Hovander Demonstration Gardens
Located within Hovander Homestead Park in Ferndale, WA, the Hovander Demonstration Gardens provide educational information and visual demonstrations of home gardening methods. The purpose of the gardens is to showcase sustainable practices and to educate and inspire home gardeners. The gardens are operated by the Master Gardener Foundation through an agreement with Whatcom County Parks and Recreation. The gardens are maintained by Master Gardener volunteers, who donate over 2,400 hours of labor each year. Volunteer efforts include the harvest and donation of over 2,000 pounds of produce each year to the Ferndale Food Bank.
Hovander Homestead Park History
Hovander Homestead Park is named for Hokan and Leontine Hovander who immigrated from Sweden to Ferndale, WA, in 1898. Hokan, an architect, designed the farmhouse, barn and other buildings on the property. The house, which was completed in 1903, includes many distinctive elements of Swedish architecture. The Hovander family farmed the property until 1969 when it was purchased by Whatcom County Parks and Recreation. The park, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, preserves the pioneer history of Whatcom County and the story of the Hovander family. The Demonstration Gardens were installed both to show what the Hovander’s garden may have looked like and to provide gardening education for visitors to the park.
Visit and Ask a Master Gardener
You may visit the demonstration gardens anytime during regular park hours, every day, year-round, dawn to dusk. There are also opportunities throughout the growing season to Ask a Master Gardener questions about the demonstration gardens or your own garden. During the growing season from April through October, Master Gardeners are available at the demonstration gardens Wednesdays, 9am-noon, and in June, July and August, Sundays from noon to 2pm.
Please check our calendar for additional Master Gardener events, classes and workshops held throughout the year.
A favorite spot for wedding photos, a variety of flowers are grown from seed in the spring by Master Gardener volunteers to showcase the colorful and diverse annuals that can be grown in the Pacific Northwest.
Children’s Story Garden
Each garden bed features a favorite children’s book. You will find Peter Rabbit among the lettuce, Jack climbing the beanstalk, the Big Hungry Bear in the strawberry bed, and Paul Bunyan minding Paul’s Little Free Library where children can read books while visiting the garden. The garden is open to all, while programs and events focus on ages 4 through 8.
Located near the back-kitchen door of Hovander House, this garden contains herbs likely harvested by Mrs. Hovander for cooking and herbal remedies. Visitors can walk the path and enjoy the old-time herbs necessary to sustain early pioneer family life.
This sunny day garden is designed to provide a cheerful space in which to view the wide variety of dahlias that can be grown in Whatcom County.
Each spring, 2,000 tomatoes and 1,000 herbs and vegetables are grown in the greenhouse for our annual plant sale. During the summer, volunteers carry out demonstration projects for the public, such as growing warm weather vegetables in the greenhouse.
Modern Culinary Herb Garden
Plants grown in this garden have historically been used for culinary and medicinal purposes. In addition, you will find modern herbs such as shiso, epazote, lemongrass and stevia. Click here for our 2021 Herb Garden inventory.
Native Plant Garden
To showcase the beautiful plants of the Pacific Northwest, this garden features at least 28 species of trees, shrubs and perennials. These include a few ornamental favorites such as Red-Flowering Currant, Evergreen Huckleberry, Red Columbine, Star-Flowered False Solomon’s Seal and Wild Ginger. This garden was heavily damaged by recent flooding and will be undergoing renovation during the 2022 growing season.
This garden is composed of a Rose Garden, a Northwest Great Plant Picks Garden and Discover Modern Daylilies beds. Visitors will appreciate the wide variety of roses (2021 list), daylilies, perennial plants and shrubs that can be grown throughout the seasons.
The plants, trees, shrubs and annuals in this garden provide food and habitat for butterflies; hummingbirds; flower flies; and many kinds of bees, including honey bees, mason bees, leaf-cutter bees and pollen bees; as well as a variety of other pollinator species such as bats. Plants are chosen to provide pollen and nectar throughout our long growing season.
Visitors can observe gardening techniques in action and ask questions about their own food growing endeavors. Summer workshops reveal the basics of vegetable gardening in Whatcom County and how to prepare a fall vegetable garden. Each year, over 2,000 lbs. of produce is harvested and donated to the Ferndale Food Bank.
Weed Identification Garden
One of the most popular demonstration gardens with displays of over 100 weeds and with fascinating and educational signs about each one, to help you to identify weeds you may have growing in your own garden. Here you can learn the many useful aspects of weeds, including their origins, how they grow and spread, and whether they are edible or invasive or useful to pollinators like bees.