Discover Bainbridge Island

On an island near Seattle, meet the most passionate gardeners in the world

Bainbridge Island

Frog Rock Lavender Farm’s casual mixed border defines Bainbridge style.

Emily Nathan

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If you were going to choose one place in the West where people live to garden, Bainbridge Island would be it. The 32-square-mile island in Puget Sound is just a 35-minute ferry ride from Seattle, but a world away in spirit.

Here is an entire community of people who have organized their lives to get their hands dirty: The Boeing senior manager who cultivates huckleberries for pie, the lawyer who traded dockets for a garden supply company, and the Nordstrom exec who weeds lavender for his weekend gig as co-owner of Frog Rock Lavender Farm.

As some Bainbridge residents describe it, the island's love for gardening almost blindsided them. Linda Cochran was a lawyer when she arrived here. She found herself spending more and more time in the garden and, finally, walked away from her career.

For a while she ran a well-regarded nursery called Froggy Bottom, then realized that was a sidetrack too. Now she maintains one of the most beautiful private gardens anywhere. "I'm just a passionate amateur gardener," she admits, "so that's what I do now."

Vital stats
Size:
32 sq. mi.

Population:
People: 22,200 (2005)
Median age: 42 (2002)
Private boats: 1,438 (2005)

Density: 1.1 people per acre

Average annual precipitation: 54 in.

Average April high/low: 59°/41°

Who was here: Native Americans, who incised a petroglyph at Agate Point between 1000 B.C. and A.D. 500; George Vancouver, first European to set foot on Bainbridge, in 1792

Home prices (2005):
Median: $590,000
Low: $38,000 (houseboat)
High: $3 million (5,324-sq.-ft., 5-bedroom, 6½-bath house)

 

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