Manito Park Spokane Washington

On a beautiful sunny day last week, not too hot, not too cool, Randy and I dropped Roxy and Otis off to have a play date with Miss Angie.

Randy and I headed back to the ‘hood to pick up Dannie and Mark and the four of us headed south to the other side of Spokane to explore Manito Park.

Consisting of ninety-five acres on the south hill of Spokane, Manito Park was originally named ‘Montrose Park’, but in 1903, the name was changed to ‘Manito.  ‘Manito’ is a Native American word meaning ‘a supernatural force that pervades nature.’  The park at one time contained a zoo.  The zoo closed in 1932 due to lack of funding during the Great Depression.

The Duncan Garden is a formal three-acre European garden.  It was originally called ‘Sunken Garden’ because the first park superintendent hauled out 42,500 wagon loads of soil to be used in other area parks.

The garden was designed and built in 1912 by Manito’s second superintendent, John Duncan.  It replicates the formal European style with bilateral symmetry.

The granite fountain that sits in the center of Duncan Gardens was designed and built in 1913.

The gazebo at the south end of Duncan Gardens was constructed in honor of Manito’s centennial.

The Joel E Farris Perennial Garden offsets the formality of Duncan Gardens.

It was established in 1940, it’s ever changing and right now, is home to over three-hundred plant species.

The butterfly garden, that was, unfortunately, butterfly-less.

Gaiser Conservatory has two wings …

One side contains tropical plants …

… The other side is desert plants.

The conservatory was one of two of my most favorite parts of Manito Gardens.

Rose Hill has 1500 rose bushes that represent over 150 varieties.  Adjacent to Rose Hill is also an American Dahlia Society trial garden.

The pergola was built in honor of photographer Erna Bert Nelson, a generous benefactor to Spokane Parks.  The sundial in front of the pergola is dedicated to the memory of Jacob and Ward Wortman.  Jacob died at fifteen after a lingering illness and Ward, a fighter pilot in the Air Corps, died in action.  They are the sons of R Jackson Wortman.

The Lilac Garden was started in 1912.  The Lilac Garden now contains over 100 lilac cultivators, and is home to Syringa vulgaras ‘Spokane’, a double pink lilac.

Interesting tidbit … Spokane is known as the Lilac City.

My other favorite section of Manito Park was the Nishinomiya-Tsutakawa Japanese Garden.

The Japanese garden was completed in 1974 after twelve years of planning.

It is named after Spokane’s Sister City in Japan (Nishinomiya) and after Ed Tsutakawa.  Mr Tsutakawa is the founder of the Spokane Nishinomiya Sister City relationship.

In 2008, it was ranked #16 out of 300 public Japanese gardens by The Journal of Japanese Gardening.

Manito Park is open year-round and bonus! it’s free !  In addition to the beautiful gardens, there is a pond, a picnic area, a cafe and a playground.

Thank you Wikipedia and the Manito Gardens brochure for the interesting park facts.


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