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Northwest Gardening: Discover PowellsWood Public Garden

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Looking for a garden with a distinctive Northwest style? Learn about PowellsWood Public Garden.

PowellsWood's palm circle gleams with color.
Ferns and a plow recall classic landscape influences.

I almost hate to share this secret. There is a hidden urban oasis that awaits the public near Federal Way, Washington state, just off the busy I-5 corridor about halfway between Seattle and Tacoma. This jewel of a garden started out as a dumping ground. But after several decades and under the loving care of the original owners, Monte and Diane Powell, an enchanting outdoor space has evolved.

This once-private garden now covers two acres and includes a constructed stream and pond that helps filter storm water draining into Puget Sound. The upper lawn teems with color, thanks to a perennial border and circular planting bed around a hardy palm tree viewed through an arched opening. Exotic canna, banana and cordyline join the palm.

A blue iris with golden spirea provide a striking color scheme common to an English perennial border.

A shaded woodland garden uses native sword fern and a rusty plow found amid the old debris to make an architectural statement under tall fir and hemlock trees.

PowellsWood's design pays homage to classic landscape influences but always maintains a Northwest flavor. An example of this fusion of garden styles is the striking color combination of blue and yellow in the English perennial border, below.

An empty vessel marks the end of a lawn.

It sits near a Japanese-inspired empty urn, below, which acts as a focal point at the end of the long lawn. Five columnar cherry trees form a half-circle wall behind the green urn. A backdrop of native plants in casual Northwest planting style softens the Asian influence.

A teacup with sedums welcomes visitors with a bit of whimsy.

PowellsWood offers a unique and most practical gift to the public in the form of an indoor garden room. This glass-enclosed space is used to serve tea, hold garden classes, and provide meeting space for garden clubs and other groups. A summer storytelling festival brings in local talent, to the delight of children and adults. A teacup and saucer, mounted on a stake and planted with sedums, welcome visitors to this indoor meeting space and serves as a bit of whimsy to remind that more than anything else, gardens should be enjoyed.

PowellsWood a Northwest Garden
430 South Dash Point Rd., Federal Way, WA
(253) 529-1620
Visits by appointment only or check the website for garden open days.