Celebrate in the garden during MayFest at Lakewold Gardens

Some plants at Lakewood’s Lakewold Gardens might be more than 100 years old, but its nonprofit isn’t

Staff writerMay 2, 2014 

In its first year, a garden sleeps. In its second year, it creeps, and in its third year, it leaps. Or so the saying goes.

To see what a garden does in its 104th year, you’ll have to visit Lakewold Gardens. Though the estate on the shores of Gravelly Lake dates to 1910, the nonprofit that runs the 10-acre site is celebrating its 25th anniversary with MayFest.

The 10-day event beginning on Friday will feature displays, exhibits and activities.

Debuting during MayFest is Lakewold’s latest garden, the Don and Mary Williams Garden Room. Funded by The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, the new 10,000-square-foot garden has an Asian-inspired theme created around an existing Japanese maple.

On May 7, Lakewold will observe its 25th anniversary. In 1987, the last private owner of Lakewold, Eulalie Wagner, donated the entire estate to The Friends of Lakewold. The gardens were officially opened on May 7, 1989.

Before Wagner died in 1991, she made her motivation for the gift clear: “As we become more and more city creatures, living in man-made surroundings, perhaps gardens will become even more precious to us, letting us remember that we began in the garden.”

Wagner invited noted landscape architect Thomas Church to redesign the gardens with her beginning in 1958.

MayFest Highlights

The Tacoma-Olympia chapter of Ikebana International will have more than 20 displays of the Japanese-style of flower arranging throughout this weekend. Members of the Olympia Bonsai Club will display their work and give demonstrations on the training and growing of Bonsai this weekend as well.

Student musicians will perform a variety of music on Saturday, May 3, and on May 10. Performers include Paul Twedt piano students, the Tacoma Youth Symphony student quartet, student harpist Sophia Joosten and Peninsula Youth Symphony student quartets.

Military personnel can enjoy free admission to the gardens on May 5. A 2-for-1 admission deal is being offered the same day for all other visitors.

Lakewold’s first jewelry fundraising sale May 9-11 will feature a variety of lightly worn and vintage pieces. The proceeds will be used to improve the Rock Gardens.

Stone carver Keith Phillips will set up his bench and tools in front of The Garden Shop on May 10 to demonstrate his techniques. Phillips has worked on the Capitol in Olympia and the refurbished Stadium High School and creates stone carvings for home and gardens.


 • The history of the gardens and the Wagner House.

 • Local art presented by The Lakewood Arts Commission. (reception 4-6 p.m. Friday, May 2)

 • Art from Natalie Oswald, Lois Yoshida and Allison Agostinelli. (May 6-11)

 • Work by the Olympia Weavers Guild. (May 6-11)

Craig Sailor: 253-597-8541

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