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Gardens at Point Defiance Park

pagoda-and-japanese-garden-1200xJapanese Garden

Azaleas, rhododendrons, Japanese cherry trees, crabapples and large and small pines flourish in the Japanese garden. An oriental footbridge, waterfall, Japanese lanterns and a small "tea house" further enhance the grounds.

The garden provides a peaceful area to enjoy a bit of solitude and is especially enchanting in early spring.

The Capital District of Washington State Federation of Garden Clubs helped to establish the garden in 1965 and continues to provide support.

Through a special partnership with Tacoma's Sister City, Kitakyushu, this garden will receive an updated design plan reflective of Japanese landscaping traditions and steeped in cultural heritage. The planning and fundraising for this project began in 2012. 

Red dahlias blooming in Point Defiance ParkDahlia Trial Garden

One of the largest official trial gardens in the U.S. and Canada, the Dahlia Trial Garden is maintained in cooperation with the Washington Dahlia Society.

The garden is comprised of plants grown from tubers sent by dahlia growers from throughout America, Canada, England, New Zealand and Australia.

Each year, the dahlias are scored by official judges of the American Dahlia Society. Dahlias receiving between 85 and 100 points are included in the annual classification book. They are then named and become available to the general public. Blooms begin in July, but August is the best time to view the garden in full bloom, when plants reach heights higher than 6 feet.

Fuchsias blooming in August in Fuchsia Garden in Point Defiance Park.Fuchsia Garden

Hummingbirds and visitors alike will want to flock to this colorful garden between June and October when the blooms are out in profusion.

Started with only 36 plants, the Fuchsia Garden now contains 125 different varieties of upright fuchsias.

This garden was constructed to test which varieties of fuchsias can be grown in the ground and will come back year after year. There are many of the 10,000 varieties that do well as hardies in the Northwest.

Lavendar blooming in May in Point Defiance Park Herb Garden.Herb Garden

Established by the Herb Gardeners of Tacoma and maintained primarily by their members, the Herb Garden has two beds containing more than 150 perennial plants that thrive in the Puget Sound area.

The area provides a surge of growth and color in the spring and summer and provides a place to learn how to grow, use and display herbs.


Iris Garden

Established in cooperation with the Pierce County Iris Society, the Iris Garden contains 101 tall bearded iris, 80 Pacific Coast iris hybrids and 26 iris tectorum, all in assorted colors.

During construction in 1992, cobblestones from old Tacoma streets were used for the walls. The garden site is comprised of five sections - one bed is dedicated to tall bearded iris, two beds to various median irises, one bed to beardless iris (Siberian and Pacific Coast iris), and there is a Louisiana section.

Northwest Native Garden

Native Garden Mary's MeadowEstablished by the Tacoma Garden Club, this garden displays and celebrates the native flora of the Pacific Northwest.

Paths winding through the one-and-one-half-acre garden pass a lovely waterfall, pond and striking wooden gazebo that Thomas Church helped design and place.

The Tacoma Garden Club is instrumental in the maintenance and development of this Northwest treasure. As part of the Garden Club's ongoing stewardship, they are currently raising funds for a Revitalization Plan for the future of the garden focused on education, improving the visitor experience and ongoing maintenance.

Rhododendron blooming in March in Point Defiance Park.Rhododendron Garden 

Designed as a natural display of rhododendrons in the wild, this garden is nestled in a stand of old growth forest. Trails wind through the forest and intersect the garden.

The nearly five-acre site was established in 1968 in cooperation with the Tacoma Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society, which continues to provide support.

The garden contains more than 500 plants, including 198 cultivated varieties and 75 species of rhododendrons.

Arbor 1 with Begonias and Roses in bloom in June in Point Defiance Park.Rose Garden

This focal point of Point Defiance Park has more than an acre of rose gardens, the oldest of which was established in 1895.

The site includes a garden of miniature roses, arbors of climbing roses, a picturesque wishing well and quaint gazebos.

From June through September more than 1,500 rose bushes provide a rainbow of colors including many variegated combinations. The garden is accredited by the American Rose Society as an All American Rose selection display garden.

Volunteer in the gardens

 For more information about garden club volunteer opportunities please CLICK HERE.