Friday, November 2, 2012

The Pacific Connections Garden at the Washington Park Arboretum...

Last Sunday I found myself with an extra hour or so in Seattle before I needed to be on I-5 headed back towards Portland. I remembered the teaser look I took last February at the Gateway to Chile Garden and then the sad news that the garden had been hit by vandals. I decided to see how it's looking now...

The Puya are bigger!

And the Gunnera are looking good, but I'm pretty sure some palms are missing. It's hard to tell for sure because when I previously visited they were all bundled up for winter (some under little houses). Perhaps the vandals did so much damage some didn't make it?

This is the same pair from my opening picture, just taken from the other side.

I wonder what this was?

A different palm and puzzle pair this time...

Here's a rendering of what this corner could look like someday...(Rendering by Mike Kowalski, image provided to the UW website (where I borrowed it from) courtesy of The Berger Partnership).

Having fully surveyed this part of the garden I decided to venture on and see what was just over the hill. True to my typical way of doing things I approached the Pacific Connections Garden backwards. Since I didn't even know it was there how was I to know which direction to go? (a little signage at the bottom of the path would have been appreciated)  As to show you the garden as it should be seen I'm starting your tour where mine ended. Confused? Me too.

From their website: "Wouldn't it be great if you could travel through Cascadia, Australia, China, Chile and New Zealand all in one day? In the Washington Park Arboretum's Pacific Connections Garden, you can! In this garden, you will find amazing plants from five countries connected by the Pacific Ocean...The Pacific Connections Garden gives you the world along a walking path. To learn more about featured plants and climates, visit the Elisabeth C. Miller Library at the Center for Urban Horticulture."

Sounds pretty cool! They seem to be just getting started, this area is very much still under construction, but visit worthy just the same.

The dusty blue of the Eucalyptus leaves contrasted nicely with the fall colors all around me.

I had no idea my morning would take me from Australia to New Zealand all without leaving Seattle!

I do love me some Astelia...

Can you tell the New Zealand section was my favorite?

See...lots of construction going on.

For you bamboo lovers out there...

This was just single lonely bloom...

There were educational signs under this structure...

Backed by these lovely metal leaf cut-outs.

Even the drain covers matched the theme!

Cardiocrinum giganteum seed heads...

And the path winds on...

to Chile!

And finally home again...

This image takes me back to the camping trips of my childhood...the shapes, the colors, just as I remember them. See that fern in the front? On our trips to the Olympic Peninsula my mom was always sure to have a shovel in the trunk, for fern emergencies you know...

That blue conifer is just begging for a little decorating come Christmastime.

The Cascadia section is quite large and in fact leads back down to where this journey began in the "Gateway to Chile" garden.

And so ends our visit. Luckily I had a little time left so I explored Seattle's Japanese Garden next. Those photos will be up sometime next week for your viewing pleasure!

(*I've been struggling with whether or not to say something here on the blog about the disaster on the East Coast. I've appreciated reading others thoughts and concerns on the matter but not really known what I wanted to say, and thus not saying anything. However I just read a post on the Obsessive Neurotic Gardener that I wanted to share with you all*)


  1. I've been to the Japanese garden there, but even after living here for four years I have not been to the Arboretum yet. I think it's because on the first gorgeous spring day after we moved here, we went there and it was so crazy-mobbed with people we couldn't park. It's overwhelming how many people come out as soon as the sun shines in the spring. I really need to go back.

    And thanks for that link to the ONG. I usually read his blog, but I hadn't seen that post.

    1. So true! We all can't wait to crawl out of the dark holes we've been hiding in for months. Last spring we went to Mt Tabor on the first warmish sunny day, it was insane.

      The Arboretum is so huge I think you'll need to plan a few trips.

  2. How much do I love those Darmera in the 2nd-to-last shot. SO MUCH!

    1. Maybe that's what you need to plant where the Euphorbia is coming out?

  3. This looks like a really wonderful place! I keep meaning to go there but you know, Seattle is so far away from me. Plus when you post such a lovely tour, why bother actually getting off the couch? Love the palm in the first picture!

    1. Miles and miles. This is funny coming from a guy who thinks nothing of traveling to Portland to go plant shopping or even the Kitsap Peninsula!

  4. Not surprised that the New Zealand bit is your favourite, not only is the planting lovely, it is atmospheric too. The other parts are good as well. Well worth the detour!

    1. It is all good...I just wish that I would have known what I was venturing though when I started, rather than learning at the end!

  5. The Australia section has the one at Huntington beat, don't you think?
    The feathery background in the first shot shows the monkey puzzle off to such advantage. Hmmm...wonder if I could copy that.

    1. It is definitely more "pulled together" but the Huntington had a much larger plant collection. The climate allowing for more of these plants to grow outdoors happily.

      As for recreating that scene in your garden...go for it!

  6. GOLLY! EPIC HAPPINESS! The Jubaea look soooooooooo freaking good! I MUST get one! thats it! I can't resist!!

  7. Thanks for posting this Loree ! I will be sure to include this garden the next time I'm in the PNW .It looks very well done.

    1. It really was well done, such a hidden little gem.

  8. I would die to have monkey puzzles like that. I know about all their liabilities. I don't care. I adore them. SIGH. Hoping Abies pinsapo 'Glauca' that I planted this year grows up to be something similar-but-better.

  9. The photos of the New Zealand section reminded me of Otrai of Otari-Wilton's Bush (Wellington, NZ). Otari is a garden made using NZ plants, and has parts with a similar rock, gravel, and plant style. Wilton's Bush is original bush from before human settlement. As a NZer, the photos above looked quite homely.

    The grasslike (tussocks as they are known here) plants in the photos are tough, divide well and are popular because they grow dense with little maintenance.


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