It was hard to believe that we were still in the United States. After a nice walk around we left Leavenworth for Ohme (pronounced Oh-Me) gardens. They were not very large and where preparing for a wedding when we got there. In 1929 Herman Ohme purchased 40 acres of land for an orchard. Included was a craggy, dry, desolate, rock-strewn bluff with a breathtaking view of the snow-capped Cascade Mountains and the shimmering Columbia River valley. Herman and his new bride, Ruth, loved to stand on the bluff and dream of flourishing alpine meadows, shimmering pools and shady evergreen pathways where the hot, relentless summer sun allowed only sage and scrub desert growth. They set their minds on achieving that dream.
Small evergreens were transplanted from the nearby Cascade Mountains, native stone was hauled to form paths and borders, desert sage gave way to low-growing ground cover, and pools took shape adjacent to massive natural rock formations. It was hard work, done mostly by hand, and truly a labor of love. In the beginning, sustaining the Gardens meant hauling water in five gallon buckets from the river valley below, but eventually the Ohmes constructed an elaborate irrigation system that pumped water to the site.
Initially intended as a private family retreat, the interest of friends and community members prompted the Ohmes to open the Gardens to the public. The Ohmes continued to perfect the Gardens for 42 years, until 1971 when Herman died at the age of 80. The couple's son Gordon and his family then assumed responsibility for the Gardens, and in 1991 Washington State Parks and Recreation purchased the Gardens and surrounding property. The Gardens are currently owned and managed by Chelan County.
It was unbelievable what Mr Ohme achieved from that initial craggy, desolated peak. I wonder what he could make of my garden!!
Driving along the Cascade Parkway on the east side of the Cascades turned out to be an eye opener. Leavenworth was surrounded by alpine forests and high peaks with snow on them. Now we were into a sub-arid area of Washington State which had much less rainfall than west of the Cascades. It was also the area where lots of apple trees, cherry trees and grapes grew due to ample supply of water (despite the low rainfall).
We passed a very large field of trees either covered with plastic or netting, I am not sure which from the distance. We were not sure what it was for unless it was to keep animals off the trees.
We, meaning Gary must have driven over 300 miles today to complete the
Cascade highway and it was wonderful to go from alpine to almost desert back to alpine country. What a state!! We must drive less tomorrow to give Gary a break as he always drives because he believes I do not see as much as him when I drive.