Come tour Olympic College’s rare ‘Secret Garden’

Retired Olympic College Professor Susan Digby checks out a Linden Tree at the college’s ‘secret garden.’ Meegan M. Reid photo.

Down a lonely, one-way road off the Olympic College campus is an historic home teeming with eclectic plant life. In recent years, the treasured estate long owned by Dr. Henry and Elizabeth “Billie” Barner has largely gone unnoticed. But place now known as Olympic College’s “Secret Garden,” whose potential is being tapped by a few professors there, is enjoying new life as an outdoor classroom.

And, on Sept. 24, you’ll have a chance to see it for yourself.

Nestled on the shores of the Port Washington Narrows, the property is home to plant life the Barners imported from around the world. Their beautiful residence, admittedly, has seen better days, but is still a piece of history — its design was the first completed by Elizabeth Ayer, the first woman to graduate from the University of Washington’s school of architecture.

As part of the Kitsap Sun’s latest Story Walk, we will tour the property with special guests including Olympic College President David Mitchell, Kitsap Historical Society Director Dean Tingey, and the professors who are utilizing this now Olympic College-owned resource as a learning environment.

RSVP here. The tour is free.


Photos by Meegan M. Reid.

5 thoughts on “Come tour Olympic College’s rare ‘Secret Garden’

  1. I know it well, like the back of my hand”! spent countless hours mowing the grass, pruning whatever, picking fruit _whether from the garden, orchard (it was planted by previous owners before the Barners and we added a few to it.) or berries in the wild ( native black berries, huckleberries or thimble berries); we had a few chickens in a house that was built for 500 (I think the prior owners raised chickens and fruit for profit. peddled the fruit by knocking on doors and carrying a basket of my wares and when I was older and driving I sold boxes of fruit to local groceries. We always said that was my compensation for my work in the yard not as in Navy

    yard where I worked for a summer after high school. (When the Navy Yard was hiring which was only when they had a new contract.

    1. My email is not a state secret and it i is o’k to publish it as it might generate interesting replies from old friends!
      Thank you, Hendrick Barner!

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