Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Seattle Garden Bloggers' Fling - Soest Garden at UW Botanic Gardens

What's a Garden Blogger's Fling? It's when over 70 garden bloggers from across the US, Canada and the UK come together to meet each other face-to-face and tour, photograph and write about oodles of gardens, private and public, over a long weekend in a special city. This year's Fling was in Seattle, WA and was coordinated by Lorene Edwards Forkner, Debra Prinzing, Marty Wingate and Mary Ann Newcomer. This post, the fourth Fling post, brings us almost to the close of Day 1. Almost!

After visiting the private Birrell and Tucker gardens and the semi-public Dunn Gardens, we hopped back on the shuttle bus for a brief tour of the Soest Display Garden at the Center for Urban Horticulture (CUH), part of the University of Washington Botanic Gardens.
UW Botanic Gardens

Our tour guide, Riz Reyes, is pictured here in the McVay Courtyard, which he tends in addition to Soest Garden, along with the other gardens at the Center, in conjunction with one other part-time gardener. (How on earth do they do it all?)
Riz Reyes, Soest Gardener

Soest Gardens is primarily a display garden to educate Seattle gardeners about the varieties of plants that will do well in a given environment.
Full sun bed at Soest Garden

Eight raised beds are filled with trees, shrubs, grasses and flowering plants that flourish in varying degrees of sun or shade, clay or sandy loam, moist or dry soil.
Display bed at Soest Garden

Interpretive signage gives information on the exposure, soil type and irrigation needs of the plants in each bed.
Interpretive signage at Soest Garden

Several of us were quite taken by this Stipa gigantea.
Stipa gigantea

This Romneya coulteri or Matilija Poppy also drew much interest. As Riz said, it looks just like a fried egg.
Romneya coulteri

I liked this stand of black bamboo in the McVay Courtyard,
Black bamboo in the McVay Courtyard

and these paving stones.
Walkway in the McVay Courtyard

The Center also houses the largest botanical library in the Pacific Northwest, the Elisabeth C. Miller Library. We didn't have time to stay and read, though. The shuttle buses arrived to take us back to our hotel, the Silver Cloud Inn, for a brief freshening-up before the last event of the day, billed as "Wine, Cheese, Shopping & SWAG at Ravenna Gardens." Doesn't that sound like FUN? It WAS! But more about that tomorrow. Until then, check out more CUH photos on my Flickr page.

Words and photos © 2009-2011 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.


  1. I've enjoyed all your posts on our various tour stops. I love seeing the gardens through other gardeners' eyes via their camera lenses. Our perspectives are all so varied ... delightfully so!

  2. Delighted to come across your account of your recent visit to the Center for Urban Horticulture. We shared the link so more may enjoy your writing and images.

  3. Oh dear, candid pics of me are kind of scary. Hhaahah

    Thank you so much for visiting! Hope we cross paths again!