|It's not all about showy flowers but also the subtle colors, textures, and design of greenery.|
|Meticulous attention to creating living art is evident throughout the gardens.|
Then suddenly the welcome sign appears and we drive in and the road opens to a vast parking area. A young parking attendant appears on a bicycle to lead us to where Class B RVs (Class B means small) are parked. Since it's around 4:30 p.m., there's only one, another Roadtrek, remaining in the parking lot and we pull in beside it. Rain threatens, so we grab our umbrellas and head for the entry gate. (No need to bring your own umbrellas as there are baskets of loaners for visitors' use.)
Cost of adult admission to one of the most lavish gardens on earth? Around $32 CA dollars. At the exchange rate available then, about $24 US dollars. Ticket prices vary by season. Soon after entering, we learned that the admission included an outdoor concert starting at 8 p.m. Bonus!
Another surprise bonus was arriving late in the day. We didn't do so on purpose; we'd driven from Tofino (post coming soon) and didn't reach our reserved-in-advance RV park until mid-afternoon.
Tour busses were departing as we arrived, and although we didn't have the gardens to ourselves, at no time did we feel crowded or frustrated. A couple days later, on the ferry back to Port Angeles, WA. I talked with a woman who had been at the gardens a few days before we were.
Her experience was not that good.
"We got there at 9:30 a.m. and it was OK, but a half hour later we were overrun," she reports.
"We couldn't even take photos for all the people crowding around us."
For us, touring all the gardens, stopping for a gelato, and even a light cafeteria-style supper, required about 2.5 hours. I'm sure if we'd been battling crowds and waiting in lines we would have needed another hour or so. As it was, we had an hour to kill before the concert. Lucky for us, we had our Roadtrek retreat. We rested there a bit and enjoyed a glass of wine before reentering the gardens to find the concert lawn. Again, no waiting, no hassle.
|PK makes his way to the concert lawn. Many people brought chairs, but we were OK with sitting on wooden benches.|
If you visit, consider the late-in-the-day option, especially during summer and early fall while days are still long and concerts are offered. (Daily until September 3 this year, with fireworks Saturday nights) . You'll miss the crush of tourists and perhaps hear some wonderful music. We loved The Oyster Band, comprising Brits and Scotts, who provided 90 minutes of lively entertainment.
|The profusion look of a country garden in the Rose Garden area.|
|A young visitor primps for a selfie in the Italian Garden, where we enjoyed gelato along with the lushness.|
|Here's my idea of a selfie.|
The Hoh, the hikes, and the bike scum - Experiencing the Olympic National Park, Hoh Rainforest, July 2016
Us and Them, Then and Now - traveling in our respective vans with our son and his girlfriend made clear some generational differences. But it was all good. June 2016
Chasing the Death Valley Super Bloom, 2016 - This was our first trip with the Roadtrek, and I was just getting used to traveling in such a luxury unit after all our years of car and tent camping, and then a pop-up camper. I didn't take photos of the van because it seemed like showing off! March 2016
Loving Death Valley Part 2 - March 2016