Posted by: silverstar98121 | April 25, 2009

Nature Notes:Ballard Locks

nature-notes2I wanted to show you all some more of Seattle for this week’s Nature Notes, so on a nice sunny day I took myself over to the Ballard Locks. They are actually the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. Don’t ask me who he is, I don’t remember. I was more interested in the Carl S. English Botanical Gardens which surround the locks.

Actually, I had forgotten about the gardens, and had hoped to capture some baby salmon in the fish ladder. Such was not to be, there were no smolts in the fish ladder. But the gardens, oh my!

Carl S. English devoted 45 years in Federal service to building and enhancing these gardens. He brought plants and seeds from around the world to plant here, and developed the landscaping plans for the gardens.

These gardens have everything, including, oddly enough, some sago palms. Which aren’t really palms at all, but rather cycads. Cycads are a unique genera of plants, and tend to be tropical or semi-tropical. What they are doing outdoors in Seattle, I have no idea. They are fossil plants that were around even before the dinosaurs. Cycads are rare these days, and getting rarer because they are much valued for landscaping and as houseplants. It’s gotten so bad that some governments are starting to implant them with chips, like they microchip dogs, to keep poachers from getting away with them.

I took my small camera with me, and was disappointed in the pictures. They are not my finest work. Next time I will take my big camera. And I think I’ll be back several times in the summer, to see what’s new in the gardens.

Be sure to go over to Rambling Woods and see who else is posting in the Nature Notes meme.


  1. looks gorgeous! should have stopped there when i made the trek to ballard years ago… but mecca (ie: McPhee) called….

    • Well, next time you go to Ballard, Mecca won’t be there, so you won’t be distracted. August and September are a good time to go, because the salmon are returning. You can watch them jumping in the locks, and swimming up the fish ladder.

  2. Nice to see it’s really spring somewhere. We got around 5 to 6 inches of very wet snow today with more expected tomorrow. It is mostly melting though, so that’s a relief.

    On the plus side, the irises are starting to poke up with this year’s growth. Just a wee tiny bit of light green so far….

    • Sorry to hear about the snow, Rob. It really will be summer someday. Keep telling yourself that.

  3. You made a lovely slide show Eileen..I can’t help but be upset that people would even steal rare plants. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised….But this was a cheerful post for me today and I needed one..Thank you for participating in Nature Notes…Michelle

    • Well, at least these days we have technology to catch the poachers. Oh, but how many did our ancestor’s poach? Why else would there be cycads in Seattle?

  4. stunning

  5. Just beautiful! Seattle has such a unique climate – I’ve often been surprised to learn about things that grow there that by rights should only be growing here!

  6. […] and the next one was an hour away. The Boyo had brought his bike and planned to ride over to the Ballard Locks, not all that far away. After twiddling my thumbs for a bit (the phone had lost most of it’s […]

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