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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Kruckeburg Botanic Garden

I had to go into work again today so I planned my day based on that.

I knew I had to stay close because snow was in the forecast for the region. It was a waffling, hard to pin down forecast. My favorite weather blogger, Cliff Mass has carefully explained the hows and whys of snow in this region. He has shared day by day changes that set up this snowfall. But poor Cliff, his words were perhaps not chosen wisely. The snow is not of grave and great consequence right now, but falling it is! The roads are not an issue and I was thrilled to be at this pretty garden with the snow making magic. Trouble with this region is there are pockets of micro-climates. Five miles over the way the weather might be totally different. Unusually, today it seems it is snowing more near the Puget Sound. Such a large body of water usually warms the surrounding air.

It feels less raw and cold today compared to yesterday. I think yesterday, the first exposure to being out in the crisp cold air was the breaking in. I stood in line for Harry Potter, which is not typical for me. I LOVED the movie. It is a wonderful work of film craft. The late afternoon sun tried, but with no clouds in the sky, the effect is like lighting a refrigerator. Made for pretty colors, though.

Kruckeberg Botanic Garden is the life work of Art Kruckeberg. Dr Kruckeberg and his wife Mareen bought the property in 1958 and he lives here still. Dr Kruckeberg is Professor Emeritus of Botany at the UW. If you take a look at my book list you will see his name with two wonderful books, Natural History of Puget Sound Country and 101 Wildflower Hikes. Both of these books have had a good going over by myself and the 101 hikes is in need of replacement. He also has a Gardening with Native Plants which is a must have for the native gardener.

The property is also home of MsK Rare and Native Plant Nursery. As you wander the property there are plenty of markers on the trees and plants. You will find pots of plants for sale. This garden is not limited to regional natives but features plants from around the world that do well in the Puget Sound environment. I was delighted by new and interesting trees from China Spain and Southern US.

The snowfall added magic to everything. It was coming down thick and fast as I started my walk and there is nothing I can write to convey who special it was. The paths were, thankfully, well covered in leaf litter. Many of the deciduous trees were Oak species. I found a new acorn for my collection, Tanbark Oak.

All over the property there are little benches. Today none of them welcomed sitting as they were well frosted.

This is a working garden with potting stations, work areas and evidence of cleaning and pruning. I see this pile of branches and immediately see a potential foundation for a woven, living fence.

This Giant Sequoia was planted as a 6 foot tall sapling in 1958. Today the trunk measures 20 feet around. That is only 52 years growth. What might become of it in another generation! Happily the property is in the protection of the city of Shoreline so I hope that the tree and its surrounding garden will be here for future appreciation.

The down slope takes you to an area that was once called "The Meadow" Back when this was a rural area, the Kruckeberg children rode their horses down here. Now there is a wonderful strolling area filled with unusual trees from around the world.

This Spanish Fir , Abies pinsapo, looked like a common fir at first glance. I was struck by its stiff , stout needles. It radiated strength. High up in its top branches there were small , typical fir cones.

This Japanese pine made a lovely challenging photo.

I have never seen a "weeping" conifer quite like this Brewers Spruce, Picea breweriana.

Sadly most of the colorful bloom in the garden is past. I did find three azalea blooms.

But texture like the bark of this Tall Stewartia make up for the missing color.

This stunning tree is a Witch Hazel from China. On the ground are massive leaves of the Big-leaf Magnolia from the southern US. I am not sure how long the Witch Hazel will hold its leaves but it was perfect in color and form today.

I am not a gardener but I do understand some of the gardening designations. Wet dry sunny moist shady...

But I appreciated the humor to be found in the designation of Wet Sun and Dry Sun... I think Puget Sound folks know the difference when they see it.

Kruckeberg Botanic Garden 20312 15th Ave NW Shoreline WA 98177
Friday Saturday and Sunday March 22 - September 21 10am to 5pm ; September 22 - March 21 10 am to 3 pm.
Admission Free.


  1. Wow! What a beautiful garden and tour you have just taken me on. Thanks so much. We have a Corkscrew Witch Hazel very similar to the one above. Great pictures.

  2. It was a little treasure. I am sure, in the Spring, it is glorious.

    Dr Kruckeberg is a leading authority on Serpentine soils and their ecology. He even had a small rock garden featuring these rocks. The area around Esmerelda Basin is rich in this rock and in the wildflower books they call it Kruckeberg Country.

  3. All that beauty! You did, indeed, have a lovely stroll. Thanks for taking us with you. I got so much enjoyment in your pleasure in the snow!

  4. Unupaepops -- there is a serpentine bed in the Garden.

  5. Yes I made sure to visit that area

    I thought I had posted last summer about visiting "Kruckeberg Country" in the Esmeralda basin, but see i did not. I have pictures in my Flickr site of the plants flowers and views of this area.

    This summer was just not favorable for flower chasing. I went to Esmeralda in the first weekend of July and was turned back by snow in the higher elevations.

  6. Looks like a great place. Really liked the "wet sun" and "dry sun" signs.

  7. I'm just now catching up on blogs I follow and, as usual, this is a special treat. Your photos are spectacular. What I like so much about them, in addition to how good they are, is that you have that eye for the unusual that I just love.

  8. I try to capture what I see as special and convey it in a shot.

    I throw out a lot of images