A Walk In the Park

How do you follow up a recent visit to the most extensive Rhododendron garden in the State? If you’re me, you take a vigorous (exhausting?) walk in Pt Defiance Park with stops at the Rhododendron Garden and the Iris Garden.  

I prefer exercise that doesn’t feel like exercise, i.e. bird watching or visiting extensive gardens, because I don’t notice how tired I am while looking at birds or flowers.  Sometimes I don’t notice it at all, but, at worst, I only notice it after I’m at  home in front of my computer and have trouble getting up after sitting for too long.

Though my favorite place to see Rhododendrons is in the Cascades near Mt. Hood, the Pt. Defiance Rhododendron Garden is a close second because they are so well integrated into the Old Growth Forest that they seem entirely natural, even if they’re really not.  In fact, I’m not sure there’s a single native Rhododendron in the garden. 

It’s hard not to appreciate the beauty of Rhodies like this red and yellow variety

or this purple beauty.

In the last few years they’ve even integrated Azaleas into areas with more sunlight.

The Rhododendron garden is about a mile and a  half from our front porch, so it provides a great rest stop.  Another mile on the loop is the Iris garden which is quite beautiful this time of year.  I think I tend to favor more traditional-looking Iris like this one, 

but they also have some very original, and modern-looking, varieties, too.

After pausing to admire the iris, it’s a “mere” mile up hill,  back to our house and I manage to get my  30 minutes (or more) of aerobic exercise without driving all the way to the Y.   

Pt Defiance Rose and Dahlia Gardens

Debbie and Jeff’s recent visit to Tacoma finally managed to get me out of the garage where I’ve been frantically working on bathroom cabinets for the last month. Since Debbie is a Master Gardener, we took her to see the Point Defiance Rose Garden

where roses and, my favorites, dahlias, were in full bloom. I really do prefer Dahlias to roses, so it’s not surprising that my favorite shots were of dahlias like this beauty.

Although the beauty of these flowers probably are enough, I couldn’t resist shooting some from a different viewpoint, as in this shot

It’s easy to see how I got inspired to try drawing mandalas recently.

Rhodie Heaven

For a short while every year the Pacific Northwest may well be the most beautiful place on earth when our Rhododendrons bloom, and this has been a particularly good year for Rhodies.

We took our out-of-town visitors to the Point Defiance Rhododendron Garden and they seem almost as impressed by it as I have always been. I doubt that any kind has ever had a more royal purple than the purple Rhody at the entrance of the garden.

If that shade of purple doesn’t please you, there were many other shades.

I’ll have to admit, though, that I tend to favor the pink rhodies which come closer to the native rhodies found in the mountains.

The garden also features a bright yellow rhodie, the only one I’ve ever seen.