We finally had a chance to visit Lakewold Garden, a well known Puget Sound garden just outside of Tacoma. I don’t know why it took so long.
The garden consists of 10 acres bordering Lake Gravelly near Fort Lewis. It was originally purchased by Emma Alexander in 1908. Her son created gardens to enhance the view of the lake and Mt. Rainier. The original backbones of the gardens were created at this time. There is a rumor that the Olmsteds had a hand in the design but there is no evidence. The property changed owners but it wasn’t until it was passed to Corydon and Eulalie Wagner in 1938 that it took on today’s design.In 1958, Eulalie hired Thomas Church, a noted California landscape designer. He embraced principles of abstract modernism taking elements of cubism and Bauhaus into the garden. He took the basic lines and expanded them with the wonderful quatrefoil pool, cleverly placed statuary and small garden rooms. Eulalie, an avid plantswoman, filled the garden and rooms with wonderful plants.
The entrance to the garden is along the curving driveway. It passes through large groves of rhododendrons and specimen trees. The large loderi hybrids were in full bloom along with many species rhododendrons. Interspersed through the trees, we caught glimpses of the spacious lawn, house and lake. From the house entryway, there is a wonderful view of the front lawn bordered by beautiful trees such as a Princess Tree Paulownia tomentosa, copper beech Fagus sylvatica ‘Atropunicea’ . On each wide of the wide entry are statues which give the garden a classic English feel. They are a nice counterpoint to the lushness of the NW garden.From the house, a lovely brick walkway leads towards a pavillon. On one side is a small shade garden filled with ferns and native woodland plants such as Vancouveria and mouse plant Arisarum proboscoideum . On oneside of the walkway is a boxwood framed parterre border filled with bulbs. Framing the brick walkway are two lovely Mount Fuji flowering cherries. Their blossoms were just finishing and the gentle winds blew the flowers around us like snow.
Off to the side was the quatrefoil pool. Thomas Church designed the four left clover style pool providing reflections from each angle. At the end of the brick walkway was a covered shelter providing another interesting vista of the garden.
From here we took a winding path down to the shade garden. A lovely pool and stream is shaded by several different specimen Japanese maples and Parrotias. We glimpsed the bright orange red blossoms of a Chilean flame tree up above. Also along the path to Picnic point were several Stewartia pseudocamelias with their beautiful bark. From the point, you had a nice vista across the lake.
Under the ‘Wolf Tree’, a large douglas fir, is another shade garden. Here we found many varieties of trilliums and other interesting bulbs and woodland plants. We even found a woodland orchid Cypripedium parviflorum in bloom along with several alba white forms of Camas.
Continuing along the path we came to the rock garden. From here, there was a wonderful view up the lawn to the house. Along the side were interesting and unexpected gardens. The patio at the house was covered by ancient white and purple wisteria in full bloom. The scent tickled our noses. Off to the side was a lovely herb knot garden bordered with brick creating a lovely belvedere back across the lawn to the lake. The peonies were just starting to bloom. In a month, it would be filled with roses.