A friend recommended that I take a Ferry from Seattle WA. over to Bainbridge Island for a quick tour. The ferry ride alone is a treat for those who are used to being landlocked, With the stunning Seattle skyline views to the East and a quaint Northwestern Puget Sound Village to the West I knew Bainbridge Island Tour would be rewarding. I departed the ferry and headed for Downtown Bainbridge. Even in January the town was alive with shops, restaurants, citizens and tourist making their way around the City of Bainbridge, and I must admit it was inviting, but I had come to see nature. On a whim I hit find parks on the GPS and it returned Bloedel Reserve. Only 6 short miles from downtown I headed up 305 toward Bloedel Gardens.
I love gardens and the natural landscaping. With very little information on the Bloedel Reserve I didn’t know what to expect. The gate was closed and an attendant came out and told me admission was $13 dollars and ask if I wanted to come in. Upon entrance I was told to park in the only parking lot and come into the guard house for instructions. The only way to view the Bloedel Reserve is to walk. You can see all of the grounds on a 2 hour walk or you can choose to walk directly to the main house if you are not up to the long walk. You are given a guide which explains how and why the Bloedel’s transformed this 180 acres of former timberland into a blend of natural and naturalized landscaping.
I highly recommend that you devote the 2 hours and walk the complete trail. Some of the notable things you will see is a man made pond designed to attract ducks. This pond was so thoughtfully created that is allows ducks to live there but has straight sides and is deep enough to keep dogs and other animals from walking in and grabbing up waterfowl. The trees are second growth forest but are still large and impressive. One can even see a Dawn Redwood along with all of the other native trees like Hemlock, Douglas Firs and Birch trees. Make sure to visit the Japanese Garden and Guest House. The Gate and Dry Garden was designed by Dr. Koichi Kawana, and the Guest House was designed by Paul Hayden Kirk, a Seattle Architect. Surplus wood from the U.S.S. New Jersey was used on the floor of this quaint but impressive guest house. The main house and surround gardens are breathtaking as well as the view of the Puget Sound from the back of the house.
I can honestly say that I was continually in awe of the spectacular views and perfectly thought out gardens and landscaping. I took hundreds of images and could have easily take hundreds more. I visited in the middle of winter and can only imagine what it must be like in Spring or in August when fall is in it’s full glory. This place is a must see for those that have a love of horticulture and gardening. The history is notable and the story of the Bloedel’s and the Collins family who owned the property before that. If you are in Seattle you must plan on a visit here as it is well worth the time and money.