Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017

Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017
Mission San Juan, December 30, 2017

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Gardens - Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Peaceful, serene, beautiful, fragrant, charming, exotic, tropical, lovely, experiential -- all describe how I feel about gardens. We have seen our share of gardens in locations around the world.

It's spring here in the Northern Hemisphere. Let's get in the mood for spring and summer flowers with a look at these beautiful places. You'll have to indulge my inclusion of so many Pacific Northwest gardens...they are world class! We did live in the area for over 30 years.  (I do not have photos at some of the gardens as we were there before I had a digital camera. Links have been included for you to view the awesomeness at those gardens.)

The Pacific Bonsai Museum, 2515 S. 336th St., Federal Way, WA 98003
This beautiful garden with museum has 100 bonsai in its collection, about 60 of which are on display at any given time. The bonsai come from Canada, China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and the United States. The collection was started by Weyerhauser Corporation in 1989. Even though the garden is small, its uniqueness and the artful shapes of the trees make up for the lack of size. A Domoto Trident Maple is a featured bonsai tree which is 100 years old in 2015. This garden is a gem south of the Emerald City. The Bonsai Museum is free and donations are accepted. Next door is the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden which charges a $5 admission. All of this is about 20 minutes south of Sea-Tac Airport in Seattle.

Butchart Gardens, 800 Benvenuto Ave, Brentwood Bay, BC V8M 1J8, Canada
Butchart Gardens is the granddaddy of rock quarries turned into gardens. From the first time we set eyes on this grand old garden, we were hooked. Over a century ago Jennie Butchart started building one of the world's premier floral show gardens. My personal favorite garden here is the Sunken Garden. Other gardens include The Italian Garden, The Rose Garden, Japanese Garden, and Mediterranean Garden. 
Portland International Rose Test Garden, 850 SW Rose Garden Way, Portland, OR 97205 
Drive up a hill through elegant old homes to Washington Park overlooking downtown Portland, Oregon. There you will find a world-class rose test garden. On a clear day Mt. Hood can be seen standing proudly in the distance. Do your best to visit in June or July when the roses are blooming in their full glory. You can sniff your way to heaven on the scents emanating from roses in full bloom. The primary purpose of this garden is to serve as a testing ground for new rose varieties. Different sections are the Gold Medal Garden, International Rose Test Garden, Miniature Rose Test Garden, and the Shakespeare Test Garden. While you are in Washington Park, be sure to visit the Portland Japanese Garden a short drive up the hill.
The Oregon Garden, 879 W Main St, Silverton, OR 97381  Below is a write-up from their website:
"We are an 80-acre botanical garden, featuring more than 20 specialty gardens showcasing the diverse botanical beauty that can be found in the Willamette Valley and throughout the Pacific Northwest. We have educational specialty gardens for everyone, from the Sensory Garden and Rose Garden to the Children’s Garden and Pet-Friendly Garden, or the Silverton Market Garden and Amazing Water Garden. We also offer a complimentary narrated tram tour April– October, and we are pet-friendly."
Here are some photos from our cold, windy, rainy autumn visit to The Oregon Garden.

I see a sea monster!
Dancing trees
Split by lightning a few days before we arrived
Reflecting ponds
Hunter Valley Gardens, 2090 Broke Road, Pokolbin NSW (New South Wales) 2320, Australia  This is Australia's largest display garden. Below is a description of the garden from their website.
"Nestled at the foothills of the Brokenback Ranges, in the heart of the Hunter vineyards, you will find ... Hunter Valley Gardens - over 60 acres of spectacular international display gardens ... will amaze you with sensational sights, colours, fragrances and adventures. Exploring over 8 kilometres of walking paths, visitors are able to experience each of the ten individual feature gardens with a range of statuary and superb feature gardens, all of a standard you won’t see elsewhere in Australia."
Here are our photos from Hunter Valley Gardens taken in November 2012.

Bob in Indian Tea House
Moongate Garden

Male Superb Fairy-wren
Fashionably late!
Huge hedge around Border Garden
Border Garden
Bob standing under hedge
Red-browed Firetail

Skinks, methinks!

Cape Chestnut - native to Africa
Water lilies
Willie Wagtail bird
Booderee Botanic Gardens, Booderee National Park, Village Rd, Jervis Bay Territory ACT 2540, Australia

From the ParksAustralia.gov website is the following information about Boodaree Botanic Gardens:
"Booderee Botanic Gardens are the only Aboriginal-owned botanic gardens in Australia. Here visitors can learn about bush tucker and medicinal uses of plants and the long association that Koori people have with the area and the plants of south eastern Australia."
Bob is not much of a botanic garden kind of guy. But he is a good sport. He told me to go ahead and explore Booderee Botanic Gardens while he took a nap in the car. Jolly good.

Off I went armed with a map of the gardens, my camera and a bottle of water. As I set out on a rather deserted track through brush, my imagination and worries kicked in. What if I fell? What if I got lost? What if a poisonous snake or spider bit me? But I pressed on and quelled the demons. Come along, take a look at what I found...
Delicate flowers all over this tree
Booderee Botanic Garden trail
Turpentine tree
Broad-leafed paperbark
If you were a 'roo wouldn't you want to live here?

Walking through the botanic garden all alone, feeling like the only person experiencing it, is great. However, it's disconcerting when you feel you're being watched! 'Roos and wallabies have perfected the art of standing stock still in the forest and watching. If you don't look closely, you'll miss them. I enlarged the photo below so you could see what I mean. If one of them hadn't been in the sun, I would have missed them all together.

Can you find two 'roos?
Echidna (small hedgehog-like animal)

Japanese Tea Garden, Brackenridge Park, 3875 N St Mary's St, San Antonio, TX 78212
San Antonio's Japanese Tea Garden was built in the abandoned Alamo Cement Company quarry over 90 years ago. The sunken garden showcases koi ponds, stone arch bridges, a waterfall, an island, exotic plants, and a two-story, stone, open-air pagoda overlooking the garden. The Jinghu House Cafe is at the entrance to the garden. This garden is a delightful find and is located next to the San Antonio Zoo.
Entry gate
Under the pagoda
Going into the sunken garden
Water lily seed pod
Exotic sunken garden landscape
Pagoda with downtown San Antonio in the background
Portland Cement Company ruins
Koi pond
Jerusalem sage (phlomis fruticosa)
Waterfall in sunken garden
Pond and bridges
San Antonio Botanical Garden, 555 Funston Pl, San Antonio, TX 78209 
This 38-acre botanic garden showcases Texas landscapes and habitats. The towers of the indoor pavilions housing the fern grotto, palm and cycad collection, tropical collection, and desert pavilion are often photographed for their space-age appearance. The garden is divided into a number of areas: South Texas, East Texas Piney Woods, Hill Country, Rose Garden, Old-Fashioned Garden, Sensory Garden, Wisteria Arbor, Children's Garden, and Kumamoto En (Japanese Garden) [not to be confused with the Japanese Sunken Garden above].
 The following photos are mine:

Botanic garden pavilions

That's enough gardens for this blog. I do want to mention one more: Mother Nature's Garden. Here in South Texas we are currently getting a wonderful wildflower display. Enjoy the flora wherever you may be.


  1. I do love a garden! When we visited the Japanese Tea Garden the ponds were empty, nice to see them filled with water and koi!

    1. Not only do I love a garden, I love to garden. We've had some beautiful yards in places we've lived. I especially enjoyed working in our terraced garden in our backyard in Hawaii.

  2. NICE collection of garden images! Thanks for sharing!!

    1. You're welcome. I didn't even put in the tropical gardens in Hawaii that I like so much!

  3. I feel like I've been on a mini-world tour of gardens! I've always loved Butchart. I hope we get to the Silverton area this summer or fall. I loved your post from there when you were on your State Capital tour.

    1. I hope you make it to Silverton, Oregon too. It's a great little town. Quite a few buildings have murals on them. Plus you've got The Oregon Garden there and Silver Falls State Park just about 1/2 hour to the east of Silverton.

      I'll be heading up to Oregon from June 13-23 this summer for the American Volkssport Association Convention in Salem and will be doing walks every day all over Oregon and one or two in Washington state as well.

  4. We went to Hunter Valley Gardens in July 2013 and participated in a 5K race there. I loved the photos you posted of all of the gardens. One of my favourites is the Public Gardens in Halifax, NS in Canada. If you ever get a chance to go there it is well worth the trip.

    Sean at His and Her Hobbies

    1. Sean, Thanks for the tip on the Public Gardens in Halifax. I put it on my bucket list of places to visit.

      Thanks for stopping by my blog.


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