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Garden party blooms next weekend

Featured home: 'California meets English cottage garden with Pacific Northwest aesthetics'

 

Last updated 7/18/2021 at 6:18pm

Brian Soergel

Alicia Rivera's garden has plenty of personal touches.

After three years of renovating a drab 1959 house in Esperance into a spacious, modern home with a garden of delight and wonder, Alicia Rivera wasn't necessarily thinking about the 25th anniversary of the Edmonds in Bloom Garden Tour.

But neighbors, who pass Rivera's 88th Avenue West home in Esperance on a regular basis, urged her to submit an application.

"We were all just amazed by her creativity," said tour chair Jeanne Thorsen. "This is what we all need, especially this year. People are so enthusiastic about getting out and seeing gardens."

The tour, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, July 18, is back after the pandemic canceled last year's event.

Rivera designed and planted the backyard garden herself, turning a patchy yard of overgrown shrubs and weeds into an inviting oasis, complete with a new deck and a smart, utilitarian she-shed that previously tilted to one side in disrepair.

Coming from a family of antique collectors who also salvaged found items, Rivera added her designer skills with a touch of whimsy, highlighting planters, spiffed-up garbage cans stuffed with colorful flowers, a yellow-and-pink bicycle and other treasures, all complementing her bright green, manicured lawn.

The front lawn has wandering paths, vegetables, and a future community pumpkin patch.

Rivera's experience with gardening in California led to her decision to have a waterwise garden; she installed a sprinkler system herself for a variety of Japanese maples, lilacs, lavender, and roses.

She describes her style as "a hybrid of California meets English cottage garden with Pacific Northwest aesthetics."

When designing her home, Rivera said she had an "inside-outside lifestyle" in mind.

"I was actually shopping for a house here that had that inside-outside California look. And I'm so used to where everyone has a lanai in San Francisco or, you know, down the peninsula where it's warmer."

She installed windows where none existed, including a French door opening to the backyard, visible upon entering the ranch home's front door.

In addition to the visual delights, Wendy Johnston will be painting with watercolor, and David Little will provide keyboard music.

Garden party

Edmonds In Bloom works to promote the floral beautification of the community. It celebrates flowers in Edmonds and showcases gardens and floral displays, supporting horticultural education and helping to create a vibrant and colorful place to live, work and visit.

Its 25th anniversary Garden Party at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 4, will feature Northwest celebrity Ciscoe Morris. The free program will celebrate and share the history of Edmonds in Bloom's gardens, activities, and projects.

Two visitors to Edmonds in 1993 planted the seed that was to become Edmonds in Bloom. Jenny Crosland and her husband, Denys Hodder, were strolling through the streets of Edmonds when they saw a poster titled "Edmonds in Bloom."

Brian Soergel

Alicia Rivera's garden has been transformed.

They had been involved in "Bloom" garden programs in Britain for years, and thought Edmonds would be the place for another one.

In 1995, the idea of Edmonds in Bloom came to fruition. Under the leadership of local businesswoman Josephine (Fye) Lloyd, Parks Director Arvilla Ohlde, and Carolyn Johnson, the program began.

The first Floral Competition began in 1996, evolving into the Garden Recognition program, which honors 150 residential front gardens and business displays with Edmonds in Bloom flags each year.

The Garden Tour began in 1997, and more than 150 gardens have been featured throughout the years.

Information is forthcoming on a Garden Delights Raffle that includes a grand prize for two of a seven-day tour of London, Paris, or Rome.

 

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