OhmeGardens’ tall, lush evergreen growth is a unique feature in Wenatchee’sotherwise shrub-steppe environment. The property is a prominent feature on itsperch on the high cliffs, overlooking the Columbia and Wenatchee Rivers thatotherwise flow through the dry sageland of this area.
The groundbreaking ninety years ago
Thetowering trees didn’t appear on top of the hill by themselves, but rather, bythe hard and diligent work of Ruth and Herman Ohme, starting ninety years ago.They bought the spot of land as a young couple and little by little transformedthe dry landscape into a display of native vegetation, form the creepinggroundcovers to the towering trees
TheOhmes collected the plants from the hills surrounding the Wenatchee area andbrought water from the river in five-gallon milk cans to keep them alive.
The beauty and purpose of stones
Theterrain on the Ohme hilltop is rather uneven, but little by little the coupleplaced flagstones for stepping stones throughout the gardens and createdwinding walkways for admiring the plants without damaging them. The stones werealso used for another purpose: to build benches for resting in the nine-acreoasis and for taking some time to admire the views. There are fifty-two stonebenches along the paths, some hidden under shady trees and others on top ofcliffs. The gardens has an “Adopt-a-Bench” program; please go on the website tofind out more at www.ohmegardens.org.
For people and plants alike
Thegarden are is not only for enjoying the amazing richness of the variedvegetation, but presents many opportunities for other ways for the public toenjoy the location. It has been the venue for yoga, Mother’s Day gatherings,painting, movies, concerts and even the Youth Circus to perform. The large,flat lawn offers the perfect spot for lining up chairs, be it a concert or awedding, to host a large group.
Friends of Ohme Gardens
Whilethe gardens has kept going and growing quite well, having a friend or two isalways helpful. The “Friends of Ohme Gardens” society is a non-profitorganization, open to anyone to join and to support. It faded away for someyears due to members moving or not being able to participate in other ways, buthas sprung back to life again with the leadership of Bonnie Orr, who is aMaster Gardener, and Sally Brawley. Together with Ohme Gardens Director, JasonBrowning, they are coming up with new ideas of enlivening the garden.
Someof the future plans include extended evening hours on the last two weekends ofOctober (the gardens close for the year on October 15). This would enablepeople to enjoy a pleasant fall evening while walking along lit paths andtaking in the sunset views of the valley.
The“Friends” society is going to organize and oversee the Make-a-Difference Daywork on October 26th. Recruiting volunteers to weed, trim and hauldebris and even wood is already underway and anyone is welcome. With nine acresof garden to tend to, the job is never-ending.
Support Ohme Gardens
OhmeGardens needs both people-power and financial support in order to provide thecommunity and visitors all the events and beauty that are possible. The“Friends” society welcomes donations and does not necessarily expect any othercommitment. Even if you are a once-a-year visitor from Seattle, you can stillsupport the gardens financially and look forward to returning next year to awell-kept haven on the hill.