Daily Archives: July 10, 2008

Garden tour celebrates 20th bloom


After two decades, Bainbridge in Bloom reigns as one of the Northwest’s premier garden tours, boasting high-profile speakers, internationally celebrated landscapes and bus loads of green-thumbed gawkers.

“It’s the grand lady of garden tours,” said gardening guru Ciscoe Morris, who will lead one of the tour’s workshops this weekend.

But the two-day event’s origins came out of the not-so-grand financial troubles of an island nonprofit group.

“We were just sitting around a living room trying to come up with ideas for a source of income to keep our organization going,” said Janice Shaw, one of the early board members of the Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Council.

Several ideas were bandied about, but board member Joanna Newnham’s spur-of-the-moment notion for a garden tour stilled the brainstorming session.

“It was an ‘a-ha’ moment,” Shaw said. “We said ‘that’s it’ and everything just started clicking. We cranked the tour out in a short amount of time.”

Hoping for at least $5,000, members were stunned when the 1988 tour of six island gardens generated $11,000.

“It was extremely successful and exceeded expectations,” Shaw said. “We knew we had a winner.”

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