The Marvel That is Lakewold Gardens

by R. Hambling

Lakewold Gardens is a non-profit estate garden. Nestled in the 10-acre grounds is the historic Lakewold house built in 1910 by Emma Alexander and modified in 1950 by Corydon Wagner. The Gardens were designed by Eulalie Wagner assisted by famous landscape gardener Thomas Church. With a variety of gardening design styles from formal gardens to shady wooded Asian-inspired pathways and Gravelly Lake as a backdrop, the gardens include both soul-healing vistas and pleasant nooks for cozy contemplation. From Olympia, it generally takes around 25 short minutes on the freeway. There’s so much happening there this summer it’s well worth the drive.

Lakewold Gardens


June 23-25, 10 a,m,-5 p.m.
Tickets: $20 General, $16 Students, Seniors & Military, $10 Youth 6-17 (5 and under free)

FairyFest offers a magical weekend of family-friendly activities. Explore the gardens while participating in a variety of enchanting, fairy-themed activities including art activities, live music and dance performances, a fairy house contest, free play and games in the garden,  garden walks and more.

Summer Garden Party

Sunday, July 30, 4-8 p.m.
Tickets: $250

Revel in the magic of the gardens in summer’s full bloom. This annual celebration invites community members to come together to mingle with friends, enjoy great art and music, and celebrate in the gardens on a glorious summer evening. Festivities include an abridged performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a live auction, wine, gourmet hors d’oeuvres and live music.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Friday, August 4,  7 p.m.
Tickets: $20

This abridged version of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is adapted by PLU Professor Tom Smith and directed by John Serembe. The production will feature actors playing multiple roles with fairy dancers under the instruction of executive director Klair Ethridge from Tacoma Urban Performing Arts Center; all accompanied by a live piano adaptation of selections from Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream performed by Lark Powers and Ricardo de la Torre. With the beautiful gardens as a backdrop, it will be a magical evening!


Music from Home

Sundays, 3-5 p.m.
Tickets: $35 General, $28 Students, Seniors & Military, $17.50 Youth 6-17 (5 and under free)

Enjoy live performances by local musicians and vocalists in the intimate setting of Wagner House. Ticket includes complimentary wine and desserts.

June 11:             Art Songs with Rose Beattie (mezzo-soprano) & Jinshil Yi (piano)
July 2:                Chamber Music with Gayane Grigoryan (violin) & Isabella Jie (piano)
August 6:          Cristina Valdes (piano)

Wagner House at Lakewold Gardens

ART EXHIBITS (Included with admission)

A Bright Uncertainty by Lorra Jackson

Through July 2

These beautiful oil paintings have so much depth it is like looking through a window or into a mirror. They are reflections of Jackson’s childhood, and her Korean and African American biracial heritage and identity. She juxtaposes her own childhood with her observations of her daughter Tassara’s responses to her childhood experiences, and analyses Tassara’s world as her mother. She sometimes inserts Tassara’s image into images of her own childhood memories.

Walking in My Shoes by Charles Burt

July 7 – August 20
Opening reception is July 7,  5-7 p.m. Wine and light refreshments will be served (no admission fee).

Burt served in army combat and after 20 years of active-duty service is retired. His art practice is part of his journey in adjusting to civilian life, finding both connection and discipline in the art world. He studied extensively at Community College and Gage Academy of Art in Seattle and serves as coordinator for Lakewood’s Veterans Art Center leading biweekly group painting sessions.

The Missing Women/Parents Series by Lynette Charters

August 25 – Oct 1

Reception with mock docent tour August 25, 5-7 p.m.
Wine and light refreshments will be served (no admission fee).

Taking well-known images from documented history, Charters re-renders them with the women or parents missing leaving the wooden board, to focus attention on how women are presented but not represented, and the erasure of the female experience and accomplishments from history books taught in museums and schools. Mock docent tour performance by John Serembe included in the reception. The Lakewold is the perfect setting for her message.


Wednesdays, 6-9 p.m.
Tickets: $20 Adult, $18 Students (18+)

Receive small group instruction and guidance from art instructor Charles Burt and Pierce College Art Professor David Roholt. Participants (18+) of all skill levels are encouraged to join. Easels will be provided but students should bring their own charcoal, pencils and/or pastels.

Participants are encouraged to register for both sessions.

June 14: Nude study with focus on gestures and various lengths of poses
June 28: Clothed model with longer poses


Pink Hydranga and Wagner House at Lakewold Gardens

Friday Drop-in Tours Fridays, 11:15 a.m.
Tickets: $15
Each drop-in tour is led by a volunteer guide who customizes it to the party’s interests. Tours last approximately one hour, and total walking distance is about a mile. Ticket price includes admission, so participants are free to explore on their own at the conclusion of the tour.

Behind the Scenes Tours Sundays, 11 a.m.
Tickets: $25
Monthly Behind the Scenes Tours are casual walks hosted by Lakewold staff exploring specific topics related to the plant collection, design elements and garden practices. Space is limited to 12 participants.

Adjusting Maintenance Practices to the Site
June 18
Lead horticulturalist Kristine Dillinger will share details and answer questions about the many processes implemented by Lakewold Gardens horticultural staff to ensure Lakewold is beautiful year-round in our changing climate.

Gardening for Mental Health
July 15
Horticulturalist Brianna Ybarra will share concepts related to Forest Bathing as well as many practical techniques and insights. Participants will come away with a deeper understanding of how spending time in a garden or green space can be a vital part of fostering mental health and overall wellness.

Looking Deeply at Color & Texture
August 20
Visitor Services Supervisor Erin Happenny will lead a journey through the garden to discover a wide variety of colors and textures as well as sharing details about the wonderful collection of plants available for purchase.

Photos courtesy Lakewold Gardens.

Lakewold Gardens map

Lakewold Gardens and Wagner House

12317 Gravelly Lake Drive Southwest, Lakewood

Spring/Summer/Fall Hours 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday

Admission free with event ticket prices, otherwise: General $12, Seniors (65+), Students, Non-active Military $10, Youth (6-17) $6, Youth (5 and under) Free Entry, Lakewold Members: Free Entry


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