The Rose Garden at Point Defiance

IMG_1723I was trying to squeeze the last little bit of summer in today and thought to take the five mile loop through Point Defiance Park. On my way in I noticed the amazing display in the rose garden. So I looked around, parked and took a stroll. It is mostly roses, of course, but there were a fair number of dahlias in bloom and other plants as well.

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The Blue Poppies of Weyerhaeuser Rhododendrom Gardens

14068639349_2d35260236_bSeeing a blue poppy has been on my life list and yesterday I finally saw one when I took dear daughter and her friend to the Weyerhaeuser Rhododendron Gardens in Federal Way. We actually went to see the Rhododendrons and while there were many still in bloom I feel like we missed the peak viewing by a couple of weeks. We were having a grandtime walking the trails and were admiring a small pond when a pleasant woman asked if we had seen the blue poppies. Ummm, no, guess we missed that section of trail. Thank you lady! The poppies are taller than I expected and there was some space between the stalks. They were just a little translucent and there was a bit of rain on some of the petals. The photos below feature the blue poppies, but include some other flowers and some Hilltop Artist glass work that is currently on display.

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The Grotto, Portland, OR

IMG_1055The Grotto, also known as  is National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother, is a 62-acre Catholic shrine and botanical garden which is administered by the Order of Friars Servants of Mary.

The Grotto is lovely and peaceful. By far the most unique part is the elevator, which is built adjacent to the 110′ cliff and has only two stops. I got on at the bottom, the location of Our Lady’s Grotto, a gift store, and the largest of the churches. and got off at the top, the site of the gardens, other smaller churches and religious artwork.  The grotto is a rock cave carved into the cliff and feature a life-size marble replica of Michelangelo’s Pieta.

The complex is free to visit, but there is a $5 charge to take the elevator. It’s well worth it. To learn more, look here.

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Lan Su Chinese Gardens, Portland

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When I told people that went to visit the Lan Su Chinese Gardens in Portland, Oregon they corrected me and explained that I meant Japanese Gardens. No, they are Chinese Gardens, the most authentic Chinese Gardens outside of China. My friends and I got to the gardens by hopping the light rail in the rain. A short walk from our stop took us to downtown Portland’s China Town/Old Town where the gardens occupy a city block. The cities of Portland and its sister city, Suzhou, China worked together to create this tranquil and lovely oasis. The gardens opened in September 2000. They feature 500 tons of rocks from China, but no plants because of import bans. Instead all of the plants were located in Oregon nurseries and gardens. The tea room featured a menu of teas making me wish I could have tried several.

Lincoln District’s Tulip House

13959709833_3ff50b5041_bThere is a house near Lincoln High School that if full of red and yellow tulips, currently in full bloom. It is startling the number of tulips! What a labor of love that I appreciated seeing this fine Easter Day!

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Tulip Town, Mt. Vernon

13593484365_1182d48495_b(1)I needed a change of scenery and the Skagit Tulip Festival is in progress, so off I went. It was a little early for the full effect, but the daffodils are in full bloom. In search for actually tulips, I stopped at Tulip Town in Mt. Vernon. For $5 per person, there is easy parking, a wonderful display building with background paintings of Holland, a great outside display with a windmill and huge kites and tulip fields in bloom. There is also the possibility of a tractor pull.

I also snapped a photo of a field of daffodils which isn’t in Tulip Town.

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Kelsey Creek Farm, Bellevue

13340504343_aa9c5da73e_bI’ve been wanting to visit Kelsey Creek Farms Park at 13204 SE 8th in Bellevue for a while, so on Saturday after dropping off dear daughter for her ride back to college I stopped by. There was a birthday party going on and plenty of children in the under five crowd. The 150 acre original site had been a forest and was developed as the Twin Valley Dairy Farm in the 1920s. Despite pressure from real estate developers, in the 1960s 80 acres of the property was sold to the City of Bellevue for use as a park. It receives over 200,000 visits a year. ThePark’s website is here.

The log cabin is the Frasier House, built in 1888 and moved to Kelsey Creek Farms Park in 1974.  It was built by two Norwegian woodsmen and lived in for a short time. Mostly it was used as storage. 

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Halloween at Hunter Pumpkin Patch, Olympia

pumpkins blogHunter Pumpkin Patch at 7401 Yelm Highway is an extravaganza of family friendly Halloween fun. They have two corn mazes, plenty of animals to see, wagon rides, a hay maze, a pumpkin sling shot, a pillow jump (like a trampoline), a shop and a snack shop. Mostly it was fun to see the kids running around and having a blast. In December Hunters also has a Christmas Tree Farm with assorted Christmas activities. There website is here and their Facebook page is here.

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Gallucci Learning Garden

photo 2 (1)This salamander at the Gallucci Learning Garden (South 14th & ‘G’ Street) was featured in several gardens when the Community Garden Tour occurred. It is really a sweet garden with a large wagon, a lovely round courtyard, shoes filled with plants and, of course, plenty of plants. The garden, which was named in honor of local activist Bob Gallucci, was dedicated in August 2011. Their extensive website is here.

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Yashiro Japanese Garden, Olympia

image (5)The Yashiro Japanese Garden at 1010 Plum Street SE, Olympia is a small, well proportioned public garden. It is a a joint effort of the Olympia-Yashiro Sister City Association and the City of Olympia.There are a few art pieces and a waterfall and some colorful fall foliage. More information can be found here.

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