Recently we went to the Washington Arboretum near the University of Washington in Seattle. We have gone there many times in the past but have not been there for quite some time. We love to walk the trails and learn about the plants from all over the world. In the past we have met up with friends but this time we ended up just going as a family on a day off from school. The park does get busy on the weekends, especially when the weather is nice but if you get there early enough the parking is easy to find.
One of the new things we found was a garden from New Zealand. We loved a bunch of plants we saw, particularly some of the grasses. There was also a fabulous view from the gazebo at the top of the hill which the kids loved.
These trees were part of the New Zealand section of the Pacific Connections Garden which featured plants from all over the Pacific. Even though parts of this garden were installed as far back as 2013 we had not been to this part of the Arboretum since then and it was great to see how the gardeners had restored this section of the park. It was beautifully done.
Up the hill from the New Zealand section was a bunch of gigantic Japanese Camellia plants. The flowers were as big as my hand! We loved seeing these, especially since they bloomed the same week as our camellias at home which was exciting for the kids.
I tried very hard to get a good picture of a salmon berry flower the last time we were out on Whidbey Island and was very unsuccessful. I could not get it to focus because there was just enough wind my phone couldn’t find a spot to focus on. I did however get this picture at the Arboretum and I am pretty happy with it. Salmon Berries are native to the Pacific Northwest and are some of the first native foods for bees in our area. I love their flowers and the kids look forward to eating them every summer.
After looking over the gardens at the top of the hill we wandered down to the playground for a bit then back up the hill. We took a detour after looking at some rhododendrons to check out a swampy area near a stream. I believe these are ostrich ferns but I could be wrong. They were very beautiful.
What is a swampy PNW area with out skunk cabbage? Even though they smell pretty badly I love their yellow color. I tried to get a close up but didn’t want to damage any plants. These were a nice bright spot amongst the green.
We were lucky enough to hit the tail end of the cherry blossoms at UW. We did not walk up to campus to look at the larger collection but checked out the ones along the large path at the Arboretum. We love cherry blossoms at our house and it was nice to see them in a much less crowded area. They had both pink and white and both were amazing!
We love the Arboretum and have plans on going back more frequently this year so the kids can see the changes in the trees and plants over a period of time. I love that we have this place in the city where you can go see a variety of plants and everything is free. In the past we have taken picnics and enjoyed an afternoon out in nature.