Point Defiance Park Summer Gardens


Summer’s always beautiful in Point Defiance Park, Tacoma, Washington. If you love flowers, you can take your choice as to which garden you want to enjoy. There are several located just within the park’s entrance, and all of them are connected to each other, except for the Native Garden. And now with the new traffic circle just completed at the entrance of the park, traffic flow has greatly improved and is safer for both cars and pedestrians entering and leaving the park. And as always, visiting the park is free!

Below are some photos of flowers in the garden that I took within the past week.

086Colorful Zinnias

091Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly on Zinnias

080Sweet Alyssums

081Zinnia and Sweet Alyssums

022Golden Leaf Fuchsias

033Acanthus and Japanese Painted Fern

043Pink Zinnia and Eryngium (Sea Holly)

057Blue Poppy

060Black and Blue Salvia


065Black Leaf Dahlia


070Rose Mallow Hibiscus



More flower varieties will be blooming throughout the season. Come visit Point Defiance Park this summer! There is something for everyone! There is a zoo and aquarium, hiking trails, a marina, a walking beach, kayaking, tennis courts, Fort Nisqually, and, of course, picnic areas.

All images property of Peggy A Thompson

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Paradise Meadows at Mount Rainier National Park

Just came back from Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State, from a day trip. Mount Rainier is the tallest of the volcanic peaks in the Cascade Range. I had wanted to see what the Paradise Meadows looked like after a long spring meltout. Just last month, feet a snow still covered them. But the temperatures have quickly warmed up and the snow is quickly receding, and the springtime, subalpine wildflowers are exuberant. Yes, the springtime flowers! Lots of Glacier Lilies, Avalanche Lilies, and Western Anemones fill the subalpine meadows.  I’m looking forward to seeing meadows full of beautiful, blue Lupine during the month of August, when all the summer flowers will be in full bloom.

I hiked the short trail up to Myrtle Falls, where one can view many meadows full of wildflowers. The short walk down the steep steps to the falls overlook is well worth it; otherwise, you cannot see the falls from the main trail.

Myrtle Falls

Here are some images of the wildflower meadows near the waterfall area. The flowers that are predominant in these meadows at this time are the yellow Glacier Lilies and white Western Anemones (Pasqueflower). White Avalanche Lilies are in abundance along the lower trails as well.

And here is one of the park’s denizens, the Hoary Marmot, feasting on meadow wildflowers.

Hoary Marmot

Along the lower trails at Paradise, lovely Avalanche Lilies grow in abundance.

Avalanche Lilies

Another wildflower that is prominent in the Paradise Meadows is the Sitka Valerian.

Sitka Valerian

Here and there, I spotted some beautiful Magenta Paintbrush.

Magenta Paintbrush

I spotted many other common, subalpine wildflowers, such as Pink Monkeyflower, Rosy Spirea, Cusick’s Speedwell, Jeffrey’s Shooting Star, Cascade Aster, Mountain Heather, Fan-leaf Cinquefoil, Broadleaf Arnica, American Bistort, and Beargrass. There are many more, just too numerous to list.

Mount Rainier National Park has one of the greatest number of species of wildflowers found throughout the world. Come see their beauty!

All images property of Peggy A Thompson






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A Bloom Here, a Bloom There

With summer officially upon us, one wouldn’t expect to find many traditional spring flowers still hanging around. But if you walk among the forested trails of some gardens, you just might be surprised as to what’s still blooming.  Back I went to the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden to view a few species that recently came into bloom, namely the Giant Himalayan Lily and a lone Bigleaf Magnolia bloom (Magnolia macrophylla). The bloom is as big as my head and its leaves are the largest of any simple leaf tree indigenous to North America.

Magnolia macrophylla

The other main reason I went to the garden was to view the Giant Himalayan Lily (Cardiocrinum giganteum), which normally blooms in June. They grow up to 12 ft tall and have a heavy fragrance. The many, clustered white and red blooms are located at the top of the tall, thick stalks.

Giant Himalayan Lily

As well, the lovely Japanese Irises are in full bloom. Here’s a sample.

Most of the Rhododendron garden species have already died away, but I managed to find a few still blooming.

In the Rutherford Conservatory, I found these pretty, yellow Rhododendron rushforthii blooming. They are a species native to Vietnam.

Back outside, here is a Red Magnolia that took over 20 years to finally bloom! Not sure of the species name, though.

In the Victorian Stumpery are many different species of ferns. Here’s just a sample. The first two images are of Woodwardia, commonly known as Chain Fern.

An under view of a fern species exhibiting spores

Chilean Hard Fern mixed with delicate Maidenhair Fern

Here is Arisaema consanguineum, also called Jack-in-the-Pulpit, or Cobra Lily. The leaves at the tops of the tall, slender stalks resemble a palm tree.

Here is a bright, yellow Daylily (Hemerocallis)

This beautiful Japanese Stewartia tree (Stewartia pseudocamellia) is in full bloom.

Mahonia is sporting its clusters of blue berries, now.

Elecampane (Inula helenium) loves the bright sunlight. It’s related to the Sunflower and other Daisy-like flowers.

All images property of Peggy A Thompson

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June Blooms

Golden Chain

It’s now June! I’ve watched the metamorphosis of my favorite botanical garden, Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden, throughout the spring season. I feel somewhat melancholy each June as I say goodbye to the wilting and dying, spring blooms in the garden. After all, this is what this particular garden specializes in—Rhododendrons and Azaleas. And let’s not forget the Blue Poppies! There are still a few stragglers about.

There are a few Rhododendrons blooming in the Rutherford Conservatory, including this lovely, yellow species.

Here are images taken throughout the main, outside garden.

Deerberry Plant


Chinese Peony (Paeonia lactiflora)

Below are images of some Rhododendrons and Azaleas still in bloom.

The Victorian Stumpery is full of fern species and woodland flora as shown below.

Umbrella Plants

A new bloomer, a beautiful, golden yellow Korean Lily.

I came across this blooming plant and I do not know what it is. Any thoughts?

The Kousa Dogwood is in glorious bloom, at last!

Cornus kousa

And lastly, as I was making my way back to exit the garden, I spotted this wilted and faded, giant Chinese Magnolia blossom that somehow was still clinging to its branch, a bittersweet memory of glorious, spring blooms gone before.

All photos property of Peggy A Thompson


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What’s Blooming at the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden

This past weekend I attended Blue Poppy Day, held each May, at the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden, Federal Way, WA. Needless to say, the garden was exploding with color. In my zealousness, I took over 200 photos. I obviously can’t post them all, but I will try to show as much variation and color as possible. Obviously, the crowned jewels of the garden are the rhododendron species, but there are many companion plants as well, including the prized Blue Poppy. So, have a seat and enjoy!

Please note that all images are copyright property of Peggy A Thompson.



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