Sunday, Oct. 17, marks the official opening of the new Gateway to Chile display garden in Washington Park Arboretum, and a celebration is planned from 1 to 4 p.m. that day.
The half-acre Gateway, located at the southern intersection of Arboretum Drive and Lake Washington, is the first display garden to be completed in Phase II of the Arboretum’s 14-acre, eco-geographic Pacific Connections Garden. It features an eye-catching array of Chilean trees — including monkey puzzle, Chilean wine palm, winter’s bark, Chilean fire bush, and Austrocedrus chilensis (a beautiful conifer that can grow more than 1,500 years old) — planted among the boulders and slopes of the restored historic Holmdahl Rockery.
The opening celebration is free and open to the public, and will feature:
- Tours of the new garden by UW Botanic Gardens guides
- Live music in the Pacific Connections meadow by Chilean folk group Sin Fronteras
- A dance performance by Chilean folk troupe Violeta Parra
- A ribbon-cutting ceremony (dignitaries will include Christopher Williams, acting superintendent, Seattle Parks and Recreation, and Sarah Reichard, associate director, UW Botanic Gardens)
- Complimentary refreshments (while supplies last)
Visitors who attend the opening celebration can also enjoy glorious fall foliage at the Maple Viewing event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Seattle Japanese Garden, just across the street from the Gateway to Chile in Washington Park Arboretum.
A major component of the Washington Park Arboretum Master Plan, the Pacific Connections Garden will ultimately feature 14 acres of forest displays from five Pacific Rim regions: Chile, China, New Zealand, Australia, and our own Cascadia. The displays highlight environmental, cultural, and economic ties among the five regions and create unique opportunities for recreation, education, and conservation in the heart of Seattle.
The current phase under construction includes the Gateway to Chile, the New Zealand eco-geographic forest, and the Cascadia eco-geographic forest. Fundraising for the New Zealand forest has just begun. Propagation of plants for the forest from wild-collected seeds is already under way at the Cistus Nursery, in Oregon. Planting is expected to begin in early 2012.