Spring is the perfect time to explore well-groomed gardens, majestic native landscapes and stately estates. Lace up your walking shoes and prepare to be inspired because the Kitsap Peninsula is home to some internationally known gardens and dozens of nurseries that offer a variety of native and exotic plants and garden art from classical to whimsical.
Some gardens also host noted speakers, offer landscaping classes, concerts and other special year- round holiday events. Wander to Visit Kitsap’s Gardens & Nurseries page for garden descriptions, directions and details.
Gardens to see:
Heronswood Garden is a botanical garden of unparalleled beauty.
Thirty years in the making, co-founders, Daniel Hinkley and Robert Jones, built one of the world’s most outstanding collections of rare and diverse plants, from Asia, New Zealand and other exotic locations worldwide.
Located near Kingston on the north end of the Kitsap Peninsula, Heronswood Garden is open to the public for self-guided tours from 10:00am-3:00pm every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until October 19th. The $10 garden entry fee supports garden restoration, maintenance and enhancement.
The highly popular Plant Sale & Garden Event each season includes free lectures in the Garden Shed by renown horticulturalists such as Dan Hinkley, the Founder and Director, Nathan Lamb, Heronswood’s Assistant Director and Marianne Binetti, horticultural expert, author and columnist.
On the south shore of Sinclair Inlet, is the delightful Elandan Gardens & Bonsai Museum, a waterfront garden with a world-class bonsai collection, delightful ponds, enchanting sculptures and lush gardens.
Dan Robinson, often dubbed the Father of American Bonsai, is the artist. Bonsai (pronounced bone – sigh) is an ancient horticultural art form that through pruning and training produces a miniature replica of a full-grown tree. Bonsai translates in both Chinese and Japanese to “tree-in-a-tray.”
The collection, which includes trees more than 1000 years old, represents Robinson’s five decades dedicated to the art and includes trees old enough to have been around when Shakespeare, Leonardo da Vinci and Kubla Khan walked the earth.
Elandan Gardens is also a gift shop and gallery filled with antiques and treasures from Asia, Europe and North America. Enjoy this eclectic garden located at 3050 W. State Highway 16, Bremerton, Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00am until closing at 5:00pm.
The 150-acre estate of a former timber executive, Bloedel Reserve was opened to the public in 1988. Prentice and Virginia Bloedel, with the help of noted landscape architects such as Thomas Church, Fujitaro Kubota, and Iain Robertson, created these extraordinary gardens and forest preserve.
Two miles of trail and paved roads, wind through 14 distinct landscapes. The various themed gardens include the peaceful Japanese garden with an ever changing sand and rock garden, a Moss Garden, one of the most diverse in the United States and the Bird Marsh filled with song.
Other activities include art exhibits, seasonal lectures and garden walks with local experts, and music across all spectrums. Hours are 10:00am until 4:00pm., Tuesday through Sunday. On-site parking is included in the admission. The Bloedel Reserve is located at 7571 NE Dolphin Drive, Bainbridge Island, WA.
On a sunny slope overlooking Bremerton’s Port Washington Narrows is Albers Vista Gardens with sweeping views of Phinney Bay and the Olympic Mountains. This secret garden is tucked in an urban setting and planted to exotic trees, bushes and plants.
Two medical researchers with a sustainable horticulture vision built several garden rooms on the 5.5-acre site, each distinct in their landscaping. One hillside is planted to drought-tolerant plants with selected trees and shrubs from Asia. Here are fine examples of Horstmann’s Siberlocke Korean Fir, Chinese Snake Bark Maple, Leprechaun Gold European Columbine, and a Marina Strawberry Tree.
Other garden rooms feature mature rhododendrons, several varieties of maples, cedars and dogwoods. It’s a stunning display this time of year. The Albers Vista Gardens is open every Friday until July 26th (except July 12th and July 19th) from 12:00pm until 3:00pm. A suggested donation of $10 per person will support this non-profit.
Whatever your blossoming interests are, you’ll find stunning gardens and nurseries to explore with family and friends. The Kitsap Peninsula is just a relaxing ferry ride from the Seattle area or the scenic Tacoma Narrows Bridge crossing. Travel to VisitKitsap.com to learn about our great selection of lodging options for an inspiring garden getaway.