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Review for Friends of Lakewold, Lakewood, WA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

Lakewold Garden is a beautiful public garden located 1.3 miles off the free way in the city of Lakewold. This makes Lakewold easy to get to for busy individuals. The real magic happens as you drive in the garden estate. You immediately begin to feel relaxed. The design really functions as a retreat. It’s located on a small lake. It’s peaceful and quite. The staff is both helpful and kind. The garden boasts a magnificent Rhododendron collection with nearly 900 rhodies. They have state champion trees, a knot garden, and have been home to the blue poppy. The garden is meticulously maintained. It’s the perfect spot for a wedding or just a picnic with your special someone. They offer classes, tours and fantastic events.

Lakewold’s mission is “to preserve and enhance Lakewold Gardens as a historic estate garden of world class distinction, offering each visitor an inspirational experience through growth and learning in a profoundly unique setting.” From my experience they live up to this statement.

Lakewold was blessed with the establishment of an endowment when they first opened. These funds have helped Lakewold keep low admissions and membership fees but only offset roughly 50% of the gardens annual operating budget. Lakewold is also blessed with some very enthusiastic volunteers who help keep the garden in award winning condition as well as keep costs down. Lakewold has been historically self sustaining; however the recent economic down turn has reduced the value of the endowment and reduced the level of individual gifting that they historically enjoyed. While admissions and membership is on the rise it’s not enough to offset the decline in the endowment and individual gifting. Lakewold is a relaxing oasis in a hectic world. I truly hope that Lakewold is able to win this prize. It is a very deserving organization.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've been involved with Lakewold for a number of years. It's impressive to hear new vistors talk about how much they enjoyed their visit. I enjoy attending Lakewold events as well as meeting new members. We recently had a 20th year anniversary party that was well attended. It was impressive to see the impact Lakewold has on the community.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Lakewold is 20 years old and is in need of some modernization. They have plans to build a visitor center that will serve as the gateway to the gardens. I've seen plans to improve access to wheel chairs and make the gardens more ADA accessible. These plans also change the path of the gardens to make the vistors stroll more leasurely while opening views of the lake. None of these improvements can occur without additional financial support from donors and the community.

Role:  Board Member & I'm a member of Lakewolds Board of Directors.