Community, Enrich, Explore, Family Time in Wenatchee

A path to Paradise- 90 years in the making

With flowers in a shade of every color of the rainbow to luscious trees surrounding elaborate water fountains and palaces, gardens across the country are being labeled an art form for their natural beauty. If you are traveling to— or live in Eastern Washington— you’re in luck because you’ll be able to find an artistic, beautiful, and amazing garden off the beaten path known as Ohme Gardens.

Initially intended as a family retreat, community members prompted Herman and Ruth Ohme to open their private oasis filled with ponds, trees and a diverse collection of colored flowers to the public.

Now, at 90 years old years old, Ohme Gardens not only houses the most luscious trees and colorful flowers in the area but also hosts nights of entertainment for guests.

“My husband and I went to the (Wenatchee Swingin’) Big Band concert and it was so beautiful dancing and listening to music with the flowers and the birds. It was kind of magical,” said Glenda Rosen of Wenatchee. “Not everyone on the Westside knows about these gardens, but they should.”

More concerts are planned throughout the summer. https://rlstalent.com/2019-concerts-in-the-gardens/ organized by RLS Productions’ Concerts in the Gardens.

According to their history, 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.

Thanks to this enterprising couple, this local treasure is now a literal oasis in the sky, with more than nine-acres of stone steps (ask for a free walking stick) to peruse the waterfalls, ponds and flowers. Stone benches are scattered throughout the grounds for visitors to take time out to meditate or read.

“The history of the gardens is amazing, that a family made this what it is today,” said Martin Cummings of Friday Harbor, WA. “People think of this area as just farm country and when I tell them to visit these gardens, they always thank me.”

Ohme Gardens is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the spring and fall and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the summer. For more information, visit  https://www.ohmegardens.org/

Candice Reed

Candice Reed and her husband moved to downtown Chelan in 2009 from California. She wrote about her move for the Los Angeles Times and was featured on Canadian news station, CBC. Eventually, the couple moved to a house up-lake to 25-Mile Creek where she wrote two books and wrote for major newspapers. They bought a vintage Sabre-craft boat and named it “ Sacre Bleu,” and would spend afternoons floating on the lake and the Columbia River. In the winter, they would snow-shoe and wine taste in the Wenatchee Valley. The Reeds moved back to California for family, but Candice visits Eastern Washington as often as she can.
Favorite apple—Any from Eastern Washington—I only buy them if they have the sticker!
Favorite color— All hues of gold.