Outdoor Seattle

Bellevue Botanical Garden is Shangri-La

Winter through summer the Bellevue Botanical garden for me is always an amazing spot in the middle of very stressful ten and twelve hour day that offers some real balance for thirty minutes or an hour.  The design of the park is to provide a real sense of peace.  Currently the Mexican Orange at the entrance is blooming and quite fragrant.  If you make it over to the perennial beds you can smell the lilacs that are fragrant and at the height of their bloom.  Specific collections include: an alpine rock garden, dahlia garden, entrance garden, fuchsia garden, ground cover garden, Lost Meadow Trail (with Western Red Cedar, Douglas fir, Bigleaf Maple, and Vein Maple plus native shrubs), native discovery garden, perennial border, water-wise garden, and the Yao garden (a Japanese-style stroll garden with maples, viburnums, and hydrangeas.).

This is a beautiful, 36-acre public area in the middle of Wilburton Hill Park that is encircled by spectacular perennial borders, brilliant rhododendron displays, and patches of alpine and rock gardens. Guided tours of the gardens are offered Saturdays and Sundays (April through October), beginning at the visitor center at 2 pm. The Yao Japanese garden is spectacularly beautiful in fall, when the leaves change color. One of the most interesting features of the park is the Water wise Garden, which was planted with greenery that needs little water in summer to demonstrate that not all great gardens require wasteful daily drenching with a hose or sprinkler system. The Lost Meadow Trail, which winds through a heavily forested area, and the Yao Japanese Garden are my favorites along with the perennial garden. The Yoa Garden has a traditional Japanese entry gate that leads into a garden featuring skillfully set arrangements of Columbia River basalt that is intermingled with maples, azaleas, rhododendrons and viburnums.  Japanese lanterns and an innovative rustic fence contribute to the flavor of this garden which mingles influences from East and West, and combines plant material from the Pacific Northwest with native material from Japan.

The garden is located at 12001 Main Street, Bellevue, Washington.  The park is open daily from dawn to dusk; admission is free.  Bus routes 271 and 921 have a stop at SE 1st and 116th NE.  From the bus stop the Garden is a half mile walk uphill. Blue and white city signs point the way to the Garden.  Bus routes 271 and 921 have a stop at SE 1st and 116th NE. From where you get off the bus the Garden is a half mile walk uphill. Blue and white city signs point the way to the Garden. Bus routes 230 and 253 stop at NE 8th and 124th NE. From there the Garden is .7 mile away; the walk is level until the last block. Walk south on 124th NE. Keep walking as the road takes a 90 degree turn to the west becoming Main Street. >From that point the Garden is on the left in .2 mile. (Commuter buses 261 and 272 also stop at NE 8th and 124th NE, but check times.).  Click Metro Transit Online Trip Planner for the latest information.

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