Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Seattle Gardens to Visit September 2, 2008

Another garden blogger asked me to recommend places to photograph flowers and nature in Seattle. There are so many, it was hard to narrow it down. But here goes (click on garden names for links to their sites)…

Washington Park Arboretum
This is the biggie in town, many acres of landscaped gardens owned by the University of Washington. It contains a Japanese Garden, tons of mature trees, and you can even rent a canoe at the UW boathouse below the football stadium and paddle past lily pads and see the place from the water,

Gardens at the Ballard Locks
These are very manicured, lots of fuschias, and it’s also fun to watch the boats go through the locks. There’s a fish ladder too for watching the salmon come through, but I think it might be the wrong time of year for that.

Bloedel Reserve

If you have time to take the ferry to Bainbridge Island, the Bloedel Reserve is supposed to be amazing (I keep meaning to go, but have never been).

Kubota Gardens
Japanese garden in the southern part of Seattle. Embarrassingly, I haven’t been yet,even though I love Japanese gardens, but it’s supposed to be very cool.

Volunteer Park Conservatory
Free and open to the public, it’s the city’s greenhouse and contains a lot of really amazing stuff. Gigantic cacti, a corpse flower (might be done blooming/stinking now), tons of tropical stuff. A photographer’s paradise! The Asian Art Museum is just a few steps away, as is a big water tower you can climb to the top of (stairs, not scary) and look out at the entire park.

Woodland Park Rose Garden
Best May through August. Near the zoo, in case you’re planning to go there as well.

Here is a listing of other public gardens owned by the City of Seattle, in case you have time for even more:

Seattle Tilth Demonstration Gardens
Lastly, my favorite garden-supporting organization has demonstration gardens that are worth a peek. They have a lot crammed into a small space, and all is done sustainably.

A lot of neighborhoods in Seattle have great home gardens you can see from the street. I like the DIY ones the best, in neighborhoods like Wallingford, Ravenna, parts of West Seattle, etc.

Nature is everywhere here – you might look up in the sky and see a bald eagle one day or a great blue heron the next. There is a beaver pond a few miles from my house, and salmon spawn in the city’s creeks. There are still ancient trees in the city, at least a few, and mountains are visible from so many vantage points. It’s a great city to garden in or just to visit.

(Arboretum Japanese Garden Photo by Mary Nagan)

(Arboretum Japanese Garden Photo by Mary Nagan)


4 Responses to “Seattle Gardens to Visit”

  1. PGL Says:

    Thanks for the garden links. If I’m ever in Seattle, I’ll know what places to check out. 🙂

  2. Georgia Says:

    I’d like to recommend Bradner Gardens Park in the Mount Baker neighborhood.

  3. Curmudgeon Says:

    After we threw the dart at the map and it landed on Seattle, I started to research the city in preparation for moving here. One of the first websites I found my way to was the Bloedel Reserve site. Ironic that it’s the one place we haven’t been to yet!

  4. greenwalks Says:

    PGL –

    Well, I hope that if you’re even in Seattle, you’ll let me know and we can go on a field trip to some of these together. 🙂


    Georgia –

    I hadn’t heard of Bradner but a friend said her Landscape Architecture school visited there sometimes for coursework. It’s now on my list of “need to go” gardens!


    Curmudgeon –

    Yes, Bloedel has been on my must-visit list for a long time. We’ll all get there one of these years!

    – Karen

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