Sometimes I need a nature fix and can’t get away for the weekend. I know that a leisurely stroll surrounded by large trees and natural beauty can calm even the most frantic mind. A few hours at one of our city parks may be just what the doctor ordered.
Seattle Parks include 6,052 acres of park and recreation land — roughly 11% of the city’s total land area. Parks help make Seattle one of our country’s most livable cities. Our easy access to nature is hard to match in other urban environments.
One of my favorite parks is Kubota Garden, an exquisite and little-known urban refuge. It was created in 1927 by Fujitaro Kubota, an emigrant from the Japanese Island of Shikoku. He was also responsible for designing the Japanese Garden at the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island. During World War II, the Kubota family was sent to an internment camp in Idaho. During that time the garden was abandoned but after the war, Fujitaro and his sons rebuilt and expanded the garden to include waterfalls, reflection pools, carved stones and massive amounts of plant material. In 1981 it was declared an Historical Landmark of the City of Seattle.
Today it is a beautiful blending of Northwest and Japanese style.
Another of my favorite tranquil spots is the Bellevue Botanical Garden. When we were establishing our garden, Charlie and I used to go on Sunday mornings and say that we were going to “church”. The display gardens have been a constant source of inspiration for us. Every time we go, something different is blooming and the combinations of color, shape and texture is an artist’s dream come true.
The next time you find yourself longing for a respite only nature can provide but don’t want to drive a long distance, consider exploring one of our city parks. Both the Kubota Garden and the Bellevue Botanical Garden are accessible by bus.