This spring, we had the privilege of touring Chihuly Garden and Glass with one of their talented gardeners as our guide. Despite a chilly morning with sprinkles of rain, it was an amazing, colorful, and fascinating experience! We're garden nerds, of course, so we had to know about everything they planted, but even those who simply appreciate the beauty of a well-composed landscape will find it more than worth the trip.
Our tour started with a stroll through the interior galleries, which involved picture-taking and lots of exclamations (Wow! Look at that! So cool! - You get the idea).
We learned that the 1.5-acre site, which opened in 2012, includes 8 galleries, a theater, a 40-foot-tall Glasshouse, and a garden that continually evolves and provides a lush background for the outdoor glass art.
Things you may not know: to build the museum, the existing Fun Forest building at the Seattle Center was repurposed to form the exhibition space, and the Glasshouse was made from recycled metal and glass. The building, which received LEED Silver certification in late 2012, includes green roofs planted with lonicera, cotoneaster, mums, agastache, crocosmia, allium, and edibles!
We were lucky enough to be able to go up in the Needle and see the gardens from above! Below you can see aerial views of the garden, a green roof next to an impressive climbing clematis, and a pretty decent view ;)
The gardens are filled with colorful plants and glass art. In early spring, pansies bloomed alongside tulips and other spring bulbs, accented by adorably quirky bolting winter kale. Deciduous trees and shrubs were dramatic, architectural statements. Coral bark Japanese maples glowed in the stormy light (top left and center right) and a lilac daphne had just burst into bloom in a celebration of spring (top right).
The hellebores were in full bloom in a black and white glass garden sprinkled with ferns, black mondo grass, beesia, dicentra, pansies, and an incredible dramatic cobra lily (top right). A glowing orb nestled in Japanese mahonia and black mondo grass (bottom right).
Other gardens boasted glass art in bright primary colors. One of our favorite areas was filled with luminous purple "reeds" amongst logs and Japanese mahonia (top right).
The centerpiece of the landscape is the Pacific Sun rising from a bed of over 4,000 black mondo grass plants!
We can't wait to visit again in different seasons. Summer is a great time to visit the museum and gardens with lots of activities and events happening. June has been perennial month and if you visit soon you will see Erygium 'Sapphire Blue', Salvia greggi 'Red Velvet', Geums, and perennial geraniums in bloom. Lacecap hydrangeas are also lovely this time of year. In July, the lily show begins!
Also this summer, live music on Thursday evening in July and August, and Yoga Under Glass in the Glasshouse. Get more info on their website.
A huge thank you to everyone at the museum, especially to Shanna (Head Gardener), Kait (Garden and Grounds Supervisor), Caitlin (Exhibition Program Coordinator), and April (Director of Public Relations) for welcoming us, treating us like VIPs, and teaching us so much!