Manito Park in Spokane, a great surprise yesterday

Us, Manito Park, Spokane, Washington

We decided to go to Spokane yesterday for a number of silly reasons – mostly to have a fun summer day somewhere else.  The last time we went, in the early Spring, we toured some of the down town area, but missed the Riverfront Park completely.  We chose to start our day there, walking along the river, watching people feed ducks, geese and seagulls huge rolls and large pieces of bread.  I didn’t know there were municipalities that let people feed waterfowl any more.  Just because of the fecal problem it causes, if not for the poor nutrition for the birds.  I didn’t know that Spokane had hosted the World’s Fair in 1974 and this lovely, lively green space was the result.  We noticed the inside carousel was silent, no Calliope music!  We read the large memorial plaque on the clock tower and I learned I was standing on an island in the river, fascinating.  We kept to the shade as much as possible as we walked as it was hot.

Lunch was at O’Doherty’s Irish Grille: excellent fish and chips for me, a great Reuben sandwich for my love.  The place was papered in currency, primarily US $1.oo bills, cooler than outside, but not cold, and busy, especially the bar.  This gave us time to discuss our previous walk and think about what we would like to do next.  I was at a loss, ready to turn to my handy phone for ideas.

Begonias, Manito Park, Spokane, Washington

Quicker than my fingers could type I was told about a childhood experience in a garden park by ‘the hospital’ on South Hill.  A search for ‘Garden Park’ brought up ‘Manito Park and Botanical Gardens’ on South Hill, just down the hill from Deaconess.  I was intrigued!

We retrieved the truck from the Library Parking lot – yes, we did walk through the two story library before we meandered through the Riverfront Park.  It was the only parking garage we found that day that the truck would fit in – just fit that is.  Leaving the truck in the hot sun wasn’t an option, a hot garage was much better.

Snapdragons, Manito Park, Spokane, Washington

Ah, Manito Park, a glimpse of heaven!  I will attach the website at the end for your viewing convenience as it is worth the browse. Ninety acres of different gardens, lawns, ponds, a Conservatory, many smaller buildings, and the most adorable old neighborhood surrounding it.  Needless to say, we didn’t see it all; not possible to see gardens in one season.  We drove in passed picnic tables holding gifts and balloons for various celebrations.  The Duck Pond had more people feeding ducks and geese, just as Norman Rockwell would have painted in his day.  Finding a spot long enough to park the truck, we chose to start at the Japanese Garden.  It is too late in the year for much to be in bloom there, but the Koi were colorful in their pond.  There was a waterfall where nearly everyone currently in the garden had congregated.  Overall, a pleasant, peaceful garden.  Already I determined we had to come back in the spring to see this and the Lilac Garden in bloom.  (Spokane is the Lilac City; I anticipate it with glee.)

Conservatory viewed from Duncan Gardens, Manito Park, Spokane, Washington

Back in the truck we crept along until there was another place to park.  This time we were right outside the Rose Garden, where lots of plantings with identifying labels kept me from noticing how close we were to the ‘Plant Sale’ banner.  To pat myself on the back, I knew what nearly all of the labeled plants were.  As we approached the sale area the banner couldn’t be missed – but the closing time was a few minutes passed.  Our interest was apparent and we were invited to take a look and make choices if we wanted.  As intriguing as all of the plants were, I knew we didn’t have time to take it all in.  Cut to the chase, did they have the plants I was most coveting: hyssop and peppermint? No peppermint, which type of hyssop was I interested in as they had two?  Music to my ears!  We came home with both hyssops, one for me, to make tea out of, and the other for the humming birds.

Duncan Garden, Manito Park, Spokane, Washington
Manicured, formal garden, Manito Park, Spokane, Washington

Next, Duncan Gardens is a formal garden, long and narrow, with a swan fountain and white gazebo, thousands of annual plants, and groomed shrubs – we strolled, took pictures, and really enjoyed ourselves.  We ended our visit at the Rose Garden: lovely!  I totally understood the guy in the lotus position facing north, toward the sundial at the other end of the green from him, surrounded by those glorious flowers.  Oh, there is a plot of Dalia’s and a very small planting of Fuchsia’s on either side of the formal Rose Garden.  I left a part of me there and hope to go back many times, during different seasons, to partake in the beauty of that park.

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