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Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Visiting Lakewold Gardens in Late Winter

Designed by Thomas Church, Lakewold is an estate garden in Lakewood,  a short drive from my house and yet I seldom think of visiting.  The place has an interesting history and Tatyana of My Secret Garden posts great images of the house and gardens from time to time.  Since I was in the neighborhood on a recent Saturday, I decided to stop by.  Join me as we pass through the Olmstead Brothers influenced  ornate iron gates and explore the grounds.


This dashing fellow seems to be noticing something to his left.

 
Could it be this lovely lady flirting with him from another wall? 

It's Camellia japonica time!

I bet this view is  spectacular when the Paulownia tomentosa in the center is in full bloom!

Front view of the house.   Lakewold has many state champion (largest in the state) trees on the grounds.

The garden beautifully blends formal and natural elements.


The tea house was one of the first garden structrues in the Northwest to be wired with electricity.


One great benefit of visiting at this time of year was that aside from a fellow cleaning out the pool, I was alone in the garden.  Although I met this guy hanging out beneath a camellia and tried to tell him that he could get in trouble for standing in the middle of a bed but he didn't respond.  Being a strong silent type, he maintained his stony-faced stare. Giving up, I moved on.



 
 
 
Satyr with a lute is a grumpy camper.  Maybe he's just being introspective.
 
Another member of the Satyr band.  Come on guys, ya gotta sell the song.


Lion fountain.  That's one fancy spittoon!

Walking toward the tea house, you notice the elegant quatrefoil pool.  It appears much smaller than it actually is.

Love that moss!

Walking on, the lawn slopes down to the woodland gardens.

Looking back at the house.

As we move through the woodland toward the lake, things become much less formal.

Screaming red rhododendrons in full bloom. 


During the summer, the foliage on these deciduous trees obscures the winter view of the lake.

This log picnic table and benches were often used by the Wagner family for whom they were created. 

Water is pumped up the hill from the lake to a pond and then falls back down the hill to empty back into the lake.



So much to see at every turn. 
 
Back up the hill to the back garden.


The knot garden just outside the library.

This hidden area is now a perennial garden but was originally used by Mrs. Wagner to try a variety of plants to see how they grew in our climate.


A somewhat more humble home but equally magnificent in its own way.
 
 

40 comments:

  1. You got some lovely shots! It is a beautiful garden, at just about any time of year. That little stream is a fun feature. I've never been there when it was crowded, but it must have been nice to have it all to yourself.

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    1. It was interesting to be alone in the garden. I've only been there before either to shop at the store without going into the garden or at parties at the house and small groups of us explored the grounds so this was different!

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    2. An avid follower of Outlaw Garden Blog just forwarded your link to me. I'm the one who used to own the shop. I would probably recognize you! Your blog is wonderful. And you are right. The RSG sale is one not to miss. Thanks for the reminder.

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    3. Thank you for your kind words! I fondly remember you and the shop. Years ago, you found a clerodendrum trichotomum for me when they were harder to find. You got it at Lakewood Garden and Pet, another place I miss! I'm also planning on going to the HPSO sale in Portland on April 12...Hortlandia, the plant sale of plant sales!

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    4. My goodness! Now, I'm sure I would remember you. I also worked at Lakewood Garden and Pet for 6 years or so. Do you remember Wilbur Graves who worked there? He was definitely my mentor. Not a day goes by that I don't wish I could still ask him questions...he's the one who had the cane, sat at a table by the central cashier and always had his little dog with him. He was a gardening treasure.

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    5. I worked with Wilbur's niece but didn't get to know him until he worked at the water garden nursery (forgot the name) in University place where Willow Tree Gardens and interiors currently is located. Having just arrived from gardening in zone 3, I was still fascinated by every common plant that could grow here and had just begun learning a few Latin names. He was always very kind and I was fascinated by this man who spoke botanical Latin like it was his mother tongue. He always wore a big cross and a name tag with the title "Plantsman." I think he was the same fellow.

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    6. That's Wilbur...I got him his "badge" and the cross was because he was convinced he was descended from the Huguenots and that was a Huguenots cross. We used to go nursery hopping often. He introduced me to some amazing gardeners and growers. If I have learned anything I probably learned it from Wilbur. I miss him very much. Ohhhh....the stories I could tell:) He was quite a character and one of a kind.

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  2. Lovely place to live and visit, thanks for the tour.
    Did I see a duck topiary in the formal garden?? The blooming rhododendron reminds me it's almost time to visit the rhododendron botanical garden again (in Federal Way). Great picture of the nest in the tree: another reason to emrace winter and bare naked trees. Finally, congratulations for winning a price in the 2014 Winter Walk-Off.

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    1. That duck topiary made me laugh because it seemed so out of place in the extremely formal setting. The RSG sale is on April 18 and 19 and during the sale the garden is open to explore at no charge (or at least it used to be.) It's a fun sale with lots of specialty growers from around the state bringing plants to one of the Weyerhauser parking lots. I love Les's walk of meme because it gives me an excuse to explore my hood and see what's going on.

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  3. Absolutely lovely. The gardeners took great care to make it a year-round garden, didn't they? I love all the moss and rocks and bare tree branches and intermittent flowers. Perfection! Thanks for the tour.

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    1. It's a nice estate garden and does look wonderful year round!

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  4. The garden looks a bit thoughtful, Peter. I can imagine it in summer --full of color and flowers. Love the sculptures in blooming bushes and red rhododendron.

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    1. It is always a fairly restrained garden and never bursts with color but rather enjoys splashes of color when a tree blooms or during the season when the blue poppies are in bloom.

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  5. I've never even heard of this place, what an enjoyable tour! Thanks Peter.

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    1. In the imaginary Tacoma garden bloggers' fling that I plan in my head, this would be the venue for the evening dinner. There is also a garden shop that is just now getting going again. The woman who rented the space and ran the truly interesting indoor shop and great plant sales area retired a few years ago. No one wanted to rent and continue running the shop so it sat empty for a time. Now they've made it smaller and are running it in house. They started with a miniscule budget but what they had when I visited looked promising so I'll hope for the best.

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  6. Everything is so pretty covered in moss. Thanks for the beautiful tour!!

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  7. Fascinating blend of European and PNW sensibilities here. The sombre mood of winter suits it very well.

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    1. I'm looking forward to exploring it later in the year as well but I agree that winter suits this place.

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  8. Beautiful. That reminds me of English gardens. Such a great gate, beautiful statues and green moss. Thank you for sharing this, Peter.

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  9. Lakewold Gardens is a beautiful garden. It has a small staff of about 11. In the last 8 years, 45 capable,honest and hard working employees have either been fired or forced out. Only those few at the top have remained. Its reputation among public gardens is a poor one. The garden deserves better.

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    1. The garden shop you referred to earlier is one of the casualties. The woman did not retire.

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    2. Sorry, I didn't know the retirement story is what they told me at the shop when I bought my ticket for the garden and commented on the radical change in the shop. So sad as I remember the fabulous shop and it's keeper fondly. What happened that brought about this change? Was a consultant brought in or something? If you'd prefer to share privately, click on my profile and hit contact me and my email will pop up.

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    3. This is simply not true! I work there and no one was forced out. Please consider this is likely a disgruntled person writing as "anonymous"? Such a shame to disparage a non-profit treasure such as this. The staff works very hard with good intentions of making sure visitors have a lovely experience and we have a wonderful Director leading the way! Thank you Outlaw Gardener for sharing the beauty through your photos and clever notes!

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    4. I'm sorry that the comments of "anonymous" have offended you Diane. Lakewold is as lovely as ever and I was glad to visit and happy to share this treasure. Change is always difficult and sometimes folks get their feelings hurt and it taints their view of things. When people are passionate about their work or a truly special place like Lakewold, they may respond passionately to change. Whenever there is more than one person involved in any pursuit, there will be politics involved; it's the way humans seem to be wired. I know nothing about how the place is run but I know that it's special and is being preserved. Yea!

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    5. Indeed! Spot on wise Outlaw G :) I was the person you met at the Garden Shop/Admissions when you visited. We are working mightily to grow the shop one step at a time! I endeavor to let folks know how I think highly of the former shopkeeper and often give folks her website info. when they inquire. I, perhaps inaccurately, assumed when a person closes shop and is enjoying home life they are retired, if I am mistaken I will correct my delivery to visitors at once. Your blog is lovely and fun! Please do come back when the gardens are at their peak this spring/summer. This time admissions are on me :)

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  10. An elegant garden with loads of character, and a style that seemed very traditional English as well!

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    1. It was fun to go there and feel transported to another continent!

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  11. The Pacific Northwest, where even deciduous trees are evergreen! I'm ridiculously excited to see everything covered in moss again. I love the less formal areas with rhododendrons, bare branches of deciduous trees and shrubs, and the moss and stones.

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    1. How many more days until your triumphal return?

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    2. About 10! Give or take a day, depending on when I leave North Carolina and how long I take to make the drive.

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  12. What a beautiful place. I love the woodland garden with the stream and those red rhodies.

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    1. Next time you're in Washington, I'll take you!

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  13. It's fun to see this garden in late winter, early spring. I have been here several times, but not this early.

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    1. This was the earliest I'd ever been but I was in the neighborhood and decided to stop.

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  14. Thank you for sharing. It's great fun to see the interpretation of the garden through the eyes of visitors and I love the focus you placed on the statuary. Happy Garden Travels!

    Stephanie Walsh

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    1. It's a joy to visit such a beautiful garden and lots more fun to share the visit with other garden lovers!

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Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your thoughts.