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Originally published Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 7:04 PM

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Local gardens to brighten up your February

Winter gardens and guided walks around Seattle, Bellevue and Puget Sound, Feb. 5-6, 2011.

Seattle Times staff

It's definitely still winter, though the days are getting longer and Mother Nature's grandeur is already on display at local winter gardens.

Colorful witch hazel, winterberry and holly, fragrant daphne and blooming hellebores are among the pleasures of the Joseph A. Witt Winter Garden, featured in a Master Gardener Foundation tour of Seattle's Washington Park Arboretum on Saturday. A short walk away from the Graham Visitor Center, surrounded by tall cedars and rhododendrons, the Winter Garden is a treasure in peak bloom until spring arrives in March.

Guided tours of winter beauty in the Arboretum are also available Sunday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. from the Graham Visitors Center. And spring is surely on the way with the opening of the Arboretum's Japanese Garden on Feb. 13.

Other seasonal gardens include the Macadam Winter Garden in Tukwila, the year-around fragrance garden at the University of Washington's Center for Urban Horticulture, and Bellevue Botanical Garden's Japanese garden, alpine rock garden and collection of native Northwest plants.

For summer-style warmth along with blooms, visit one of our local Victorian-style greenhouses, Volunteer Park Conservatory in Seattle or the W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory in Tacoma's Wright Park.

The details

Master Gardner Foundation Winter Garden tour: 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Graham Visitors Center, 2300 Arboretum Drive E., Washington Park Arboretum, Seattle; $5, preregistration required. 206-543-0221 or www.mgfkc.org.

Arboretum weekend tours: Features plants that attract winter pollinators, 11 a.m.; varying themes, 1 p.m. Sunday, Graham Visitors Center, 2300 Arboretum Drive E., Washington Park Arboretum, Seattle; free. 206-543-8801 or www.uwbotanicgardens.org.

Seattle Japanese Garden: Opening celebration 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Feb. 13, $10; then open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays starting Feb. 15, $4-$6, 1075 Lake Washington Blvd. E., Seattle. 206-684-4725 or www.seattle.gov/parks/parkspaces/japanesegarden.htm.

Macadam Winter Garden: Daylight hours daily, South 144th Street and Macadam Road, Tukwila; free. 206-768-2822 or www.ci.tukwila.wa.us/recreation/pkmacadam.html.

Bellevue Botanical Garden: 7:30 a.m.-dusk daily, visitors center open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily; 12001 Main St., Bellevue; free. 425-452-2750 or bellevuebotanical.org.

Center for Urban Horticulture Gardens: Daylight hours daily, University of Washington, 3501 N.E. 41st St., Seattle; free. 206-221-2500 or www.urbanhort.org.

Madeline McKenzie: 206-464-8245 or mmckenzie@seattletimes.com

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