Stay Dry, See Tropical Plants

wwseymourconservatory-tacoma-wa_lah_0512I love to visit Washington. The state is a gardener’s paradise.  All those dreary days translate into brilliant azaleas and rhododendrons, ferny grottoes, and towering evergreens. The trick is enjoying those gorgeous gardens when it’s raining—and it rains a lot. Sure, you can visit in the summer, when days are sunny and the sky is a sapphire blue. But what about right now?

One way to get out of the February cold and wet is to visit a conservatory. (This applies to cold and snowy Colorado, as well.) And one of my favorites is the W. W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory, located in the 27-acre Wright Park Arboretum, Tacoma. This glassed enclosure houses over 250 species of tropical and semi-tropical plant, including 200 different orchids—just the antidote for a gloomy winter day.

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Lakewold Gardens Estate

lakewoldgardens-wa_lah_0694It had been raining all week, quite normal for western Washington in late May. We were near Seattle, visiting our brand new granddaughter (our first) and her parents. But then, unexpectedly, the constant drizzle turned into blazing sunshine and dazzling blue skies!  Being a gardener, I immediately looked for the closest public garden to visit.

In this case, Pete and I took an afternoon off to spend some time at Lakewold Gardens Estate, just off I-5 in Tacoma. Once the home of Mr. and Mrs. Corydon Wagner, the estate is now owned by a non-profit group specifically dedicated to preserving the gorgeous plantings and lovely house. The property fronts Gravelly Lake and, weather permitting, provides spectacular views of Mt. Rainier.

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