The ‘South Sound Gardens’ will again have a booth at ‘The Northwest Flower and Garden Show’ starting Wednesday, February 22nd and running through Sunday, February 26th. If you happen to be at the show, please stop and say hello.
Over the last few years I have had the opportunity to work with a number of public gardens in the southern portion of Puget Sound. I have worked for years in public horticulture and truly believe that by sharing we all become better. Rather than compete with each other for visitors we try and encourage visitors to also go enjoy some of these other garden located near by. By this collective effort we have made people aware that there are a number of great gardens in this south sound region.
All together there are six gardens that form ‘South Sound Gardens, www.southsoundgardens.com . All six are very different, from historical sites to world class plant collections to pleasure gardens. The one common denominator is that we are gardens, a place to rest the soul. You don’t even need to be a good gardener to appreciate the serenity that these gardens provide.
The Chase Garden is called “one of the ten most beautiful gardens in America,” the Chase Garden, overlooking the Paradise side of Mt. Rainier, is truly “almost Paradise” for everyone who visits. Just a short, beautiful drive from Tacoma and Puyallup.
Soos Creek Botanical Garden and Heritage Center is open to the public, pairing the experience of strolling amid inspirational, mature gardens with the fascinating local history of the Soos Creek Plateau. Soos Creek Botanical Garden is dedicated to promoting the enjoyment, understanding and conservation of plants and the natural world along with our community’s local history through education, research, and stewardship.
PowellsWood is a Northwest pleasure garden tucked away in the Federal Way neighborhood, the three acres of PowellsWood are nestled against another thirty-five acres of native successional forest. A series of exquisite hedges help define several distinct garden rooms graced with more than a thousand varieties of trees, shrubs and perennials. The woodland and the shade gardens in particular demonstrate how private landowners can use natural land features to develop stunning landscapes.
The Rhododendron Species Foundation & Botanical Garden is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to the conservation, public display, and distribution of Rhododendron species. Home to one of the largest collections of species rhododendrons in the world, the garden displays over 700 of the more than 1,000 species found in the wilds of North America, Europe, and Asia, as well as the tropical regions of southeast Asia and northern Australia. Conservation has come to be of primary importance in recent years with the destruction of Rhododendronhabitat in many areas of the world.
Lakewold Gardens offers landscape architecture by Thomas Church surrounded by rare and native plants, State Champion trees, over 900 rhododendrons, 30 Japanese maples and statuary. A Washington State historic landmark, Lakewold’s Georgian-style mansion and historic architecture complete the ten acres where visitors can step back in time to an elegant past or enjoy a relaxing moment to contemplate the future.
Old Goat Farm rounds out the six. Although not a public garden we are very interested in supporting the efforts of our friends at the other gardens and so open frequently with public open days and numerous private opens for a variety of organizations. Old Goat Farm has a small display garden and specialty nursery. We are primarily gardeners and our garden is quite eclectic. We also have a passion for animals and do some animal rescue. We have about 100 domestic type birds, 3 old goats, 2 dogs, 1 cat and 1 recently rescued Donkey. We fill our days outdoors.
I would encourage anyone who lives near a public garden to become a member and enjoy the rewards of visiting those special places on a regular basis. All public gardens need the support of the public. It would be a terrible loss to lose any of theses special places. Even as I am writing this it is pouring down rain but walking around the garden in the rain has it’s own special beauty that not everyone get to experience. If you are a member of one of these gardens you would have ample opportunity. If you don’t live close by, most of these gardens are close enough together that you can see several in one day so it makes for a nice little outing.
I’m sure you’ve heard the term, ‘Stop and Smell the Roses’, well it’s a good idea just to stop in the garden even if the roses aren’t in bloom. There will be something to smell or ponder.