The second week in May is bursting with color in neighborhoods all over the region as flowering trees and blooming shrubs put on a show for Mother’s Day.
Mother’s Day traditionally is a day to give flowers to show Mom you care. But with smaller budgets in mind, consider giving your time and spend the afternoon enjoying a local public garden.
These gardens are either free or charge a nominal fee and you don’t have to visit just on Mother’s Day.
They are open year-round and have at least some pathways that are wheelchair and stroller accessible.
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Lakewold Gardens in Lakewood
Contact: www.lakewoldgardens.org; 12317 Gravelly Lake Drive S.W., Lakewood; 253-584-4106.
Admission: $5 adults, $3 seniors and students, children get in free.
This 10-acre estate in Lakewood features a Georgian-style manor house surrounded by wisteria, topiary, European statuary and water features. An English-style knot garden and newly renovated fern garden will inspire serious gardeners, but the lake and mountain views are stunning to anyone.
Lakewold is home to the rare blue Himalayan poppy and after trying for several years to grow this delicate perennial, I’ve decided to give up and enjoy it by visiting Lakewold every May.
Closed Loop Park in Lacey
Contact: http://gardening.wsu.edu/closedloop; 2418 Hogum Bay Road, Lacey; 360-438-6691.
Also known as the display garden at the city dump, this 2-acre teaching garden is planted on top of a landfill and features a peony collection with more than 90 varieties and a display of sedums and succulents that’s beautiful enough to be featured in national magazines.
You can learn more about composting and using native plants, and there are new plants on trial at this garden. Pathways and benches make this garden an easy place to visit with Mom or the kids.
Powellswood in federal way
Contact: www.powellswood.org; 430 South Dash Point Road, Federal Way; 253-529-1620.
This green paradise is hidden in a residential neighborhood and nestled into a forest setting that feeds your soul with peace and quiet.
There are eight garden rooms, plus walking paths, a stream, water gardens, perennial borders and a conservatory-style garden room that offers protection from rain.
If your mom loves the forest or has a garden that is mostly shade, Powellswood will inspire with many woodland trees and shrubs.
Bellevue Botanical Garden
Contact: www.bellevuebotanical.org; 12001 Main St., Bellevue; 425-452-2750.
You and Mom could spend hours on the broad paths through 53 acres of woodlands and display gardens, but visitors from around the globe come to admire the spectacular perennial borders.
The design is a living work of art and you’ll be stunned at the way colors and textures flow like a living tapestry.
Be sure to save time to visit the gift shop and bask in the sun by sitting on a boulder in the rock garden display.
Sissinghurst and Great Dixter, near London
Contact: Enumclaw Travel at 360-825-6531 or www.binettigarden.com.
Take Mom along for a real splurge and join me in England and Scotland this September for a tour of gardens, castles and pubs.
Traveling to England practically is a bargain this year as the value of the pound drops and airfare to Europe is at a record low.
We’ll spend 10 days visiting private gardens, rose gardens and my favorite garden, Sissinghurst, with flowers blooming up the walls of a decaying castle and the ghost of the notorious Vita Sackville West.
Great Dixter is another grand English estate garden but this one is noted for the shocking beauty of bold color combinations and outlandish topiary.
We travel with a small group in a private coach and can match you (or your mom) with a roommate if you like.
England and Scotland has a climate similar to ours and visiting their gardens offers a mother lode of growing inspiration – without the perspiration.
Marianne Binetti has a degree in horticulture from Washington State University and is the author of several books. For gardening questions, write to her at PO Box 872, Enumclaw, WA 98022. Please send an SASE for a personal reply. She also can be reached at her Web site, www.binettigarden.com.
Buds and Blooms Festival
“How to Eat Your Front Yard” at 3 p.m. Saturday at Federal Way Commons. For more details, call Rose at 253-261-0207.