News in and around Madison Valley

subscribe to news articles via email or rss

Garden Party: Festival in the Evening Sun



The Seattle Japanese Garden will be hosting its biennial fundraiser and celebration of everything the garden has to offer. Join us for a summer evening in the Seattle Japanese Garden sipping sake under the setting sun!


Free for All Images - gpinvite-sm.jpg


Attendees will savor local wine, specially-chosen sake, Japanese beer, and a dinner menu inspired by the food found at a traditional Japanese summer festival.

Described as the “Best Kept Secret in Seattle,” this is one summer evening event you won't want to miss.

Diners will be serenaded by a jazz trio and be enveloped by the lush greenery of the garden in summer and watch as the sunset transforms the landscape into majestic twilight.


Free for All Images - GP.jpg


All tax-deductible proceeds will go to support programming, operations and capital improvements for the Garden.

Thursday, July 12, 2018
6:00 PM–9:00 PM
Tickets: $125
Purchase Tickets Here


Post a Comment | Topics: Social Events, Arboretum, Nature

Traffic Advisory


The University of Washington Commencement is Saturday, June 9, from 12:30–4:30. The heavy traffic around the university often backs up in the Arboretum.

Free for All Images - commencement.jpg

For more information: 

Post a Comment | Topics: Transportation, Arboretum

Ask a Master Gardener


Did you know that the Graham Visitors Center in the Arboretum has master gardeners who can help you at no cost? Yep, every Sunday, noon to 4:00, volunteer master gardeners are available to answer all your gardening questions!


Free for All Images - master-gardener-IMG_0677-sm.jpg
Madison Valley resident, master gardener, and bird expert, Penny Bolton (right) answers my questions about aphids. “Thanks Penny!”


Graham Visitors Center
2300 Arboretum Drive E
Seattle, WA 98112
For more information about the center, visit their website.


1 Comment, Join In | Topics: Home & Garden, Arboretum

Arboretum Loop Trail Grand Opening


An afternoon of public festivities will celebrate the opening of the new Loop Trail in Washington Park Arboretum on April 8 from noon to 3.

 Free for All Images - loop-trail


There will be a ribbon-cutting, live music, free snacks, food trucks, and fun activities all along the 2-mile loop.

  • 1 p.m. “Vine-cutting” ceremony at the Birch Parking Lot (Lake WA Blvd & E Interlaken Ave), adjacent the Loop Trail
  • A performance by the Husky Marching Band Drumline.
  • Educational activities for kids hosted by UW Botanic Gardens, plus the opportunity to learn about field trips, camps, and more!
  • Stroller and bike decoration station
  • Activity nodes at various locations around the Loop
  • Live music from Gansango (West African), Marc Smason & One Love (New Orleans), and Evan McPherson (classical guitar)
  • Food trucks: 314 PieChicago WestThai-U-UpLil J’s Super Dawgs
  • Talk and book signing with outdoors writer and guidebook author Craig Romano
  • Free snacks, artists-at-work, and more!

Parking at the Arboretum will be very limited during the Loop Trail event. Please consider coming by bike, foot, or public transportation.



Post a Comment | Topics: Local Publicity, Arboretum, Nature, Recreation

Bastille Day Events 2016


On July 14, Madison Valley celebrates Bastille Day this year with two very special events. 

First, Thierry Rautureau, The Chef In The Hat will serve a delicious buffet, wine, beer and live music by Rouge

Buffet meals will be available for all attendees who purchase tickets. They are $25 for adults who pre-reserve before July 10th and $15 for children under the age of 12. There will also be tickets available at the door the day of the event for $30. Prices include sales tax.

Drink tickets will also be available for purchase for $7 (non-alcoholic drinks $3.50).

To reserve tickets, please RSVP by Sunday, July 10th.

More information here.




Second, the Arboretum Foundation is putting on ArbFest, a new outdoor summer party benefiting Seattle’s most spectacular green space. Experience this treasured 230-acre park in a unique and immersive way. Festivities include:




Ticket prices
: $175, Benefactor: $350
RSVP by July 5 

Buy tickets.

To buy tickets by phone, or for questions, call 206-325-4510.

All proceeds benefit Washington Park Arboretum


Post a Comment | Topics: Bastille Bash, Arboretum

Arboretum Neighbors Collaborate to Improve Street Safety


For decades, the residents living north of E Madison St between 23rd Ave E and the Arboretum have grown increasingly concerned about the steadily increasing volume of cars and commercial trucks cutting through their residential streets in an effort to bypass the arterials on either side (23rd Ave E and Lake Washington Blvd). Reckless driving and dangerous speeds have caused numerous serious crashes, damaged vehicles, destroyed traffic circle gardens and people walking and biking have been run off the road along 26th Ave E. Families living in the Arboretum neighborhood don’t feel safe walking or letting children play outside due to the traffic.


Children are at risk from passing traffic.

Replanting the traffic circle.


In 2015, concerned neighbors within the Arboretum neighborhood joined forces and created Arboretum Neighbors for Safer Streets in partnership with Madison Park Greenways and the Madison Valley Community Council to apply for, and win, a $50,000 Neighborhood Park and Street Fund Grant to study potential solutions for restoring the livability of their neighborhood. Some possible outcomes include traffic calming measures such as speed bumps, installation of protected bike lanes, connecting sidewalks, etc. See the map below for location of the study. 




In April, representatives from the three groups who partnered on the grant application met with SDOT staff to plan how to use the funds to achieve neighborhood goals. The first phase is happening now. SDOT is collecting baseline traffic volume and speed data at many points within the Arboretum neighborhood. This data will provide valuable information to understand how traffic is flowing through the area.

After the data is reviewed, the community will work through the summer with SDOT and a traffic engineering firm to develop a set of design recommendations and cost estimates. The final deliverable will be a plan for street improvements. 

The current grant does not include construction funds, therefore no changes will happen to the streets as part of this project. The design and cost estimates that come from this study will inform subsequent construction grant applications that may be applied for as early as 2017.

A Play Street has been organized for Sunday, May 22 2016, between 3 pm and 6 pm whereby 26th Ave E, between Galer and Lee Street, will be closed to traffic so that residents can come together to meet their neighbors, let children play safely on the streets and discuss their concerns regarding traffic patterns in the neighborhood.


A Play Street will be set up on Sunday, May 22, between 3 and 6 pm.

A local safety meeting. 


For questions regarding this project or to get involved to support this community-driven effort, contact Arboretum Neighbors for Safer Streets via


1 Comment, Join In | Topics: Safety, Arboretum

Arboretum Loop Trail Updates


Arboretum neighbors and friends,

Thank you for registering for updates on the Arboretum Loop Trail. The contractor, Ohno Construction has mobilized to the site and started surveying, installing tree protection fencing and erosion control. Tree removals, earthwork and clearing will begin in April within the limits of the trail work. The Birch parking lot is closed.

We anticipate completion of the trail by December 2017. Safety for visitors, contractors, volunteers and staff is the priority during construction of the Arboretum Loop Trail. We will temporarily close or re-route some trails when work is taking place nearby. 

The Arboretum will remain free and open to the public throughout construction. To get additional information or register for updates, please visit

Thank you,
Garrett Farrell


Post a Comment | Topics: Arboretum

Construction of Arboretum Loop Trail Begins


On Monday, March 28, construction crews will begin work on the new Loop Trail. Construction is scheduled to run through December 2017.

The Arboretum Loop Trail is a 1.2-mile trail that will connect to Arboretum Drive, creating a 2.5-mile path through the Washington Park Arboretum and provide improved access to the flagship public garden. Seattle Parks and Recreation awarded the construction contract to Ohno Construction for the paved, multi-use Arboretum Loop Trail.



The Arboretum will remain free and open to the public throughout construction. Safety for visitors, contractors, volunteers and staff is the priority during construction of the Arboretum Loop Trail. We may temporarily close or reroute some trails when work is taking place nearby. To receive meeting notification and construction updates please visit

In June 2013, City Council approved $7.8 million from WSDOT to fund implementation of the Arboretum loop. This project, as outlined in the Arboretum’s Master Plan, is key in mitigating the effects of the upcoming replacement of the SR 520 Bridge. It fulfills the Master Plan’s three primary goals: conservation, recreation and education. It will also improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists visiting the Arboretum. Additionally, the project restores portions of Arboretum Creek and nearby wetlands.

For more information about the project visit: If you have questions email or contact project manager Garrett Farrell at or 233-7921.


Post a Comment | Topics: Arboretum

An Evening of Elegance: Garden Party at the Japanese Garden


The Garden Party is the premier event of the season at the Seattle Japanese Garden, and tickets are on sale now. From 6–8:30 p.m. on Friday, July 24, the Japanese Garden will serve as a backdrop for an elegant Japanese dinner served with fine wine and sake. The event is one of the garden’s largest fundraisers. Proceeds support vital programs and community events at the garden.

Japanese Garden 2

Garden Party guests will have the opportunity to participate in a traditional Nodate outdoor tea ceremony and read artfully installed haiku as they stroll the garden. There will be a flute performance by White Swan label recording artist Gary Strousos, traditional koto music performed by pianist Chris Kenji Beer and a traditional Japanese dance by Fujima Fujimine Dance Ensemble.

Prentice Bloedel Japanese Garden Arboretum Unit 86 is the title sponsor of the event. Other sponsors include Japan Prestige Sake, Inc., Vinum Importing, JM Cellars, Tankokai, and Steve Alley & Jack Rafn.

Tickets are $75 per person and can be purchased at


Post a Comment | Topics: Social Events, Arboretum, Charity

Seattle Japanese Garden celebrates Children’s Day May 31


Experience family-fun surrounded by the beautiful scenery at Seattle Japanese Garden on Sunday, May 31, when the garden hosts its annual Children’s Day event.

From 11 a.m.–3 p.m. there will be live entertainment and a variety of hands-on activity stations to give visitors of all ages an opportunity to enjoy Japanese cultural traditions. The Seattle Japanese Garden is located at 1075 Lake Washington Blvd S.

Japanese Garden 3

The performances, many of which will be interactive, include Issunboshi — The Inch High Samurai: A Modern Telling of an Ancient Japanese Story, by local puppet theatre West Cascade Puppet Brigade; an energetic taiko drumming show by youth group Kaze Daiko; an Aikido demonstration by the instructors and kids of Seattle Aikikai; and a dynamic presentation with Japanese swords by Seibu Ryu Iai-Battojutsu. 

Local group Haiku Northwest will assist kids and adults with crafting garden-inspired haiku poetry. Washington Park Arboretum Education and Outreach staff will lead nature-inspired crafts, while P.A.P.E.R. volunteers will host mini-lessons on origami, including how to make wearable samurai kabuto hats. In a nod to the Japanese Garden’s Zen roots, children will be invited to rake their own miniature sand-and-stone garden and try water-based sumi-e brush painting with Japanese Garden volunteers.

Children’s Day is a Japanese national holiday that traditionally takes place on May 5, the fifth day of the fifth month. It is a day set aside to respect children’s personalities and to celebrate their happiness. It was designated a national holiday by the Japanese government in 1948.

Admission is free for all children age 12 and under. Ticket price for adults is $6; for youth 13 and over, seniors ages 65 and older, and students with ID, it is $4. Annual passes are accepted for event admission; with no additional charge.

For more information, including the exact time of the performances, visit


Post a Comment | Topics: Arboretum, Nature

Community Update on Multi-Use Trail in Arboretum


Seattle Parks and Recreation is inviting the community to a public meeting for the Washington Park Arboretum Multi-Use Trail. This community update will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015 from 6:30 – 7:45 p.m. at the Arboretum’s Graham Visitors Center, 2300 Arboretum Dr. E.

 The Arboretum Multi-use Trail project provides a pedestrian and bicycle loop trail through the Arboretum. The community update will provide information on the design, the construction timeline and impacts to the park and neighborhood. The meeting will focus on the improvements on the south end of the trail. For the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists at the south end of the park, the City is exploring options to make 31st Ave. E a one-way street southbound.

 The preferred design presented at a public meeting in February 2014 took into consideration public input from public meetings held in 2011-2012. Seattle Parks and Seattle Department of Transportation staff will be at the meeting to answer questions and collect feedback. The community is encouraged to participate and all are welcome.

 In June 2013, City Council approved $7.8 million from the Washington State Department of Transportation to fund implementation of the Arboretum loop trail. This project, as outlined in the Arboretum’s Master Plan, is key in efforts to mitigate the impact of the upcoming replacement of the SR 520 Bridge.

 For more information about the project, please visit: If you have questions, please contact Garrett Farrell, Project Manager, at or 233-7921.


Post a Comment | Topics: Arboretum

Maple Viewing Festival at Seattle Japanese Garden on Oct. 12


Take in the breathtaking sight of maple trees ablaze in fall color at the Seattle Japanese Garden on Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014, when the garden hosts its annual Maple Viewing Festival.

Maple Trees

Visitors are invited to enjoy live music, hands-on nature activity stations sponsored by the University of Washington Botanic Garden and Japanese calligraphy demonstrations from Meito-kai from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. There will also be complimentary tours at 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. where guides will provide historical information and identify the different species of maple at the garden.

The event is free with garden admission: adults $6; youth age 6–17, seniors age 65 and older and students with ID $4. Admission is free for children ages 5 and under.

The Seattle Japanese Garden is located at 1075 Lake Washington Blvd. S. For more information, visit


Post a Comment | Topics: Arboretum, Nature

Seattle Japanese Garden Events in September


Experience traditional Noh theater in a performance at the Seattle Japanese Garden on Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The garden will be open for twilight viewing at 5:30 p.m.

Munenori Takeda and the Takeda Noh Troupe will present three Noh vignettes that will give the audience a glimpse of their upcoming performance at Seattle’s ACT Theatre. The performance, entitled “The Universality of Noh: Crossing Borders on Stage,” will be on the Moon Viewing Stage in the garden with seating in the orchard. Bring a blanket or tatami mat to sit on.

Munenori Takeda was born into a family of pre-eminent Noh actors belonging to the Kanze School, which traces its roots to the 1300s in Japan. He is widely recognized as one of the most talented young Noh performers in Japan today.

Tickets are $10, and on sale now at the Garden, or by phone at 206-684-4725, or at the gate on Sept. 25. The Seattle Japanese Garden is located at 1075 Lake Washington Blvd. S, Seattle WA.

The event is sponsored by the Seattle Japanese Garden Advisory Council, the Japan World Exposition1910 Commemorative Fund, Kansai Osaka 21st Century Association, the Toshiba Foundation, the Asahi Shinbun Foundation, the Japan Arts Connection Lab, and Seattle Parks and Recreation.

Japanese Garden 2


Respect for Elders Day: Seniors Admitted Free

The Seattle Japanese Garden will celebrate Respect for Elders Day on Monday, September 15, 2014. In honor of this Japanese holiday, seniors age 65 and older will receive free admission to the garden.

Complimentary guided tours will be available starting at 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m. on that day.

All visitors are welcome to experience a traditional Japanese tea ceremony in the Tateuchi Community Room at the Garden Gatehouse. The room is wheelchair accessible and chairs will be provided. Ceremonies start at 2 p.m., 3 p.m., and 4 p.m. Tea ceremony tickets are $7 per person, and can be purchased in advanced by calling the ticket booth at 206-684-4725.

The Seattle Japanese Garden is located at 1075 Lake Washington Blvd. E. For driving directions and detailed information about the garden, please visit


Post a Comment | Topics: Arboretum, Nature

Mother’s Day at the Washington Park Arboretum

MAY 6, 2014 | EDITOR

Seattle Parks suggests bringing Mom to a free weekend walk at the Washington Park Arboretum. The arboretum is offering a free tour of flowering plants from 1–2:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 11. The tour will wind among the many flowering plants in the arboretum. The guides will discuss some of these and also teach visitors how flowers work via fun flower dissections and discussion of pollination.


Post a Comment | Topics: Arboretum, Nature

Silly Hilly Walk/Ride is April 26th, 2pm - 4pm

APRIL 16, 2014 | EDITOR

Bob Edmiston asks that we spread the word about Silly Hilly:

We need all feet and wheels on deck for this fun route scouting day in the hilly slopes between North Capitol Hill and Madison Valley, Arboretum and Montlake. Bring your feet, bikes, kids, dogs, cameras, fun hats and silly wear.

Silly Hilly is a fun, inclusive, family-friendly ride/walk to explore potential greenway route options for the northern segment of the Central Area Neighborhood Greenway between John and 520, including part of Madison Valley and the Arboretum neighborhood.

The fun starts at the Montlake Elementary School playground, where participants will be divided into teams upon arrival. Teams will ride or walk one of four route options while taking pictures and completing a scavenger hunt along the way. We'll Stop, Doc and Tweet all along our stroll. Data collected from this activity will directly inform the Greenway route choices for Phase 3 of the 23rd Ave repaving project from E John St to SR520.

At Miller Park (our finish line), we’ll have kid-friendly games, prizes and refreshments, as well as opportunities to share ideas on which greenway route makes the most sense!

This ride is being organized jointly by Central Seattle Greenways, Montlake Greenways, Madison Park Greenways and Cascade Bicycle Club. A bike is not necessary for this fun route scouting adventure.

Bob Edmiston
Join our Google Group
@Mpgreenways Twitter Feed


Post a Comment | Topics: Community Planning, Arboretum, Nature

Seattle Japanese Garden Opening Day


First Viewing

The Seattle Japanese Garden’s 2014 season opens on Saturday, March 1 with a celebration from  11 a.m. to 3 p.m. To ensure a wonderful season, Reverend Koichi Barrish of the Tsubaki Grand Shrine will honor the Japanese Garden with the traditional Shinto blessing at noon.

Seattle Japanese Garden

This 3½-acre formal garden evokes another time and place, a unique and artistic representation of nature influenced by Shinto, Buddhist, and Tao philosophies. Designed and built under the supervision of world-renowned Japanese garden designer Juko Iida in 1960, the garden is a quiet place, allowing reflection and meditation through the careful placement of water, garden plants, stones, waterfalls, trees and bridges.

Admission fees for First Viewing are: $10 for adults 18-64, $5 for youths 6–17, senior adults 65+, college students with ID, and people with disabilities, and free for kids younger than 6.

For free, the community is invited to enjoy the opening of a beautiful new photography exhibit “A Celebration of Spring”  from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Tateuchi Community Room.  The juried show also on March 1 celebrates nine photographers and their fantastic views of the Garden from a spring workshop in 2013.

The Japanese Garden offers monthly tea presentations and demonstration at the Tea House and other great community events during the March – November season when it is open to the public.

The Japanese Garden is located at the south end of the Washington Park Arboretum at 1075 Lake Washington Blvd. E. For more information visit the website or call 206-684-4725.

Post a Comment | Topics: Arboretum, Nature

Arboretum Multi-Use Trail Public Meeting


Seattle Parks and Recreation, the University of Washington Botanic Gardens and the Arboretum Foundation invites the community to a public meeting for the Washington Park Arboretum Multi-Use Trail. The final public meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 27 from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. at the Graham Visitors Center located inside the park at 2300 Arboretum Dr. E.

The Arboretum Multi-Use Trail project provides a trail from the intersection of East Madison through the Arboretum to the intersection of Foster Island Road and Lake Washington Boulevard.

At the meeting, design development drawings will be presented that take into consideration input from public meetings held in 2011-2012.  Parks staff will be on-site to answer questions and collect feedback. The community is encouraged to participate and all are welcome.

In June 2013, City Council approved $7.8 million from Washington State Department of Transportation to fund implementation of the Arboretum Multi-Use Trail. This project, as outlined in the in the Arboretum’s Master Plan, is a key element in mitigation effects of the upcoming replacement of the State Route 520 Bridge.

For more information about the project visit If you have questions about  the project please contact project manager Andy Sheffer at or 206-684-7041.


Post a Comment | Topics: Arboretum

Opening of the New Zealand Garden in the Arboretum


Although the rains poured down just 30 minutes before the opening ceremony on September 15, a crowd of interested neighbors, officials, gardeners and Kiwis (the New Zealand natives, not the birds) came to hear the speeches and learn more about this grand new garden in our Washington Park Arboretum. 



Luckily the warm rains stopped and the Maori dancers, scantily clad, sang and danced to open the gardens. This unique garden is designed to show seven distinct plant communities indigenous to the mid- to high-level elevations on the South Island. Although it is a plant museum of New Zealand native plants, it is also designed to show Pacific Northwest Gardeners new and exciting plants that are adaptable to our climate and soils. As the years pass, watch how they grow and behave in Seattle — maybe you will want to plant some in your home gardens.

Another feature of the garden that will be appreciated is its topographical design. Although planted on a steep slope with an expansive view down Azalea Way, the gardens are ADA accessible. There are ADA parking spots and gradual-graded gravel trails. Access by car continues to be open from the north end entrance of the road at the Graham Visitors Center. 

You can read more about the New Zealand Garden in this article (PDF).








Red Tussock Grass


NZ Garden Large


Post a Comment | Topics: Home & Garden, Arboretum

Bird Walk on Foster Island - October 5


Join Penny Bolton, a fledgling graduate of the Seattle Audubon Master Birder program, for a walk through the north section of the Arboretum and Foster Island to find water birds and become familiar with the local winter birds. Penny will point out the common birds and hopes to be present for the returning migrant waterfowl on the lake. Bring binoculars if you have them, shoes for muddy walking, and be prepared to walk a mile and a half. Penny notes that this walk is good for kids since they’ll be looking at birds sitting on the water. The group will be strolling slowly and stopping frequently to listen and watch.

Meet at the Graham Visitors Center at 10 AM and return at noon. Dress for the weather. No charge.


Arboretum: Chatting Mallards
Chatting Mallards


Arboretum: Heron
Great Blue Heron


Arboretum: Sleeping Duckling
Sleeping Hybrid Duckling


Arboretum: Two Ducks
Mallards on Lake Washington


Arboretum: Swimming Duck
Swimming on the Lake


Post a Comment | Topics: Classes, Social Events, Arboretum