The Pacific Northwest is known for its natural wonders and scenic landscapes. Even urban spaces in our region boast some of the most celebrated gardens in the United States, bringing the beauty surrounding our cities into their very center. Our founder, Jack Murdock, knew the importance of investing in the natural places that breathe life into our urban spaces and create opportunities for retreat, contemplation, and cultural education. Here are four botanical gardens that are carrying out this important work throughout our region:
Alaska Botanical Gardens (ABG) showcases the wonder and value of Alaska’s natural beauty through science, education, and recreation using organic and sustainable practices. It serves nature-lovers, gardeners, tourists, artists, students, and anyone seeking inspiration in Alaska’s biggest city. A wide variety of educational programs and social events welcome ABG’s more than 30,000 visitors each year.
Portland Japanese Garden (PJG), often referred to as a museum for Japanese gardens, is situated on 12 acres showcasing eight different garden styles. In addition to the physical garden and Japanese tea house, PJG offers formal and informal learning opportunities to cultivate understanding of Japanese culture. When the former Ambassador of Japan to the United States visited PJG, he called it the most authentic Japanese garden in the world outside of Japan.
Lan Su Chinese Garden is an oasis of beauty and tranquility in the center of Old Town, Portland. Considered one of the most authentic Chinese gardens in the world, Lan Su is a cultural anchor for Portland’s rapidly growing Asian community, as well as a place of cultural education for a global community of visitors. In addition to ongoing opportunities for contemplation at the garden, Lan Su offers educational programs and cultural events throughout the year.
Idaho Botanical Garden grows community in Boise by connecting people, plants, and nature. The Garden encourages advocacy in environmental stewardship through events, classes, and workshops in addition to tours and visiting hours. These 15 acres are considered the most beautiful garden in Idaho, and allow for leisurely strolling, peaceful contemplation, connection with nature, and celebration with one another.
These four gardens and many others throughout our region are offering powerful public health benefits in addition to creating space for beauty and connection; they improve air quality, reduce visitors’ exposure to the noise of urban traffic, reduce risk of flooding, and even guard against dangerous levels of urban heat. The Murdock Trust is grateful to every botanical garden that cultivates spaces of flourishing and reminds us of the beauty that surrounds us in the Pacific Northwest, both outside our cities and within them.