The Lim Garden is a 1-acre private residence in Woodinville, WA.
It’s my childhood home. Creating a garden here (or anywhere else) was never on my radar until the summer of 2017, when I had the random idea to dig a BBQ fire pit in the backyard — on land that had been left as 'wild' woodland since logging came through in the 1890s, including the 37 years my family has lived there.
Inspiration struck and plans quickly escalated. I had no previous gardening, horticultural or landscaping experience, but an intense newfound fascination with plants and a drive to create a personally inspiring space took hold.
The next thing I knew, I had selectively felled dozens of trees to open up light (don’t worry there are many more), built a network of paths, beds, and structure, loaded in ton after ton of rockery, built a flagstone terrace, and finally a goldfish pond.
The property is generally on a slope but quite varied topographically, which when combined with the mature cedars and firs, creates a multitude of microclimates. I strive for a medium level of light or dappled sun to accommodate the widest range of plants possible and allow for interesting combinations. Most of the mature trees have been limbed up to allow more light through the canopy and space for understory trees and shrubs.
The garden currently supports about 1100 species, including many rare or first introduction plants (to western horticulture, at least as of 2019). I gravitate towards foliage over flowers and prefer to see flowering as a brief seasonal surprise or highlight in a bed rather than the overall effect.
Notable collections include Aucuba, Ligularia/Farfugium, Aspidistra, Polygonatum/Disporum/Disporopsis, and ferns.
Even though most of the garden is characterized as ‘woodland’, I’ve tried to blend a variety of garden styles together. The pond area has some lush tropical flare, the fruit tree beds have underplantings which are inspired by cottage/meadow gardens, while other areas combine healthy native flora with decidedly non-native plants.
Despite being small by botanical garden standards, I 'borrow' the neighboring forest land to extend and surround the space, making it feel larger and more secluded.
I do regret not better documenting the land before work began and during garden construction, if not for my own satisfaction after several years backbreaking labor!
The garden is still in its infancy and I have a lot to learn, it’s an experiment and a personal expression, but I am proud of what I’ve achieved in a very short time. I decided to open the garden up to the public so that hopefully it brings some joy to others as it has to me.
Thanks for stopping by!
The garden is located in the Cottage Lake area of Woodinville, WA.
It is a private residence, and not open to the public except on specified open days (TBA) or by appointment.
If you'd like to visit the garden please contact us at (206) 713-7333 or to be placed on an e-mail list (for open day/event notification only) please subscribe below.
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