Cal and Harriet Shorts deed their mid-century home and 7.5 acres of “arboretum” land to the City of Bellevue, with the provision it remains a public park.
Iris and Bob Jewett approach Parks director Lee Springgate about creating a botanical garden on the Shorts property. The City and the Shorts family agree this is a great idea. The Jewetts and numerous volunteers launch the Bellevue Botanical Garden Society to promote the creation of Bellevue Botanical Garden. The City of Bellevue sets aside 10 acres increasing the total acreage to 17.5.
In January, the Society incorporates as a 501(c)(3) non-profit in the State of Washington.
The City of Bellevue and the Bellevue Botanical Garden Society complete the Master Plan for the Garden. Saved by the Bellevue Historical Society, the rustic Sharp cabin from early 1900 relocates to the Garden from its former home at NE 8th and 124th Avenue NE. The City of Bellevue sets aside 19 more acres, increasing total acreage to 36.
The former Shorts’ residence undergoes renovation to become a visitor center. The Northwest Perennial Alliance (NPA) installs the Perennial Border. The Yao Garden relocates from Kelsey Creek Park to the Garden. The Eastside Fuchsia Society installs the Fuchsia Garden.
The Bellevue Botanical Garden Society’s first docent class meets.
The Bellevue Botanical Garden opens to the public on June 27.
The Puget Sound Dahlia Society installs the first Dahlia Display.
The Waterwise Garden, a cooperative effort of the City of Bellevue Parks and Utilities Departments, opens to the public.
The East Lake Washington District of Garden Clubs installs the Wildflower Garden along the Lake-to-Lake Trail next to Main Street. The Garden dedicates the Yao Japanese Garden. The Living Lab school program launches to introduce students, kindergarten to grade 5, to the concepts of botany and natural science.
The Society hosts the first Garden d’Lights holiday event.
The Alpine Rock Garden opens to the public. First master plan update.
The original Native Plant Garden opens to the public, and later becomes the Native Discovery Garden in a new location.
The Bellevue Botanical Garden Society helps the City of Bellevue purchase additional acreage, increasing the total to 53 acres.
The Garden partners with the Hardy Fern Foundation for management of the Garden’s fern collection. Rhododendron Glen is built.
Second master plan update.
Northwest Perennial Alliance Perennial Border two-year renovation project begins with assistance from the Society.
A Collections Stewardship grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services funds an inventory update of Garden plant collections.
The Ravine Experience opens with a suspension bridge and bird-friendly habitat trail.
Construction begins on the 8,500 square foot Visitor Center and The Aaron Education Center, made possible by a City of Bellevue Parks Levy and generous Bellevue Botanical Garden Society donors. A Learning Experiences grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services funds our interactive visitor map, bed markers and interpretive signs, and an oral history of BBG conducted in partnership with the Eastside Heritage Center.
The new Visitor Center and The Aaron Education Center open to the public in June, along with new gardens: the Entry and Parking Lot Winter Gardens, the Entry Courtyard Gardens, the Iris Rain Garden, the Wetland, and the Spring Courtyard and Tapestry Hedge.
The Garden partners with the Northwestern Chapter of North American Rock Garden Society to care for the Rock Garden.
The Garden partners with the Washington Native Plant Society to assist with the native plant collection and care of the Native Discovery Garden. A grant from Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust helps the NPA fund the construction of their Plant Propagation Exhibit. Copper Kettle Coffee Bar opens in the Shorts House.
The Urban Meadow opens to the public. The City of Bellevue, the Bellevue Botanical Garden Society, and all Garden partners celebrate the Garden’s 25th anniversary in June.
Streetscape Project begins along the northwest side of the Garden to 118th Ave SE.
The Native Discovery Garden expansion project begins.
Garden d’Lights celebrates its 25th anniversary.
The Native Discovery Garden Expansion Project is completed.
A global pandemic forces the cancelation of all events and educational activities at the Garden. This requires a quick pivot, and educational activities are brought online in the form of webinars. The Garden remains open throughout the pandemic.
The Raised Bed Project begins near the Garden entrance, with estimated completion in summer 2021.