When I joined 70 other garden bloggers in Seattle this past summer, one of the first places we visited was the Elisabeth C. Miller Botanic Garden which is a part of the University of Washington. There were familiar plants, and not so familiar plants like these cardoons, which are related to the artichoke and make for some sophisticated eating.
Like many botanic gardens there are trial beds and educational projects like this green roof. It looks like it is on the ground, but it is actually the roof of a wing of the building that is entered at ground level while I was standing on a deck to take this photo.
The most special part of this botanic garden for me was the Elisabeth C. Miller Library. Once a librarian myself I had a special appreciation.
This library is unique I think, in that it is available to the general public. Not only can people come in and use the collection of 15,000+ books in the library, many are available for circulation. There are books on every botanical subject from roses to ethnobotany, from container gardening to plant hunters, from annuals to urban forestry, from composting to flower arranging and just about any other subject you can think of.
You can even check their catalog online, recommend books you’d like to see in the collection, and browse through hundreds of current nursery and plant catalogs that are included in the collection.
But this wonderful library with its helpful staff also offers very practical assistance through the Plant Answer Line, and lists local plant sales and garden tours.
Of course, the collection is slanted toward plants of the Northwest Pacific, but I tell you I could spend weeks in this library happily exploring many subjects that would be of interest to me – even coming from the Northeast Atlantic.