Last year in a drawing at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show, I won the opportunity to visit one of three magnificent garden treasures in the Seattle area. I had already visited beautiful Dunn Gardens as well as stunning Bloedel Reserve, but I hadn’t ever seen Kruckeberg Botanical Gardens. So the choice, was easy – Kruckeberg!
Coordinating the date was a little more difficult. The prize allowed me to bring along about ten of my friends, so I polled some great horty gals and guys and managed to put together a fun, rag-tag group filled with people who would really appreciate a private tour. We planned for mid-May when the weather would likely be warm and a number of plants would likely be in bloom. I was excited!
Then as spring sprung, our sweet pup Shiloh went downhill, and sadly, she passed on to puppy dog heaven the day before the garden tour. My excitement disappeared and tragic sadness filled my heart. But, I knew sitting around, wallowing in grief, wouldn’t help my state of mind, so I rallied for the day where friends and beautiful plants would surround me and buoy my spirits.
Or, maybe they wouldn’t.
I gratefully accepted each hug, trying not to burst into tears. I tagged along for the tour, trying to find excitement among the specimen trees and rare shrubs — trying to smile. But, to be honest, I didn’t get as much from this garden tour as I usually would. My heart just wasn’t there.
I did see some absolutely amazing Azara microphylla that are likely getting ready to make the entire garden smell like hot cocoa any day now. There was a study garden on volcanic soils or something that I recall kind of piqued my interest; again, I was half paying attention. A cat made friends with each of us, and it actually was really cold out. I tried to find a seedling to buy to plant in Shiloh’s memory from their fun nursery, but I just couldn’t seem to focus.
Today, as think about how soon the Northwest Garden Show will open for 2011, and I listen to my new puppy whinny like a pony in her crate beside me, I find myself hoping to find time to revisit Kruckeberg in this new year. It is a labor-of-love garden that deserves more than my tear-clouded glance of yesteryear.