"Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?" - Anne Murray

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Bloedel Reserve

"Nature can live without man, but man cannot live without nature" - Prentice Bloedel.

Prentice and Virginia Bloedel created the Reserve from their home and property on Bainbridge Island to provide "refreshment and tranquility in the presence of natural beauty." Prentice was a student of the benefits humans receive from nature. His intention to create a place where visitors would feel these benefits was profoundly successful.

The Reserve is divided up into about 12 areas including the residence itself. The first floor of the house is open to visitors and is displayed much as it was when the Bloedel's lived there. We visited a little over half of the grounds in the few hours we had for our visit. We started with the Japanese Garden.

The entrance to the Japanese Garden (above), 
has detailed stone work lined with black mondo grass (below).

The Stone Garden has raked gravel around larger rocks, reminiscent of the sea stacks along the Washington and Oregon shores with the tides washing around them.

Rick and I have a favorite Japanese garden in Rockford, Illinois (the Anderson Garden), which has always been our very high standard for what a Japanese garden should be. This garden meets, or may exceed the Anderson. 

Like any great garden, the Bloedel Reserve uses water, which it has in abundance, to contrast with, complement and reflect the landscape. The Mid Pond (below) transitions between the Japanese Garden and the residence (also seen above from another angle in the second picture).

The residence has an expansive view of Puget Sound. The labyrinth was a more recent addition.

From the residence we walked through a wooded area with a waterfall, another pond and a glen.

The "Christmas Pond" (above) was a gift from Prentice to Virgina in 1970.  

Digitalis or foxglove (below) is a wildflower here. I struggled to get it to grow in my gardens in Illinois, Vermont and New Hampshire, and here it grows along the roadsides.

A wide variety of native species has been used,
in addition to other trees and perennials that thrive but do not take over in this climate.

Adjacent tree trunks in the wooded area, with contrasting bark.

This beautiful path through the Birch Garden, eventually led us to the moss garden where  
the ground was solid moss, with punctuating ferns, skunk cabbage, and other shrubs and trees.

I've posted lots of pictures of northwest vegetation, so this won't look like anything new. However, what this garden does so well is work with the native plants and arrange them in a manner that looks natural, but actually creates aesthetically pleasing views everywhere you look...

...from the tiniest to the grandest places.

In the Olympic Rainforest for instance, the look is chaotic much of the time, and as the viewer you have to search for the aesthetically pleasing moments in space. Here, all you have to do is open your eyes  and see all the same elements, but arranged for you the way an artist sees them.  But nothing looks contrived or artificial.

It's like the Getty Museum of nature - a photographers paradise.

After being truly saturated with the moss gardens, we were popped out suddenly along this serene reflecting pool to calm our over-stimulated eyes.

We ended our exploration crossing a pasture, with an old sheep barn in the distance -
a final soothing perspective.

The Bloedel Reserve is someplace we would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone traveling in this area. There are accessible trails as well. Go even if it's raining. :)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Want to leave a comment?