A Bloedel Break

If you’ve been working steadily in your backyard for nearly three months and decide you need a break, what do you do? If you’re Leslie and Loren you return to Bloedel Reserve to see what’s in bloom. We were surprised to see for more visitors than we’ve ever seen before even though the gardens didn’t seem quite as beautiful as it is in other seasons.

Which is not to say that it wasn’t a delightful respite from moving cement blocks and laying cement tiles in our backyard. Huge hydrangea took center stage on this visit; this one was a personal favorite.

Small purple flowers along the trail contrasted with the dazzling hydrangea.

With so few plants in bloom, even this simple white flower attracted attention.

If this was an azalea,

it stood out not only because of its brilliant orange color but because it was also the last one in bloom.

Spring at Bloedel Reserve

When Friday was predicted to be rain free, Leslie suggested that we finally return to The Bloedel Reserve since they told us there would be more flowers shortly. They weren’t wrong. There were early native flowers, like these Red Currants

and fields full of magnificent Skunk Cabbage.

Of course, there were also a lot of non-native flowers blooming, particularly camellias like this is pink beauty.

There was also some of the earliest Rhododendrons I’ve seen, like these beautiful white ones.

Of course, it would be Bloedel Reserve if we didn’t see flowers we’ve never seen before like this exotic specimen.

There weren’t a lot of birds, but most of them seem accustomed to seeing people and were more than willing to have their photo taken.

As temperatures approached the 60’s it was impossible to deny that there was a lot more Spring in my step than there has been for nearly a month.

A February Visit to the Bloedel Reserve

It’s been a strange winter here in the Puget Sound area. The mountains have lots of snow, but we’ve only had light snow here in Tacoma. On a particularly sunny day last week we decided to return to The Bloedel Reserve to see what was happening.

Judging from the number of flowers we saw, Spring is about to happen, even though they were shut down for snow a few days before. We had barely begun our walk when we encountered these white flowers blooming.

A few yards further along we saw two young deer nibbling on the flowers.

Although I brought my birding lens because I’d seen so many birds on my last visit, all I saw this trip was this male Bufflehead and two females.

Mostly, though, we saw flowers that I half-recognize but can’t quite remember their name.

I promise that in my next lifetime I will memorize the names of plants and flowers. Until then, I’m stuck just admiring their beauty wherever I find them.

It’s not surprising that I don’t know the name of this flower because I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before.

We see this flower often enough that Leslie actually told me its name, but since I’ve resigned myself to not knowing flowers’ names I’ve managed to forget it already.

Luckily I’m a firm believer in Shakespeare’s “A rose by any other name would still be a rose.”

Upon Further Reflection

With local birding rather slow, we decided to go back to Bloedel Reserve, figuring that at least it would be cool in the forest while getting our daily walk. It turned out to be a beautiful day. I took the Canon SX60HS thinking I could get some shots that I couldn’t get on previous visits. The wide-angle setting allowed me to get this shot of the Bloedel Home from across the lake.


Not sure why, but I really like this shot, enough that I included it even though it doesn’t really seem to go with the rest of the shots in this post.

No, circles are the motif for this entry, perhaps inspired by this symbol that graces the long bridge crossing the ravine in the forest. Not sure what it symbolizes, but somehow it seems to hold the bridge together.


I’ve tried to photograph it in previous visits, but this is the first time I’ve had a wide enough angle to shoot it directly overhead.

It occurred to me that many of the flowers I shot Wednesday were circular in nature, like this blue Hydrangea


and this pink Hydrangea.


The uneven petals on this flower seem joined by the ball in the center,


while this ball seems held together by the flowers.


Further reflection might suggest that what holds them together is their late-summer pinks and purples, not just their circular nature.

Further, further reflection might also suggest it is their beauty that ties them together.

Further, further, further reflection also seems to suggest, particularly if you’re a postmodernist, they’re merely held together by some tenuous sense of beauty in Loren’s brain and really have nothing in common at all except Loren’s brain which needs to tie things together rather than let them be what they are, whatever that might be.

Logan at Bloedel Reserve

Having started the day at 4:30 AM, we had plenty of time to take Logan to the Bloedel Reserve before lunch at a favorite Thai restaurant. We had barely gotten out of the car when we spotted this beautiful Tiger Lily.

Tiger Lily

At the first pond we spotted several birds, including a small flock of Cedar Waxwings

Cedar Waxwing

launching themselves from the trees on an island to catch dragonflies.

I knew from our previous visit that there should be Hooded Merganser ducklings,

Hooded Merganser Ducklings

and Logan spotted them on the far side of the large pond near the main house. I had never managed to get this close to them before.

There were a number of flowers in the gardens around the main house, but I liked how these purple flowers and white lily had escaped their respective areas and were fraternizing with each other.


We even managed to get in some exercise after spending the morning taking pictures of herons and eagles at Seabeck.