Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Dunn Garden

Early afternoon on the first day of the Garden Bloggers Fling (are you tired of reading those three words yet? From now on it’s just GBF) found us at the Dunn Gardens. This is another of those “Seattle gems” that I had never visited. When I first heard that the 2011 GBF would be in Seattle I was thrilled, an easy destination on a budget! Then the itinerary was announced and I got even more excited…all the places I’d heard of but never been too (the Bellevue Botanical Garden, Olympic Sculpture Park, the Bloedel Reserve), finally I would have reason to visit. I had never before heard of the Dunn Gardens. This is a historic garden tucked away in residential north Seattle. The land was purchased in 1914 by Arthur Dunn with the intention of creating a summer home (a “country place”) for his family. In May of the next year Mr. Dunn approached the Olmsted Brothers to locate a cottage and prepare a landscape plan for the property. This “country place” is all of 10 miles from downtown Seattle, of course in those days 10 miles was a significantly larger distance to travel. Can you imagine packing up your family and moving 10 miles north for the summer? The Olmstead Brothers delivered the planting plan in the spring of 1916, and Mr. Dunn implemented it himself. You’ve got to love the early DIY spirit! Surprisingly I love this glass Agave! Our group was a good sized one for garden touring, rarely was a garden shot interrupted by humans. Unless of course you wanted to catch your fellow GBF'ers in action... More from around the garden... While I enjoyed walking the historic grounds I especially enjoyed the tiny Curator's Garden tucked behind and around their small house (the original Dunn house has since been demolished). This small garden was started years ago but is currently tended by the present curators Charles Price and Glenn Withey. Since the rest of the property is on the Historic Register not much can be changed. This is the spot where the current caretakers get to have some fun and garden for themselves! These next couple plants were waiting in the “plant maintenance facility”… I wonder what fun is in store for them?


  1. So easy to miss many details when you have a limited time in a garden. I certainly missed seeing your glass agave. However, like you I was drawn to those pots of succulents and to that wonderful paving with slate and concrete.

  2. Jeg kom lige forbi din blog.
    Hvor er der mange skønne blomster.
    Tak for rundvisningen.

  3. Breathtaking photos. I want to visit those gardens even more now. I was sorry to miss the GBF but sure am enjoying the photos of the gardens you visited.

  4. I bet you were in heaven, sneaking back to the curators' gardens. LOL Isn't it great that forms of history such as this garden are being preserved for future generations? Just beautiful.

  5. I nearly bought one of those strange trees with the jaggedy brown, slender leaves from Dancing Oaks. Now I am really kicking myself for not doing so. Can you tell me its name?

  6. Beautifully written. I must say I loved the part of the garden owned/planted by the caretakers. It was my favorite. I also am grateful Mr. Dunn and his family left the garden for the rest of us to enjoy. It was a jewel in that neighborhood. Loved meeting you too.~~Dee

  7. Lancashire rose, so true! I think that agave was an early placement for an art show they were having that weekend at the garden. An odd but appreciated surprise!

    Landbohaven, thank you for stopping by!

    Aerie-el, I was hoping to perhaps meet you at the Fling!

    Grace, definitely glad that something like this can stick around through time. And while I would love to claim to have "snuck" no such thing was necessary, the curators garden is available to anyone who visits.

    ricki, as I recall Dancing Oaks had a nice selection of these! It is a Pseudopanax ferox and if you don't want to drive back to Dancing Oaks we got ours at Cistus.

    Dee, likewise...glad I got to meet you, and I hope your ceramic plate flower made it home in one piece!


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