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GWA Garden Tour Diary #3 of 5 – Laughing Spirit

Here is post three of my garden tour odyssey at the GWA conference in Portland, OR. After our bus hit Nancyland and Urban Edibles, we visited the lovely Garden Fever nursery which I will post on later. For now, I will focus on the gardens.


Due to a lag in bus pick ups, it became obvious that we were NOT going to see all eight gardens in three hours. Some skipping was in order if we wanted to see the gardens that most interested us. So, based on the tiny descriptions on the garden tour sheet, I sadly skipped Lilyvilla Garden and the Fabulous Foliage garden in order to see Laughing Spirit garden next. (If someone visited the gardens I missed, please SEND PHOTOS! I hear they were fabulous also.)

Here is what I saw at Laughing Spirit…

As we approached Laughing Spirit, the garden of Susan Fries and Lew Bowers, we noticed something at the base of a tree planted along the street. It was a fairy garden!

I asked Susan Fries about it and she said that she started the fairy garden awhile back and now all the neighborhood children were involved. Little treasures and pretty stones were regularly discovered there.


How nice to see that the neighborhood has fairies!


When we reached Laughing Spirit garden, we no longer wondered why this area had fairies! How could fairies resist such a lovely garden? The must have hundreds of them frolicking about! 😉

The gardens surrounded a 100 year old craftsman and the owners had divided each section of the garden into completely different styles. As you walked around, the garden’s mood would change. There was the bright and sassy borders near the front of the house that really grabbed your attention.


There were tranquil areas for contemplation…or a good book.


There were many borders filled with lovely texture and color for interest…


On the side of the house, there was a meditative woodland walk with thoughtful vignettes everywhere you looked.




In the back, the mood changed to playful as you entered a vegetable garden complete with mosaic trowels and metal statue sheep and pigs.


I have to admit that when I read the GWA description of this garden, I wanted to see it because of the “tiny urban farm with raised vegetable beds, pigs, chickens and sheep.” I wanted to see how they kept farm animals in the middle of the city. Well the “farm” was about 15 feet square and the farm “animals” were all made of metal. Ha!  They got me on that one!


But it was charming anyway and I was NOT disappointed in what I saw.

The owners also had a knack for containers. There were several lovely groupings including some hypertuffa pots.


Overall, it was an incredible garden filled with fairy magic!

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About the Author:

Theresa Loe is the founder of Living Homegrown® and the Canning Academy®. For 9 years, Theresa was the Co-Executive Producer & Canning Expert on the national PBS gardening series, Growing A Greener World®. Theresa homesteads on just 1/10th of an acre in Los Angeles with her husband, two sons and several disorderly but totally adorable chickens. Learn more about Living Homegrown here and about the Canning Academy here.