University of Washington Amelia Vaughn Photography

Floral Fix: Top Places to Spot Spring Blooms in Seattle

Kubota Garden Harrison W Liu,

University of Washington’s iconic cherry blossoms may be one of Seattle’s most popular springtime draws, but there are plenty of other places to take in local flora, from test gardens to manicured landscapes to a glass-walled conservatory. Here are a few favorite spots to explore during the city’s flourishing spring months, whether you’re a budding botanist or just looking for a particularly picturesque stroll.

By Christy Karras


Kubota Garden

Japanese-style Kubota Garden is a hidden gem south of downtown, aflame with color in the spring. Once the home garden of master landscaper and horticultural pioneer Fujitaro Kubota, the 20-acre park is free and open to the public. Among sculpted paths and decorative bridges, blooming shrubs punctuate masses of low-lying flowerbeds, making for a blended aesthetic of native Northwest plants and traditional Japanese garden concepts. 9817 55th Ave S;



Woodland Park Rose Garden

Just outside the Woodland Park Zoo is a certified American Rose Test Garden, home to more than 200 varieties of elegant blooms, including new hybrids on display before they become available to the public. Sniff out which smell the sweetest as you meander through 2.5 acres of fragrant beds containing nearly 3000 roses—thanks to organic gardening methods, trimmed petals serve as a tasty treat for the zoo’s resident gorillas. *750 N 50th St;

Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Garden

While watching watercraft transition from salt to fresh water at the Ballard Locks is one of Seattle’s most popular sights, the surrounding seven-acre garden is a vision in itself, housing unusual floral specimens from around the world (many delivered by boat via the waterways themselves). Named for the horticulturist who designed and nurtured the gardens for the Army Corps of Engineers, Carl S. English Jr. spent four decades cultivating an English estate-style garden of manicured lawns, carefully placed copses of trees, and layered flowerbeds. 3015 NW 54th St;

Volunteer Park Conservatory

Designed in 1903, this spot retains its old-fashioned aesthetic amid the bustle of the surrounding Capitol Hill neighborhood. Stepping into the glass-walled landmark feels a bit like traveling back to 19th-century England—the profusion of greenery and diverse varieties of orchids, bromeliads, and more makes for a cheery interlude even on grey days, and the beds of surrounding blooms outside are equally lovely. (Admission to the conservatory is $4.) *1400 E Galer St;

While you’re in the neighborhood, stop by Streissguth Gardens, a family-maintained public garden with specialized sections. Perennials bloom year-round but are especially vibrant in spring—armchair horticulturists will want to check out the garden’s website, which highlights flowers currently in bloom. 1640 Broadway E;

Washington Park Arboretum

The newly opened Washington Park Arboretum Loop Trail runs through many of the 230-acre arboretum’s highlights, from Azalea Way path, where spring brings a profusion of blooms in hues from delicate white to hot pink, to the Pacific Connections Garden, with plants from five countries connected by the Pacific Ocean. The arboretum is also home to the traditionally landscaped, 3.5-acre Seattle Japanese Garden, known for its striking color palette come springtime (admission is $8 for adults). 2300 Arboretum Dr E;


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University of Washington Amelia Vaughn Photography


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