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Spring Maple Madness Weekend in the Pacific Northwest

West Region - open to all members and non-members

Saturday and Sunday, May 20-21

Maples and Gardens and Tours... Oh My!

The Maple Society North American Branch hosted their (hopefully first annual?) Maple Madness Tour event on the weekend of May 20-21st. It spanned two days of tours that included beloved public gardens as well as several private gardens of local Maple Society members located across multiple spaces in the Seattle, Redmond and Puyallup, WA areas.

The event kicked off at a private garden in the Seattle neighborhood of Rainier Beach, WA where attendees enjoyed breakfast beverages and pastries while taking in a varied collection of Japanese Maples and perennials as they were greeted with a dramatic view of Lake Washington on a gorgeous sunny day.

Saturday ended with a fabulous dinner auction held at the home of members Camille and Dirk Paulsen in Puyallup. The beautiful garden setting showcased many varieties of Japanese Maples, conifers, and unusual perennials, along with providing sweeping views of Mount Rainer and the surrounding valley at sunset as a perfect Pacific Northwest backdrop to close out the first day of the event (photo of their garden below).

The whirlwind event was a great combination of formal and self-guided tours.

Attendees were provided early access and personal guides to Kubota Gardens (located in Rainier Beach) on Saturday, and the Seattle Japanese Garden, a 3.5 acre stroll garden tucked within a vast arboretum on Sunday. Self-guided tours allowed guests the opportunity to arrive at Maple Society members’ personal gardens to stroll and enjoy a wide range of garden styles, and have an opportunity to see the creative way gardeners in the PNW are incorporating and showcasing their favorite maple varieties.

There were so many wonderful demonstrations of creative expression at our members’ gardens that it is difficult to highlight every single one. Unusual Japanese Maple varieties were the focus for many, but the complimentary spaces were just as noteworthy. From immaculately maintained koi ponds and dramatically pruned dissectums, to immense hardscaping with stone, a 40’ wisteria in bloom cascading over visitors, and lovely meandering garden routes and outdoor entertaining spaces—it left us all with feelings of gratitude and joy knowing that we had the opportunity to be welcomed into hidden private gems across the region that are equally as beautiful and breathtaking as any professional or public garden.

Touring gardens can leave little time to sneak off to find a snack, but the Maple Society made sure to have us covered by including luncheons on both days.

We are very pleased to have made the decision to join the Maple Society North American Branch. Membership has opened up so many wonderful opportunities to experience breathtaking spaces, but it has also provided a space for us to connect with kind and knowledgeable souls who are just as passionate about the gentle art of gardening and caring for Japanese Maples.

We may not be able to attend the vast amount of events offered annually, but every event we have participated in has itself been rewarding. We look forward to the next Maple Society event, and hope others will choose to join us as well.

Reesha Lopez and Wendy Billingsley, Members


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