Ever since I was young I had wanted to go to Ohme Gardens. It's a beautifully lush park, I'd been told by my grandma, on top of a bluff in Wenatchee, a kind of oasis in an arid land. Each time we drove past the sign to Ohme Gardens as we traveled across the state on I-90 I would look longingly up the hill toward the gardens, wondering what I was missing. Finally, we stopped to visit.
In contrast to the day's unbearable afternoon heat we found shade and cooler air inside the gardens. Water features, tall, lacy trees, and lots of plantings provided a pleasant setting for visitors.
Wenatchee is located in north-central Washington, on the east side of the Cascade Mountains. With precipitation only 29 days of the year (find data here), it is no wonder the area is so dry. So how did these welcoming gardens come to be?
The answer is found on the Ohme Gardens website:
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.
Because weddings and other events are held at Ohme Gardens, I suggest you check out their schedule before visiting. But do go! It's a lovely place, and I think you'll like it.
~ Ginger Kauffman