Around the gardens

The Japanese Garden at The Butchart Gardens is sublime. Like virtually every other part of the gardens, there is beauty at every turn. But the mood of the Japanese Garden is subdued, quiet, contemplative. There are several groves ideal for peaceful meditation though it may be a challenge if you factor in your dozens of new friends also enjoying the gardens.

The Italian Garden is so colorfully planted it’s almost blinding in bright light. This area of the property was originally a concrete tennis court. To the left is a former bowling alley. The Butcharts obviously had resources.

A rose garden is at the heart of the gardens, filled with hybrid tea, climbing, and rambling roses. It’s everything a rosarian dreams of.

Horsetail

It’s common to see horsetail (equisetum) in moist places around Washington. The way it radiates outward from its stem is interesting. But I hadn’t realized that it’s one of those plants purported to have numerous health benefits and has been used to treat various health issues since Greek and Roman times. And unlike most plants that reproduce from seeds, horsetail reproduces via spores. I’ll bet that’s more than you ever thought you’d know about horsetail plants. Click here if you want to learn enough to impress/bore unsuspecting friends and family.

Patience in a pot

Today is the second and last day of the Dungeness Bonsai Society annual bonsai fest, its 41st. If you’re local and would like to walk through a miniature forest of trees as art, it’s worth a trip to the Sequim Pioneer Park. The Satsuki Azalea above, over 20 years old, is one of the showiest examples of the art.

Bonsai artists confine trees in small pots and manipulate them through pruning and shaping. The effect, over time, is to create a gorgeous miniature tree.

This Japanese garden juniper is from 20 to 25 years old. Its owner began training its growth habits in 1994. This is a discipline of great patience.

There are more than 50 trees on display today, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The park is located at 387 East Washington Street.

Willow catkins

I routinely have to remind myself of the differences between pussy willows, cattails, and catkins. These, I believe, are catkins, “a flowering spike of trees such as willow and hazel. Catkins are typically downy, pendulous, composed of flowers of a single sex, and wind-pollinated.” These little downy bits are on a willow. And there’s another sign of spring: notice the leaves unfurling at the tip of the branch.