Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Chelsea Physic Garden

Chelsea Physic Garden July 2009

Mimulus Chelsea Physic Garden July 2009

 Sir Hans Sloane Chelsea Physic Garden July 2009

Romneya coulteri Chelsea Physic Garden July 2009

Thymus serpyllum Chelsea Physic Garden July 2009

I visited the Chelsea Physic Garden on July 2, 2009.  Because the climate of southern England is similar to Seattle, Portland OR or Vancouver BC, the plants in this garden appeared much as they would in the Pacific Northwest in July.  From my journal: I had breakfast at the hotel with a very friendly Kentuckian.  I took the tube to Sloane Square.  It reminded me of New York City.  I walked to the Chelsea Physic Garden.  It didn’t open until noon, 2 hours later.  I walked on the Chelsea Embankment along the Thames River to Pimlico Garden.  I took the tube back to the hotel.  I had a lousy lunch of ho fun at a Chinese restaurant.  In Seattle that is called chow fun.  I wanted to ask the waitress about that.  But I overheard another customer ask her what came with the lunch special.  ‘Day of soup,’ she said.  I got it, but the guy was completely mystified.  I thought I would pass on my ho fun question. I went back to the Chelsea Physic Garden.  It was very hot by that time 33C/91F.  The tube was sweltering.  I had to change trains twice.  There were endless corridors & stairs.  It was hard to remember to keep to the left.  But I enjoyed the Chelsea Physic Garden very much.  Even though the plants were arranged in double rows in long rectangular beds, rather like books on a shelf, it was quite charming.  There was a lovely rectangular pool.  Children were sprawled beside it dipping nets into the water.  There were glasshouses & a few naturalistic planting beds.  The garden was established in 1673, not opened to the public until 1983.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection

Acer buergerianum May 2010
Acer palmatum May 2010

 Rhododendron x indicum 'Kakuo' May 2010



On a hot afternoon toward the end of May, I visited the Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection at the Weyerhauser corporate campus in Federal Way with a friend from California.  It was hot & bright between the stucco walls, where they kept the overwrought specimens.  We crossed the plaza to enter the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden.  It was pleasantly shaded there.  Since it was May, there were many Rhododendrons in bloom.  The woman who sold us our tickets told us the yaks were out.  My friend expected to see hairy beasts.  She was a bit disappointed with Rhododendron yakushimanum.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Rosa hirtula at the Washington Park Arboretum

Rosa hirtula May 2010

Rosa hirtula May 2010
Rosa hirtula May 2010

Rosa hirtula May 2010

I was walking with a friend in the Washington Park Arboretum, on a sunny & warm May day, when we saw Rosa hirtula.  We had neither ever seen a bird nest in a rose before.  It was a mighty big rose.  You can see it on the service road that sets out from the Graham Visitors Center parking lot.  Rosa hirtula is not far south of the bee hives.  The tag is easy to find.  Rosa hirtula comes from Japan, where it grows in the area around Mount Fuji.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Waterfall Garden in Pioneer Square

Waterfall Garden April 2010

Waterfall Garden April 2010

Waterfall Garden April 2010

Waterfall Garden April 2010

The Waterfall Garden in Pioneer Square in Seattle is an amazing place, the finest artificial waterfall I've seen.  The size of the waterfall & the amount of water that cascades over the basalt boulders seems barely contained by the tiny park.  Yet there is room for tables, benches, planting beds & 2 small fountains.  The space is covered on 2 sides by canopies, making it possible to sit, eat & watch the tumbling water while it rains!  The Waterfall Garden was designed by Masahiro Kinoshita and completed in 1977. It was commissioned by James Casey, a founder of the United Parcel Service & funded by the Annie E Casey Foundation. The garden sits on the site of the 1907 birthplace of United Parcel Service at 2nd Avenue S & S Main Street, very near Occidental Park & the Klondike Museum.  You can grab a sandwich from the Grand Central Bakery in the beautifully restored Grand Central Hotel at 1st Avenue S & S Main Street.  Enter from Occidental Park.  The Waterfall Garden, Klondike Museum & Grand Central Hotel (which also contains shops) together make a very satisfying excursion to Pioneer Square, an easy walk from Downtown Seattle.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sidewalk Gardens of Cascadia Ridge

Cascadia Av S Sidewalk Garden June 2010
This parking strip is devoted almost entirely to Lupinus.

Cascadia Av S Sidewalk Garden June 2010
Pavers were set down the center of the parking strip, surrounded with Leptinella squalida. The few shrubs came later, a very welcome addition.  Here is Spiraea japonica 'Goldmound.'

This very small park was developed in 2005 on vacant city land, where Cascadia Av S & Lakewood Av S meet S Ferris St.  It feels very much an extension of the sidewalk.  Here is Iris sibirica.
Cascadia Av S Sidewalk Garden June 2010
It's very nice when sidewalk gardens include both sides of the sidewalk.  This garden was completed in 2008.  Lavandula stoechas is a popular sidewalk plant.

Traffic Circle at 37th Av S & S Horton St June 2010
I have nothing but praise for people who garden in Seattle's many tiny traffic circles.  Some generous gardener planted this beautiful Campanula persicifolia.

37th Av S Sidewalk Garden June 2010
I would never put pots out on the sidewalk.  This is the work of a very trusting gardener.  Nice fence, don't you think?

38th Av S Sidewalk Garden June 2010
This garden includes the parking strip on Cascadia Ridge's main arterial, 38th Av S.

Cascadia Ridge is part of the Mount Baker Park neighborhood in the southeastern section of the City of Seattle.  Construction on the neighborhood was begun in 1907, with most houses built by 1930.  The sidewalks are old & cracked.  Sidewalk gardens are a recent addition.  Most have been planted within the past 15 years.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Waterfall at Union Square

2 Union Square April 2010

Source of the Waterfall at Union Square April 2010

Waterfall at Union Square April 2010

 Waterfall at Union Square April 2010

Waterfall & Courtyard at Union Square April 2010

The waterfall in the courtyard at Union Square in Downtown Seattle is a treat.  You will find a bountiful amount of splashing water, easy to approach on several levels because it is flanked by flights of stairs.  (Kids are sure to love it!)  The design of the waterfall works well with the tall building (2 Union Square) behind & above it.  The water leads your eye up toward the skyscraper & appears to spring from the tower's base.  There is a 2nd, smaller waterfall across the courtyard.  The planting design isn't wonderful, the paving is mundane & there is very little seating.  But the cascading water is reason enough to visit the courtyard during your jaunt downtown.  It is located very near the center of the retail district at 6th Avenue & Union Street.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Azalea Way

Azalea Way May 2010

Azalea Way May 2010

 Quercus robur 'Concordia' May 2010

Tag for Quercus robur 'Concordia'

Magnolia 'Randy' May 2010
Magnolia officinalis var. biloba May 2010

Kolkwitzia amabilis May 2010

Azalea Way is the most prominent feature of the Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle.  In a rather unusual arrangement, the arboretum is both a city park & the University of Washington Botanic Garden.  The City of Seattle owns the land & the UW owns the plants.  Two sets of gardeners work the Washington Park Arboretum. The city maintains the trails, benches & lawn, while the UW Botanic Gardens maintains the gardens, trees & plant collections. There is more to see along Azalea Way than just azaleas.  Very conveniently, many of the trees & shrubs have tags that say, 'Hello, my name is...'  Early May is prime time for Rhododendron.  But you can also see Magnolia, Syringa & Kolkwitzia.  In April the flowering cherry trees bloom.  It's a charming place & a pleasant walk in any month.  When you start from the Graham Visitors Center, Azalea Way will lead you to the very lovely Japanese Garden.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Harbor Steps

The Harbor Steps April 2010
 The Harbor Steps April 2010

The Harbor Steps April 2010

The Harbor Steps in Downtown Seattle is a broad flight of stairs that span the width of University Street between 1st Avenue & Western Avenue.  The planting design is spare & uninspired.  But the hardscape (a series of steps, terraces & expansive water features that qualify as both fountains & waterfalls) is quite nice.  Restaurants & shops line the steps.  There are many places to sit, some with shade from trees.  The land is too steep here to accommodate a street with vehicular traffic.  Before the Harbor Steps were built, there was a fence across a high retaining wall & a narrow staircase.  The Harbor Steps are a very pleasant way to move from Downtown to the Waterfront.  They are directly across from the Seattle Art Museum, very near Benaroya Hall & the Garden of Remembrance, close to the Pike Place MarketPost Alley connects to the Harbor Steps at their center.