The Evergreen Arboretum and Gardens are tucked away in a corner of American Legion Memorial Park, located in north Everett. This volunteer-maintained urban green space offers the public free access to permanent and rotating art installations and 11 different garden spaces. Sculptures of stone, wood, glass, and concrete are scattered throughout the arboretum and gardens, making for a perfect photography spot.
Visitors may find themselves in the first garden space either after parking or entering the arboretum on foot from a different area of Legion Park. The Small Urban Tree Walk borders the parking lot and showcases smaller trees ideal for city gardens. Since spring of 2021, visitors walking through the archway at the end of the small tree walk are greeted by a giant granite clam. King Clam, crafted by artist Ken Barnes, is one of the rotating exhibits selected by the City of Everett Cultural Commission.
To the left of the entrance lies the Master Gardener Demonstration Garden, a perennial garden that doubles as an educational space where volunteers teach curious future gardeners how to tend a variety of plants. The Conifer Garden, filled with a wide variety of evergreen and deciduous trees, occupies the center space near the arboretum entrance. Traveling down the right-hand path will take guests on a walk through the Woodland Garden and Fernery, a shaded garden of ferns, evergreens, and flowering shrubs. The trail crosses a bridge guarded by two concrete heads sculpted by artist Francie Allen. Ferns and rhododendrons surround a circular seating area full of stone benches just past the bridge.
The path continues through the Japanese Maple Grove, leading to the Horizontal Rock Garden filled with huckleberry basalt interspersed with miniature tree and shrub varieties. Winding on, the path opens onto the Backyard Garden, an area used to model a Pacific Northwestern decorative home garden. A sizeable wooden gazebo lies to the left of the Backyard Garden. Meandering towards the gazebo leads visitors into the Nativar Garden and the Northwest Plant Trail. Both of these garden spaces display native plants, trees, and other cultivated varieties of native flora. The path then splits into two forks, one slightly more shaded by trees and the other a stone path surrounded by groundcover plants and shrubs. Both forks lead to the Viewing Mound.
The Viewing Mound is the tallest point in the arboretum, crowned by Fibonacci, a fountain inspired by the geometry of the natural world and constructed of steel by artist Pamela Hom. Benches and tall trees surround the fountain, providing shade at most times of the day. The ADA accessible ramp leading to and from the Viewing Mound is bordered by the Rock Garden, full of locally sourced rocks, groundcover succulents, and plants that mature to a maximum height of three feet tall. At the end of the ramp, three large bowl planters filled with succulents and some carnivorous plants sit to the right of the path. The path then circles back on the Conifer Garden to the left and the Demonstration Garden to the right. An insect hotel is spied on the way out of the arboretum, and many pollinating insects are spotted in the warmer months. The arboretum is also a popular bird-watching destination.
Signs throughout the area display facts about the works of art and plant life. Visitors can use their smartphones to scan QR codes on some of the signs for additional information. Dogs are welcome if leashed, and all visitors are asked to remain on the paths in consideration of the delicate garden spaces and artworks. Guided tours of the arboretum are available but are on pause until COVID guidelines are revised. For now, free downloadable and printable self-guided tour instructions and scavenger hunt materials are available on the arboretum’s website. The website also contains information about classes, plant sales, and volunteer opportunities.
The Evergreen Arboretum and Gardens are open year-round, seven days a week, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. This gorgeous green spot in north Everett offers a quick escape, or it can be rented for events through the City of Everett Parks and Recreation Department. Visit free of charge throughout the year to experience the evolving photogenic landscape. Bountiful spring blooms, lush summer foliage, cascading autumn leaves, steadfast winter evergreens, and rotating sculptural exhibits are all perennially captivating.