Reap fall’s rewards at Tacoma garden fest

Just as the maple leaves turn orange and the apples are ready to pick, an unusually timed garden show is set to ripen on Saturday: The Fall Garden Fest at Tacoma’s Point Defiance Park.

A reincarnation of the Point Defiance Flower & Garden Show, which was held 2005-08, this one-day free event will feature education, tours and sales. Organizers have chosen the rarely used season of autumn to showcase the results of gardening, rather than its beginnings like most garden shows do in late winter or early spring.

The original show ended in 2008 after the economy tanked. “Nobody wanted to let it go,” said show organizer Kathryn Van Wagenen. “The idea was to bring it back when the moment was right.”

In previous years, the early June, ticketed event focused on visuals. This year, the emphasis will be on harvest and practical gardening.

“We wanted to try something different and we wanted it to be free,” Van Wagenen said.

The festival will be held in and around the Point Defiance pagoda and features garden tours, lectures, educational displays, a garden marketplace and kids’ activities. Proceeds from this year’s show, primarily from a fundraising dinner on Friday, are going to rehabilitate the Japanese garden at Point Defiance, located on either side of the pagoda building. (See other story.)

The event is presented in partnership with Metro Parks Tacoma and Harvest Pierce County-PCD Community Gardens.


Bus tours ranging from 45 minutes to two hours will visit some of Tacoma’s community gardens and the heritage garden at Fort Nisqually. They will be led by Harvest Pierce County. Tours depart from the Point Defiance Pagoda starting at 10 a.m. and every half hour thereafter until 4 p.m.

Lecture Series

No registration necessary, but seating capacity is limited.

• 10 a.m. Ed Hume’s favorite tips from “65 Years of Gardening.”

• 11 a.m. Chickens 101

• Noon Garden Washington with a Certified Professional Horticulturalist

• 1 p.m. Bee Keeping in an Urban Garden

• 2 p.m. Fruit Tree Growing and Pruning

• 3 p.m. Off-Peak Growing Season

• 4 p.m. Canning and Preserving

Garden Marketplace

Plants, garden art, tools and other goods will be offered by about 10 vendors.

Garden Organizations

About 20 clubs, groups and nonprofits will be present with information and resources.

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