Chateau de Villandry, in Normandy, France Chateau de Villandry, in Normandy, France

The Garden Journal

Spring – What’s Happening at Laughing Goat

March 1, 2022

I’d like to share with you some of our exciting and up-coming   projects to further beautify the farm and add to the gardens at Laughing Goat Botanical Gardens. The team is so excited to start building out these new spaces for everyone to enjoy – humans, animals and all our pollinator friends on the farm. 

If you get the opportunity to visit our farm and gardens this year, you will likely see some of these areas in process. Don’t worry – we take tons of photos to share, and also for our records in case you aren’t able to join us in person. 

To the left (east) of our existing English Perennial border, back behind our tunnels, will be our new French parterre garden. The inspiration for this garden comes from the beautiful Chateau de Villandry, in Normandy, France. The Chateau was built in the 17th century, the famous vegetable parterres were designed and added in the early 1900’s. While our garden won’t be nearly the same scale as Villandry’s extensive vegetable gardens, ours will mimic the style of this traditional French parterre, with boxwood borders surrounding beautiful heirloom vegetables, as well as fruit trees, and seasonal blooms for color. The main walkway will be an arched structure with espaliered crabapple trees, vines, and various perennials along the footpath, which gains entry into both sides of the garden spaces, each having a unique geometric design. So stay tuned, as this is a large space that will take some time to develop and get planted, but will be a beautiful and we hope, inspirational, space to visit and experience, as well as bring a little piece of Europe to our garden space.

Our original raised bed garden, just to the North of our historic barn is getting a facelift, with a new platform and walking paths for ease of access. This was our first growing space on the farm, in 2015, and we plan to continue to utilize the beds for growing vegetables, herbs and flowers, while also using the space for education. We are also adding arches and structures to allow for vertical growth of vines and gourds. This garden is conveniently located next to our Greenhouse, and near our parking area, so will be easy to see the progress here.

Persea pond is another addition, making use of the topography of our farm, and the standing water conditions of the wetter seasons of the year. Our pond will be a habitat for native plants, and a beautiful and serene habitat for waterfowl, frogs, and pollinators that rely on native plantings for housing, shelter and food. As we prepare this area, we will be offering classes to participate in the process, as education on plant selection, use of native plants, and proper planting techniques. Fun fact: Persea is the latin name for Avocado, and our pond is shaped like an avocado, with an island “pit”, where we plan to plant a weeping willow.

The largest (new) project up and coming is our Shady Tree Lane walk, which will be between the barn and the Garden House, leading up to The Arch, another specialty area for events and weddings. Next to the seating area, will be an Herbal Healing Garden, situated adjacent to the Garden House. Beyond The Arch will be a beautiful drought-tolerant garden, showcasing the beauty of grasses and perennials that will not require irrigation once established. Beyond The Arch, and framed, is majestic Mt. Rainier. This entire area will tie into the existing gardens, as well as create shady areas for respite from the full sun conditions of our farm. If you didn’t know, the Enumclaw plateau was originally a forest, of Douglas fir and other conifers, and was cleared by loggers for dairy farmers to settle the area. Thus, our property is largely devoid of mature trees, and we are hoping to add more biodiversity of both plants, as well as spaces and growing conditions on our farm. 

We will continue to add to the English Perennial Border, the Dance Fountain Garden and Garden entry walkway. We are a small team, but mighty, and we can’t wait to share with you the beauty we are privileged to work in every day. No space is ever truly finished, as gardens mature, and plants live out their life cycles, our spaces will shift to reflect the environment and the plants needs, as well as our sentiments on gardening. We also have plans to add a Children’s interactive garden, but no concrete timeframe for when that will happen.

A quick note about when we do open up our gardens, whether for open garden days, or for private events: Gardens are time-consuming and costly to maintain. Our team of employees are not volunteers, they are paid. As such, we do charge an admission fee to visit our space, and this helps to offset the tremendous cost of upkeep. We are a privately-owned space, and receive no funding or grants for any of the work we do. We will offer complimentary classes as a service to our community and guests, but we ask that everyone be respectful of our spaces, and our fees, when visiting us. Cooperation is key, and requires mutual respect of humans, animals, plants and pollinators. We respectfully ask our visitors to follow our guidelines for safety, and to be kind. We hate having to mention this, but 2020-2021 was difficult in many ways, and safeguarding the humans that support this space is fundamental to allowing access to our gardens. Thank you for understanding.

Garden Tasks

  • Last chance to plant ranunculus and anemone corms
  • Sow Hardy Annuals.
  • Start Seeds indoors.
  • Prune Roses.
  • Clean and sharpen garden tools.

Stay Tuned for Upcoming Events

  • BOLD ITEMS are ON-SITE Events
  • Dahlia Sale Online – March 1, 9am PST
  • Last Spring Frost Projected – April 5
  • Spring Plant Sale – April 15-16 (see hours below)
  • Garden Shop Open April 15  3pm – 7pm
  • Garden Shop open April 16 10am-4pm
  • Easter – April 17 (Pick up Flowers at the Garden Shop)
  • Plant Dahlias! Shoot for April 15 – May 1
  • Mother’s Day Event – Details coming (May 7)
  • Peony Sip & Stroll – Dates TBD
  • Dinosaurs in the Garden – July 
  • Farm to Table Dinner – Date TBD
  • Classes & Workshops will be announced via the website, with sign-ups there, along with Garden Shop hours.

Leave a Comment