Just because it’s winter here in the Pacific Northwest doesn’t mean your garden can’t look good.
Witch hazel, winterberry, and holly, fragrant daphne and blooming hellebores all make for a colorful display even though our skies are cloudy and gray. Need proof? There are plenty of winter gardens around the greater Seattle-Bellevue-Tacoma area that can provided much-needed inspiration for you during these dull, dark, and dreary days. Here are just a few…
Joseph A. Witt Winter Garden
Washington Park Arboretum, Seattle, WA
A short walk from the Washington Park Arboretum’s Graham Visitor Center via the Hillside Trail, the Joseph A. Witt Winter Garden features a central lawn encircled by tall cedars and firs and a tremendous assortment of smaller trees, shrubs, and perennials. This garden is at its best from Late November through the end of March, when much of the rest of the arboretum is relatively quiet and subdued. Discover the garden’s striking colors, textures, fragrances, and structure. This small garden room contains a rare winter abundance of flowers, seeds, and fruit for wildlife to nibble. You’ll find winter birds make this place especially playful and lively.
Hours: Daylight hours daily
Address: 2300 Arboretum Drive E, Washington Park Arboretum, Seattle
Phone: (206) 543-0221
Seattle Garden Club Fragrance Garden
University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture, Seattle, WA
The Seattle Garden Club Fragrance Garden greets visitors with tantalizing smells and colorful flowers at the entry to the University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture. In 2007, the former Entry Shade Garden was transformed to the Fragrance Garden. The garden was renovated and refreshed in 2014-2015, and continues to be a special project of the Seattle Garden Club.
This is a garden for the senses. Come sit on one of the garden’s five benches and feel the afternoon light on your back. Watch songbirds splash in the basalt birdbath. Close your eyes and listen to the Soest Garden fountain cascade into its basin. Breathe deep and take in the garden’s rich, diverse aromas. Winter flowering plants, such as Sarcococcca and Edgeworthia, tend to have small flowers. The low temperatures and low relative humidity of temperate climates (like Seattle) make it a physically punishing time to be a flower. You’ll find that the visual cues on a small flower aren’t so strong as on large-flowered plants like hibiscus. Plants use fragrance as a tool to overcome small flower size.
Hours: Everyday dawn to dusk
Address: 3501 NE 41st Street, Seattle, WA
Phone: (206) 543-8616
Macadam Winter Garden
Nestled just off I-5 in Tukwila, the Macadam Winter Garden received a Spotlight Award from the Washington Recreation and Park Association in the category of “Best Park.” This 3/4 acre park is comprised of a series of outdoor “rooms” interconnected with a gravel path and elevated boardwalk system. Each “room” has a distinct thematic character focused on plats with particular winter interest and characteristics – branching patters, leaves, flowers, textures, fragrance, needles, and color. Elements of spring, summer, and fall are also present to provide a four-season strolling garden.
Hours: Daylight hours daily
Address: South 144th Street and Macadam Road, Tukwila
Phone: (206) 768-2822