Sunday, May 20, 2012

Lakewold Gardens: Elegance Combined With Classic Pacific Northwest

I'll never forget the time I first saw rhododendrons blooming in Seattle, Washington. It was a little more than 10 years ago.  I heard that rhodos are legendary in the Pacific Northwest.  
But still I wasn't prepared. 

 I was a passenger in a car, driving with my family and having realized I was seeing giant rhododendron shrubs blooming en masse I gasped loud enough that everyone in the car, including the driver--my poor husband--thought an accident was imminent.

The shrubs can grow very large, reportedly as much as 100 feet tall. The flowers themselves are large and they bloom in clusters. And they seem to come in just about any color you might want including pink, red, white, blue and yellow.

I am still in awe every time I see them.  
They are a stunning part of the Pacific Northwest landscape. 
The Lakewold Gardens in the Seattle area has gorgeous woodland gardens 
and boasts as many as 900 rhododendrons on site. There are about fifty of another favorite Northwest staple, the Japanese maple trees. 

Lakewold began as a new property in early 1908, and the original owner intended it for a summer cabin. The property was eventually donated in 1987 as a non-profit estate to preserve 
its famous garden for public and private use.

The current home on the property is large but unpretentious. The elegant gardens definitely steal the show, beginning at the front door with this statuary, a moss covered tree, and a large expanse of lawn.

That lawn and the property is engulfed by wooded gardens of large trees and shrubs. The initial garden layout is thought to be influenced by the Olmsted Brothers, of Central Park fame in New York, who designed numerous landscapes in the Seattle area, including a system of city parks. In the 1950's the garden was formally designed by Thomas Church, another famous American landscape designer. 

Walking into the back yard, I didn't anticipate the stunning
views I would see in this park like setting with a view of Gravelly Lake,

boxwood parterres and a wisteria covered patio. There is also a view of 
Mt. Rainier, though it wasn't visible on this partly cloudy May day.

This beautiful herb garden sits close to the 
back of the home near the kitchen.

Additional boxwood parterres line a walkway

studded with cherry trees that lead to a tea house at the edge of this 10 acre garden.

The view of the tea house is just as gorgeous as the view from the tea house.

Inviting benches throughout the garden surrounded by the rhododendrons are picture perfect.

My favorite view is that of the pool with blooming cherry trees;

they are stunning and definitely add elegance to this garden.

Pale pink rhododendrons also provide a great backdrop for the pool.

Tucked and hidden in the wooded areas toward the lake are several areas designed for peace and quiet.
 I loved  the small garden room dedicated as the Peace Garden.

It did feel peaceful here and I am glad that I took the opportunity to relax.

And, only after sitting here for a while did I notice an unexpected ornamental sculpture
seemingly carved into the bark of tree, and something I would have missed
if I didn't sit down and just let my eyes wander.

Nearby, a reflecting pond

 mirrors back beautiful images of colorful trees and sky. 

I could look at these trees all day.
Japanese maples are irresistible

for color, form and texture. 

And what could be more perfect than a picnic in the shade near the lake?
Well, a picnic table made only from tree trunks and

with moss spreading through the center like a table runner, that's what.

And then, just beyond the table,
there is a colorful glimpse of Gravelly Lake. 

Walking out from the wooded garden

without a second thought I silently add the Lakewold Gardens to my growing list of personal favorites.

This is GardenEnvy.

Copyright 2012 by jayro.


  1. Gorgeous photos, the place looks so atmospheric!

  2. Oh my, truly astonishing rhodos and azaleas! They do not grow so well in my part of the country. What a lovely garden visit.

    1. Mark and Gaz, spurge:

      So glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for the visit!

  3. Hi Jeannine, what a great post about the Lakewold Gardens! This is a stunning, stunning garden and you photographed it so well. Actually I didn't know that rhododendrons grow so wonderfully in the Pacific North West. The blooming cherry trees are very lovely, too. My favorite picture is the one looking out from the tea house. It must be absolutely delightful to sit there and enjoy a cup of tea! You added Longwold Gardens to your personal favorite list and I had to add it to my must see list after reading your post :-)! Thanks for sharing!

    1. I loved the view from the tea house, it was also one of my favorites!

  4. I so much enjoyed these photos when I clicked and enlarged them going through each of inspiration. Truly lovely, and so well photographed. Thank you.

  5. Thanks for your visit and your kind words! Glad you enjoyed it.

  6. It's great to see some one collecting information like this. Thanks for sharing!
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