Journeys Around Seattle, #39: Center for Urban Horticulture

August 21, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Today I headed to the University of Washington Campus, with the goal of walking around the Union Bay Natural Area, which sits on the north end of Union Bay opposite the water from the Arboretum. The Natural Area is next to the Center for Urban Horticulture, so that's where I parked-- but what I didn't realize is that the Center for Urban Horticulture was going to become a stop all its own.

There's a beautiful educational garden at the Center called the Soest Herbaceous Display Garden, The Display GardenThe Display Garden which has a variety of beds, demonstrating what sort of local plants grow in different soil, sun, and moisture conditions. It definitely seems like it would be a useful resource for local gardeners wanting to get started-- I'm not a gardener, and don't have any place to do it myself, but it was still pretty interesting to study the different beds and the variety of plants that grew in each "testbed."

There were lots of honeybees and moths buzzing around too, doing their pollination thing, so even though I didn't have a macro lens, I still spent lots of time taking pictures. There was one particularly picturesque flower that both a moth and a honeybee were sharing-- I spent more time on that one flower than I've probably spent photographing any single flower ever.

After touring the Display Garden, I walked on to the reason I'd come here: the Union Bay Natural Area. There was a nice loop trail, Great Blue HeronGreat Blue Heron around half a mile long, that took me through long fields of marshy grass to the edge of the water, where lots of geese and heron gathered among the lily pads. Smaller paths occasionally branched off the main path, leading into the grasses and the rushes, and past little ponds and mud puddles tucked out of the way.

Eventually, the trail wound its way back to the Horticulture Center. Between the Gardens (an unexpected but delightful surprise) and the Natural Area, which was a fun and unique walk with lots of wildlife in a fairly urban setting (the UW buildings and stadium were frequently in sight, as was the 520 bridge over Lake Washington), this was one of my favorite small photo expeditions I've done yet.


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