I'm grateful for the shelter of a warm house on these frosty winter days...and yet, I crave fresh air and being outdoors. The forecast is for a break in the weather over the weekend; here are some ideas for post-Christmas outings:
Visit the dignified and friendly camel at Swanson's Nursery. I'm afraid he's stealing all the attention from the reindeer, who are beautiful, but uninterested. This camel seems to love people, and his long-lashed eyes and velvety nose, proffered for a pat, are enchanting. I've visited him a half-dozen times in the last couple of weeks, picking up pots of fragrant paperwhites and amaryllis while I'm at Swanson's..and, yes, a hellebore or two.
Stripped to its winter bones, the Japanese Garden at the Washington Park Arboretum is beautiful right now. Its evergreens, bare-branched maples, teahouse and ponds come into their own in winter. A quiet stroll along its paths is a reminder of the season's elegant serenity.
Don't forget the extravagant light show at the Bellevue Botanical Garden on these clear, starry nights. Even a blustery day, with the Olympic Mountain range on the horizon and ferry boats passing by, is a delightful time to visit the Olympic Sculpture Park for a blast of art, snowberry thickets and groves of wintery white aspen bark.
The Witt Winter Garden, also at the Washington Park Arboretum is exuberant with bloom; witch hazels are budding up, mahonia, sasanqua camellias and
heather are in flower. If you visit on a sunny day, the garden is full of birds, sleepy bees and the sweet vanilla scent of sarcococca in bloom.
My most favorite hike in any season is along the cliffs at Ebey's Landing on Whidbey Island - the photo below is of Bridget and me on a February morning at the top of the cliffside trail (taken by Alice Doyle of Loghouse Plants). My nieces are visiting from Edinburgh and Anchorage, my children home for Christmas, so I'll be taking a blog break until the new decade....if I don't see you at the camel cage at Swanson's, maybe we'll meet up strolling the paths of the sculpture museum, or hummingbird watching at the Witt Winter Garden (they crave the yellow flowers atop the mahonia this time of year). Enjoy...get outside...happy holidays..