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Photographic Public Gardens In Seattle Area

Nebo, NC
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Photographic Public Gardens In Seattle Area

I will launch a photo trek to the Palouse from Seattle in late May. I have a 3-4 hour window open after the flight to get out and stretch my legs before heading east. Can any photo enthusiasts recommend a public garden with lots of woodland paths, water features, in-season blooms for late May? Not interested so much in specimen close-ups, would rather see nice compositions with depth but not urban clutter in the background (like the Japanese gardens). The gardens that look interesting so far are: Point Defiance--Tacoma

Gardens of Meerkerk--Whidbey Island

Bloedel Reserve--Bainbridge Island

Bellevue Botanical Garden--Bellevue

Kubota Garden--Seattle South

Any others I am missing? Would love to hear suggestions!

Washington
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1. Re: Photographic Public Gardens In Seattle Area

Washington Park Arboretum

depts.washington.edu/uwbg/gardens/wpa.shtml

With just 3-4 hours you don't have enough time to take the ferry to the gardens on either Bainbridge or Whidbey.

Seattle, Washington
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2. Re: Photographic Public Gardens In Seattle Area

The Japanese Garden in the Arboretum seattle.gov/parks/…japanesegarden.htm

Lakewold Gardens in Lakewood (South of Tacoma) may be a bit too far (?) http://www.lakewoldgardens.org/

Nebo, NC
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3. Re: Photographic Public Gardens In Seattle Area

IslandGrl, I have the option for spending the first night on the water somewhere before heading east. That's where my itinerary has hit a snag--can't decide whether to take a day on the west side or head south towards Painted Hills, OR, before going to Wallowa Mountains and up to the Palouse.

Do either of the island gardens surpass the inland ones?

Nebo, NC
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4. Re: Photographic Public Gardens In Seattle Area

Sodomojo and Islandgrl, are Washington Park and the Arboretum the same place? The Japanese Garden looks very nice for photographing. Is it very large where one can spend several hours?

Nebo, NC
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5. Re: Photographic Public Gardens In Seattle Area

BTW, coming from the Seatac airport, which of the gardens would be the easiest (fastest) to get in and out of if we continue to Ellensburg for the night?

Washington
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6. Re: Photographic Public Gardens In Seattle Area

I don't think they surpass the others. Bloedel is quite lovely. Meerkeek is primarily rhodies & azaleas, that would be the lowest for me on your list. For your purposes, and time through, I think you are best to concentrate on other gardens.

Yes Washington Park & the Arboretum are the same. It is the largest space. You have options. :-) For your purposes, I would most likely head to the Washington Park Arboretum. Though, depending on your time, the Kubota Garden is just off I-5, minutes from the airport, easy to access. You could easily stop at Kubota, then from there head either to the Arboretum or to Bellevue Botanical Garden. The Washington Park Arboretum is huge - 230 acres, I can wander for hours - so just the sheer size can be a positive & negative. Bellevue Botanical Garden is 53 acres, quite accessible. All three of those gardens, Arboretum, Bellevue & Kubota have Japanese gardens. The Bellevue Botanic Garden undergoing some construction and expansion. It doesn't affect most of the gardens but something to be aware of.

As you head east, if you need to stop and stretch your legs, you may want to consider stopping at the Yakima Arboetum. It's right off Hwy 82 as you travel through Yakima. http://www.ahtrees.org

I actually fortunate to have a Kubota designed garden, circa 1962. Some of our 50 year old specimens are pretty spectacular.

Seattle, Washington
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7. Re: Photographic Public Gardens In Seattle Area

Washington Park is actually the name of the neighborhood bordering the arboretum, hence its title of "Washington Park Arboretum."

I think the arboretum is your best bet; in addition to the Japanese garden which is located at the south end of the arboretum, there's a large natural area with wetlands at the north end, adjacent to the Lake Washington Ship Canal's exit into Union Bay in Lake Washington. depts.washington.edu/uwbg/research/ubna.shtml

In May the arboretum ought to be in pretty viewable shape, probably with a lot of rhododendrons still in bloom. In the lakeside wetlands there will probably be a lot of birds as well - there are footpaths and also canoe rentals if you want to make a day of it. Very peaceful, and you'd never know there's a freeway and bridge bisecting it.

On the islands, the Bloedel Reserve is a gem, with numerous environments to view. However, it's a day's outing (albeit a spectacular one counting the ferry ride) but if you had a full day it would be well worth your while.

Kubota Gardens is another option, but no more accessible than the arboretum, and the arboretum has more diversity. Free, too. Meerkerk on Whidbey is quite some distance, and is really just about rhododendrons, albeit fabulous in that respect.

In terms of access to I-90 for Ellensburg, the arboretum is adjacent to the SR 520 bridge over Lake Washington (toll) that would take you to I-405 south to I-90; alternatively you could take SR 520 west a mile or so to I-5, then south another mile or two to the I-90 interchange downtown, then the I-90 bridge over the lake (free) and into the east. From the airport I'd say the arboretum is around 20-25 min. depending on traffic.

Seattle, Washington
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8. Re: Photographic Public Gardens In Seattle Area

The Japanese Garden in the UW Botanic Gardens at Washington Park Arboretum is a 3 1/2 acre formal garden. I suppose the amount of time spent depends on what's in bloom during your visit. You could easily spend much more time in the surrounding arboretum and wetlands.

More info on the UW Botanic Gardens found here: http://depts.washington.edu/uwbg/index.php

Directions and maps found here: …washington.edu/uwbg/visit/directions.shtml

Please note: Hwy 520 bridge is an automated toll bridge (no toll booths), so please inquire as to fees and service charges levied by your rental car company in advance of travel.

Nebo, NC
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9. Re: Photographic Public Gardens In Seattle Area

I'm curious that no one has rated Point Defiance Gardens and Zoo--not on a par with the others?

Otherwise, Washington Park Arboretum and Kubota seem to be the top picks and I'm good with those. Thanks to all for the great feedback!!

Washington
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10. Re: Photographic Public Gardens In Seattle Area

There are many worthy gardens throughout the state. With your time-frame and ultimate destination, it doesn't make sense (IMO) to head south to Tacoma. In addition, traffic, south from SEATAC to Tacoma is often not particularly pleasant. Another interesting garden, south of the airport, in Federal Way, not as far south as Tacoma, is the Rhododendron Species Garden. More than just Rhodys. Quite impressive. http://rhodygarden.org/cms/

If you do head to the Arboretum, I would recommend returning on I-90 vs the 520 bridge. It's just not worth the 520 toll with a rental car and just as easy to get to I-90 off of either Madison St or MLK, and you will eventually need to be on I-90 anyway.