I think that the ideal space must contain elements of magic, serenity, sorcery and mystery.
http://www.elandangardens.com/ Located in Bremerton, Washington.
Have you seen it as you drive by? I’ve been wanting to stop there for ages (I thought it was a nursery/garden) so finally put the brakes on and turned off from WA-16. I was glad I did. There are several components to this little hideaway heaven. It is right on the water’s edge of the Puget Sound, about six acres and had been a very stair landfill. In 1993 the Robinson family (Dan, Diane, Shanna and Will) began developing it starting with sandy fill dirt and over 800 tons of boulders, giving shape to the flat.
Elandan the word comes from Elan which is french for spirit and courage, and Dan, who is the true spirit of the Robinson’s bonsai collection. While there is a museum/shop filled with all sorts of exotic trinkets, many with an eclectic Asian feel. When I say trinkets I mean home decor, oil art, jewelry, and dazzling array of apparel. They even have a chihuly piece!
Dan is a bonsai master. He is described as a Pioneer of western Bonsai (many of his Bonsai pieces are black pine and cedar) and you can see many of his works both at the garden and in this book: http://www.amazon.com/Gnarly-Branches-Ancient-Trees-Robinson/dp/0615378501
The gardens are remarkable, a mix of plant and stone. There are many pieces of twisted wood and jagged tree pieces reaching up to the sky. Will is a stone artist and there are many basalt and granite pieces in the garden spread in a carved Stonehenge type of feel.
My most favorite part were the quiet ponds and tiny waterfalls. The ponds floated several different types of lily pads and were flowering.
The experience was peaceful. My son and I were the only ones there in the gardens so for a full hour we explored each nook and cranny, enjoying the amazing variety of Bonsai and sinking in the sounds of moving water and overhead birds. I hate to tell people about little treasures like this place because I really liked having it all to myself but I just can’t help myself.
My pictures don’t do justice. I only had my iphone5 on me so all of these photos were taken with it. I will return.