Ebenezer Roberts, Point Defiance’s first gardener, never liked things planted in a straight line. He used to carry white pebbles in his pocket, and when he went to plant trees, he’d throw the pebbles in the air. Where they landed was where he planted.
In 1898, the U.S. Department of Agriculture planted about 100,000 tulip and daffodil bulbs on a two-acre plot at Point Defiance park. A few years later, the bulb farm moved to Bellingham. It would become a showcase for the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.
In 1901, Point Defiance Park’s first greenhouse was built. The structure measured 25 by 100 feet and cost $2,000. It initially served as a greenhouse for plant propagation, as well as a display greenhouse for exotic plants, such as banana and palm trees.
The original Hare & Hare Architects plan of 1911 set the tone for the development of the park. It called for a more established garden zone. The plan also called for the planting of English ivy, which would become a problem for gardeners all over Tacoma because of its invasive nature.
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Steve Herbig, parks maintenance lead at Point Defiance Park, swears that one of the bucks at Point Defiance likes to play hide-and-seek with him. The deer have become such a problem at the park that fences have been put up around the rose garden.