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Botanical Garden open house starts Saturday
The Bellevue Botanical Garden will open up Saturday with a celebration of the recently completed visitor center and new garden features, and includes guided tours, plant sales and more.
Construction of the 8,500-square-foot visitor center was completed early and under budget, and will be one of several new features at the garden during this weekend's two-day open house. The structure includes three classrooms, administrative offices, restrooms and a garden shop. It's on its way to a gold rating under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification, one feature being a 10,000 gallon cistern for catching rain water from the roof and using it for the facility's toilets.
The list is already long for those wanting to use the new facility, said garden manager Nancy Kartes, but priority will first go to classes and lecture series starting in July through a partnership with the Bellevue Botanical Garden Society, which raised half of the $10 million for the project.
"We are taking our time to settle in and grow, especially our adult education process, and letting our partners do the same thing," Kartes said.
Saturday starts off the two-day open house for the new visitor center. At the Trillium Store, visitors will be able to use touchscreen monitors to run the Interactive Garden Visit, which is a software application that allows people to search the garden and learn more about what and where vegetation can be found.
Another addition is the Iris Rain Garden, which naturally filters water absorbed in the ground that is then piped and spread to other natural areas around the garden, said Ken Kroeger, project manager for parks and community services. West of the visitor center is a reconstructed wetland area that will be used for educational classes and showing how development and wetland ecology can work together, he said.
Parking should be adequate as part of the project included expanding the lot from 53 to 119 stalls, and people are encouraged to show up 10 a.m. Saturday for a ceremonial tree planting to kick off the event. Musical performers during the event include the Sammamish Youth Orchestra.