Last week, I and over 70 garden bloggers from across the US, Canada and the UK joined coordinators Lorene Edwards Forkner, Debra Prinzing, Marty Wingate and Mary Ann Newcomer in Seattle, WA to tour, photograph and write about oodles of gardens, private and public, for 4 glorious days. This is my third post and we haven't even gotten through Day 1!
After touring the neighboring Birrell and Tucker gardens on the first day of the Fling, we hopped back on the shuttle bus and headed off to Dunn Gardens, a 10-acre Seattle garden on the National Register of Historic Places. After a delicious box lunch on the grounds arranged by the Fling coordinators, the docents gave us a tour and filled us in on the history of the gardens.
The garden plan was commissioned by Arthur Dunn from renowned Seattle landscapers the Olmsted Brothers in 1914; Alfred implemented the plantings himself. The Dunn family moved into their "summer house" at Dunn Gardens every year until Alfred's death in 1945.
The docents had an interesting story to tell about this fallen tree in the Triangle Bed on the way to the Great Lawn, but sadly, I've forgotten it.
Arthur Dunn specifically requested the Olmstead Brothers include a number of non-native deciduous trees into the landscape, such as this European Beech.
The Puget Sound is still partially visible from the Great Lawn, but the cover from these 150 foot trees now hides the Olympic Mountains from view. Douglas Firs, Scarlet Oaks, Northern Red Oaks and native Western Red Cedars ring the Great Lawn.
In 1947, the Dunn's second child, Edward, made his permanent residence on the property, and created a 2.5 acre woodland garden there. Edward was regarded as an expert on native Pacific Northwest plants, particularly native rhododendrons, trilliums, erythroniums and flowering trees.
Before his death in 1991, Edward set up the E. B. Dunn Historic Garden Trust to ensure the preservation of the gardens. Resident garden curators Charles Price and Glenn Withey manage the gardens under the direction of the Trust's Board of Directors.
Two descendants of the Dunns still reside on the property today, making Dunn Gardens the only Olmsted residential landscape regularly open to the public in the Northwest.
Check out more photos of Dunn Gardens on my Flickr page. Whew -- three posts on the Seattle Garden Bloggers' Fling, and I'm not done with Day One yet! More to follow...
Words and photos © 2009-2011 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.