The cherry blossoms are early this year, so why not come out for some hanami - flower viewing - the pasttime of emperors? Botan, Somei-Yoshino and Akebono are all blooming now, and soon they will be followed by the Ichiyo, Kanzan and Shogetsu cherrries.
The first three cherries were planted in Seward Park in 1929 by Japanese diplomats. These were soon followed by 3500 more Japanese cherries planted throughout the city in 1930, some of which are still growing in Seward Park. The cherries were undoubtedly a major factor in the placement of the Taiko-gata lantern and torii (Japanese gate) in the park in the following few years.
Come learn about the history of Japanese gifts in Seward Park and enjoy the blossoms while they last. Meet on April 11 at 10:00am-11:30am at the Audubon Center to get a free guided tour of cherries and history.
And don't miss the Seattle Cherry Blossom and Japanese Cultural Festival April 24-26 at Seattle Center. This festival began in Seward Park 39 years ago and grew to the 3 day cultural event it is today. Visit the Friends at the festival and get the latest on our torii project and other activities.
If these old trees could talk, what would they say? Come join Seattle's Tree Ambassadors to get introduced to Seward Park's beautiful trees - including the cherry trees in full bloom - and learn about some of the monuments and historical events, peaceful and otherwise, that they have witnessed over the decades.
Sunday, April 26
10am - 11:30am
Meet in the south portico of the Audubon building:
5902 Lake Washington Blvd, near the park entrance
The walk is approximately 90 minutes in length at a leisurely pace. It is mostly flat and on concrete, but there will be some stairs and some walking on wet grass, so it's best to wear boots or waterproof shoes if you have them. RSVP requested, but walk-ups are always welcome. For more details, see http://www.seattle.gov/trees/treewalks.htm.
Cost: The walk is free and so is the parking.
Cherries aside, Seward Park was created to preserve the Magnificent Forest, Seattle largest stand of old growth trees, and the plants and animals that live there. For Native Plant Awareness Week, come learn about the native wildflowers, trees and shrubs that inhabit the Magnificent Forest, Clark's Prairie, and the shoreline and lake on May 2. Find out which natives are rare or absent elsewhere in Seattle and why, which host unique insect species, and what the name is of that plant you've always been wondering about. Meet at the Audubon Center at the park entrance, 10:00am-12:00pm. This event is co-sponsored by FoSP and the Washington Native Plant Society.
For 50 years the Seward Park Torii (Japanese Gate) graced
the entrance to Seward Park. Originally built for the 1934 Potlatch Festival, it was given to the city as a symbol of friendship by the Seattle Japanese Chamber of Commerce and placed in Seward Park in 1935. It was finally removed due to aging and decay in 1985-1986. In 2013 FoSP sought community input to develop a design plan for replacement of the torii. We hired Murase Associates to work with the community to develop a plan addressing maintenance concerns and community values.
FoSP has received a grant from the Neighborhood Matching Fund to collect memories and reminiscences about the original Seward Park torii. If you remember the torii and would lke to contribute a memory, either by email or interview, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org Funds from the grant will pay for construction documents, permits, and additional design for ADA accessibility. FoSP will seek additional grants and donations from the community to pay for final construction. See our torii website for more information
about the Seward Park Torii and to donate.