Home & Garden

No cleaning. No clutter. Often no cost. Take Mom to visit a show garden

A stone lantern sits beneath an arching willow, next to a pond in the Japanese Gardens at the Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle.(Lui Kit Wong/The News Tribune)
A stone lantern sits beneath an arching willow, next to a pond in the Japanese Gardens at the Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle.(Lui Kit Wong/The News Tribune) The News Tribune

Mid-May is time to celebrate the lushness of flowers in bloom and Mother’s Day.

Consider treating yourself or your mom by visiting a show garden this week. If she or loved one doesn't want more “things” to clean, store or eat, a show garden visit or a membership to a garden foundation — with all the privileges and natural beauty it includes — might be just the ticket to a growing new interest.

And remember, the best things in life are free — and some of these spectacular gardens.

The Washington Park Arboretum

Located near the University of Washington campus at 2300 Arboretum Drive in Seattle, the Washington Park Arboretum offers more than 200 acres of trails, specimen trees, azaleas, rhododendrons and woodland plants. Plus there's a lovely visitor center (you can rent it for meetings) with a gift shop and rest rooms.

There's a fee to visit the world famous Japanese Garden at the arboretum, but the rest of the gardens, including the guided tours, at this grand public garden are free.

So what if Mom has slowed down or has difficulty walking? You can pay to have a guide and a cart driver take a small group onto the trails, beneath the blooming trees and up close to any blooming thing Mom wants to view. (Be sure to make reservations for private tours or tours with a cart.)

You can get more involved by joining the Washington Park Arboretum Foundation. Take classes, volunteer with like-minded people and have first dibs at the plant sales and to buy tickets for the arboretum events. Some garden lovers join the foundation just to have first peek at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival gardens and attend the gala each February.

Now there’s a gift Mom doesn’t have.

More info at https://botanicgardens.uw.edu.

Bellevue Botanical Garden

Not far from the heart of Bellevue at 12001 Main St., this horticultural treasure offers something for every interest — from a ravine garden experience on a bridge through the forest (kids will love it) to a serene Japanese garden and a rock garden with miniature plants.

There's also the Short groundcover gardens , spring courtyard display and, of course, the awesome perennial borders. (Last year , while visiting a famous garden in England, our travel group was asked about the spectacular perennial borders they had heard about in Bellevue, Washington. Yes, we said, the Bellevue borders are spectacular — and free!)

The garden has a fancy new visitor center with classroom space and a lovely gift shop. Your mom will love a visit to this garden and then you’ll be just a few miles away from all the shopping and dining that Bellevue has to offer.

Open daily dawn to dusk. Free admission.

For more info on classes, volunteer opportunities and events visit www.bellevuebotanical.org.

These next show gardens charge a small fee, but you’ll have a more intimate viewing experience and more take-home ideas as both of these gardens were originally private home gardens.

Powellswood — A Northwest pleasure garden in Federal Way

Some Federal Way locals don’t even know about this living treasure at 430 S. Dash Point Rd., but once you enter this plant collector’s paradise, you’ll want to visit again, become a volunteer or just pack a picnic and spend the day.

Three acres of designed garden areas are set into 75 acres of woodlands to explore. Powellswood also includes an elevated viewing platform if Mom does not want to do much walking.

Hours are 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday–Saturday with a special Mother’s Day Tea.

Get all the details from their website at Powellswood.org.

Lakewold Gardens — A mansion set amidst blooming Tacoma history

Even if Mom does not have a thing for gardens, she will love the classic Georgian mansion registered as a historic landmark and the spectacular setting overlooking the water at 12317 Gravelly Lake Drive SW in Lakewood.

There will be special treats this Mother’s Day weekend and Mayfest at Lakewold lasts all month with amazing local artists, including those from Clover Park High School.

Lakewold Gardens offer a series of programs for children and works with the community to help all ages enjoy this 10-acre jewel. You can view state champion trees, see the rare blue poppies in bloom, gasp at the rhododendron collection or study the famous Thomas Church formal layout of the gardens.

The entrance fee ranges from $ 7 to $9, depending on age and kids are always free.

Now here’s a great deal — become a member of Lakewold Gardens, pay a tax deductible fee of $35 and you’ll enjoy free admittance all year, plus get a quarterly newsletter, special invites to member events and a reciprocal arrangements with more than 300 other show gardens for free admission..

The garden is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. for Mayfest and closed on Mondays.

For more details. visit www.lakewoldgardens.org