The second week in May is bursting with color in neighborhoods all over the region as flowering trees and blooming shrubs were busy putting on a show for Mother’s Day.
Now that the special day has passed, and with smaller budgets in mind, how about giving Mom your time and spending the afternoon enjoying a local public garden?
These gardens are either free or charge a nominal fee and you don’t have to visit just on Mother’s Day. They are open year round and have at least some pathways that are wheelchair and stroller accessible.
• Lakewold Gardens in Lakewood, www.lakewoldgardens.org, 12317 Gravelly Lake Drive S.W., 253-584-4106; Admission: $5 adults, $3 seniors and students, children free.
This 10-acre estate in Lakewood features a Georgian-style manor house surrounded by wisteria, topiary, European statuary and water features. An English-style knot garden and newly renovated fern garden will inspire serious gardeners but the lake and mountain views are stunning to anyone. Lakewold is home to the rare and beautiful blue Himalayan poppy and after trying for several years to grow this delicate perennial I’ve decided to give up and enjoy it by visiting Lakewold every May.
• Closed Loop Park in Lacey, http://gardening.wsu.edu/closedloop/, 2418 Hogum Bay Rd., 360-438-6691; Admission: Free.
Also known as the display garden at the city dump, this 2-acre teaching garden is planted on top of a landfill and features a peony collection with more than 90 varieties and a display of sedums and succulents that is beautiful enough to be featured in national magazines. You can also learn more about composting and using native plants and there are new plants on trial at this garden. Pathways and benches make this garden an easy place to visit with Mom or the kids.
• Federal Way, Powellswood, A Northwest Garden: www.powellswood.org, 430 South Dash Point Rd., Federal Way, 253-529-1620; Admission: $5
This green paradise is hidden in a residential neighborhood and nestled into a forest setting that feeds your soul with peace and quiet. There are eight different garden rooms, walking paths, a stream and water gardens, perennial borders and a conservatory-style garden room that offers protection from rain storms. If your mom loves the forest or has a garden that is mostly shade, Powellswood will inspire with many woodland trees and shrubs.
• Bellevue Botanical Garden, www.bellevuebotanical.org, 12001 Main St., Bellevue, 425-452-2750; Admission: Free.
You and Mom could spend hours here on the broad paths through 53 acres of woodlands and display gardens but visitors from around the globe come to admire the spectacular perennial borders. The design is a living work of art and you’ll be stunned at the way colors and textures flow like a living tapestry. Be sure to save time to visit the gift shop and bask in the sun by sitting on a boulder in the rock garden display.
• Sissinghurst and Great Dixter, Near London, England, Phone Enumclaw Travel at 360-825-6531 or visit www.binettigarden.com.
Take Mom along for a real splurge and join me in England and Scotland this September for a tour of gardens, castles and pubs. Believe me, traveling to England is considered a bargain this year as the value of the pound drops and airfare to Europe is at a record low. We’ll spend 10 days visiting private gardens, rose gardens and my favorite garden, Sissinghurst, with flowers blooming up the walls of a decaying castle and the ghost of the notorious Vita Sackville West. Great Dixter is another grand English estate garden but this one is noted for the shocking beauty of bold color combinations and outlandish topiary. We travel with a small group in a private coach and can match you (or your Mom) with a roommate if you like. England and Scotland has a climate similar to ours and visiting their gardens offers a mother lode of growing inspiration – without the perspiration.
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Marianne Binetti has a degree in horticulture from Washington State University and is the author of “Easy Answers for Great Gardens” and several other books. For book requests or answers to gardening questions, write to her at: P.O. Box 872, Enumclaw, 98022. Send a self-addressed, stamped envelope for a personal reply.
For more gardening information, she can be reached at her Web site, www.binettigarden.com.
Copyright for this column owned by Marianne Binetti.