1 On Saturday morning we all drove to The Bloedel Reserve, located on Bainbridge Island.
2 We were met by Edward Moydell, the Executive Director of The Bloedel Reserve.
3 Edward briefed us before the tour. The Bloedel Reserve was created by Prentice Bloedel, the son of a prominent lumber company owner, and his wife, Virginia, who resided on the property from 1951 until 1986.
4 We saw a very interesting grass and stone border. I may be inspired to try something similar near my stables. Bloedel took an early retirement from the MacMillan Bloedel Timber Company in 1950 to devote the balance of his life to the creation of the gardens of what is now The Bloedel Reserve.
5 We walked through this lovely meadow, which is purposefully left plain to clear one's mind before experiencing the beautiful landscapes beyond. The Bloedels once kept a flock of sheep here. In late summer, the grass grows quite tall and ripples in the breeze.
6 This is the reflection pool, combining the elements of earth, sky, trees, and still water. The pool and hedges tame the forest with geometric precision and the mirror-like pool invites quiet contemplation.
7 Our group - all garden experts - Edward Moydell, Ryan, Karen Brindley, Jonathan Wright, Stuart Alter, me, Memrie, Ilene Vultaggio, Dennis Schrader, and Bill Smith
8 The moss room has a dense living carpet. Plants grow from decaying stumps and this landscape is lush and mysterious.
9 There were so many great ferns. Although Bloedel was advised by and worked with noted landscape architects, the overall vision for The Reserve’s gardens was his alone.
10 You can see here how a tree began growing inside the stump of another. There are so many unexpected surprises, like this one, throughout The Reserve.
11 These are the roots of a toppled tree.
12 The roots have been cleaned and remain for visitors to enjoy as natural sculpture.
13 Many trees are covered with soft green moss.
14 Epimedium, like those in my gardens, are quite lush.
15 This is part of the Japanese garden, designed by Seattle Landscape designer and nurseryman, Fujitaro Kubota.
16 Throughout the year, there are wonderful contrasts of colors and shapes, providing great tranquility.
17 The Dry Garden uses elements of stone and sand to evoke meditative moods. It was designed by Koichi Kawana, professor of landscape architecture at the University of California.
18 Prentice Bloedel said, “We have been influenced by the Oriental attitude toward nature and the expression of it in Japanese and Chinese gardens. They have mastered the art of creating compositions using plants, earth and water, which induce visual and aesthetic emotions.”
19 This Japanese-influenced structure was built as a guest house and a swimming pool used to occupy the space where the Dry Garden is now. The Bloedel family had many fun pool parties here.
20 The interior of the guest house
21 Amazing ornamental grass
22 This thick carpet is a type of variegated pachysandra. The Reserve is made up of 150 acres.
23 We were all amazed at the size of this hyrangea! Jonathan and Bill seem so small next to it.
24 Moss-covered stones and so many different types of plants
25 Here I was lamenting at the size of these tree peonies! They thrive in the Washington climate.
26 I would love to see these gardens in the spring when the azaleas and rhododendrons are in bloom.
27 This unusual plant is in the lysimachia family, but no one in our group could think of its name. I have since been informed that it is Lysimachia paridiformis var. stenophylla NN0918 from a Jens and Remy Nilsen collection in China.
28 A closeup
29 Prentice Bloedel was deeply interested in the relationship between people and the natural world, and the power of landscape to evoke emotions from tranquility to exhilaration.
30 This is exhilaration!
31 Our next steps took us from the deep woods into a formal European landscape accented by lakes, towering trees, and stately weeping willow. There's a dramatic view of Bloedel's former residence.
32 We entered the stately French country-style home, which now serves as the Visitor Center.
33 The living room
34 A cozy library houses a collection of 1,400 horticultural and botanical books, available for reading and research on site.
35 An old map of the area
36 The back side of the house has a commanding view of Puget Sound's Port Madison Bay near Agate Pass.
37 The view
38 There are many wonderful books for sale in the gift shop.
39 Each of us in our group was given a very thoughtful gift. Many thanks!
40 Prentice Bloedel's vision was “to provide refreshment and tranquility in the presence of natural beauty,” and he certainly succeeded!