Moving on . . . Bainbridge artists David Little and George Lewis are moving — right next door. "We need a change,"...

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Moving on . . .

Bainbridge artists David Little and George Lewis are moving — right next door. “We need a change,” says Lewis, adding that “2008 will be our last season in this garden.” With its brilliantly colored art, exotic foliages and water features, their garden has become a mecca for garden trippers. More than 3,000 visitors have passed through its gates each season, including celebrities like Martha Stewart and the late Christopher Lloyd.

What’s next for this creative duo now that the little blue house in the fantastical garden has been sold? They’ll still be making art, concentrating on commissioned pieces and also doing consultations. “We have a whole new blank canvas next door,” says Lewis, referring to the smaller property they plan to transform into a garden gallery. But for this coming season they’ll still welcome visitors to their original place. “This garden’s given us 17 years of love and soul,” says Lewis, a sentiment echoed by gardeners around the world.

This year’s schedule of garden openings can be found at; for a close-up look at the garden’s artistry, see “A Garden Gallery: the Plants, Art and Hardscape of Little and Lewis” (Timber Press, $29.95).

Grow your own

Why go out searching for mushrooms when you can grow your own gourmet portabellas at home, indoors? Simply add water and stick the Gardens Alive portabella kit in a cool, dark space like the basement or garage. In three to five weeks the box will sprout huge, golden, rich-tasting fungus; never mind the kit advertises that it includes “pre-inoculated spawn.” Gardens Alive also offers kits for shiitakes and white button mushrooms. The portabella kit costs $39.95 and is available October through April 30 at or by calling the company at 513-274-7333.

Name that rose, for a price

Each year, Select Roses in Langley, B.C., develops a few new rose hybrids and makes them available for naming. Just think: You could personalize your very own rose, or gift the honor on someone you’re very fond of.

Prices vary from rose to rose, but such exclusivity doesn’t come cheap. Naming rights to a golden patio rose with a spicy scent will cost you $5,000. Choosing the moniker for a salmon apricot hybrid tea will set you back $8,500. Click on “name a rose” at or call 604-530-5786 to see photos of these beauties and learn more about the breeding process. But before you write a check, be sure to consider the possibilities for horticultural humiliation as people around the world plant your namesake. . . . It might be best to ask right up front for a guarantee that if you pay big money, your very own rose will be aphid- and black-spot-free.

National kudos for local treasures

Swansons Nursery was named “2007 Retailer of the Year” by the trade journal “Nursery Retailer Magazine.” Such national peer recognition for leadership and innovation seems especially significant for a nursery operating on the same site in Seattle’s Crown Hill neighborhood since the 1920s.

A 70-foot-tall Eucalyptus perriniana in the Washington Park Arboretum has been named one of 21 “Heroes of Horticulture” by the Cultural Landscape Foundation. The blue-green eucalyptus, planted in 1968 and considered to be the parent tree of all the round-leafed snow gums growing in the Seattle area, is in august company. Also honored is a horse chestnut that shaded suffragette Susan B. Anthony more than a hundred years ago, and a bigleaf maple tree in Oregon under which Clackamas Indians traditionally met. Along with other winners, the Arboretum’s eucalyptus appears in the January issue of Garden Design magazine.

Unfortunately, one of the criteria for being chosen out of hundreds of submissions is being at risk for alteration or destruction. “Each site is irreplaceable; each is a unique link to the story of who we are . . . these landscapes are integral to our nation’s cultural identity,” says Charles Birnbaum, founder and president of the landscape foundation. Tell it to the governor and those orchestrating a replacement for the 520 bridge. Our “hero” eucalyptus grows up against a fence, between the floating bridge and the Museum of History & Industry, just north of an offramp.

Valerie Easton is a Seattle freelance writer and author of “A Pattern Garden.” Her e-mail address is