U.S.A., Washington State. USDA zone 8a. Sunset climate zone 5

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Visit to the Old Goat Farm: Winter Garden and Christmas Tea. Cookbook Giveaway

Greg Graves and Gary Waller share their garden and farm, located just outside Orting, Washington state, 
through garden tours and open days, classes, picnics for garden clubs and other activities.
We came here in December to enjoy their traditional (since 2007) Christmas Tea.

Here he is, the Old Goat from the  Old Goat Gardens and Nursery!
I went outside the house to say Hello to him while other guests enjoyed delicious desserts. 
Yes, tea and desserts - this was one of the reasons we drove to the farm on a gray, wet December day.
The other reason was the desire to see, at last, the Garden. 
Spring and summer visits in 2017 are already on our schedule, and I am eagerly awaiting them, 
asking myself how could it happen that I haven't been here before.

Greg and Gary moved to this place in 2005, leaving behind their previous house 
and award-winning garden in Seattle.

Winter gardens, and this one was not an exception, being already put to sleep and hiding 
their beauty, nevertheless, have some intrigue, 
the ability to wake up your interest and keep you guessing how they look in a more cheerful time of the year.
The following are some pictures of the place. 
I am sure you will enjoy the images of old mossy trees, a century-old house,
the barn and other buildings and structures, 
shrubs, topiaries and garden decor, including  Ross Brown sculptures.

Great Holiday Greeter!

Half of this building is taken by a small charming antique and Christmas shop,
 and another half serves as a storage for all the Christmas decorations. 
Gary starts bringing them in the house 6 weeks in advance.
Driven by his passion for Christmas, he turns the house into a winter wonderland.

I can just picture these tables filled with potted plants in spring...
Nursery specializes in rear and unusual plants suited for the area (zone 7).

What do you do with broken trees, fallen twigs and other  'artifacts' left by a big windstorm?
This is a spectacular 60 feet long, 12 feet tall, 3 feet deep composting fence built by the owners of the farm.

Do you feel a mystery in this garden? I do.

Glacier till is the type of soil Greg and Gary have in the garden.
To make lemonade from the lemons that life gave you - one of the ways to describe 
what they do with all the rocks they find while digging planting holes.

The abundant moisture of the Pacific Northwest turns ordinary rocks into velvety green sculptures.

 One of the Ross Brown sculptures (he describes his works as 'Future Primitive').

Casper the Peacock and his friend are part of an impressive flock of birds (around 100 of them) that live on the farm.
Now, let's treat ourselves to some extraordinary holiday interiors which are the result of Gary's 6-week passionate labor.
Decorated trees, multiple garlands and wreathes turn this house into a special place.

When you see such a porch, you know that something special awaits you inside this Victorian type farmhouse.

Views of the winter garden are like paintings on the walls.

Every room has a theme, and every year, the themes are changed or rotated around the house.

Wildlife tree

Beautiful, tastefully decorated trees are tucked everywhere, including halls and bathrooms.

There are real treasures here...
Some ornaments on this tree are 60-70 years old and used to belong to the owners' parents.

There were twenty decorated trees in the house.
Each room has its own tree, sometimes more than one.
Look at the 'Wizard of Oz' tree and other decorations:

This tornado, made by Greg, was rotating....
How cool is that!

Love this composition!

The kitchen lured the guests not only by the smell of desserts, but also by the multiple old cookie-cutters and other kitchen antiquities.

Greg baked more than 500 goat-shaped sugar cookies.
Some of them were painted by a friend, Sharman Owings, whose charming paintings could be seen in the house too.

These are the best decorated cookies I've ever seen!

One of my favorite trees. The egg ornaments are made by Gary from real eggs.

How would you like to have a cup of tea or a hot apple cider sitting
 in this cozy little room and looking at the beautiful outside?
Desserts were insanely delicious...  Pies, puddings, cakes, cookies...
If you missed Christmas Tea at the Old Goat Farm this year, put it on your calendar for 2017.
And, if you want to try one of their desserts before then, this is your chance.
We bought two Old Goat Farm cookbooks. One for us and another for a giveaway among the subscribers of this blog.
Leave a comment and indicate that you would love to be an owner of this book. 
A drawing will be done on January 15th.

 I am heartfully thankful for the chance to see the Old Goat Farm and to meet its owners. 
Thank you Greg and Gary for opening your friendly charming house,
for sharing Christmas spirit with your guests and for allowing me to take pictures.
I found Peter's  post about his visit to the Old Goat Farm, also during winter.
There are several other interesting posts about this place on his blog - The Outlaw Gardener

***Copyright 2016 TatyanaS


  1. Wow, what a delightful post! So much winter beauty and Christmas beauty. I can only imagine what seeing all of those trees must have been like, and all of the decorations, very enjoyable.

    Those goat cookies are sweet too and very nicely decorated. Greg & Gary are very talented. I'm going to check out the links you left for them. It's too far for me to travel, FL to WA to see their gardens and home, so I'll be inspired via the web.

    Please enter me in your generous give-away and thank you for sharing this wonderful place.

    Happy Christmas holidays ~ FlowerLady

  2. What a magical place and yes, the energy of the gardens so special - thank you for beautiful pictures and to featuring Old Goats Farm in it's splendor!

  3. A friend of ours just told us about Christmas Tea at Old Goat Farm. I has no idea. We have been there several times in spring/summer to visit the garden and nursery.
    We'll have to make a note to make reservations for tea for next year's holiday season. This year is sold out.
    Thanks for all the pics!

  4. I've never seen this place in winter! Thank you, and please enter me in the giveaway. Irene

  5. Good morning Tatyana, oh my gosh, this is such a wonderful Christmas post! Thank you so much for sharing, it brought a lot of joy to me!
    The Old Goat Farm is absolutely amazing: The garden, the house with all the Christmas decorations, the cookies, you name it. It really looks like an extraordinary place.
    If I ever get to Washington I would love to visit this magical wonderland that Greg and Gary have created.
    And oh yes, before I forget, please include me in the drawing, I would love to win the cookbook. I am sure their deserts are outstanding, too!
    Wishing you a wonderful Christmas!
    Warm regards,

  6. Betty from OregonDecember 19, 2016

    I don't have a a blog Tanya, but I'd like to join your giveaway! Betty

  7. Incredible place! I'll be there next December! Tatyana, I closed my blog but I hope I can be included in the drawing. Thanks! And Happy Holidays! Love your blog!

  8. Makes me want to live where you live, Tatyana, so I could visit this fascinating place. A Christmas tea is a lovely idea. I give English teas in my summer garden and maybe I should adopt this concept -- for indoors of course. I could use one of the recipes from the book if I won it. After all, I DO own a goat. So please include me in the drawing. Thank you. P. x

  9. Wow! I can't believe this -- not only their backyard but even their house is simply a treat for eyes. I wish I lived nearby to visit that place. Their house and farm must have been featured in all those big magazines, right, like House and Garden, etc? Everything absolutely beautiful but done so tastefully that it's not like they are trying to show their wealth or it does not have any class. Beautiful and tastefully done...amazing..

  10. I'm not used to seeing snow in winter garden photos from the Pacific NW!

  11. I would love to win! I didn't know about this place I'm going to have to try and take my Mom there next year.

  12. Wow! What a great place! I just email my son about it. He lives near Seattle. Perhaps when I visit him again we can include this garden.

  13. Incredible! I'd heard about the Christmas tea at Old Goat Farm but never dreamed it would be this elaborately decorated. Your post is tantalizing and I'll definitely put this event on my calendar for next year. Thank you for the link love. I wish you a healthy, happy, prosperous new year and a Merry Christmas.


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