Tuesday, February 28, 2012

More from Seattle…a quick visit to a couple of public spaces...

When we travel we make a point of seeing the museums, gardens, parks, etc., of the cities we visit. However often we ignore these same attractions in the city we call home. Such is the case with Freeway Park in Seattle. I lived a mere mile from the park for 7 years, and worked only 3 blocks away for 4 years, yet I had never set foot in the park until I was there for the Northwest Flower and Garden Show a few weeks ago.
The park caps Interstate 5 as it travels through downtown Seattle and abuts the Washington State Convention Center (the glass building, where the NWFG Show is held). Designed by Lawrence Halprin’s office it had a bad (violent) reputation during the time I lived in Seattle, maybe that’s part of why I never explored it. Yet I couldn’t have felt safer as I wandered its paths this February.
Look that’s Washington’s profile….
More from around Freeway Park...
Another Seattle Park I failed to visit when I lived there is the Washington Park Arboretum. Taking a leisurely stroll around the park is something I’ve still yet to do, however I almost always find an excuse to drive Lake Washington Blvd as it meanders through the park, a beautiful short scenic interlude. It was on one of those quick jaunts through the park that I spotted this…
…and slammed on my brakes. What could be so important that it has its own little house to protect it? Ah…a Palm Tree! (a Chilean Wine Palm I will later learn)
There were little houses too...
But what else is going on here? More investigation required…Gateway to Chile Garden…Oh My! Chilean Wine Palm Grove (is that where I am standing?)…Chilean Fire Tree Grove….but, but where, how far? And it’s only February; would there be anything to see? And I’m late to pick up the husband…oh damn…I better not go wandering off. But next time!
In the mean time I discovered Puya’s (I think) around the base of a very a sculptural trunk…
And lots of Monkey Puzzle Trees (Araucaria araucana, from Chile of course)...
Pruned by Mother Nature or man?
Whatever the case this is definitely a not-to-be-missed destination next time I’m in Seattle! Chilean Fire Tree Grove…the mind spins at the possibilities…

22 comments:

  1. Wow!!! You really did some nice investigation. It's so beautiful in your area....and lush! I found the palm housing/tent to be very interesting. Some very clever art and design in these small spaces. Another shot that I really liked was the one where the vines are crawling to the top of the ballish structure.....really interesting. Thanks for sharing. Chris

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    1. Oh now I think it's beautiful in your area! Not lush but darn spiky...and those blue skies are to die for!

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  2. Can't wait for you to go back to Seattle soon. I want to see more of the Gateway to Chile Garden :-)

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    1. Me too (can't wait to go back to Seattle)...need to get something on the calendar!

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  3. I think that Freeway Park is a great addition to the city of Seattle. I used to attend church in downtown a couple of blocks from this park and visited it several times shortly after it was finished. It seemed a great place to relax. The sound of rushing water to drown out the city and freeway noises. However, I don't think I'd visit it after dusk. I felt that there were too many nooks for folks with 'bad intentions' to hide and 'surprise' unwitting visitors. And no one half a block away would hear a scream. Of course, it could just be my over-active imagination. After forty years, I still deal with combat stress, so I avoid parks like Freeway Park.

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    1. While I felt fine walking around in the daylight there is no way you'd catch me there alone after dark, I'm too smart to do that!

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  4. That first park looks pretty good for an inner city park.

    The Jubaea chilensis were quite a find. Big ones as well!

    The parks around here where I live are pretty boring Scottish affairs, but my closest city, Edinburgh, is home to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, http://www.rbge.org.uk/ . I have been there a few times and it has some pretty interesting plants (although it looks a bit wrecked at the moment after the big wind storm in early January).

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    1. Wind storms do have a away of trashing a landscape quickly!

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  5. So much to do and see in Seattle...the freeway park has been on my list for a long time, but never risen to the top. I do love the concept.

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    1. And I wish I could have explored more...but I ran out of time!

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  6. Amazing...another place to see on my next Cascadia trip!

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    1. And when is that trip going to be!?

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    1. Reminds me of the time my mom grabbed a branch of one at a Hardy Plant Society Plant sale. Ouch!

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  8. Glad you did this post...I've always wondered what that park looked like...but was always put off by the Brutalist concrete structures. The park itself looks pretty intriguing. You must have some sort of cycad sonar, finding that covered tree in the middle of the park ;-)

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    1. Funny I kind of like the concrete! Brutal as it may be...

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  9. I love Monkey Puzzles and saved and saved to buy one that died during an unusually wet winter we had, I have not tried again. The fact that they evolved that severe foliage while being browsed on by dinosaurs gives them high a cool factor in my book.

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    1. What a sad story Les...would it help if I said I've heard they are a maintenance nightmare?

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  10. I've always loved driving under and through the Freeway Park. I even wandered through it once a few years ago. It does wonders to soften the freeway effect on the downtown.
    The Arboretum looks like a great destination in the warmer months, when the plant clothing is removed for summer!

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    1. Remember before they trimmed (or killed?) the ivy and it hung way down over the freeway? Passing semi-trucks would cause it to blow in the breeze...I loved that!

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    2. Yes, it waved beautifully. I hadn't realized that the ivy was gone, but I had noticed that the entire effect was less green overall the last few times I saw it from the road.

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  11. What a great idea you provided. I think it is time I took my camera and instead of photographing our fabulous wildlife...I need to take a spin around town and snap some landscaping/garden ideas. Thanks!!!

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