Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Summer Travels 2015 - Part 1: Seattle, Washington, USA

This post was supposed to go up almost two weeks ago, right after we got back from our weekend in Seattle. Then, however, we had a long string of house guests, and there was work, and then there just never seemed to be enough time. So here it finally is, one post to cover the various garden-related sights we visited or came across while in Seattle. Somehow I took less pictures than usual, though there are still quite a few. Perhaps the loveliest single horticultural attraction we enjoyed was the Volunteer Park Conservatory. Built in 1912, it is much like the historic conservatories in many other big American cities, and not a particularly large example of the type at that. However, I was very impressed by how immaculately maintained it was, with all the plantings not only in a perfect state of cultivation but also beautifully arranged. This was true throughout all sections of the complex - the Palm House, Fern House, Bromeliad House, Seasonal Display House, and Cactus House

The front entrance to the Volunteer Park Conservatory

One of numerous orchid displays in the Palm House

Another orchid display

A particularly lovely Vanda tessellata

 The lush, though not very ferny, planting of the Fern House

A stunning Epiphyllum hybrid in the Fern House

In the Bromeliad House

A view of the Seasonal Display House

In the Cactus House

We also visited the University of Washington Botanic Gardens and the Seattle Japanese Garden contained within them. Here, in particular, I somehow failed to take as many pictures as I should have. However, I did buy some cool plants from the Pat Calvert Greenhouse by the visitor center: saplings of the tea shrub (Camellia sinensis) and Camellia 'Showa-No-Sakae', a Hesperantha coccinea, and a Jasminum parkeri. If I did not have to bring the plants back in my carry-on I would have happily bought more; they had plenty of very cool plants propagated from the arboretum and that at very reasonable prices.

An Inca lily (Alstroemeria ligtu cv.) in the Chilean section of the arboretum

Flowers of a catalpa, probably of the southern kind (Catalpa bignonioides)

In the Seattle Japanese Garden

 The lily pond in the Japanese Garden

Finally, there are many lovely plants and gardens we saw just by the wayside around town; here are just a few.

A pool and bell tower outside a chapel on the campus of Seattle University

An unusual hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla cv.)

A beautiful yellow montbretia (Crocosmia cv.)

All sorts of Crocosmia cultivars in particular were blooming perfectly all over the city, making me wish all the more that I could get some established in the garden here. The bulbs of Crocosmia crocosmiiflora that I planted in May did not come up at all, and the seedlings of Crocosmia 'Lucifer' that I raised over the winter indoors are still growing, but tiny as they are not getting much light or air in the jungle-like growth of the July garden. Maybe I will have to try again with some fully grown potted specimens next year.


  1. Great pictures of two places that I haven't visited even though they're only an hour drive from my house. Better change that soon. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I really did enjoy both a lot! Also, if you visit the Botanic Gardens and end up getting any plants you can actually grow them all outside year-round, unlike me here. We will have to come back for more visits and see some of the sights a bit further out, too. This time we pretty much stuck to places within downtown Seattle.

  2. Very interesting place! I like the orchids and colorful foliage, so beautiful!

    1. Glad you enjoyed these snippets! It is a wonderful city quite apart from all the plants as well; we had a lovely time.


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