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Explore the Gardens

The Bellevue Botanical Garden is 53 acres of cultivated gardens, restored woodlands, and natural wetlands. The living collections showcase plants that thrive in the Pacific Northwest. As you explore the Garden, you’ll discover what makes our region unique, ideas for working with the landscape to create your own beautiful garden, and ways to be responsible stewards of the Pacific Northwest environment.

The Garden is made up of several smaller gardens to delight and educate our visitors. Below you will find descriptions of each individual garden area and what you’ll find there. You can also download the map to see the location of each garden area. We hope to see you soon!

Rock Garden & Iris Rain Garden

Tiny wildflowers, mountain hemlock, and granite outcrops introduce you to a special world of plant life and land forms. Once established, rock gardens need less attention than almost any other type of garden. The plants are well adapted to our climate. Weeding, occasional watering and annual mulching are the only maintenance requirements. At the base of the Rock Garden lies the Iris Rain Garden. Surface water is filtered through the Iris Rain Garden before making its way into our streams and lakes. The Rock Garden is maintained by the Northwestern Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society

The Urban Meadow

The Urban Meadow features a beautiful, naturalistic design with large swaths of grasses and perennials that bring year-round interest to the front garden. The Meadow is designed to use less water and fewer chemicals, and highlights native plants that provide food and shelter for pollinators, as well as ever-changing color and texture through the seasons. The Meadow also features a Mason Bee exhibit, as well as several tribute benches. The Urban Meadow was made possible, in part, by a generous grant from the King Conservation District.

Dahlia Display

The annual Dahlia Display has been planted and maintained by the Puget Sound Dahlia Association since 1993. Sun-loving dahlias provide a kaleidoscope of color and texture from high summer through fall. The tubers are dug and stored every October and old favorites and exciting new cultivars are planted each spring.

The Perennial Border

Renowned for year-round dramatic displays, the perennial border is an example of a distinctively American-style mixed border and is a living demonstration of what works best in Northwest gardens. Revel in thousands of perennials, shrubs, bulbs, evergreens and trees that provide color and beauty year-round. This is one of the largest public perennial gardens in the U.S. maintained entirely by volunteers. The Northwest Perennial Alliance created and maintains this award-winning garden. It is a source of education and hands-on learning opportunities for NPA members, horticulture students and gardeners throughout the Puget Sound area.

Fuchsia Garden

Some of summer’s most dazzling floral displays welcome you in this garden, cultivated by the Eastside Fuchsia Society since 1992. The breadth of fuchsia selections that can be grown in the Northwest is astounding. In any given year, there are about 100 different kinds of fuchsias on display, and most of them are winter-hardy in the Pacific Northwest. To the delight of many visitors, hummingbirds attend to the fuchsia blossoms throughout the summer.

Waterwise Garden

Landscaping choices play an important part in protecting Puget Sound’s water resources and the wildlife that depend on it. A visit to the shady pathways of this award-winning display confirms that splendid gardens don’t require large amounts of water or garden chemicals that can harm children, pets, and the Puget Sound. You’ll learn new practices and discover plantings that conserve water, lower chemical use, reduce runoff, recycle waste, and preserve habitat – all without sacrificing an ounce of beauty. Bellevue Utilities sponsors the Waterwise Garden and its Natural Gardening Resources.

Tateuchi Loop Trail

From the entry courtyard, an easy and relaxing stroll along this loop trail leads to core gardens, the Shorts House, and Tateuchi Pavilion. Enjoy the view from the Tateuchi Pavilion (pictured here), made possible through the generosity of the Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Foundation.

Shorts Ground Cover Garden

Take in the sights and sounds of water cascading through a lush display of ground covers. Plantings stretch out under the shade of maples and along the banks of a re-created mountain stream. The Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Foundation funded the design and construction of a viewing pavilion, Ground Cover Garden terrace, and bridge. Designed by Robert Hoshide of the firm Hoshide-Williams Architects, with input from the Bellevue Parks Department and the Bellevue Botanical Garden Society, the pavilion and terrace use elements of Northwest and Asian architectural styles. The Pavilion has commanding views to the Ground Cover Garden and Rhododendron Glen. Enjoy the view from the Tateuchi Pavilion, made possible through the generosity of the Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Foundation.

Rhododendron Glen

This second-growth forest edge reflects the legacy of the original Shorts garden. Over 50 different rhododendrons and their companions are included to demonstrate their use in the landscape. While the rhododendrons are in full bloom through spring and early summer, summer-blooming hydrangeas, brilliant fall color of specimen deciduous trees, and the winter-blooming Edgeworthia chrysantha provide year-round interest. In the 1990’s, Harriet and Cal Shorts, enthusiastic members of the Hardy Fern Foundation, donated $25,000 to create a fern collection at Bellevue Botanical Garden. 750 ferns are now planted in the garden associated with the Rhododendron Glen. Ferns here are intended to introduce the public to a variety of ferns suitable for Pacific Northwest gardens. The Hardy Fern Foundation maintains this premier collection of fern taxa.

Yao Garden

A traditional Japanese gate leads into this contemplative garden. Developed to honor the sister city relationship between Bellevue and Yao Japan, the garden is a blend of Pacific Rim influences: delicate maples beside Columbia River basalt; ground covers surround Japanese lanterns; vibrant azaleas accent rhododendrons and viburnums.

Native Discovery Garden

Find out how using native plants in home gardens is an easy thing to do. Native plants, which are adapted to the climate and conditions of the Pacific Northwest, can be ecologically sound, beautiful, and low maintenance in urban landscapes. The Native Discovery Garden, maintained by the Washington Native Plant Society , illustrates the many layers of plant life in the Northwest, from ground covers to trees. It serves as a transition from the cultivated gardens to the woodlands and forested lands to the south.

Lost Meadow Trail

Stroll a 1/3-mile loop trail through 10 acres of woodlands, meadows, and wetlands that are being restored and enhanced to create native plant communities. See how active forest management can create a refuge for people, plants, and wildlife. Be sure to stop and see Night Blooming (pictured here), a sculpture on the Lost Meadow Trail. This sculpture is the work of Taiji Miyasaka and David Drake.

The Ravine Experience

Take a Walk on the Wild Side! An exciting feature lies in the heart of the forest at the Bellevue Botanical Garden. A 1/3 mile nature trail crosses a deep ravine into the most pristine of our wild spaces. A 150-foot suspension bridge spanning the ravine allows visitors to observe unique topography, native understory, wildlife, and soaring conifers without disturbing the forest floor. Featured in our original master plan, the project was revised during the 2008 master plan update. Construction began in September 2011 and the Ravine Experience opened to the public in spring 2012. The project was made possible through a combination of private donations, 2008 Parks and Open Space Levy funding, and a grant from the PJA Foundation.