21 Oct The Bloedel Reserve
Located on Bainbridge Island, WA, the Bloedel Reserve is a 150-acre nature preserve created by Prentice and Virginia Bloedel with the intention of bringing the beauty and essence of the Japanese garden to America. In addition to the Reserve’s Japanese and Zen gardens, the property also features several landscaped and manicured lakes and lawns. Today, the Bloedel Reserve is managed by the University of Washington and still contains the Bloedels’ home, which has been preserved as the property’s visitor center.
The Reserve’s Design
The Bloedel Reserve began as private property on which Prentice and Virginia Bloedel aimed to explore the techniques and characteristics of traditional Japanese gardens. Because Prentice Bloedel was colorblind, much of the Reserve’s design focuses on the contrast of shape, size, and texture, rather than on color. The Bloedels’ ultimate goal in creating the Reserve was to cultivate a tranquil and contemplative environment through landscape and garden design. Following their purchase of the property in 1951, the couple remained in their home on the Reserve until 1987, after which the property became public and management was transferred to the University of Washington.
The Reserve’s Renown
The Bloedel Reserve has been listed among the Journal of Japanese Gardening’s top ten Japanese Gardens in the United States. In addition to its award-winning Japanese garden, the Bloedel Reserve also features a fairyland-like moss garden with over 40 species of moss, a flower-filled glen, and a tranquil bird marsh. The Reserve offers unique self-guided strolls through the property, entitled Awareness, Reflection, Gratitude, and Transition. These quiet walks allow visitors to not only enjoy the physical beauty of the property, but gain the philosophical and spiritual benefits of spending time among Reserve’s peaceful gardens and paths as well.
This article is part of Santa Rita Landscaping’s blog series, The Most Spectacular Gardens in the World.