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 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.
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.
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
Visits by appointment only or check the website for garden open days.