flowers

Manito Park

Manito Park was one of the first places that I got introduced to in Spokane when I came here for college. 90 acres of gardens, trails, and grassy areas for ponds (not to mention the duck pond and the incredible Gaiser Conservatory) make it a landmark destination, worth visiting over and over again. I have picnicked in the lilac gardens in Spring, admired the flaming maple foliage of the Japanese Garden in the fall and strolled the formal pathways of the Duncan Gardens in the summer. I think my favorite garden is the Joel E. Ferris Perennial Garden. There is such a wide variety of plants that there is always something new to look at and I admit to doing bit of window shopping, "Ooo! Could I grow that in my yard?". Luckily the Friends of Manito Park have their twice yearly plant sale in June and September where you can buy many of the plants found in the garden. 

One of the beds in the Joel E. Ferris garden. So many different foliage shapes!

One of the beds in the Joel E. Ferris garden. So many different foliage shapes!

Subjects that are back lit are always fun to paint!

Subjects that are back lit are always fun to paint!

The Gaiser Conservatory is a favorite refuge of mine during the colder months of the year. I get desperate to see living things and wandering through the tropical jungle and dry desert areas under the conservatory glass are just the boost of warmth and light I need on a gray, cold, February day. 

The Gaiser Conservatory is a favorite refuge of mine during the colder months of the year. I get desperate to see living things and wandering through the tropical jungle and dry desert areas under the conservatory glass are just the boost of warmth and light I need on a gray, cold, February day. 

I stared up toward the roof of the conservatory to sketch this tall tree.

I stared up toward the roof of the conservatory to sketch this tall tree.

You can see the shade cloth the staff put over the conservatory to keep the plants from frying in the hot Spokane summers. It is very pleasant inside even when temperatures outside climb.

You can see the shade cloth the staff put over the conservatory to keep the plants from frying in the hot Spokane summers. It is very pleasant inside even when temperatures outside climb.

A wall of orchids!

A wall of orchids!

The dry, desert side of the conservatory. I love the large cacti and agave!

The dry, desert side of the conservatory. I love the large cacti and agave!

Here, the garden is still slightly shaded in the morning light.

Here, the garden is still slightly shaded in the morning light.

The Duncan Garden is laid out geometrically, a formal sunken garden. Planted in a "carpet bedding" style, the overall effect is of a dramatic abstract painting, masses of color offset by the repetition of green hedging and embellished with a fountain and rotunda.

The Duncan Garden is laid out geometrically, a formal sunken garden. Planted in a "carpet bedding" style, the overall effect is of a dramatic abstract painting, masses of color offset by the repetition of green hedging and embellished with a fountain and rotunda.

My pen sketch of the garden before adding paint. I used a Pentel Pocket brush pen, which I am madly involved with.

My pen sketch of the garden before adding paint. I used a Pentel Pocket brush pen, which I am madly involved with.

So much color! It was a joy to paint!

So much color! It was a joy to paint!

While sketching at the park, I had to stop in at the Rose garden to admire all of the different rose varieties in bloom. On weekends it is a popular place for weddings.

While sketching at the park, I had to stop in at the Rose garden to admire all of the different rose varieties in bloom. On weekends it is a popular place for weddings.

This rose was leaning on a pillar of the white arbor that is so popular for wedding and prom photos.

This rose was leaning on a pillar of the white arbor that is so popular for wedding and prom photos.

I love the broken color on this flower.

I love the broken color on this flower.

A path going away, tempting me to see what is around the corner.

A path going away, tempting me to see what is around the corner.

Instead I resisted and made this painting!

Instead I resisted and made this painting!

Painting and sketching in Manito was a delightful way to spend the morning. I envy the people who make walking in the park part of their daily routine. It is so beautiful and there is such variety among the gardens and landscape that there is always something new to see! I need to return and do some painting in oils soon!

The Lilac City

Spokane is known as the Lilac City and for good reason, lilacs are everywhere. According to the Spokane Lilac Festival website, local legend has it that the first lilac made it out here in 1882 from Minnesota. In the 1930's there was a city-wide campaign to plant lilacs all over the city and by 1940, the website says that there were 30 lilac trees planted in Coeur d’Alene Park in the Browne's Addition neighborhood and 144 trees in Manito Park. I have to say from personal experience that the Lilac garden at Manito is a delightful place to have a picnic lunch in the spring time! 

One of my favorite things to do in the spring while I'm driving around running errands is to count the number of lilacs I see as I drive from one place to another. One day, I counted over 60 lilacs in just a 20 minute drive!
 

lilacs
This lilac is across the street from Spokane Art Supply (a place I visit a lot!) and behind the Spokane Public Radio station.

This lilac is across the street from Spokane Art Supply (a place I visit a lot!) and behind the Spokane Public Radio station.

Spokane Art School Lilacs
I had a inquisitive visitor!

I had a inquisitive visitor!

Lilacs come in many different shades-white, lavender, mauve, dark purple, "lilac" and these days, even pink!

Lilacs come in many different shades-white, lavender, mauve, dark purple, "lilac" and these days, even pink!

I am fondest of the purple shades, but I have white lilacs thanks to the previous owner of our house. That's ok. They still smell AMAZING!

I am fondest of the purple shades, but I have white lilacs thanks to the previous owner of our house. That's ok. They still smell AMAZING!

A friend posted a picture on Facebook of this point of view down in Riverfront Park by the Red Radio Flyer Wagon and I knew I needed to get down there and sketch it!

A friend posted a picture on Facebook of this point of view down in Riverfront Park by the Red Radio Flyer Wagon and I knew I needed to get down there and sketch it!

Red Flyer lilacs

Do you have lilacs at home? Do you love them and their overblown, romantic looks and fragrance or do you find them scraggly and smelly? While I don't think lilacs are much to look at for most of the year, I find the one month in the spring when they suddenly bloom and reveal themselves to be worth it. I love that Spokane is the Lilac City!