Sunday, May 23, 2010
Sunday stroll at Lakewold Gardens
My parents were in town for a few days so being the good daughter that I am I took them to visit a place in town, Lakewold Gardens, that I've been wanting to visit for years...hehe...just a tad self serving, but I knew they would enjoy it too. I had a very bad experience ordering flowers for my Mom this year on Mother's Day...let me just warn you (my readers) don't order online from FTD!!!! She never got her flowers..at all...so I thought a garden full of flowers might make up for it a little.
A little history about the gardens...the plot of land sits on Lake Gravelly, now surrounded by mansion like homes. Remember, you can click on each picture to make them larger.
When it was originally bought for development in 1908 it was probably pretty woodsy as is much of the land around here, but over time the various owners transformed it into a showplace of a garden..manicured and wild at the same time. You can read about the history of the gardens HERE. In the 1950s, the latest owners had the help of Thomas Church who was a respected landscape architect who gave us the concept of "outdoor rooms". The linked article HERE about Church's connection to Lakewold gives more detail about some of its features. It was him that designed the beautiful Rhododendron walk as you enter the gardens.
We were told by the guide that there are over 900 rhodies in the garden and over 200 different varieties. This is one of the more unusual.
Some more recognizable
So many different colors
Some of interesting leaf shapes
Even the mess of losing their petals is beautiful in this setting...that's a bed of oxalis flowering under the rhodies.
After doing a rhodie "loop" you link up with the long curving driveway which is flanked by more rhodies and mature shading trees. There's almost a southern feel to this section of the gardens, reminding me of similar scenes featuring azaleas in my Louisiana home.
It's along this drive that you begin to get glimpses of the mansion which looks very formal and austere compared to the wild beauty around it. I think that's one of the things so special about this place is how the two opposites have been combined.
The mansion is flanked by a low wall featuring two sweet statues. A young lady
And maybe her brother or beau?
I was surprised to see this camellia still blooming in front of the house. It must be a very late variety
You can walk through a portion of the home and its used today for weddings and the like. This is a view from the library onto a little patio
And a chandelier in the foyer which showcases a beautiful curving staircase.
As you come around to the back of the house you find a wonderful surprise
We visited the gardens at just the right time to see the pergola decorated with various varieties of wisteria. The fragrance was wonderful and the view from beneath is what my garden dreams are made of.
Any view is improved when you look at it through a veil of Wisteria
As you step off the patio
And look back at the mansion you are struck with the "Englishness" of this section of the garden
...with the walls and vines, kiwi in this case
And hedge knot garden
And interesting statuary
And the cutting garden which had peonies blooming at the moment
And some unique perennials like this cute little columbine.
Here are my parents enjoying the English gardenishness of it all
There is a huge expanse of lawn behind the mansion, but surrounding it and below it is a path the brings you to the more natural sections of the garden. This photo shows the natural slope of the land down towards the lake. Just a side note..what you can't see in this picture..it was just to the right... a picnic basket and a blanket laid out waiting for its wandering picnickers to return. It was just so perfect it made my heart pitter patter.
Beautiful mossed carpeted paths lead you through the shade of the trees
This is looking toward the lake. There is some very good use of natural rocks..or well placed ones that were brought in...I'm not sure its too hard to tell..
The vignettes and "rooms" that have been created within the natural areas are amazing
Obviously well planned but somehow coming across as uncontrived
This stairway leads to one of the most beautiful outdoor rooms of the whole gardens
But before we reach our destination, lets look back down the stairway and you get a feel for the variety of trees that were used in creating this woodland paradise.
And here we are...in a spot I could sit all day. This beautiful pond which has waterfalls leading to and away from it
Natural (?) bridges allow you to cross the slow flowing stream in a couple of areas
A few steps higher and your above the pond in the Peace Garden
Where there is quaint seating
And a rustic devotional....St. Francis I presume.
After pausing there for a bit of reflection you follow a short path, you emerge from the Woodland garden and enter a more formal area that is home to the Tea House
Which served as a bathhouse for the ornate pool
We missed the cherry blossoms that bloom here in the spring..but what a wonderful reason to go back next year!
Leading back towards the house is a beautiful little outdoor room with a bit of Japanese flavor
And a closer shot of that gorgeous maple
As many pictures as I've shown here its hard to capture all of the beautiful touches throughout the garden, like this cute little planter.
Filled with what I'm not 100% sure but I want to find out. Anybody have a clue? Maybe a kind of saxifrage?
There is a nice little walk leading to the giftshop where these candelabra primroses were growing
And for sale at the shop....this unusual variegated Japanese maple
If you have stayed with this tour through to the end you are quite the trooper! But just know I left out SO many pictures...so if you're ever in the Tacoma area its worth the visit to these beautiful gardens. I will close with a mosaic made from a few of the MANY photos I took of the wisteria. I'm joining in on Mosaic Monday over at Little Red House. Go check out the rest of the beautiful mosaics.