Mount Rainier. Tapestries of ground covers and flowers that evoke a mountain meadow. An inspiring backstory. Chase Garden in Orting near Graham has it all.
This is where Ione and Emmott Chase built their modest Japanese-inspired home in the late 1950s and gardened on four-and-a-half acres for over 40 years. Together they created such a unique and iconic Pacific Northwest oasis that it is now a project of the Garden Conservancy. Chase Garden is a sweet excursion from our end of town out Highway 167. And the month of May is peak season for viewing it.
In 1943 the Chases, high school sweethearts who met in the logging community of Kapowsin, Pierce County, and were married for 74 years, bought 12 acres of land on a bluff with distant views of Mount Rainier. They paid $425 for it. After building their one-story house in 1959 — doing much of the finish work themselves, Ione concentrated on her garden. It was a project she began at age 50 and embraced until she passed away in 2004 at the age of 95.
With Emmott’s assistance, she enhanced an intact young woodland and created several garden beds with native trees and shrubs as well as Japanese and alpine rock gardens. Perhaps most unique is her mountain meadow, inspired by the trails around Mount Rainier that she and her husband loved to explore. The garden spaces are connected with curved paths effortlessly linking one to another and to unfolding views of the Puyallup River valley and the mountain.
For more information on the Chases and their garden, click here.
Chase Garden is open to visitors on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 10 AM to 3 PM, through October. On Mother’s Day weekend (May 10, 11, and 12), admission to the garden is free for mothers; otherwise, $5. For directions, click here.