Monday, November 4, 2013

Visiting Kubota Gardens...

A good friend of mine in Seattle has raved about Kubota Gardens for years. He’s invited me to their spring and fall plant sales, which unfortunately always seem to happen on a busy weekend when I can’t get away. Faced with the long drive back to Portland I decided to make a quick stop there last Sunday, before hitting the road.

This sign (below) doesn’t have quite the style the top one has does it? But it is important because it lets you know the garden is owned by the City of Seattle, as such it’s free and dogs are even allowed in the park!

From the city’s website: “Hidden in South Seattle, Kubota Garden is a stunning 20 acre landscape that blends Japanese garden concepts with native Northwest plants. The city acquired the property, which is an historic landmark, in 1987 from the estate of master landscaper Fujitaro Kubota. Kubota was a horticultural pioneer when he began merging Japanese design techniques with North American materials in his display garden in 1927. The Gardens are a spectacular setting of hills and valleys, interlaced with streams, waterfalls, ponds, bridges, and rock out-croppings with a rich array of plant material.” There is a lot of history on the garden, and its creator Mr. Kubota here.

Most of the time I felt like the only person in the park. There was a light rain falling and it was chilly, but the parking lot was full so I know there were others there, somewhere.

This has to be the most beautiful Garrya elliptica I have ever seen, it was perfect!

So many times their leaves are rather tattered and spotty, not these.

Plus it helps to have a beautiful orange accent wall next door.

That creepy mass in the corner had a cut out window in it.

Of course I had to take a peak.

I’m feeling pretty smug that I picked a late October day to visit. I’m sure it’s beautiful year round but the wow factor is definitely turned up a few notches with the fall color.

This guy caught my eye, anybody know what it is?

I love its color and squiggly branches…

As I was taking this shot a crane flew overhead and landed in the tall blue tree about center of the photo. I almost tried to capture it in flight, instead I just put the camera down and watched.

He hung out here for awhile, I hoped he'd fly back towards me but when he finally took off it was in the other direction.

This is one of the things I loved about this garden, picnic tables! You're actually invited to hang out and enjoy the space. A Japanese garden without the formality.

Of course there was plenty of lawn in which to relax too, I wonder if they irrigate it during the dry summer months?

At times the paths seemed like they would dead-end without taking you anywhere.

But then you'd round the bend and a view would unfold right in front of you.

This tree was even more fabulously mossy in person.

And in this age of lawsuits and crazy safety measures it was fun to see a narrow walkway over a pond, which you could actually walk across and just maybe slip and fall in...

I wondered how long the log would last with water flowing through it. Then I noticed they'd cleverly put a galvanized pipe inside.

Nightmares, a spooky Blue Atlas Cedar cave! Dare I enter?

I did! It was actually pretty neat inside, and tall enough that I could stand up straight.
All good things must come to an end, and this is the end of my visit. The next time you find yourself in Seattle you really should stop by Kubota Gardens!

All material © 2009-2013 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

41 comments:

  1. Love it! I especially like paths that appear to go nowhere. Finding something new after turning a corner or emerging into a space is what makes gardens worth exploring!

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    1. I always forget that, but you're right. So many small gardens show it all in one glance, it's nice to have a little space to be surprised.

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  2. I love it, too. The colors are so intense, and a light rain seems to complement the mood perfectly.

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    1. I'm such a lover of sun I was cursing the rain at the beginning, but as I explored further I realized it really was enhancing the mood.

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  3. So beautiful! I've heard about this garden but have never visited even though I live so close. Your pictures make me want to visit! Wonder if all the leaves blew down in the storm?

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    1. Sadly most of them probably did. Sounds like you guys really got hammered! We had it a little easier, not nearly as windy. Visit already!

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  4. Beautiful pics once again, Danger Garden! Love the tour, I have never been so thank you!

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  5. What a lovely garden!

    It looks great in its Autumnal colours. I bet it looks pretty in the Spring as well with all of the new growth coming through.

    PS. we had our first air frost this morning and quite a few things in my garden were looking quite withered when I went out to take my daughter to the bus and then catch the train into work.

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    1. I hope to be able to visit again in the spring, who knows though with the Garden Bloggers Fling planning by springtime I'll probably be quite busy. No frost in my garden yet, I've heard reports of frost nearby but escaped so far...

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  6. What a stunning blend of Japanese and Pacific Northwest sensibilities. You seem to have hit upon the perfect moment to visit. And you have renewed my fading interest in Garrya ellipica. The one at Portland Nursery captured my imagination when it was festooned with those dangly things, but then it looked kind of tatty later on.

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    1. Glad to know I'm not the only one with a less than stellar impression of Garrya ellipica.

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  7. Incredible photos, incredible shots- absolutely stunning. I have never been to Seattle but have always wanted to go- we are going in August next year and though I would imagine it will be beautiful then, it will be nothing like the photos you have posted. Beautiful!!!

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    1. August is a great time to visit Seattle! You'll fall in love I'm sure.

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  8. Lovely! If I'm ever up in Seattle during the Autumn, I'll make a point of stopping there :-)

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    1. There are so many "must see" places how will you decide?

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  9. I really need to go there someday. Peter and I talked about visiting last spring but then never got around to it. Looks like it's worth a visit.

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  10. Is your mystery plant perhaps some sort of contorted Larix?

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    1. I believe it is, two others agree with you. Thanks Les!

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    2. AnonymousJune 07, 2015

      Hello! It is Larix kaempferi 'Diana'.
      http://www.greatplantpicks.org/plantlists/view/888

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  11. Who says that the Northeast has the reputation for the best fall color? It seems that the PNW is making a run for the title.

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    1. Depending on the year (too much rain can really dampen the mood) we can really have quite the show up here!

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  12. I believe the yellow conifer is Larix decidua "Varied Directions."

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    1. "Varied Directions"...that might just be my favorite name ever. Thank you!

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  13. My guess for the mystery plant is Larix kaempferi 'Diana'...I bought a start of this from them at their fall plant sale.

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    1. Thanks Justin, and I see it's a Great Plant Pick too.

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  14. Thanks for the fabulous tour! I'm so sorry I missed this garden the last time I was in Seattle..but next time I'm there for sure!

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  15. Oh. my. goodness.

    Absolutely stunning. Those autumn colours are just incredible.

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    1. It has been a very colorful autumn around here.

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  16. Was there years ago in spring; it is even more spectacular now. I like the squiggly guy a lot, too.

    I read your blog regularly (through Wordpress reader) but usually I read blogs on my phone, where it seems to be impossible to comment on them unless they are Wordpress blogs.

    Of course, the photos are much nicer on the computer but somehow my mind seems to expand them on the phone....so they do not seem very small when I am looking at them!

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    1. I totally understand that phone/photo thing. Reminds me of years and years ago when I had a black and white TV (yes, really). My mind automatically filled in the colors, it wasn't until someone pointed out it was B&W that I's see it as such.

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  17. Loree: Another vote for L.d 'Varied Directions'. I have 'Horstmann's Recurva' but it tends towards a more weeping habit. Do you have any Larix on your property? A must have selection that is best Fall through winter.

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    1. Thank you Barry! And no, I do not have any Larix...perhaps I need to remedy that situation?

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  18. I held my breath thru the whole post! Wow!

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    1. Haha, that's a wonderful reaction!

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  19. This is an AMAZING place! I wish there where gardens like this where I live, as it's too far for me to travel ;)

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  20. Such nice pics, Loree! And you sure did pick the perfect time of year to see it. What rich color -- almost doesn't look real to these Southern eyes.

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