Gateway to Chile Garden Opens in Arboretum

The Arboretum Foundation, Seattle Parks and Recreation, and the University of Washington Botanic Gardens invite you to join us to celebrate the official opening of the new Gateway to Chile display garden in Washington Park Arboretum on Sunday, October 17, from 1 – 4 p.m.

The dramatic half-acre Gateway, located at the southern intersection of Arboretum Drive and Lake Washington, is the first display garden to be completed in Phase II of the Arboretum’s 14-acre, eco-geographic Pacific Connections Garden. It features an eye-catching array of Chilean trees—including monkey puzzle (Araucaria aurucana), Chilean wine palm (Jubaea chilensis), winter’s bark (Drimys winteri var. andina), Chilean fire bush (Embothrium coccineum), and Austrocedrus chilensis (a beautiful conifer that can grow more than 1,500 years old)—planted among the boulders and slopes of the restored historic Holmdahl Rockery.  

The Opening Celebration is free, and open to the public, and will feature:

  • Tours of the new garden by UW Botanic Gardens guides
  • Live music in the Pacific Connections meadow by Chilean folk group Sin Fronteras
  • A dance performance by Chilean folk troupe Violeta Parra
  • A ribbon-cutting ceremony (dignitaries will include Christopher Williams, Acting Superintendent, Seattle Parks and Recreation, and Sarah Reichard, Associate Director, UW Botanic Gardens)
  • Complimentary refreshments (while supplies last)

Visitors who attend the Opening Celebration can also enjoy glorious fall foliage at the Maple Viewing event (Sunday, October 17, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.) in the Seattle Japanese Garden, just across the street from the Gateway to Chile in Washington Park Arboretum.

Parking and Transportation: Parking for the event is limited, so please consider using public transportation or coming by bike or on foot. For bus directions and further event information, visit or call 206-325-4510. 

Gateway to Chile Construction Photos: Installation of plants in the new Gateway to Chile began in mid September. See photos of the construction on the Arboretum Foundation’s Facebook page. 

Pacific Connections: A major component of the Washington Park Arboretum Master Plan, the Pacific Connections Garden will ultimately feature 14 acres of forest displays from five Pacific Rim regions: Chile, China, New Zealand, Australia, and the Pacific Northwest’s own Cascadia. The displays highlight environmental, cultural, and economic ties among the five regions and create unique opportunities for recreation, education, and conservation in the heart of Seattle. 

The First Phase: This phase of Pacific Connections, completed in fall 2008, includes a welcoming meadow and interpretive shelter surrounded by a series of intricately designed preview gardens. The gardens showcase the horticultural and ethnobotanical uses of trees and shrubs from the five Pacific Rim regions. 

The Second Phase: This phase includes the construction of the Gateway to Chile, the New Zealand eco-geographic forest, and the Cascadia eco-geographic forest. Fundraising for the New Zealand forest has just begun. Propagation of plants for the forest from wild-collected seeds is already underway at the Cistus Nursery, in Oregon. Planting is expected to begin in early 2012. 

Future Phases: All five forests of the Pacific Connections Garden will be planted as funding is secured and plant propagation is completed. Eventually, visitors will be able to walk through complete forests to experience each region’s plants in their natural settings, from ground cover to tree canopy.

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