Meandering through the magical forest of the Bloedel Reserve

After three beautiful, sunny days in Seattle touring gardens at the Seattle Garden Bloggers Fling, we got a real taste of PNW weather with a grey, rainy day on Monday. No mind -- it was just as interesting to see gardens the way they appear for much of the year in this climate.

We boarded the ferry early in the morning and crossed over to Bainbridge Island. Our first stop was at the Bloedel Reserve. This property consists of 150 acres that their literature describes as "a unique blend of natural woodlands and beautifully landscaped gardens, including a Japanese Garden, a Moss Garden, and Reflection Pool, and the Bloedel’s former estate home."

That description simply doesn't do it justice. The entire reserve is majestic, filled with towering trees -- Hemlocks, Western Red Cedars and Douglas Firs -- lined our paths through the lush moss-covered forests.

While most of the private gardens we visited on our trip were awash with colors and blooms, the Bloedel was much more understated forest and meadows and moss. This little gem was tucked into the dappled forest floor.
Little surprises popped up along every path, like this pretty little bridge.
Often hidden by the gentle giant trees, interesting views waited for those who looked for them.
This beautiful tree seemed as though it were watching me walk through the forest with its knotty eye.
I couldn't stop photographing all the moss. I'm quite sure if I'd stood still for very long it would have reached out to me as well.
Ferns, ferns everywhere!

One of the highlights of our visit was a workshop and Q&A session with renown professional photographer David Perry, author of A Photographer’s Garden Blog. He generously have us tips and tricks and, a photo assignment to take shots as though we were shooting for a magazine cover. We were to shoot a cover, double page spread, overview and author's page. This is my cover shot. Sadly, my computer expertise doesn't extend to adding text over an image, so this is a good as it gets for now. That will be on my next to-do list.

While the rain made it a little challenging to juggle jackets, umbrellas, cameras and lens caps, we were all game and bravely faced the elements, not wanting to miss a moment.

These ferns look like they are growing out of a carpet -- a carpet of moss that ate up everything in its path.

One of the most interesting sights I saw was the emergence of nurse trees - seeds that germinated and began to grow inside the cavity of dead trees, providing a safe growing medium for the new seedling. Mother Nature really is amazing.

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