Friday, November 17, 2017

Special, my visit to the Highline Botanical Garden

My Seattle visits typically wrap-up on Sunday, mid-morning, and it's time to head back to Portland. On the way home I try plan some sort of garden or nursery tour. Since it had been snowing on and off all morning I chose to make a close and quick stop and visited the Highline Botanical Garden.

When I mentioned the destination to my friend Erin — a life-long West Seattle resident — her response was something along the lines of "our Highline has a botanical garden?"... ya, if you live in the Seattle area and know Highline you'll agree it's not the most likely place for a garden.

"The Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden is a one-of-a-kind heritage location that was created to preserve some of the area’s most treasured gardens. The Garden is situated on approximately 10.5 acres adjacent to the North SeaTac Community Center. Included are two gardens that were physically moved to prevent their demolition during SeaTac Airport’s third runway project. Admission to the gardens is free for all visitors."

This stunning Garrya elliptica is located right by the garden entrance, this one's on my short list of shrubs I wish I had room for.

Especially this time of year, as its long catkins begin to form.

There is a rose garden, since it was COLD and raining/sleeting I didn't linger to photograph individual flowers.

Well okay, just one.

I was alone in the garden, was this left by a volunteer on accident? Or was it an invitation for visitors to do a little clean up?

There were a lot of fallen leaves, but they added to, rather than detracted from, the look of the place.

Elda Behm, one of the gardeners whose garden was the impetus for the forming of this garden. She's from Spokane too, like me...

The pond.

And the Bamboo! Wow, it's certainly quite happy here.

That Anemone I covet (and thanks to the Rainy Day Gardener will own, soon!).

Wow, that's a lovely Arbutus menziesii.

The propagation area, which was fenced off. I stuck my camera through the chain-link to get this photo.

Looks like the beginning of a community garden space.

The Fuchsia garden.

Honestly I didn't know whether I wanted to laugh or be impressed with their chutzpah.

I don't remember which shrub this was, but the real beauty of it was the lichen and moss adorning the branches.

Future home of a rock garden?

The other rescued garden, the Seike Japanese Garden.

Ginkgo paradise!

And not to be outdone the Sedum is nice too.

As are the Crocosmia seeds  (I've wandered out of the Japanese Garden now).

The view out into the "wilds", I assume future expansion space.

I do love Cyclamen foliage. I can do without the flowers.

Oh! Fabulous Mahonia...

The bark...

Finally, are you wondering about that "special" in the title of this post? Obviously this entire garden is special. Open to the public for free, based on rescuing two private gardens that would have otherwise been destroyed. Still, this might have been my very favorite thing in this garden. Special: "better, greater, or otherwise different from what is usual."

We'll just call this plant special...

If you want to see photos of the garden in spring check out the Outlaw Gardener: part one, part two.

Weather Diary, Nov 16: Hi 48, Low 43/ Precip .21"

All material © 2009-2017 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. That certainly is special! This place is really beautiful in the fall. The cinderblock planters are fun but fuchsias wouldn't be my first plant choice for them and the plastic plant pots shoved in... no. (Do as I say, not as I do.) Thanks for the link love.

    1. Right? I can't wrap my head around the fuchsias/cmu display. It has potential but isn't being maximized.

  2. What a lovely place especially in the fall with a little rain/snow. So is that special plant a fern?

  3. The fact that you were the only person there made it extra special I'm sure! There's so much to love here... I was about to say that it's amazing that it's only been there since the 90's, but then I realized that the 90's were quite a while ago. :)

  4. When I read the post title I was trying to figure out when you had been to New York this year .When I opened it though zi remembered reading about this garden --I think maybe Peter blogged about it ? I never had heard of til that point. It's a great story too. And as an editorial note , I get so damn aggravated with the mow-blow guys need to suck up every damn leaf in autumn, especially the Ginkos. I like to leave some on the ground (within reason) -to me it enhances my enjoyment of fall. And I loathe leaf blowers.

    1. Yes Peter has written about it a couple of times. The two Highlines couldn't be more different, I do hope to see the other one someday.

  5. Like Kathy, my first reaction was: when did she have time for a trip to NYC? I'm impressed that SeaTac went to the effort of saving those 2 gardens when the airport expanded - I can't imagine such a thing happening in LA. Loved the photo of the Ginkos and I hope my own Garrya elliptica looks half that good some day - in the ground for 18 or more months now, I'm not sure my Garrya has grown an inch.

    1. I hear they're slow, but not an inch in 18 months? Are you sure you didn't buy the plastic version?

  6. Great garden. The bamboo picture reminded me of a post Evan did recently where he showed a form of weeping bamboo (a contradiction in terms?); it kinda looks the same. I love solitary visits to botanical gardens, wandering around, admiring and lusting after plants I have absolutely no room for, except in that imaginary garden of my dreams.

    1. Isn't it nice how the imaginary garden of our dreams can grow to any size? And has all the weather conditions just perfect for the plants we want to grow...

  7. Huh, I had never heard of this garden. It will be at the top of my list if I ever get to Seattle again.

    1. It flies under the radar of a lot of locals too.

  8. It's lovely in all its wet leaf-dropping autumnal disarray. That bamboo looks ecstatic--it seems to be screaming, "I'm getting enough water!". They never look that happy here.

    1. It's definitely happy bamboo, must be a naturally wet area or they irrigate it generously in the summertime.


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