Dunn Gardens in Seattle, Washington, was designed by the noted Olmsted Brothers landscaping firm in 1915 for businessman Arthur Dunn. Now open to the public, the gardens are interpreted to the public by volunteer docents. They explain the legacy of the founding Dunn family, the historic Olmsted design of the gardens, as well as the current challenges posed by climate change. Volunteers undergo a one-year training program before they are allowed to lead tours on their own. The new docents shadow seasoned docents and undertake field trips to other gardens. They also engage in a twice yearly study of Dunn Garden plantings. In addition, the docents frequently attend horticultural classes. In 2015, Dunn Gardens hosted a Docent Summit for docents from area gardens-“many of which are also Olmsted-designed-to-share experiences on interpretation of historic landscapes.
Other volunteers at Dunn Gardens help to maintain the gardens and research their history. Volunteers work to preserve and manage an archival collection of documents, images, and other materials regarding Dunn Gardens and other historic landscapes in the Pacific Northwest.
For more information:
Dunn Gardens (www.dunngardens.org)
Updated September 23, 2016