Arts & Entertainment

Botanical beauties: Greenery to visit this Spring

In Western Washington there are plenty of places to appreciate nature blooming in the spring.

With Earth Day right around the corner and spring approaching with warmer weather, now is the perfect time to venture out to admire the blooming flowers and plant life. Listed below are some of the few botanical garden and flower sighting locations in Washington State, separated into sections by counties then alphabetized.

Pierce Country

Lakewold Gardens (Lakewood, WA)

Open Wednesday through Sunday and nestled in Lakewood, Lakewold Gardens features six different themed gardens spread across their 10 acres of land. They have over 800 Rhododendrons as the staple of their plant collections as well as a collection of Japanese maples and Washington Champion trees. 

Although the history of the garden being traded and bought between families dates back to 1910, it was first opened to the public as part of a non-profit organization in 1989. Their mission, as stated on their website, is to provide “intentional encounters with the life-changing power of nature, fostering peace, creativity and healing in our communities.”

Point Defiance Park Gardens (Tacoma, WA)

The Point Defiance Park hosts a wide variety of gardens, many of which are  dedicated to different themes and flowers, such as: Japanese, northwest native, herb, dahlia, iris, rose, fuschia and rhododendron. It is located near the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, Point Defiance Park and Owen’s Beach, making it a great day trip location for both spring and summer.

W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory (Tacoma, WA) 

Located a few blocks from our own University of Washington Tacoma campus is the W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory. Built in 1908 and located in Wright Park, visitors can find a 27 acre arboretum featuring about 700 native and exotic species of plants. They also have a rotating floral exhibit. W.W Seymour Botanical Conservatory is one of only three victorian-style conservatories on the West Coast.

King County

Bellevue Botanical Garden (Bellevue, WA)

Bellevue Botanical Gardens is made up of 53 acres of land that encompass cultivated gardens, restored woodlands and natural wetlands. It is maintained in a partnership between the City of Bellevue Parks and Community Services and the Bellevue Botanical Garden Society. 

The location is open daily from dawn to dusk, free of charge. They also hold classes, lectures and special events with a participation fee. They have a gift shop on site — the Trillium Store — currently open at reduced hours. Their cafe, Copper Kettle Coffee, is currently offering takeout. This location is a great getaway from the urban lifestyle. 

Center for Urban Horticulture (Seattle, WA)  

Opened in 1984, the Center for Urban Horticulture is a part of the University of Washington Botanical Gardens. It is composed of 16 acres of landscaped gardens. The Union Bay Natural Area is also located at this site and a 74 acre wildlife habitat home to over 200 species of birds. There is also an outdoor laboratory for UW Research. While the buildings are currently closed, the garden grounds are free to roam.

Kubota Garden (Seattle, WA) 

The Kubota Garden was started by Japanese emigrant Fujitaro Kubota in 1927 and has been open to the public since 1987. This Japanese garden is spread across 27 acres of land. There, you can find nine ponds, two red bridges, 140 maple varieties, and 30 hydrangea varieties among other exotic plant life. This season, they are hosting a “Pollination Power” themed exploration kit for children 4-12 and their caregivers. This includes a learning story, investigation, self guided tour and scavenger hunt.

Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden (Federal Way, WA)

Founded by the American Rhododendron Society in 1964 and open to the public in 1980, this site holds 10,000 planted rhododendrons across 22 acres of woodland gardens. Known worldwide for its contributions to scholarship and research, it is also home to the world’s largest public stumpery with a half acre path of 140 stumps and a variety of ferns. It also houses many companion plants such as Himalayan blue poppies, camellias, magnolias and Japanese maples. 

Kitsap County 

Elandan Gardens Ltd (Bremerton. WA)

This site is located on the waterfront of Sinclair Inlet in Bremerton. It features the landscape artistry of Dan Robinson and sculpture artistry of Will Robinson. These gardens feature an array of Asian, European and North American greenery. Amongst this greenery, they hold a notable bonsai collection as well. 

Skagit Valley

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival (Mt. Vernon & La Conner, WA)

Skagit Valley welcomes spring and the blossoming tulips in this month-long celebration filled with many events and festivities. Travelers come in by the thousands to view the vibrant tulip fields. With no permanent location, the festival is instead designed as a driving tour. Featured tulip fields include RoozenGaarde, Washington Bulb Co. Inc. and Tulip Town. Due to the pandemic, RoozenGaarde and Tulip Town require you to pay for an admission ticket.