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.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Visiting South Seattle College Arboretum

"The Arboretum at South Seattle College is a five-acre botanical collection with several distinct gardens throughout.  The Coenosium Garden is highly regarded as one of the best collections of dwarf conifers in the U.S."

"Established in 1978, in response to requests from the landscape/horticulture students, the Arboretum has been designed, built, and maintained by the students over the years.  It continues to serve as a living laboratory for students of many interests and majors at the college and as a public garden. "

I was fascinated by this large drained water feature.  The water couldn't have been gone too long as the plants inside were still green.

Paths weave through informal shaded areas and large open lawns edged with roses.

Here we find  a rose garden. 

Dwarf conifers are used informally throughout. 

This plaque brought a smile.  Cass was an amazing woman.

Suddenly at a clearing, this surprise.   I'd no idea that The Seattle Chinese Garden was also part of this campus and the guide book said nothing about it.  Not knowing if this was a public garden or not, I approached with caution.

Luckily there was a very nice and knowledgeable man working here who told me that there are regional differences in types of traditional Chinese gardens.  (I'd mentioned that Portland's Lan Su Garden seemed very different.)  This open plaza style originates in a different part of the country.

The garden is only a few years old and is an ongoing project. 

Fencing made of bamboo surrounds brush piles. 

There's even a place where you can pose with terra cotta warriors. 

A fish out of water. 

When all of these peonies are in bloom this must be spectacular.  (There's a peony and bamboo festival in May.)

Heading back into the woods. 

Time to head back to the plant mobile.  


  1. How beautiful! I loved the dwarf conifers. Why was the water feature empty? Conservation or maintenance? The Chinese garden was really interesting and I bet the peony festival is wonderful. It would be I treating to see how it looks in a few years.

    1. The empty water feature was a mystery. We had an extremely wet winter so I don't think it was conservation.

  2. Though the Chinese garden had some good features it did seem a bit disconcerting to come upon it from such a different landscape. But what an incredible learning opportunity for the hort students with such varied plants and concepts.

  3. Oh you've taken me waayyy back! We visited here are part of the 2011 Seattle Bloggers Fling. The Chinese Garden was just beginning back then.

  4. This looks like a real 'ooh' and 'ah' place, filled with many wonders!

  5. Like Loree, I remember visiting this garden during the Seattle Fling. I didn't go into the Chinese garden then, but I do remember that it was very new. I'm planning to move all my peonies together into one bed in the back garden this fall, so I can have my very own peony festival next year. Of course, I only have 5 peonies, so it won't be very impressive.

  6. This was interesting on many points, not the least of which was the notion of a "plant amnesty" program, which I discovered even has its own Wikipedia page, as well as videos on how to avoid plant torture through improper pruning.

  7. What a wonderful place to visit! The chinese garden looks like a dream and the fish statue totally won me over!

  8. I feel sorry for the fish. It looks like someone caught it, threw it onto the pavement and it is trying it's best to get to some water.
    The Chinese garden is coming along. It will be pretty when it is more fully developed.
    The Arb is interesting. Lots of opportunity for the students to experiment and learn. A plus for the community. They have a lot of raised beds it seems. I like that.

  9. We have been there several times and each time the Chinese garden has had a few more additions. The conifer garden there is one of the best of its kind.

  10. I'm so happy you finally made it to the South Seattle Arboretum. It's one of my very favorite places, and only minutes from my home. They have 2 plant sale events in Spring with donated plants and propagations by the students. The Chinese Garden is getting better every year. It's been slow going, but finally they have something so beautiful to show for all their efforts.

  11. Looks like a nice place to wander! I like the fish!

  12. Very cool! I especially like that it is all done by the students. I also want a terra cotta warrior of my own.

  13. What a wonderful place to wander in, and how fun to be surprised by the Chinese Garden! The peony and bamboo festival sounds like fun, too!

  14. Yum! Beauty is not necessarily flower-centric.


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