Friday, June 1, 2018

Marion Street Plaza




These photos were taken in June 2016.

Marion Street Plaza is an odd little space on Broadway Avenue at Marion Street.  It was once a triangular island also bounded by Boylston Avenue.  But that was all resurfaced, including Boylston, which was closed to traffic between Marion & Broadway.  And it became a plaza with very low planter beds that run in parallel strips across the pavement.  The planters are edged in rusted steel, with some edges faced in blue.  The beds are filled with an eclectic array of perennials & very low shrubs, which appear to be randomly placed.  It's quirky & arresting in its deviation from normal landscaping of any kind.  The plaza also has benches & serves as a stop for Bus Route 9 & the First Hill Streetcar.  This is where you would get off, if you planned to visit Swedish Medical Center or Seattle University.  The streetcar is quite fun to ride from International District/Chinatown Station to Capitol Hill Station, because of the many things you can see along the way & the charm of the streetcar itself.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Enid A Haupt Garden

Boxwood fleur-de-lis in a Victorian-inspired parterre


The Smithsonian Castle in 2 photos above.

Smithsonian Arts & Industries Building

Statue of Spencer Fullerton Baird.  These photos were taken in April 2016.

The Enid A Haupt Garden is located among the oldest of the Smithsonian museums at the National Mall in Washington DC. It is an eye-catching & varied array of planting beds, shrubs, trees & plants in pots. There are paving, decorative urns, a pool & a statue of Spencer Fullerton Baird.  Baird was the first curator named at the Smithsonian Institution & later became its second secretary. There are lots of benches here. This is the perfect place to rest when walking around or near the National Mall. The garden covers 4.2 acres adjacent to the Smithsonian Castle. It was designed as a modern version of  an American Victorian garden.  The garden opened in 1987, replacing the existing Victorian Garden which had been built for the Bicentennial.  Enid A. Haupt provided $3 million for its construction & maintenance.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Carl Linnaeus Tribute and Healing Garden

Helenium autumnale (Common Sneezeweed)




Mespilus germanica (Medlar) These photos were taken in June 2016.

The Carl Linnaeus Tribute and Healing Garden can be found on the grounds of Swedish Medical Center First Hill Campus at the corner of Broadway Avenue & Cherry Street in Seattle.  This is particularly appropriate because Carl Linnaeus was Swedish.  Here there are a fairly wide number of plants, some of medicinal value, each listed by their common names & the botanical Latin names that Linnaeus gave them during his lifetime (1707-78). Linnaeus published Species Plantarum, the work that was the starting point of modern botanical nomenclature, in 1753.  The garden is small & pleasant, certainly worth a visit, if you are on First Hill, or at nearby Seattle University.  Swedish Medical Center has also created a vivid tropical garden here at the entrance to its campus on Broadway.  The Seattle Public Utilities Green Gardening Program has used these gardens as a case study for Transitioning to Sustainable Landscape Practices.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Washington DC Sculpture Gardens

The Hirschhorn Museum is in the center background.


Hirshhorn Museum Sculpture Garden (3 photos above)


National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden (2 photos above) These photos were taken in April 2016.

Click here for more photos of the sculpture gardens.

The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden & the Hirshhorn Museum Sculpture Garden are across the street from each other at the National Mall in Washington DC. It's an engaging, pleasant, shaded stroll through the gardens, which are very much focused on the art. The Hirshhorn Museum & other buildings create an interesting backdrop. And of course, the museums themselves are very much worth visiting. The National Gallery of Art was given to the people of the United States by Andrew W. Mellon, a very wealthy man who served as Secretary of the Treasury from 1921 to 1932. The collection is mostly European & American art from the Renaissance to the present day, with loan exhibitions displaying art from other cultures & periods, The Hirshhorn Museum displays modern art from the period following World War II. It opened in 1974 with the endowment of the collection of another wealthy man, Joseph H. Hirshhorn. The building is an open cylinder set on four massive piers, with a large fountain in the central courtyard, sculptural in itself & controversial once completed.  Both sculpture gardens feature modern art pieces.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Pike Pine Corridor


Pine Street & 15th Avenue


Pine Street & 12th Avenue


Union Street & 10th Avenue.  One story facades were incorporated into new buildings.

Chophouse Row between 11th & 12th Avenues, Pike & Union Streets 


10th Avenue between Pike & Pine Streets


Pike Motorworks on Pike Street between Harvard & Boylston Avenues


Pike Street & Summit Avenue


Plymouth Pillars Dog Park between Pike & Pine Streets above Interstate 5. These photos were taken in June 2016.

Click here for more photos of the Pike Pine corridor.

The Pike Pine corridor runs along the edge of Capitol Hill in Seattle, dividing it from the Central District at its eastern end & First Hill at the western end. It is officially know as the Pike/Pine Conservation District. Some say the corridor continues on through Downtown to 1st Avenue. While Pike & Pine Streets originate there, that area is better known as a part of the Downtown Retail Core. Pike & Pine streets are just one block apart. The corridor is 2 or 3 blocks wide, including Union & Madison Streets east of Broadway Avenue & running from Interstate 5 to 15th Avenue, about a mile in length. The surrounding area is one of the most densely populated in Seattle. The Central Seattle College & Seattle University campuses both sit at the edges of the corridor. as does Cal Anderson Park. The Egyptian Theater is a significant historic building within the corridor.

The Pike Pine corridor began to be seriously rebuilt during the Housing Bubble of the mid-2000s & continued again during the Tech Boom of the mid-2010s. Many large apartment buildings of 6 or 7 stories with ground-floor retail were built during those periods. The area had been filled with 100 year old warehouses, thrift stores, auto repair shops & auto dealerships before that time. But there were also bars, coffee houses & restaurants. Broadway Avenue E was the more interesting & much more lively retail district on Capitol Hill before that time. But Broadway has only one retail strip, while Pike Pine covers a retail area of several streets & many side-streets.

In 2009, the City of Seattle expressed its intention to promote the conservation of the corridor’s existing historic character by limiting new development to a scale compatible with the established development pattern, accommodating arts facilities & small businesses at street level, & encouraging the retention of the existing structures & their architectural features that establish the district’s architectural character, especially buildings older than 75 years & those related to Seattle's original auto row. What happened was that a few buildings of 3 or 4 stories were refurbished, while many buildings of 1 or 2 stories were gutted & their facades incorporated into large apartment buildings. But much remains essentially unchanged.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

The White Hills

Arctostaphylos pungens (Manzanita) & the La Madre Mountains

Agave utahensis

Pinyon-Juniper Woodland 

Pinus monophylla (Single-leaf Pinyon)

Red Rock Canyon beyond the woodland

Yucca schidigera


On the last Friday in January 2016, we went to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. We hiked more than 6 miles around the White Rock Hills on the White Rock Loop Trail.  In the canyon between the hills & the La Madre Mountains, there was a Pinyon-Juniper Woodland. We saw quite a variety of plants. There were manzanita & a dozen other shrubs, 6 species of cactus as well as 2 species of Yucca & also Agave utahensis. The climb up through the canyon gave spectacular views & wasn’t difficult. The descent into Red Rock Valley was less interesting & the last 2 miles, along the lower edge of the White Rock Hills, through desert scrub, was exhausting. We hiked for almost 4 hours & never stopped to rest.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay Ferry


Vancouver Island is shown in the 2 photos above.

The waters of the Straight of Georgia


British Columbia Lower Mainland is shown in the 2 photos above. These photos were taken in August 2014.

The Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay ferry route is run by BC Ferries between Lower Mainland (Vancouver Area) & Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.  The crossing takes 1 hour 40 minutes.  It's a beautiful voyage.  The photos above show the progression from Departure Bay near the city of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island to Horseshoe Bay near Vancouver BC.  The route is mostly open water across the Straight of Georgia with stunning views of the mountains, hills & forests on each side of the straight.  The Straight of Georgia is part of the Salish Sea, which also includes the US waters Puget Sound & the international waters of the Straight of Juan de Fuca, among other bodies of water.  Nanaimo is a charming little city for tourists willing to travel beyond Victoria. 

Friday, November 3, 2017

Olympic Sculpture Park








Photos were taken in September 2014.

The Olympic Sculpture Park is one of the finest gardens, public spaces & tourist sites in Seattle.  You can walk here fairly easily along the waterfront from the Seattle Aquarium, through Belltown from the Pike Place Market, or from Seattle Center.  It's about one mile from the market along Western Avenue, or from the aquarium along Alaskan Way & only half a mile from the Space Needle.  It features interesting sculptures, excellent native plant gardens, wonderful views of Elliott Bay, Puget Sound & the Olympic Mountains.  A charming part of the park is the pocket beach on Elliott Bay, which was created there, yet looks completely natural.  One of the most impressive sculptures is Wake by Richard Serra, consisting of 5 large rusted steel pieces, set in a small valley, creating a shaded micro-environment.  The Olympic Sculpture Park was created by the Seattle Art Museum, which can be found in Downtown Seattle on 1st Avenue at Union Street.  The park opened in January 2007.  It covers 9 acres & connects to Myrtle Edwards Park, which extends along the waterfront to the north.  The Olympic Sculpture Park is not gated & entry is free.  The park is open during daylight hours every day of the year.  There is pay parking available in the garage beneath the PACCAR Pavilion. 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Portland International Rose Test Garden





These photos were taken in October 2014.

The Portland International Rose Test Garden is located in Washington Park in the hills above Goose Hollow, near the Alphabet District.  It is fairly easy to walk from those locations.  The excellent Portland Japanese Garden is nearby in Washington Park.  While I wouldn't be inclined to visit the rose garden if it were the only attraction there, it is certainly worth a stop when visiting the Japanese garden.  If you are walking up from the city below, you can easily pass through the rose garden on your way to the Japanese garden.  As far as rose gardens go, this one is quite extravagant.  There are over 7,000 rose plants on 4.5 acres.  It's all very nicely arranged.  There is an excellent view of Mt Hood.  But my enthusiasm for roses is limited.  The plants aren't particularly attractive.  The flowers vary in color, but all pretty much look & smell the same.  Roses are probably the most beloved & common garden flower.  That explains both the allure & also the unexciting nature of this garden & rose gardens in general.  Roses are evaluated here & Portland is the only North American city that gives awards to roses from around the world.  Portland is known as the City of Roses.  The Portland Rose Festival has been held in the city every year in June since 1907.  The garden opened in 1924.