Sunday, May 1, 2011

~Bloedel Reserve~

My parent were here visiting a couple weeks back and although the weather wasn't stellar, it was nice enough that we were able to go out on a couple of "field trips". The first was to a place called the Bloedel Reserve. It's the former estate of a lumber magnate and his wife and now is a public garden. The estate is 150 acres in total, with about half of that developed gardens and the rest are wooded areas. Much like the Chase Garden I blogged about last month, The Bloedel Reserve is dedicated mostly to native plants and natural plantings. Our walk started at this gate house which is a more recent structure and serves as a gift shop and starting point for tours.

The most formal plantings in the whole garden are around this gate house and even those have a natural feel with the drifting heather.

From the gatehouse we followed a bark path which marks the trails throughout the garden and headed for the sheep sheds.

Past the sheds there were bulbs here and there in the grass

Past the meadow, we entered a more wooded area.

And we were greeted by some wildlife..not a bit scared of us.

We passed this beautiful red flowering currant - I've got one in my yard but it sure doesn't look like this!

We soon came to a beautiful area known at the Bird Marsh

And we did see a few water fowl including this pair of geese

It was a very pretty spot I could have stayed at for a while

But we kept moving into an even more heavily wooded area via a trestle bridge and elevated boardwalk.

Which had what I think is the family symbol embedded in it.

I was so proud of my Mom for walking the whole 2 miles of trail, even in the slightly steeper wooded areas with not much rest. Having my Dad at her side probably helped :-)

No matter how long I live here I don't think I will ever get tired of seeing the beautiful moss covered surfaces of the Pacific Northwest forest.

I get caught up in details like this moss covered stump

At the base of this tree I found a little treasure trove of mushrooms

Not sure if they were edible but they sure were cute!

What struck me in this area were the many shades of green. Can you count them all?

But there wasn't just green..there was some color along the way too. Like these native bleeding hearts.

And "skunk" cabbage which reminds me of calla lilies.

Here's a view of the neat boardwalk that allowed us to walk over some wet areas where the skunk cabbage grows. Keep in mind...this was someone's "yard" at one time.

As we emerged from the woods we saw a beautiful weeping willow

It is really an idyllic setting

And it flanks the drive up to the former Bloedel home

Here's another shot of the willow from a different angle

There was a plant sale going on that day. I'm not sure how, but I didn't come home with anything!

We were able to tour the first floor of the house. I loved this beautiful bouquet made from items on the grounds. That's Mr. Bloedel in his searsucker jacket on the wall.

Behind the home is a beautiful view of Puget Sound

To the side of the house and down a little hill is an overlook to a waterfall

We followed a trail from this point and walked through this beautiful little stand of birch trees

This trail leads to a beautiful spot called the Christmas pool. It was a gift to Mrs. Bloedel from her husband.

This area has more perennial flower plantings than many of the other areas because they were things she liked. Like this beautiful hellebore.

The pool is lined in pretty spring blooming natives as well

Including these pretty pink fawn lilies. I bought one like it at a plant sale a few weeks ago. I really am envious of the space to let these kinds of plants naturalize. My little yard just doesn't allow me to let things go...I have to corral them! lol

Next we crossed over a little bridge

And up the side of the creek

Then into another wooded area which had a lot of pretty groundcovers like this mix of pulmonaria, oxalis and bleeding heart.

More beautiful moss covered trees in this area

And I spied some trillium

We came across a beautiful old rhododendron along this walk

I love these little oomphaloides and I love their name too!

I'd love to have one of these Mayapples (podophyllum). I love their shape.

There were so many little "wild" flowers. These yellow dog violets were so cheery.

Lots of places to stop and sit throughout the garden

Towards the end of the trail we got a glimpse of the backside of the beautiful weeping willow

And found ourselves at the Japanese garden

The cherry trees were beginning to drop their pretty pink petals

The Japanese Garden features a guest house & zen rock garden

I loved the checkerboarded stepping stones

The gate leading out of the Japanese garden - that is black mondo grass flanking each side of the walk.

Leaving the Japanese garden and heading towards perhaps the most interesting part of the Reserve...the moss garden.

Most every other low growing vegetation was removed from this area and moss transplanted in

The effect is amazing. We were told its very hard to keep it up

There are a few other plants including the skunk cabbage..but they seem to really blend in with the greenish yellow moss theme

At the end of the moss trail is a reflecting pond where you can see mirror images of the firs that tower around it. The Bloedels are buried in this area because it was a place they loved.

Back down the moss trail

And our tour was over! Here are the front side of my parents...I seemed to lag behind them the whole time :-)

Hope you enjoyed the walk! I'm joining in for Mosaic Monday over at Little Red House. Go check it out.


SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Gorgeous place! I love the moss and the skunk cabbage.

Alison said...

Great tour! Again, like with the Chase Garden, you saw areas that I didn't! This was such a marvelous place. I did come home with plenty of new plants.

Debbie@Mountain Breaths said...

Gorgeous area Suzy!! I love the wild bleeding hearts, and love seeing them on my walks through the woods. The hellebore is lovely!

Why I garden... said...

Beautiful photos, landscaping and plants. Looks like a great day out!

Kathleen said...

Looks like a great place to visit! Good for your mom! She is blessed to be able to walk so far.

Foley said...

Suzy - you have taken some amazing photos - you need to blow some up to frame! I may be emailing you to send me some of them for notecards if you wouldn't mind!!!!!
Womderful place to spend the day, so happy you had a good time with your parents.

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