Visiting Bellevue

August 3, 2017

While in Seattle last month visiting my son, I dragged my family to yet another garden – the Bellevue Botanical Garden.  While the most famous Bellevue is in New York and houses mentally ill, this Bellevue is for people who are crazy about gardening and plants, which would be me.

From their website:

“The Bellevue Botanical Garden is an urban refuge, encompassing 53-acres of cultivated gardens, restored woodlands, and natural wetlands. The living collections showcase plants that thrive in the Pacific Northwest.  Our demonstration of good garden designand horticulture techniques inspires visitors to create their own beautiful, healthy gardens.”

The garden is part of the city of Bellevue parks, near Seattle, WA.  Admission is FREE!  And what a treat lay in store for us.

The gardens contain a Dahlia display, water-wise garden, bog, Japanese garden, perennial garden, Fuchsia garden, fern garden, rock garden and rhododendron display.  A “Ravine Experience” takes you on a walk through native Northwest forest along a path that has a suspended bridge.  There is a spring display, visitors center, learning center, gift shop and the home of the family that farmed the land originally.

The Pacific Northwest Climate is great for plants.  Long, wet winters that don’t get too cold are followed by dry, warm, breezy summers with cool nights.  The soil is very deep, poorly drained organic soil formed in herbaceous and woody deposits in depressions in river valleys and glacial till plains.  Poor drainage is a virtue in their dry summer growing season.  The herbaceous and woody deposits mean that the soil is rich in organic matter.  These attributes make it a gardener’s paradise.

a brief tour

The perennial border was by far the most colorful and striking of area of Bellevue in my opinion.  They had it all!  Salvias, lavender, day lilies, hydrangeas, dahlias, black-eyed Susans, and some that I did not recognize.

Notice the contrasts of color and texture.  Day lily grass-like foliage against the lacy spray of lavender; The bright primary color of the day lily combined with the soft complex lavender color makes a wonderful combination.  Notice also that things are planted in drifts.  There isn’t just one lavender, but a row of lavender with day lilies interspersed.  The drift of red-orange cone flower was just stunning.

The Seattle soil ph averages about 5.4 – just perfect for hydrangeas.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen any this blue.


And look how that blue contrasts with that lime-green meta sequoia!   Placing the lacy fern texture next to those huge bold, blue blossoms is also quite remarkable.


Take a look at this contrast of texture!  And check out the addition of a stele to contrast with the soft foliage surrounding it.


My husband is standing in the rock garden.  The bog garden was a sea of green.  Take a look at this Incrediball Hydrangea below.  Wow!

Bellevue was spectacular.  Immaculate grooming and beautiful weather made this garden a true delight.  I leave you with my parting photo of the native Pacific Northwest woods.


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I am a retired CPA who is now a Master Gardener. I spend my time gardening, doing tile mosaic, and visiting grandchildren.

    1. BBG is a great garden. I’ve visited 3 times and it never disappoints. On your next trip to Seattle, put the Bloedel Reserve and Elizabeth C. Miller Botanic Garden on your list.

      1. Thanks Marian! Will do. Thanks for visiting the site.

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