Sunday, January 5, 2014

Japanese Garden at the Bloedel Reserve

by aleks
Edited 1/6/14: added doll houses pics

The Bloedel Reserve is just a short ferry away from downtown Seattle (crossing time 35 minutes), and then less than 7 miles drive on the main road (WA-305 N) until you turn right onto Agatewood Rd NE, and find the destination on the end of that road (0.5 miles or so).  Nowadays you can also take the bus (The #90 bus stops one mile from Bloedel Reserve  (Kitsap Transit schedules here)…

1/3/14 - Bloedel Reserve: entrance to the Japanese part of the Garden

On weekends The Frog Hopper Bus Service, run by the Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce  provides foot passengers on the Washington State Ferries with a chance to visit attractions around the entire island for a standard fare of $7 (there are also discounts and group rates). The all-day pass is good for hopping on and off one or both loop routes.

1/3/14 - Bloedel Reserve: cottage and the zen garden (previously family pool)

Anyway, when our Seattle Japanese Garden is closed for the winter it is good to visit Bloedel Reserve, to see the winter views in the Japanese part of the Reserve.  On my last visit there, which was this previous weekend,  I found an amazing, hand made holiday villages of doll and tree houses in the main manor house, complete with the whimsical trains of the past. Tony took the pics of the intricate details of the doll houses, but I did not - perhaps I can convince him to share the pics soon. I only took the photographs of the Japanese part, which I'm sharing here…

Description from of the Japanese Garden from the Bloedel Reserve website:  'JAPANESE GARDEN

Designed by Seattle landscape designer and nurseryman Fujitaro Kubota, the elegant landscape of the Japanese Garden offers subtly shifting views along its meandering stroll paths. The coniferous trees surrounding the garden provide a dark backdrop for the bold colors of Japanese maples and meticulously-pruned pines and flowering trees.

The elements of stone and sand evoke meditative moods in the Dry Garden, designed by Koichi Kawana, professor of landscape architecture at the University of California.

1/3/14 - Bloedel Reserve:the pond behind the cottage

We have been influenced by the Oriental attitude toward nature and the expression of it in Japanese and Chinese gardens. They have mastered the art of creating compositions using plants, earth and water, which induce visual and aesthetic emotions.”
 - Prentice Bloedel

On edit: and here are the doll houses (if you double click on them you will see larger version):

1/3/14 - Bloedel Reserve: the doll house detail. Pic by Tony
1/3/14 - Bloedel Reserve: the doll house detail. Pic by Tony
1/3/14 - Bloedel Reserve: the doll house detail. Pic by Tony


  1. Great pictures, Aleks. What a good reminder to visit Bloedel this time of year. I love the moss garden. I hope Tony shares his photos.

  2. your wish is my command, Lynnda!. Tony just shared and i posted. i, too, love the moss garden - maybe some day we will can post about it, too; it's kind of japanese :)

  3. Looks like a great trip, Aleks! I haven't been to the Bloedel Reserve but heard good things about it...

  4. Many thanks, Hannah! Come to the bloedel reserve with me. I'm always split about the place: the family made money on logging. Then turned around and supported the japanese garden. Then turned onto theater. The whole place turned from private, exclusive to now public. But the gardens are

    1. Yes, I would like it very much to go with you there, thanks.

  5. We did a group outing there one year, I remember the moss garden area was pretty cool :)

  6. Yes, although i missed it then. Wonder if worth repeating for the new guides; i always feel there is a big connection between bloedel and sjg, and it's not the obvious money one. For some reason i often get new understanding of things when i visit there: for example our paper bark maple is very static to me in our garden - huge and just sitting there.

    A few months ago i noticed that bloedel planted several paper bark maples along the big pond trail; they are young and twiggy still, and their leaves are on your eye level.... Made me think about the life cycle of our tree - what did it see before i got to know it....