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Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Yashiro Japanese Garden in Olympia WA

Before we started on the actual road trip home, Amy told us about Olympia's Yashiro Japanese Garden display. The Garden is a Sister City project between Olympia, WA and Yashiro Japan. We asked directions from the hotel folks as we left, and had no trouble finding the place. We were pretty excited to find it so easily. Sentry is hopeful that he will become a photographer like his Grandad, and I couldn't help getting a shot of him working on his composition.

As we went down the gravel path toward the koi pond, we saw many kinds of flowers and trees. The red flowers in the photo below are rhododendrons, the State Flower of Washington.

I have never seen a Japanese Garden without a pond and waterfall. This one was no exception. The walkways wound around the pond and featured a place to sit and contemplate. The koi were being "coy" I think because it was so cold. The park ranger said they are usually out and about, but this day they were huddled in a space between two rocks, and would not come out to see us.

Sentry was very interested in seeing them, and getting a photo.

As we walked around, the iris and rhododendrons were in full bloom. They were perfect for the relaxing place, and added a lot to our enjoyment of the garden.

In the top right corner of the photo above, you can see a tree with large white blossoms on it. I had not seen a tree like that before, so I asked the ranger what kind of tree was this? She said, "A dogwood tree." I was very surprised, because the dogwood trees where I grew up are small trees that live in the undergrowth of tall pines, and the flowers are very small. This flower was huge! I really have come to believe that everything grows bigger in Washington.

Walking from the pond, the path changed from gravel to stepping stones. The stone lanterns were nestled in several places along the paths. One in particular looked like a perfect place for a group photo! Amy did the honors, so she is not in the photo.

As we came back around the path, I got a few shots of Roland Thomas being himself. He seemed very happy and at ease in this place, as I think we all were. Both the boys' sense of wonder and adventure is great to see, and I think they deserve one more photo by the koi pond. They were skipping the small gravel stones across the water, trying to coax the koi out so Sentry could get a shot.

But it was not to be, and we needed to get going if we were going to make it to Oregon by nightfall. So we gathered up the boys and made our way out by the gravel path. If you are ever in Olympia WA, I can heartily recommend the Japanese Garden. I hope the photos have given you an idea of the peace and serenity that permeates the place.

All the Best,
Mike Z

PS John Corney took a great photo of dogwood blooms that look more like I remember them. Check out his Photo Page and see the difference...

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