Hydrangea Heaven

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I just spent two weeks in the Pacific Northwest. Since our daughter and her family live there, we visit frequently, but typically at Thanksgiving or in mid-winter. This time we managed to arrive in July. What a treat! With blue skies, light breezes, and puffy white clouds, the weather was (mostly) perfect. All that rain during the fall, winter, and spring results in stunning summer gardens, with emerald green lawns and towering trees. And the flowers! Yes, the rhodies and azaleas were done, but the hydrangeas were in full bloom. Everywhere we looked, we saw huge flower clusters of bright pink, magenta, white, and most noticeably, pure sky blue.

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Is that a Northwestern Crow?

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I spent Thanksgiving week in the Pacific Northwest, visiting family (granddaughters!) and friends. Somehow, in the midst of tickles and snuggles, craft projects, and a delicious turkey dinner, I managed to squeeze in an hour of birding—and it wasn’t even raining.

Since we were in Federal Way for lunch that day, we headed for the tiny Dumas Bay Sanctuary. And I do mean tiny. If you walk north along the narrow beach, you quickly run into signs warning of private property. And if you head south instead, the park boundary markers stop you after only a few yards. At least the birds have permission to trespass, and we birders have binoculars.

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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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Be a Garden Tourist

bellevuebg_lah_6629Where does a gardener want to go on vacation? Probably somewhere with a beautiful public garden or two.

I make a point of visiting Colorado’s inspiring public gardens. I’ve written about many of them already, and I’m always searching out new ones. There we can see plants adapted to our area and get new ideas for our own yards. Once there, I invariably start making notes, taking photos, and mentally redesigning my perennial border. It’s fun, but not exactly relaxing.

When I visit gardens in other parts of the country (or the world), it’s a totally different experience. Instead of relating everything back to my own landscape, I unwind and just enjoy the gardens for what they are.

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