-tended roses, and a flourishing vegetable patch. Beth’s garden is a year-round experience of reverence to the knowledge she has gained and the graceful beauty that she has nurtured. 

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To read Beth's talk on "Gardening, My Passion"

Beth White
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Austin Smith &

Aren Der Hacopian


In only four short years, Austin and Aren have transformed their grounds into a mixture of a colorful cottage garden with a peaceful woodland forest. Upon entering the front gate, a bright canvas of colors captures the senses, artfully arranged in overflowing pots of sunflowers, geraniums, and petunias. Meandering pathways lead through beds of lilies, hydrangeas, varieties of ornamental grasses and other carefully sourced perennials. Stone walkways sweep through raised beds of carnations, poppies, alstroemeria, in companionship with productive vegetable gardens and recessed stone cylinders. A fruit tree orchard houses a well-tended rose garden; a stand of Thuja trees gracefully secures the property’s northern border, while a massive wooden fence holds the deer at bay to the west. The lower paths weave through a sanctuary of ferns, giant gunnera, hostas, all integrated with maples, dogwoods, Himalayan Birch trees and an impressive array of evergreens. Austin and Aren have crafted a garden that nurtures the eye and sooths the soul.

Austin & Aren


Austin & Aren

Take a Virtual  Garden Tour here..

Erin Blaser & Doug McAllister 

2022 Garden video

Jerry Gehrke & Carol Schwennesen

2022 Garden video

Beth White

2022 Garden video

Austin Smith & Aren Der Hacopian

2022 Garden video

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