What Pops?

Written by Panorama residents, Mary Jo Shaw. May 2021

As teenagers, we dreaded popping those irritating pimples, days before attending a birthday party. On arrival, I remember a mouth full of bubble gum. At the event, I remember the bags of popcorn or poppycock we devoured while chatting with our school buddies. Often that led to a bubble gum blowing contest, bubbles popped and . . . what a mess! Seems invariably that the boys formed their own “contest” to get laughs from the girls by blowing frantically into their tall glass of root beer. The tiny layered bubbles foaming over his hand onto the outside of the container grow bigger before popping.

As the finale, we’d pop the many balloons around the room or backyard before our parents arrived.

Now decades later, I experience our Panorama campus overflowing with botanical buds on the verge of popping out. Individual flowers, bushes, vines and trees abound. Others have already given us pleasure and are popping off their stems onto the ground. Thank you Jody Sangder for the TLC that you and your Grounds Team give to our campus.

Before COVID, each year Panorama offered an Activity Fair for prospective or new residents, as well as for veteran residents who may want to explore possible activities. Booths with photos and a representative to answer questions about their activity occupied every available space within a perimeter of walking space for ease of participants. Every Wednesday for one hour in April, we had Activity Fair Reimagined on Zoom, organized by residents Carolyn Odio, Chair, and Linda Crabtree, Co-Chair. The event offered a set of 15 different activities in one hour each week and was offered virtually for residents and prospective residents this year. We could pop in or out of any activity room as long or as often as we wanted, to listen, or to ask questions. Between the staff and/or residents, (and at least a wee prayer!) the fun, learning, and opportunities are always able to happen! That’s Panorama for us.

Another April event we enjoyed before COVID was gathering for Volunteer Day in our Seventeen51 Restaurant for recognition, lovely table of goodies, and employees and staff serving and waiting on us. This year, what fun to wave while watching the special Volunteer Parade weaving through our 140-acre campus! Dedicated Panorama staff with busses, cars, vans, trucks decorated with balloons, Thank You signs, banners, pompoms, teddy bears, and streamers, popped their horns or rang bells on their bicycles!

This time of year, my do-list always reminds me to pop outside with my walker to visit with other residents soaking in some Vitamin D. But this day I was in an area and alone smiling at all of the huge, opened flowers, and whispering to the numerous flowers’ buds on our campus, “Oh, you’re trying so hard to pop out. Won’t be long! The lovely rains we have in Washington are on the weather report for tomorrow. I’m going to take your picture. SMILE!” 

I smiled, too, and took an alternate route back to the Quinault . . . to talk to more opened blossoms, and to whisper to the buds. All this because I recalled popping pimples for the birthday parties . . .

Anyway, thank you once again, Panorama, for the care of our Gardens of Paradise!

Looking Back at Panorama

Submitted by Resident Archivist, Deb Ross. – April 2020

We’ll continue our exploration of the images on the Chambers to Chalet interpretive panel at the entrance to the Chalet, with a closer look at the famous Chambers Blackheart Cherry tree, pictured on the panel with numerous members of the Chambers family posing beneath and among the branches of the tree. Here is another image of the tree, taken in full bloom, with David and Elizabeth Chambers’s son, Olympia mayor A.H. Chambers, standing at its base.

David Chambers brought the tree to the homestead in 1853, one of 27 he bought from famed orchardist Henderson Luelling. Within three years the tree was bearing enough cherries for Elizabeth Chambers to make a pie and serve it to fellow settler George Himes, who wrote about the tree many years later. It grew to an immense size, and many articles were written about it, its unusual age (it lived until the early 1920s), and the fact that it bore cherries most or all of its life. In the ‘20s it was necessary to significantly prune it, and pieces of it were preserved and sent to various historical associations in the Pacific Northwest, and to Iowa, the birthplace of Henderson Luelling. On May 4, Kay Coats from the Iowa State Historical Museum located and sent me an image of a slab from the Chambers Cherry that she had just discovered in their collection. 

I like to think that the huge and beautiful cherry tree that is located near the entrance to Boulevard Park, just a couple hundred feet from the site of the Chambers Cherry tree, is a descendant of that earlier tree. The tree was already a few years old in a photograph from the early 1960s, which would make it older and much larger than most cherry trees. It too continues to bear fruit, and its late spring blooms are spectacular.  

Image credits: Washington State Historical Society, Iowa State Historical Society, Deborah Ross

A Resident’s Perspective – Waiting for the Bloom

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. April 2018

Here we all are into spring!!!! Perhaps the frozen nights are behind us, perhaps not. We had snows this winter and some freezing. Most thought March and First day of Spring would never get here.

Well, now that we get patchy rains and such, many of the on-campus things are flowering. We are waiting with trepidation that the Magnolia tree that is verrrry old in our back yard, over-shadowing our patio, will indeed burst forth in those frothy, pink to white blossoms. It seems like the buds have been threatening to open from week to week.

The tulip tree in McGandy Park usually beats our opening blooms by about a week….and it isn’t open yet, either, as of last night. We get to Panorama Hall through the park and it is always a treat to walk through there everyday and see what is next to open.

The birds have been singing their little lungs out, pairing up, so it can’t be long now. The first mowers have ventured out on the wet lawns and that may hold off for a bit as the ground is pretty soggy. Not being a Pea Patch grower, I’ve no idea how the plots are faring….

Meanwhile, try to get out and about to enjoy the budding and flowering of spring! It is such a special time at Panorama.

A Resident’s Perspective – Waiting for the Bloom

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. April 2017

Well, after four years living here at Panorama, we are almost Washingtonians….I know, I know, not really. We are hearing from all quarters how unusual these past two months have been….not just the extra foot (!) of rain, but the cool to cold nights.

The Pea Patch folks have been waiting to dig and plant and then along came that quick squall that produced hail that covered our patio. That was only five days ago!!!

What we have been waiting for is the opening of our gigantic magnolia blossoms on the very old and gnarly magnolia tree at the edge of our patio. It seems the buds are gigantic now and everyday when I get up and open the slider curtains, they are still there, and unopened.

Sandy Bush Blog 4-14-17

Walking around the campus, we see the pinks blooming and many white sprays of trees blooming. The wind is taking many of the petals and clearing them off, but it does seem the first two years we were here that everything let go at once and made a colorful circus everywhere you looked well before this time in April.

Our climate IS changing. None of us will be here 50 years from now to see what else it will do or how it will affect the flowering community. Many birds arrived early and with a dearth of insects as yet to move in, they may be in some trouble. It will be interesting to see what nesting success the mated birds produce this season.

Some azaleas and many camellias have blossomed. The rhododendrons are lagging but will be showy soon. Campus pruning and thinning are going on apace.

And near the end of April, the Activity Fair will present a wide array of interest and activity groups all over campus.  Perhaps it will be totally sunny then. Regardless, it is a great time to find some things to get involved in and to meet new folks.

Waiting for the bloom……………

Sandy Bio

A Resident’s Perspective – December is Here

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. December 2016

Sometimes we forget the beauty of seasons other than the blooming loveliness of our spring, summer, and winding down into colorful fall here at Panorama. October and November saw more rain, perhaps, than we liked. But boy did December deliver a wonderland. The tall trees were frosted and stately.

Sandy-Snow1Our yards sported a special look as the 4-5 inches continued to fall.

Sandy-Snow2And the ambient night light made things magical.

Sandy-Snow3We walked around in this just to enjoy the quiet you get with this type of event. The best place to view this, if you couldn’t walk and crunch around on the new wet snow, was like our little buddy Mirka….

Sandy-Snow4There were also whimsical animals out and frosted with fresh snow. Perhaps a resting rabbit????

Sandy-Snow5We’ve not gotten into the real 20 degrees freezing nights yet, but they are due. The Panorama crew was out with snow shovels, making paths to our mailboxes. The back hoe from grounds was out snow-plowing small loops and courts with a grinning operator. The bigger plow was out for our main roads/streets, commandeered by our wonderful trash collecting man. 

How lucky we are at Panorama. Our environs are kept navigable even when they aren’t blazing with blooms. We all are grateful.  

Enjoy our campus during this season as we enjoy friends and family. Be mindful of the puddles that may well freeze in days to come. We’ve all landed in the best place in the northwest!!!!!

Sandy Bio



A Resident’s Perspective – Now It Is August…

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. July 2016

Like many of us, we are wondering where spring went. It was full of Rhodies and Azaleas with a hot week of weather somewhere in there. Now we are into full summer and ahead is another hot week, but it has been lovely and cool between those sessions of heat.

Here come the Hydrangeas, in so many forms, and the lilies are show-stopping! My husband has enjoyed documenting the blooms on our walks around campus.

Hydrangea at Panorama

Sandy_2 Sandy_3 Sandy_4 Sandy_5

The surprising thing is the Magnolia tree in our rear yard, after an amazing spring bloom, has sported some more flowers on outer branches. What a show. I didn’t remember it doing so last year.

It is also the time of year when hikes/walks and strolls are back on the activity schedule. With the Patio Sale behind us, there is time to sign up for these outings. The recent hike out on trails near Lake Quinault sported wild flowers that were subtle and hidden along the paths. The Self Heal below just lit up the trail!


The activities and outings arranged for us at Panorama are such a gift, really. I just read in the paper that the Sunrise and Paradise areas of Mt. Rainier are now abloom with wildflowers. The northwest has so much to offer and we are given the opportunity to enjoy it in whatever way we are able.

Our daily climb of the north five flights of stairs in the Quinault building often gives us good views of Mt. Rainier. We are thinking of putting a tally sheet up on the top landing for those who want to log in their trips up the stairs for exercise and we will get it to Jenny Leyva at the Fitness Center monthly.

Soon we will be into fall season. I can’t believe that we are in our fourth year at Panorama!!! The time is just warping and we love every minute of it!!!

Sandy Bio

A Resident’s Perspective – Berry Picking Bliss

Written by Panorama resident, Carolyn Treadway. June 2016


The raspberries are ripe! How excitedly we anticipate the time every summer when the raspberries ripen. When the berries are bright red, luscious, juicy, and ripe enough to fall from a slightly moved branch. Then it’s time for immediate picking, feasting, and preserving, for sure.

Even before we moved to Panorama two years ago, we had placed our name on the waiting list for a plot in the Pea Patch—Panorama’s community garden–but had not expected a plot to be available until the following summer. Imagine our surprise when we received word a month later that a plot was now available. Other residents, traveling a lot, had decided to relinquish their plot. When we first visited it, it was overflowing with already mature produce—and with weeds. Immediately we said a resounding yes to renting this plot, and set about harvesting and weeding. All summer, we had a bumper crop of the wonderful vegetables and flowers that the previous plot renters had planted. What a gift! We saw a long row of berry plants, but thought they were blackberries. Not until the next spring did we realize they were our favorite berries—red raspberries. Again, what a gift!


Imagine the beauty and joy of being in the garden on a cool, bright June day, picking berries! Gorgeous, delicious berries by the handfuls. Birds flitting around, singing to us. A gentle breeze blowing. Friendly chatter from nearby gardeners working in their plots. The light changing, shifting into late afternoon. One could easily call it “berry picking BLISS!” What’s not to love about a time like this?”

Sage Bush

However, there is a shadow upon the day, and upon the garden. Even amidst my “bliss” and my profound gratitude for our beautiful berries, I am keenly aware of the fragility of their presence. The existence of these berries (and all others) is completely dependent upon the bees, butterflies, and insects that pollinate them. In another part of our garden we have allowed a sage plant to grow large and bloom into seed. The bees love this plant. Almost every time I look at it, at least one ever-busy bee is buzzing within it. We keep our sage to provide for the bees.

Across our nation, pollinators are in big trouble, especially bees. Even here at Panorama, many beehives in our community garden died out in several consecutive recent years. Were they lost from Colony Collapse Disorder, pesticide use, or other factors? At this point, we do not know. I long for the day when every gardener of the 100 Pea Patch plots would find it unthinkable to use probably-carcinogenic glyphosate weed killers like Roundup and neonicotinoid pesticides that are lethal to bees and pollinators. I long for the day when big box stores will no longer sell us such products, nor plants pre-treated with neonics. I long for the day when all of us realize the importance of our own choices and our individual actions to protect and preserve not only our personal gardens but also our Earth, our only home.

Carolyn Bio copy


Even in the Biting Chill of Winter, there is Color and Beauty

Yes, even though the weather is cold and wet, Panorama’s beautiful landscaping is still there – and worth a look. Those who brave the elements will find many colorful berries – some showy, others more subtle – and even a few flowers. The bright red fruits of the many Cotoneasters and Hawthorns really stand out, but take a close look at some of the Barberries with their small blue/black berries. Tea Oil and Sasanqua Camellias are in bloom now, with Sweet Box and Viburnum soon to follow.

When the leaves have all fallen, it is a good time to admire a tree’s bark; the thin layers peeling from the white Birches and shiny brown Paper Bark Maples or the mottling on the Stewartias.

And keep an eye on the ground – some of winter’s treasures are tiny.

Red Twig DogwoodBeautyberryParney's Cotoneaster

Oh La La!

Ciscoe with Panorama Green Team membersLast week we welcomed popular gardening guru, Ciscoe Morris, to Panorama! Ciscoe took a tour of our 140 acre campus, accompanied by our own gardening experts and the Panorama Green Team, before talking to a group of 245 enthusiastic residents in the Panorama Auditorium.

Ciscoe Morris in the Panorama AuditoriumFrom the get go he had us in laughter and intrigue. His charismatic and humorous presentation focused on how to have a beautiful garden with less maintenance and fewer chemicals. Ciscoe also incorporated some of his favorite landscape design techniques.

Ciscoe Morris in the Panorama AuditoriumYou can catch Ciscoe on Saturday mornings on KING 5 and 97.3 KIRO FM. He also takes viewer questions during Gardening With Ciscoe Live Friday nights at 6:00 pm on NWCN (North West Cable News).



What’s Blooming at Panorama?

Here we are in the midst of winter when everything feels so dreary and cold. When you look outside, it seems there is an overall lack of color. On the contrary, our campus houses one of the largest collections of plants in Washington state. There’s always something lovely to discover in the gardens and along the pathways at Panorama.

So what’s blooming right now?

Pink Dawn Viburnum






Pink Dawn Viburnum, the first of the winter shrubs, has been in bloom since December.








Witchhazel in the shade of bronze is out right now. Yellows and reds are soon to follow.







Inconspicuous by sight but powerful in fragrance, Sweetbox will draw your attention from a distance.