Chase Garden

An outstanding example of Pacific Northwest modernist garden style with majestic views of Mt. Rainer, Chase Garden was created by passionate amateur gardeners Emmott and Ione Chase.

As of July 1, 2017, there is no regular public access to the garden. The garden will open to the public for a fall Foliage Weekend on October 21-22, 2017.

The Garden Conservancy has been proud to share Chase Garden with the public since 1998. We are eternally grateful to the garden’s many dedicated volunteers, with whom we have worked over the years, and to Lori Taylor, director, and Will Clausen, lead horticulturist, whom we hired in 2015.

Although Chase Garden is now closed to the public, the Garden Conservancy will continue to honor the commitment we made to Emmott and Ione Chase to maintain and preserve their garden. We will do this by holding the conservation easement, fully documenting the garden, continuing to maintain the garden until a sustainable future is secured, and providing future opportunities for public access.

Emmott and Ione Chase believed that local ownership and operation of Chase Garden was essential to its long-term preservation. When they bequeathed the property to us in 2010, they intended our ownership to be temporary and hoped that we would transfer the site to a local organization. Over the years have built collaborative partnerships, including helping to establish the Friends of Chase Garden organization.

The path to preservation is not without challenges and, although the Friends organization did not grow to be self-sustaining, we continue to explore the option to transfer the Garden to a local entity and have contacted dozens of nonprofit organizations, educational institutions and government agencies in the region. This is an evolving process and until we find a sustainable model for its management, the Garden Conservancy will continue to maintain Chase Garden in keeping with Emmott and Ione’s vision. As a last resort, if we do not find a viable partner, the garden will be sold to a friendly buyer who will continue to maintain the garden, protect its conservation values, and make it available to the public on a limited basis.

Because the Garden Conservancy holds a conservation easement on the property, the unique beauty of Chase Garden is protected in perpetuity. We are expanding the conservation easement to provide greater protection for the garden; we will continue to monitor the easement annually and the easement will remain in effect regardless of who owns the property.

1995
The Chase Garden becomes a preservation project of the Garden Conservancy, which accepts a conservation easement on the site, protecting the scenic and conservation values of the landscape in perpetuity

1962

Landscape architect Rex Zumwalt completes his design for the garden and Emmott and Ione Chase begin their life work developing and maintaining one of the finest examples of gardens in the Pacific Northwest style. They construct all the hard-surface design elements in Zumwalt's plan, even mixing the concrete themselves; they compost brush, and plant over 1000 Noble firs, pine trees, a wide variety of shrubs, seeds and plants from friends and fellow garden lovers, and perennials and rock garden plants in drifts.

1959
The Chases move onto the property into a new home designed by architect/craftsman K. Walter Johnson. The Chases do all of the finish work themselves after the foundations are poured and the walls constructed

1956
After clearing land and selling some acreage, the actual parcel size for the future house and garden is settled at 4.5 acres

1943
Ione and Emmott Chase purchase 12 acres of woodland in the foothills outside the town of Orting, Washington, near where they had both grown up

 

For more information, visit chasegarden.org.     

 

Chase Garden: A Case Study in Preservation

Just as creating a great garden is a long and arduous undertaking, establishing the right mechanism for its preservation takes time, trial, and effort. Since 1995, the Garden Conservancy has worked to preserve Emmott and Ione’s vision and create a sustainable future for Chase Garden. Some of our efforts to date include:

• Accepting a conservation easement to protect the property

• Helping the establish a Friends group

• Funding a preservation strategy and feasibility study

• Funding garden staff salaries and supporting a horticultural fellowship

• Securing grants to enhance and expand the garden's season

• Funding a new roof for the residence

• Providing organizational support for the garden's operation

• Raising visibiity and helping to create compelling programming

• Undertaking a comprehensive documentation of the garden and its history

"It is, in a word, ethereal."

Read the latest profile of Chase Garden, from Northwest Travel & Life magazine, May/June 2017

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Pacific Horticulture magazine, Summer 2016

A feature article on mid-century landscape designer Rex Zumwalt and the Chase Garden, his "most noteworthy garden."