I'm in the middle of a tiny forest, feeling like I am miles from civilization. Surrounded by big old trees, singing birds, blooming plants and giant woodpecker holes, it is easy to feel calm and settled. I feel soothed by the wooded surroundings. 

In reality, this small space of serenity is in the middle of the busy Bellevue metropolis.

A few minutes before, I walked across a 150 foot suspension bridge to access the Ravine Experience area of the Bellevue Botanical garden. I was lured into this tiny forest by a well-written description placed at the entrance that got me excited and in the mood for discovery. It went something like this...

See if you can spot immense leaves of big-leaf maple or peeling reddish-brown bark of the western red cedar. On the forest floor look for evergreen sword ferns fronds and bluish fruit of tall Oregon grape. Listen for percussive notes as pileated woodpeckers hunt for insects in the tree.

Who could resist?  My path was sealed when a frog's croak greeted me as I crossed an impressive looking suspension bridge cool into the wooded area. 

Small in size, but big in refuge and beauty, I followed the loop trail in this restored woodland, entranced by this tiny forest. For long moments, I forgot that I was in the middle of a city. I think that's the idea. 

Wandering along a Bellevue Botanical Garden pathThe Bellevue Botanical Garden is 53 acres of cultivated gardens, woodlands, and lovely trails to wander.

It's a place designed to inspire. You'll leave with ideas on how to create your own beautiful landscape at home, learn what's unique and native to our northwest region and just plain happy.

Natural stone steps adds charm to the lush landscapeStone steps, statues, rustic fences, viewing platforms, big mossy rocks, water features, ponds, tiny creeks and wooden benches add elements of charm and myth to this urban refuge.

A perennial border garden is a mix of new buds and full blooms. You can only imagine what it will be like in a month popping with color, texture and fragrance.

Falling water adds lovely serenity to the landscapeA lush display of ground cover in a garden features a small cascade of water rushing over big rocks, and flowing into a tiny mountain-like stream. Again, using your imagination, it's easy to picture this type of native setting on a much larger scale in the forests of our beautiful Cascade mountains. How nice to know we can re-create mini versions in our own urban landscapes. 

Check out the Native Discovery garden for a mini-northwest wilderness feelThe Native Discovery garden reminds me of what you would find walking along a northwest forest trail. A pond that looks like it is overflowing from the recent rain is filled with growing grasses and fallen logs. Moss covered rocks and logs are abundant. Birds calling and a couple of Mallard ducks complete the picture of lovely natural chaos. A perfectly placed bench offers a great spot for contemplation. 

I leave feeling excited, joyful and expectant of all the goodness to come--not only here in the garden--but in parts of my life. That IS nature's healing power. How it makes your feel. Inspired. Confident. Nourished.

You will leave the same way.

To plan your visit, please go to

Here are some other very cool urban parks that will inspire you!!


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-Paradise in Seattle 

And to enhance your visit, read...


  -Six easy steps