Duncan Gardens: Duncan Gardens is the most impressive garden in Manito Park and Botanical Gardens. The formal English garden is a lush display of manicured lawns and a colorful display of annual garden plants. A visitor is shown entering the gardens on the left while two gardeners work on one of the beds on the right. A beautiful water fountain is located in the center of the garden. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
Blooming Onion – A cluster of colorful blooming onion flowers stand out against the backdrop of green foliage. The flowering onion blooms in May and June at Manito Park and Botanical Gardens. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
By GARY WARREN
Formerly of Los Alamos
When we plan our RV trips, we often have an idea of the main features or attractions before we leave home. Other times, we know very little about a place. With the Internet, researching a city or area for attractions is simple, but an even better way to research or learn what a city has to offer is to ask the locals. Locals often mention or recommend activities that might otherwise have been overlooked.
In June we visited Washington state for the first time in our travels. While we flew into Seattle years ago and spent little time exploring, we really didn’t know what to expect. We were planning to visit Eastern Washington instead of the coastal side of the state starting in Spokane.
Spokane is on the eastern border, just across the border from Coeur D’Alene, Idaho. We knew very little about Spokane, but found it to be a beautiful city with many points of interest. We hadn’t planned on spending time in the city, but decided to spend the night and explore for a day.
One of the attractions, which kept coming up as I did research and literature on the city, was Manito Park and Botanical Gardens. We arrived at the park in the late morning and spent several hours walking through this beautiful park.
The City of Spokane owns the park and the park is maintained by the Spokane Department of Parks and Recreation. The park was established in 1904 and was a gathering place for families and visitors to enjoy the outdoors while being just minutes from downtown Spokane. The park developed and became home to the Botanical Garden. It even had a zoo for a few years, but that part of the park was closed in 1932 during the Great Depression.
Today, Manito Park and Botanical Gardens features five gardens, two playgrounds, a ball park, a disc golf course, a cafe, and numerous walking and biking trails. The centerpiece of the park is the gardens, which include Rose Hill Rose Garden, Ferris Perennial Garden, Duncan Gardens, Lilac Garden, and Japanese Garden. Also included within the gardens is the Gaiser Conservatory, which serves as a conservatory for the gardens and also features a beautiful display area with several varieties of plants. Water features, including Reflection Pond, are also popular visitor spots at the Botanic Gardens.
Rose Hill is a nationally recognized rose garden featuring 150 varieties of roses, and the nearby Ferris Perennial Garden contains more than 300 species of perennials. The Lilac Garden has been established since Spokane is known as the “Lilac City” and is home to the Lilac Festival each spring. The Japanese Garden was created in honor of Spokane’s sister city, Nishinomiya, Japan. The park’s most impressive garden is Duncan Gardens, an English garden of formal and symmetrical design, featuring three acres of manicured lawns and a large display of colorful annuals.
Manito Park and Botanical Gardens has 90 acres of a beautiful urban park and botanical park in one colorful package! The park is open year-round, but the best time to visit is spring and summer, when the Botanical Gardens are in full bloom. We were lucky enough to visit the park at the end of June. Another great feature of the park is that it is free for visitors.
We enjoyed our brief visit to Spokane and hope to return in the future and visit other attractions in the city, but the day of color at Manito Park and Botanical Gardens will be hard to beat. When visiting the area, I highly recommend visiting Manito Park and the Botanical Gardens.
Publisher’s note: Veteran Los Alamos photographer Gary Warren and his wife Marilyn are traveling the country, and he’s sharing their photos, which appear in the “Posts from the Road” series published in the Sunday edition of the Los Alamos Daily Post.
Globe Flowers: Bright yellow globe flowers were in full bloom in the Ferris Perennial Garden during our visit. Balloon flowers bloom in June and July in the park. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
Vibrant Red Anthurium: Vibrant red Anthurium flowers were in abundance at the Gaiser Conservatory greenhouse at Manito Park and Botanical Gardens. The Conservatory serves as the conservatory for all of the park’s gardens and also has displays of colorful flowers for visitors to enjoy. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
Coleus: A bed of coleus with its colorful green and maroon leaves was also seen at the Gaiser Conservatory. These plants flourish in hot, humid climates. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
Ferris Perennial Garden: Colorful plant blossoms decorated the Ferris Perennial Garden at Manito Park and Botanical Gardens. Over 300 species of perennials fill the garden and many were in bloom during our visit in June. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com