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Enjoy the sunshine and visit local gardens

At the weekend, after a week of gardening – and in between gardening in our own yards, we love to visit local gardens (really, we do). Here are our GaGa top picks:

The Center for Urban Horticulture: a gem near University village. The landscaped gardens offer plants with year round interest, the highlight for me is the Soest Herbaceous Perennial Display Garden

And the 74 acres that makes up the Union Bay Natural Area

Heronswood, near Kingston, WA.

Heronswood botanic garden and nursery owned by plant hunter Dan Hinkley from 1987 – 2000 became a showcase for the plants he collected across the globe. In 2012 the Port Gamble S’klallam Tribe purchased the garden. For the last few years they have been uncovering its original horticultural treasures with the help of Dan Hinkley, and have made notable additions to keep the garden growing and developing.

Bloedel Reserve, Bainbridge Island, WA

Created by Prentice and Virginia Bloedel, who lived on the site from 1951-1986. He fulfilled his vision with the help of well known Landscape architects including Thomas Church (also designed Lakewold Gardens, WA) and Fujitaro Kubota (also designed Kubota Gardens, Seattle). To enter the garden you must first walk through a meadow which acts to quiet your mind, and from there you enter the gardens which move between formal and informal designs each designed to evoke a different emotion. I leave with a sense of calm and peace and surely we all need a bit more of that.

My favorite time is to go when the primula in the wet area are blooming. It is spectacular! And, I dare you not to touch or want to roll in the moss garden.

The Elisabeth C.Miller Garden, The Highlands, Shoreline

The garden is the former residence of Pendleton and Elisabeth Carey Miller. The Millers purchased five acres of land in 1948 with expansive views over Puget Sound and the Olympic Peninsula. This is also a test garden for the organization – which is run from here. Making the plant palette in this garden extraordinary!

Tours for 2016 are fully booked (they open for reservations and book up within days, in February) But, you can still visit the garden by attending one of the many classes offered by the Northwest Horticultural Society (if you are a member) or volunteering in the garden. If you are interested in this, give me a call and I will give you the details.I highly recommend it!

Open gardens, all around the region

As a member of the Norwest Perennial Alliance we look forward to the Open Garden Tours they offer free with membership. Year- round, well almost... there are areas around Washington and sometimes Oregon and BC – that have open tours in private gardens. These are always inspiring –because they are gardens like you and I live and work in.

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