Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Manito Park

While in Spokane we had to visit Manito Park, partly because it is one of my favorite places but mainly because I wanted to share it with you. My house in Spokane was a block and a half from the park. I was spoiled being so close and I miss it!

The park is located on Spokane’s south hill. Within its 90 acres are 5 different gardens (Perennial, Rose, Lilac, Japanese, and the formal Duncan Gardens), a conservatory and a duck pond (below). As a child I remember feeling that the duck pond with its weeping willow trees was a magical place. Unfortunately most of the mature willows were downed during a severe ice storm in 1996. It just isn’t the same now.

The rose garden isn’t quite up to speed yet. It’s hard for me to remember that Spokane can be a month or so behind Portland as far as some plants are concerned.
The formal Duncan Gardens looks like it was just planted out. This is “the” spot for family photos and a graduation party arrived shortly after I took this picture.
The conservatory is a world away from the plants one normally sees in Spokane. It is a wonderful place to escape to on a dreary day and dream of far-away lands.
My husband thought this plant was fun...hopefully you can make out that there are hundreds of tiny bottles all over the plant and it's called Drunkard's Dream.And finally the Ferris Perennial gardens are wonderful for strolling and finding new plants to introduce into your garden. Everything is labeled with name and habit, although sometimes those tags can be misleading if you don't know what you are looking at and get the wrong one.
We missed stopping in the Japanese Garden, it's walled off and only open to the public certain hours. Like the conservatory I remember going there as a young person and being amazed at how different things were inside the walls. Not at all like my parents garden! I was transported to another world. If you are ever in Spokane I recommend a visit to Manito Park, it is a treasure.


  1. You took some excellent shots of this garden. I used to live in western WA and had just the opposite impression of "far away" Spokane. All of the neysayers have been proved wrong with these pics.

  2. I would never have guessed Spokane had such a comprehensive public garden. How delighful to have my short-sighted eyes opened! I see that you got some spiky plant appreciation nurtured there, too. I love the conservatory: it looks like that part of the garden alone would be worth the trip.

    It also makes me wonder why Portland doesn't have some kind of public indoor plant habitat (besides the aviary at the zoo.)

  3. Oh, I can see where your love of spiky plants like agaves was born. :) Sorry about the willows, I have nice childhood memories of those too, from another locale. Cool that your family made a botanical garden part of life for you, growing up. Do you know what those silly little fireball-flowers (seed heads?) are? They're so cute! Nice post.

  4. Mmm, love that silver agave photo. Sounds like a fun place to visit.

    So, do you have plans to visit Lotusland yet? I'm trying to figure out how to make a trip by 2010.

  5. hey, I recognise that little flower from the caladium. Very strange... they all look the same though the caladium leaves are different. This park is really wonderful. I like the plant that pops out two orange feathers (6th pix).

  6. Alexandria - I don't think you are alone in that impression. My Seattle friends visited me after I moved back and realized what they thought all those years was wrong! Thanks for the comment.

    Jane - we've said the same thing! Washington park is lovely but why no conservatory?

    Karen - I was so bummed the first time I visited after the storm. I lived in Seattle then and couldn't believe the destruction I saw upon going home. If I understand which ones you are referring to they are Pulsatilla Vulgaris. I was very excited about them until I got home, looked them up and saw the flower. It's a little to perky for me. But the seed heads are fabulous!

    Pam - I think we will be heading down the first half of September. After reading the Germinatrix post about Lotusland I am thinking about becoming a member so we can tour on our own. I am not much for guided tours, especially when you are not allowed to wander off on your own afterwards! Craziness!

  7. Stephanie - I thought of you when I was posting those pictures of the caladium! The plant you refer to is a bromeliad, 'Flaming Sword'- it is fabulous!

  8. AnonymousJune 09, 2009

    DG~~ Thanks for the tour. I had to do a double-take when you said 90 acres. That is a large chunk of land. There is something uniquely special about the pleasurable haunts of childhood. To see it again as an adult is the icing on the cake.

  9. I have a family christmas celebration with the new inlaws that takes place at a different family's house every year. I think one of them lives out Spokane way. I was dreading the drive, but now I'm looking forward to the trip. I guess Christmas won't be the perfect time to see it, but I imagine the conservatory is still worth the trip, and the Japanese Garden. Nice place.
    Lotusland doesn't let you explore on your own? That'll never do.

  10. Grace - me too, 90 acres! I looked it up because I wanted to accurately convey the size and was surprised. I knew it was huge but not that huge!

    Megan - the drive itself is an ordeal, that's for sure. The park takes on a different kind of beauty in the winter but still worth a visit, and the conservatory will be nice and toasty warm. I'll have to fill you in on where to go to get coffee and pastries as the best bakery ever is just a block from the park! Yes isn't that crazy about Lotusland? The thing is membership costs $75 and 2 adult tickets cost $70. With membership you can wander. This is a no-brainer isn't it?


Thank you for taking the time to comment. Comment moderation is on (because you know: spam), I will approve and post your comment as soon as possible!