Bellevue Botanical Garden’s holiday display, Garden d’Lights, is a luminous PNW tradition. Taking advantage of a brief dry spell, last night my husband and I paid our nominal (and very worthy) $5 admission and spent a chilly, crisp hour gaping in wonder at the spectacle of 1/2 million lights crafted into a shining display inspired by gardens and plants from throughout the world.
Call me a garden geek, but secretly I thrilled to identify hyacinths, delphinium, and agapanthus, as well as a whimsical vegetable garden replete with caged cherry tomatoes, towering stalks of corn, a bed of carrots, and even my beloved kale, depicted in colorful, sometimes twinkling, Christmas lights. To my decidedly temperate eyes, the palm trees, monkey, and a brilliant macaw seemed somewhat out of place in the icy December landscape, but the children around us were shouting with glee.
It was refreshing to witness a blazing holiday display with nary a reindeer, bedecked conifer, or animated elf in the mix. No computer-synchronized soundtrack, flashing lights visible from space, or inflatable character billowing to the background hum of a generator. Just the oohs and ahhs of the crowd and squeals of delight from children and grownups alike as we all called out our recognition of yet another botanical or natural wonder brought to life (light?) through the inventive and careful crafting of what must surely be miles of mini-light strings.
Today, the rain is back, with snow above 500 feet. Cold is one thing; cold and wet quite another. I hope you’ll enjoy my brief glimpse of the magic here, but even if the “weather outside is frightful,” a trip to the Bellevue Botanical Garden d’Lights display is well worth getting bundled up for. For more details and much better photos go here.