Yacolt resident, Debbie Fischer, is hosting her Second Annual Open Garden July 12 and 13 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Last year, she opened her garden to the public for the first time and was blown away by the response.
“I figured maybe 40-50 people would come but we had close to 300,” Fischer said.
Clematis in one-gallon and five-gallon pots will be available for sale at Silver Star Vinery’s Open House. Known as “the butcher,’’ Debbie recommends that her customers cut each plant back to encourage root growth and plant stabilization. She also cautions that the number one cause of death for a clematis is over-watering.
Flying in from Cambridge England will be Roy Nunn, a renowned Clematis breeder, and his wife, Angela. Roy registered a clematis after his wife called Angela’s Double and will be giving a clematis presentation to Silver Star Vinery Open House attendees.
On hand to help Debbie host visitors will be her close friend, Terry Walker, and Terry’s granddaughter, Emma. Emma is a special fan of the “Blessings’’ garden and enjoyed presiding over the refreshment table last year. Debbie said she’s looking forward to lending a hand again this summer. Another great encourager is Dennis Hutchinson. He is the man responsible for all the sturdy structures that showcase her vines so beautifully.
In 2010, Debbie hosted the International Clematis Society of which she is a member. People were bused in from Portland represented 17 different countries and a friend of hers flew salmon down from Alaska so they prepared cedar-planted salmon. Fischer was fortunate enough to attend the 2013 convention in Germany and attendees greeted her saying “Oh, we remember you. We had the salmon up in the mountains.’’
The Northwest salmon may have made an impression but it’s Fischer’s vining oasis that created lasting memories. She said she quit counting at around 400 plants and her newest passion is roses.
Fischer and her husband, Greg, were looking for a piece of property to live on someday when they purchased their 87-acre plot in 1988, situated in the middle of the Yacolt burn. The previous owner was active in the Boy Scouts and had the land planted with Christmas trees for scout fundraisers. There were remnants of an old homestead on the acreage, as well.
The Fischers tried their hand at Christmas wreaths for several years and even had contracts with Albertson’s stores in Washington and Oregon but it was Debbie’s mother who, unwittingly, sparked her daughter’s interest in vines.
Her father had already passed on and, in 1995, her mom (Rose Marie Marosi) moved in with them. During the move, Rose Marie gave Debbie her prized Gipsy Queen clematis, which was close to 30 years old when Debbie dug it up. Five years later, Rose Marie lost her battle with cancer and the following Spring the Gipsy Queen bloomed like crazy, according to Debbie. She began searching for the name of it and has been adding varietals to her personal collection ever since.
While she grows one-of-a-kind vines not available in the United States to further her collection, Debbie sells tried-and-true varietals to the public through Silver Star Vinery that are easy to maintain.
“I grow them for a couple years before I sell them,“ Debbie said. “I torture them to death and if they withstand that, that’s what I carry. I carry antique ones. Some of them are from the 1800s.”
Etoile Violette (purple), Madame Julia Correvon (red) and Armenia (deep pink) are some of the varieties she highly recommends for residents new to growing clematis. A man in Holland even bred a clematis and named it after Debbie but she’s yet to receive one.
Silver Star Vinery has also hosted several garden groups including the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon, weddings and Debbie’s church has their annual Bible study picnic in the garden. She says it’s available to people for a range of events but she’s not a 9-5 business so calling ahead is strongly advised.
Silver Star Vinery is located at 31805 NE Clearwater Drive Yacolt. For more information, go to www.silverstarvinery.com.
Second Annual Open Garden
Sat.-Sun., July 12 & 13, 2014
Come see the Clematis garden “Blessings” in full bloom.
Bring a picnic
Enjoy the beautiful drive along the East Fork of the Lewis River.
31805 NE Clearwater Drive Yacolt, WA 98675
1 hour from Portland
------------Please no dogs---------
Plants will be for sale and light refreshments will be served.