“Stop and smell the roses,” they tell you. It’s maybe the most overused and underrated advice, but while it’s often metaphorical, I advise you to take it literally at Point Defiance Park in Tacoma. Home to one of the most magnificent rose gardens in the state of Washington, this full-acre garden is starting its annual explosion of color to the soundtrack of bumblebees working their way down the rows.
The Rose Garden has entrances all around its perimeter, but the best way to enter is through the tunnel of roses entrance. The roses that climb the sides and overhang the tunnel aren’t in bloom just yet, but are full of buds just waiting for their chance. It’s a beautiful entrance at any time of year, but in summer, the effect is spectacular, and there’s a reason you’ll find graduation photo shoots, engagement photo shoots, wedding and family shoots taking place every weekend.
Once inside, you’ll have the choice to turn left or right and both are worthwhile options. To the right, you’ll see the Fuchsia Gardens, which will change the way you see fuchsias. More than 125 plants shoot, hang and open in all the colors of the spectrum, and the aroma hangs in the air.
To the left of the tunnel entrance is the Rose Garden, with miniature roses, climbing roses and roses in purple, pink, yellow, white, orange and every improbably shade in between.
Tacoma native Bing Crosby has a plant named after him there. Take a minute to relax in the shade of the gazebo that provides a center point for the garden.
As you look around, you’ll find families taking a picnic break, visitors taking photos, writers taking inspiration and nappers taking naps. Take some time yourself and join them.
Once you’ve seen the best of the Rose Garden, don’t forget to see the other gardens of Point Defiance Park: The Japanese Garden, the Herb Garden and the Dahlia Trial Garden are all just a minute’s walk from the Rose Garden, and the Rhododendron Garden is just a couple minutes’ drive further into the park.