The Trees of Lakewold are an invaluable resource. These trees live on the last undivided property remaining from the era in which what is today the City of Lakewood, WA was known as the Lakes District. There are 250 trees across the ten acres of ornamental gardens that make up Lakewold Gardens. Some are unusual prized specimens such as the magnificent Dawn Redwood, Metasequoia. Trustee Kate Read and Lead Horticulturist Kristine Dillinger selected ten Tier One Trees and ten Tier Two Trees for an annual adoption campaign. The price of adoption reflects the value of preserving Lakewold as the trees’ forever home and underwrites the cost of caring for specific trees.

During this live and virtual campaign we will explore the Environmental Impact of Trees, the Ecology of Trees, and the Mythology of Trees through a variety of activities. We will offer activities in the garden and activities for home, and Lakewold will host speakers on tree topics—both in-person and virtual. Trees can be adopted by individuals, families, groups of friends, businesses, and in honor of just about anything!

Contact Susan Warner at (253) 970-9538 for more information.

What comes with your tree adoption?

Wolf Tree with Person

Tier One $10,000 Trees

• A one-year adoption certificate
• A framed rendering of your tree by local artist Jennifer Von Holstein
• Recognition signage for one year in the garden near your tree
• Recognition of adoption in the Trees of Lakewold education booklet
• Seasonal photos of your tree
• A year-long membership to the garden
• Invitations to particular adoptive parents’ events in the gardens
• The Future will Thank You - Tree Ambassador Stickers

Tier Two $5,000 Trees

• A one-year adoption certificate
• Recognition signage for one year in the garden near your tree
 • Recognition of adoption in the Trees of Lakewold education booklet
• A year-long membership to the garden
• Invitations to particular adoptive parents’ events in the gardens
• The Future will Thank You - Tree Ambassador Stickers

Living Fence Screen of Incense Cedars | $25 - $10,000 donation levels accepted

With its modest watering needs, a living fence of incense cedars, Calocedrus decurrens, is a part of Lakewold’s overall water conservation plan. Additionally, the privacy and noise reduction provided by a bank of these trees will enhance the intimate feel of the garden. These dense evergreen trees with a narrowly columnar habit are suitable for use as a tall living fence. Needing little if any pruning and once established requires little supplemental water, these trees are a good choice for areas outside the bounds of the garden’s irrigation system.

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Explore the Trees

TIER 1 (10 trees)

Empress Tree


Paulownia tomentosa

Available for Adoption

Standing alone on Flag Lawn, the Empress Tree commands the attention of visitors as they round Circle Drive toward the house. It was planted in the 1960s after the drive was completed. With its wide rounded crown, large trunk, and huge heart-shaped, light-green deciduous leaves this tree creates a lot of biomass and does it quickly, as it is growing up to 50 feet. The empress tree is cherished for its fragrant lavender purple panicles of flowers, which it produces in abundance in May if conditions are just right: a hot summer the previous year and no late frost to damage the flower buds. The empress tree provides an additional season of interest with its fine yellow fall color. This tree belongs to the Scrophulariaceae (foxglove) family and is native to China. It was given to Mrs. Wagner by the Garden Clubs of America.

Dawn Redwood

Possibly the tree most asked about at Lakewold, the Dawn Redwood never fails to engage visitors. As a deciduous conifer, the show starts in early spring with the emergence of new soft, light green needles which darken to a rich green by early summer and stand out against the background of the deeply furrowed, dark brown bark. Then in fall the needles take on rich tones of orange, red, and pink which look glorious against the expanse of lawn that surrounds it. When the needles drop the tree is then encircled with a ring of copper-gold for weeks. This tree belongs to the Cupressaceae (cypress) family and if you examine the square cones you can see why. Dawn redwood was considered extinct until fossil records and a specimen found in China in 1943 were determined to be the same genus. the seed for propagation was shared with horticultural institutions and collectors in the United States beginning in 1948.

Dawn Redwood

Metasequoia glyptostroboides

Available for Adoption

Wolf Tree or Douglas Fir

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Pseudotsuga menziesii

Available for Adoption

Lakewold calls this very unusual Douglas-fir specimen the Wolf Tree. What transpired in its youth to cause it to grow into this sprawling multi-leader form is unknown, but it became the centerpiece of the Shade Garden designed by Thomas Church in the 1960s and has remained such ever since. Its character is enhanced by the fact that the crotches of its almost horizontal branches provide the perfect home for epiphytic ferns. Understanding its names can be tricky since Pseudotsuga, which translates false hemlock, is in the Pinaceae (pine) family even though its common name is Douglas-fir, and its 1” needles are not clustered like pines, nor do its cones stick up on its branches like true firs. But once you learn to recognize it, it is difficult to forget as it has corky bark with distinctive deep fissures and 1 ½” long dangling brown cones with bracts. Douglas-fir may be the most common evergreen conifer west of the Cascade crest from British Columbia to California, but none of those multitudes of straight timber trees have the awe-inspiring character of the Wolf Tree.

Purple or Red Leaf Japanese Maple

In 1996 this Japanese maple was measured by Robert Van Pelt and deemed to be the Champion Tree of its kind in the state and is almost as wide as it is tall. The bench below it provides a perfect spot to sit and gaze upward into its colorful leaves which emerge purple, then turn a darker bronze in summer and scarlet red in autumn. Purple Japanese maples are small to medium sized delicately branches deciduous trees with 5 to 7 serrated lobes on their simple leaves. They belong to the Aceraceae (maple) family. The specific epithet palmatum is a reference to the hand-like appearance of the leaves. A. palmatum atropurpureum is originally from Japan, Korea and China but are now propagated widely from seed within the United States and is the parent of many popular Japanese maple cultivars.

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Acer palmatum atropurpureum

Available for Adoption

Giant Sequoia


Sequoiadendron giganteum

Adopted in honor of Merril Wyman Wagner

Given a possible lifespan of thousands of years (one known specimen in Sequoia National Park is estimated to be 2400 years old), Lakewold’s giant sequoias are in their youth and are still easily identified from a distance because of their strong conical form and symmetrical growth. As giant sequoias mature their canopies widen providing self-contained habitat for some animal species. Topping out at 375’, they are big trees. While they are not the tallest tree on earth, they are the most massive. “One giant sequoia may contain more wood than an entire old growth Eastern hardwood forest can grow in 2 acres.” (Dr. Reese Halter) Currently native to the Sierra Nevada foothills, this species’ range once extended from Alaska to the Midwestern United States and beyond. Up close they can be identified by their thick reddish, furrowed bark, scale-like leaves, and 3 ½” egg-shaped brown cones that hang off the branches. Sequoiadendron is in the Cupressaceae (cypress) family.

Copper Beech

With a sturdy, smooth white trunk, low, wide spreading branches, and purple ruffled leaves that move gracefully in the wind, this very large specimen, located at the top of Erythronium Way, is commented on regularly by visitors. When planted, this specimen was paired with a burgundy-leaved Japanese maple so the foliage of each would be enhanced by presence of the other. The specific epithet (the second portion the botanical name) sylvatica means of the woods or forests, in this case the forests of central and southern Europe. Copper beech is monoecious, meaning it has both male and female flowers on the same tree. Though beeches may not flower as young trees, this copper beech specimen is of an age where it does flower and bear edible fruit yearly: a triangular nut with a prickly casing, which is favored by wildlife. This tree is a member of the Fagaceae (beech) family. A visit to this tree in autumn allows one to play in the small mountains of leaves it drops on the lawn.

Copper Beech

Fagus sylvatica Atropurpurea Group

Available for Adoption

Coast Redwood

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Sequoia sempervirens

Adopted in honor of Tim & Marshall

In its native habitat from Southern Oregon to Santa Cruz California it is a coastal tree that utilizes its proximity to fog created by the Pacific Ocean to aid in providing for its water needs. Planted at the bottom of the waterfall system, Lakewold’s specimen typifies the species with its multiple leaders, a tall pyramidal habit, stringy red bark, small red-brown cones and dark short, two-ranked green needles. Its fast growth and longevity allow it to achieve great heights. The tallest specimen measured thus far in Redwoods National Park is 379’ tall. Lakewold’s coast redwood may not yet have achieved a third of its possible growth. Sequoia is in the Cupressaceae (cypress) family.

Garry Oak

The native Garry oaks of Lakewold are a key part of a culturally and ecologically important, now rare but once expansive, gravelly prairie habitat found west of the Cascades from Vancouver Island BC into Marin County, California. Its botanical and one of its common names is a reminder of the colonial expansion and subsequent development that has threatened its habitat—Nicholas Garry was an official with the Hudson’s Bay Company. The Garry oak can grow 65 to 100 feet with forms ranging from straight to meandering. Our favorite of the Lakewold garry oak specimens is one with a low horizontal leader that acts as an entry arch over the path to the Woodland. Visit the tree and feel its distinctive, deeply fissured bark. In spring watch for the catkins which appear before the lobed light green leaves. Acorns produced by the tree are often eaten by ducks but can also easily be planted to seed new trees. In the autumn the dark green leaves turn brown, fall to the ground, and persist as mulch for several years. This oak belongs to the Fagaceae (beech) family.

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Quercus garryana

Adopted by the Driscoll Hoffman Family


Persion Ironwood

Persian Ironwood 2

Parrotia persica

Available for Adoption

A multi-trunked tree with wide spreading, upswept branches and mottled, flaky bark in shades of brown, green and pale pink. Apetalous red flowers appear in early spring before the leaves. The wavy simple leaves, resembling that of a witch-hazel, provide multi seasons of interest. Leaves emerge reddish-purple, fade to medium green through the summer, and in fall turn shades of yellow, orange and red. Persian ironwood is native to Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and the Caucasus, where its dense wood is used in construction and tools. This deciduous tree belongs to the Hamamelidaceae (witch-hazel) family.

Katsura Tree

The Katsura tree has a secret it uses to grasp attention: even when its maturity makes viewing its canopy difficult, its fragrance makes one wonder where the Crème Brûlée is. In the fall, its blue-green 2” heart-shaped leaves turn light orange or yellow and when crushed by the footfalls of passersby emit an aroma like caramelized sugar. This tree is also a favorite of the neighborhood sapsuckers, so rows of holes in the bark made by their beaks will assist in locating the tree on the path to Picnic Point. Mature trees range from 40 to 60 feet in height and about 20-35 feet in width. The Katsura tree is in the Cercidiphyllaceae (katsura) family and is its sole member. Its native range is parts of China and Japan.

Katsura Tree 2

Cercidiphyllum japonicum

Available for Adoption

TIER 2 (6 trees)

Paperbark Maple


Acer griseum

Available for Adoption

Mrs Wagner’s cutting edge taste in plant material resulted in Lakewold possessing many specimens that were once rare but are now widely grown and extolled for their excellent qualities. One of these is the paperbark maple. Viewed from a distance this small trees’ fine branching and texture stand out, while an up-close inspection reveals a striking coppery-brown exfoliating bark, which when illuminated appears to glow gold. The whitish-gray undersides of its trifoliate toothed leaves can are easily viewed on its upward reaching branches. This tree is also particularly beautiful in fall when its dark blue-green leaves turn shades of yellow, orange, red and pink. Paperbark maple is member of the Sapindaceae (soapberry) family and is native to China

Dove Tree

The dove tree is well worth a trip down the north slope of the property in late spring. This tall, narrowly pyramidal tree flowers against a backdrop of mixed conifers. Horticultural references suggest the max height is 60’, our specimen has surpassed this mark already. However, it is not the purple flowers that draw one’s attention, as the flowers are hidden beneath 3” long white drooping bracts that flutter in the wind and give the tree its multiple common names. Its botanical name is a nod to a French missionary, Armand David, the first European to record its description in 1896. Native to southwestern China, it is a member of the Nyssaceae (sour gum) family.


Davidia involucrata

Adopted in honor of the Lawrence Humphrey Family


Carolina Silverbell

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Halesia carolina

Adopted by Anna Driscoll


A medium-sized multi-trunked understory tree native to the southern United States with a wide spreading crown. In late spring, Carolina silverbell erupts in a profusion of pendulous bell shaped flowers at the same time new light green foliage emerges. Flowers are followed by a red-brown winged fruit. At Lakewold this tree can be found to the north of the quatrefoil pool and blooms in concert with white flowering dogwoods and cherries, creating a stunning display. In fall the 2 to 5” long toothed leaves turn yellow. Carolina silverbell is in the Styracaceae (Storax) family.

Chilean Fire Tree

For much of the year, the Chilean Fire Tree goes unnoticed in the sea of green at the edge of the Woodland Garden. In late spring, however, it puts on a spectacular show of orange-red tubular firework-like flowers that turn heads and attract hummingbirds for several weeks. The Chilean fire tree is evergreen, with lance-shaped leathery leaves and a slender overall form that grows to 40’. Native to Chile, this dramatic small tree easily makes itself at home in our mild PNW gardens. It is in the Proteaceae (protea) family.


Embothrium coccineum

In Loving Memory of

Sylvia Harlock Kaufman, PhD OTR/L (1939-2011)

By Kris G. Kaufman, P. E.


Pair of Stewartias


Stewartia monadelpha & S. pseudocamellia

Adopted by "The Ginger Group"

On the left side of the path to Picnic Point two different species of Stewartia were planted together to provide an opportunity to appreciate the beauty of each while also noting the differences between them. S. monadelpha is commonly called orange bark stewartia for its striking exfoliating orange bark. S. pseudocamellia, commonly called Japanese stewartia, has exfoliating bark as well but it is smooth underneath and distinctly mottled in shades of gray, tan, and red. Both boast a lovely branching structure and beautiful white camellia-like flowers with orange anthers that bloom in early summer. Both display excellent fall colors with serrated leaves that turn deep red for several weeks. These trees are in the Theaceae (tea) family.

Group of Five Rhododendron

Individuals within this group were selected in order to showcase excellent fragrance and foliage, tree-like stature, or rarity in cultivation. R.’Sir Charles Lemon’ is a very large specimen named after its breeder. It has red-spotted white campanulate flowers, lovely warm red indumentum (hairs below the leaf), and white new growth. R. ‘Loderi King George’ is one of the first rhododendrons you see when you enter the garden. In early May its fragrant flowers have pink buds that open a pale pink and then fade to white with a green throat. Trusses hold 10-12 flowers. R. ‘Fragrantissimum’ is tender and thrives best with some protection, thus its placement in the walled Library Courtyard. This variety is grown for its very dark green crinkled foliage and a tour-stopping honeysuckle-like fragrance. R. ‘Fragrantissimum’ has been winning awards of merit since the 1860s. Flowers are white with a touch of yellow in the throat and a blush of pink on the outside of the petal.


R. Sir. Charles Lemon, R. Loderi King George, R. fragantissimum, & R. rothschildii C. Smith

Available for Adoption

LOCATION: Throughout the garden. R. rothschildii C. Smith, positioned along a corner on Circle Drive, is a species of rhododendron that has not yet flowered for us, thus we do not yet know what color its flowers will be, but it draws the eye nonetheless with its foliage. With glossy, deep green 10-12” leaves, warm tan indumentum, and contrasting lighter green upright new growth, the whole ensemble pairs nicely with the furrowed, brown bark of the Douglas-fir on whose base the shrub is planted. R.’Loderi Pretty Polly’ has the same (fortunei ssp. Fortunei x griffithianum) parentage as R. ‘Loderi King George’ but instead of its flowers fading to white, they remain pink. Found along the path to Picnic Point, this specimen has become tree-like in its stature.

Ready to Adopt a Tree? We're happy to discuss your options!

Contact Susan Warner at (253) 970-9538 for more information.


Lakewold Gardens | 12317 Gravelly Lake Drive Southwest, Lakewood, WA 98499

Mailing Address | Post Office Box 39780, Lakewood, WA 98496

Phone | 253-584-4106

Summer Hours | Wed-Sun 11 am - 5 pm

Winter Hours | Fri - Sun 10 am - 4 pm

This page is made possible, in part, by a City of Lakewood Lodging Tax Grant.