Greetings from Seattle

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Coenosium Gardens

For our October meeting our garden group scheduled a tour of Coenosium Garderns near Eatonville, just off what is called The Mountain Highway, that leads, of course, to The Mountain - Mt Rainier. 

It was a foggy, chilly Saturday morning as we found ourselves well out of the city and urban sprawl and at the gates of this labor of love created by Robert Fincham. 

 Bob is a retired high school science teacher, but he is also a lifelong botanist, specializing in the development of ornamental conifers, especially dwarfs. 
 Bob's beloved wife died two years ago and, as he explained to us, he just let things go for a year, so his gardens are not in tip-top shape as far as grooming goes.  And then there was this summer's drought, which proved which plants were able to survive without being babied.  He believes in tough love once his specimens are in the ground. 
 But with inspiration from a new partner, Bob is back to rejuvenating his gardens and planting more. 
 What follows is a two hour tour of these gardens.  You, my dear readers, are a varied bunch.  Some of you are knowledgeable plantspersons.  Some of you are casual gardeners.  Some of you enjoy looking at gardens or interesting plants, and some of you just like pretty pictures.  I hope there is a little something here for everyone. 

 The Asian garden was inspired by this hemlock tree. Bob has plans to redo this section next year. 

 Fun fungus among us. 
 To everything there is a season, and a time .... to change color. 

 Bob still has many grafted plants, even though he is no longer in the mail order business. 
 Going down into the rock garden on the hillside. 

 A pretty patch of puffballs. 

 For the less knowledgeable, conifers are plants that produce cones. 

 Bob says he plants the maples for the deer, so they won't eat his conifers, and it keeps the maples pruned.  Whatever the reason, I thank you for the colorful maples!

Bob and Tom talk cones.  Bob grows them and Tom collects them.

Tom with his collecting bag. 

The dawn redwood is a deciduous conifer.  It's needles turn lovely colors before they drop. 

Notice that weird little tree in the forefront.  The green top is a mutation that has been grafted onto other rootstock, in this case, a blue form. That's how these trees are formed. The trunk will grow on before the lower branches are removed. 

Bob collects other trees too, like this exotic ginko. 

It's easy to appreciate how much work has gone into creating this garden, how much there is yet to do, and the devotion Bob shows for his chosen purpose.  Many speciality gardens have specimen plants created by Bob.

Thank you for sharing your life's work. 


  1. It's very beautiful, Linda. I love all the colors at this time of year. Thanks for the tour; I found plenty to interest me. :-)

  2. What was in this for me, other than the pretty pictures, was the potting bench. I want to build one like it. It would fit right in out here in the country. The fall colors are so pretty.

  3. Amazing tour, loved the colors of fall and the greenness...

  4. So beautiful in pictures, and I'll be even prettier in person.

  5. ?This was very fascinatig. This was the perfect season for a visit. The colors were beautiful. This garden certainly represent a devotion to one' life work.

  6. There certainly was something for everyone in this post..just beautiful and I am glad to hear it will not be neglected. Really gorgeous property.

  7. That's an impressive garde. It's amazing how this guy will know every plant.

  8. Thanks for this groovy tour! Loved the conifers, maples, and that ginkgo is way cool! Also noticed the nice collection of fancy geraniums as did Tom, I'm sure. How nice of Bob to open his garden! I'm glad that he's now regaining his interest in gardening!

  9. The gardens don't look neglected to me! Beautiful. I noticed an old tractor seat in the midst of it all, too.

  10. Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful hours with us. This garden is a wonderful work of art.

  11. I love this tour of the gardens. It's a very impressive, beautiful garden and your incredible photos shows them off to perfection.

  12. Beautiful gardens! I enjoyed the Maples too:)


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