Friday, August 19, 2011

The Bellevue Botanical Garden

After stops at two private gardens earlier in the day it was time to tour the Bellevue Botanical Garden. I’d never been and was curious what it would be like, I’d be lying if I said my expectations were high. They weren’t, still I hoped to be pleasantly surprised. I roamed around the garden with no rhyme or reason to my path. We’d been given a nice overview by the garden staff but I was on garden overload by now, I couldn’t be expected to pay attention to how I was supposed to view the garden. I just wandered and looked for inspiring sights. Luckily I found a few! This crazy bit of metal work looked like a hidden portal to another world. I saw my first Skunk Cabbage here (I smelled it first). And my second Sassafras tree… Something that didn’t occur to me then but does now, were there plant labels? I don’t remember seeing any. I didn’t take pictures of any. That’s bad! Botanical gardens should have their plants labeled! It was love at first sight when I looked up and saw this house (now visitor center/offices) across the lawn. I would be very happy to call it home. The view back across the lawn. Nolina? This one appears to be winding up and about to launch skyward! Must be deer protection? As several others have mentioned there were holes in the big perennial border, you may have noticed I found myself focusing on individual plants rather than combinations. The area around the drool worthy home had some graphic landscaping touches... Big Gunnera! The rock garden was the last part of the garden I walked through. Exhausted it was time to head to the bus! Looking back I'm glad to have had the opportunity to visit the garden, it was a beautiful place to wander through. I would definitely recommend a visit to others, but I doubt I'll feel the need to return soon.


  1. It looks like a spectacular place to visit. The last picture is really fabulous!


  2. Really nice slideshow... I'm curious to know who made the squared-off, window-like piece of rusted metal with the ferns growing from it... any idea?

  3. When I was there, the perennial border was "under reconstruction" and the most prominent feature was a fruit salad of dahlias (to be fair, maybe they had just quarantined all of the dahlias to be strategically reintroduced into the redesigned border). We also had a six-year-old in tow and I had just broken an arm, so I guess my impressions were clouded.

  4. Nolina....Smoke Bush? The garden shots look great. Maybe they'll get to labeling at some point:)

  5. I see some things to enjoy here: the gorgeous mid-century house, that blazing kniphofia, and the rock garden that looks young and will probably be much more interesting in a few more years(?) But I can also see why you wouldn't need a return trip in the immediate future. Seems like some US botanical gardens are like that, with the Huntington being an exception that springs immediately to mind. I could go there every day of the week...

  6. Wow- this place looks cool! I am totally with you on the plant label thing, I'm frustrated when I visit places that don't have them (although I admit I'm bad about having labels in my own garden).

  7. The house was amazing! It was so VERY midcentury modern with its tiny Japanese inspired inner courtyard. I dream of having one of those someday.

    This botanical garden drove me a bit nutty with its tagging and then no-tagging. All the perennials kind of made my head spin for some reason. It reminded me of the rows and rows of tables at Portland Nursery but at least there they're alphabetized.

    I thought by far the greatest feature was the rill.

  8. That's so funny...I had the same feeling when we were driving to the garden...somewhat low expectations (it didn't help that we drove through the mega-mall that is downtown Bellevue first) hahahaha. I will admit, I was pleasantly surprised by the gardens overall, the perennial border especially...although I would have liked to see more variety...and definitely more grasses. I don't even remember that rock garden...but I was pretty hot and tired by the end!

  9. Fabiana, if your ever in Bellevue, WA, you should stop to visit.

    kate, I am without a name, maybe if you called the BBG they could tell you? Are you thinking for yourself or a client?

    ricki, I think that's a fair assumption, I know mine would have been!

    Rohrerbot, ya, that would be nice.

    MulchMaid, me too! Just imagine living near by, heaven. I think I could go to the Berkeley Botanical at least once a a week too.

    Carri, funny I am totally against labels in private gardens! (yes I am a bit opinionated). I think public gardens should educate, private gardens should be a relaxing personal space.

    Ann, so you did see a few labels? Interesting. The rill...oh yes. Give me the house and the rill and I'd be in heaven!

    scott, the rock garden looked pretty new too, maybe it will be more impressive in the future.


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