Garden festival takes root in Federal Way

Monte Powell hedges one of eight gardens Monday at PowellsWood gardens in preparation for the Buds and Blooms garden festival coming this Mother’s Day weekend. Check out a special insert inside today’s Mirror that features a map and schedule of events. - Jacinda Howard/The Mirror
Monte Powell hedges one of eight gardens Monday at PowellsWood gardens in preparation for the Buds and Blooms garden festival coming this Mother’s Day weekend. Check out a special insert inside today’s Mirror that features a map and schedule of events.
— image credit: Jacinda Howard/The Mirror

Stop and smell the roses — or the tulips, rhododendrons, daffodils, azaleas, hydrangeas and bonsai trees — this Mother’s Day weekend at the city’s first Buds and Blooms garden festival.

The festival was organized by representatives from PowellsWood garden, Weyerhaeuser Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection, Rhododendron Species Foundation and Botanical Garden, the Federal Way Farmers Market, West Hylebos Wetlands Park and the City of Federal Way as a way to attract tourists.

“We felt our gardens are one of the best things we have here, and it’s really just not well-known,” said Lillian Yeh, Federal Way economic development assistant.

Organizers hope to change this by offering special guests, music, children’s activities, crafts, storytelling, tours and more throughout the weekend at the five locations. The three gardens have celebrated Mother’s Day in the past, but this year will offer a bit more for visitors’ money.

“This year we tried to make it a city-wide event and even more of a festival,” Rhododendron garden co-executive director Rick Peterson said.


Monte and Diane Powell own this 40-acre parcel featuring three acres and eight luscious gardens full of flowers, trees and shrubs.

“It’s become a little bit of a destination for people,” Monte Powell said.

The couple opened their land off South Dash Point Road for viewing in 1994, he said.

“When we started the garden, we couldn’t grow a weed,” Powell said.

Today, looking at the Powell’s extensive garden collection, this is hard to believe. The weekend’s highlights include a traditional English tea time (by reservation only), flower arranging lessons, a bee keeper demonstration and guest speaker Ciscoe Morris of “Gardening with Ciscoe.”

Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection and Rhododendron garden:

Weyerhaeuser’s bonsai collection is exhibited in an outdoor museum on the corporation’s campus. More than 60 trees from six nations are on display here. The more than 22-acre rhododendron garden offers one of the largest collections of species rhododendrons and azaleas in the world, according to the garden’s Web site,

Weekend highlights at these locations include children’s storytelling, stepping stone making, a performance by a female barbershop quartet, local guitarist Richie Steffon and horticultural speakers, Peterson said.

Federal Way Farmers Market

The market will launch its season by opening May 10 with a pancake breakfast and face painting. Ed Hume, radio host, will offer gardening tips and a magician will be present later in the day. Fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers will also be available for purchase.

West Hylebos Wetlands Park:

Visitors will have an opportunity to learn about birds and native plants from the Auburn Audubon Society on Saturday, and the historic Barker Cabin will be open for touring throughout the weekend. Old Time Fiddlers and free flowers for mom will top off the weekend activities.

The city contributed approximately $20,000 in lodging tax funds, and organizers expect 2,000 to 4,000 people to participate in Buds and Blooms, Yeh said. The city is fortunate to have several attractive gardens and spring destination spots, she said.

Contact Jacinda Howard: or (253) 925-5565.

Learn more about the Bus and Blooms destinations

PowellsWood, 430 S. Dash Point Road: For more information call (253) 529?1620 or visit To make reservations for tea time, call (253) 839-4405. Admission is $5 for adults and free to children 12 and younger.

Weyerhaeuser Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection, 33663 Weyerhaeuser Way S.: Follow signs to the bonsai collection. For more information, call (253) 924-5206. Visit the Web site at Admission is free.

Rhododendron Species Foundation and Botanical Garden, 2525 S. 336th St.: For more information, call (253) 927-6960 or visit the Web site at Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and free to mothers and children under 12.

Federal Way Farmers Market, 1701 S. Commons in the Sears parking lot at The Commons mall:

For more information, call (253) 261-8157 or visit the Web site at This event is Saturday only.

West Hylebos Wetlands Park, 411 S. 348th St.: Admission is free and events are sponsored by the Historical Society of Federal Way. For more information, call (253) 945-7842.

View a complete list of scheduled events at

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