Friday, January 1, 2016

South Seattle College Arboretum

The Helen Sutton Rose Garden

The Coenosium Rock Garden in the 3 photos above.

The Seattle Chinese Garden courtyard.  All photos were taken in September 2014.

The South Seattle College Arboretum is a mixed bag of gardens.  It is located on 15th Avenue SW on Delridge in West Seattle about half way between the West Seattle Bridge & White Center.  I often bring guests from out of town.  It is a bit of a gem.  I love the charm of coming on unexpected little gardens as I wander through.  The arboretum is big enough to make a bold statement, complex enough to intrigue & enchant.  It covers 5 acres.

I like the understated formal entry garden beside the funky pool made from broken concrete.  The rose garden has been remade in a pleasing form.  And for me it contains just enough roses, which is not very many.  The Coenosium Rock Garden is amazing, the best feature by far.  It's worth going to Delridge just to see that.  It's loaded with dwarf conifers, impressive granite boulders & a stream that mimics nature.  It's very well-designed.

Then there are more, smaller & older conifer gardens, like layers of an archaeological excavation.  They date back to the establishment of the arboretum in 1978, not ancient times, but fairly old for a garden.  The view of downtown from the pavilion is outstanding.  There are groves of maples & redwoods, another stream, more shaded gardens, another bridge.  You can wander in this place.

Next to the arboretum is the Seattle Chinese Garden, which at this point is an oddity.  There is a very impressive courtyard & not much else, just a small pavilion & a small pool outside the walls.  There are big plans for more, but this seems to be very slow in coming.

I hope this will convince you to visit this garden.  I think you'll be glad you did.  Just don't set your expectations too high.