The Bloedel Reserve, a 150-acre garden on Bainbridge Island that is a popular spot for proposals, celebrates Valentine’s Day with a two-day event providing everything you need for romance.

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The Bloedel Reserve — a 150-acre Pacific Northwest wonderland of lush forests, winding pathways, reflective ponds and intricate gardens — represents nothing short of a love story.

From 1951 until 1985, Prentice Bloedel and his wife, Virginia, lived on the Bainbridge Island property while working with landscape architects to create the outdoor spaces that have been open to the public since 1989.

For Prentice, who had come to Washington to run his father’s timber business, many of these gardens were created as presents for his beloved wife. In 1974, for instance, he surprised her on Christmas with the “Christmas Pond” — complete with all of her favorite flowers.


Bloedel Reserve Cupid’s Walk

10 a.m.-4.p.m. Feb. 13-14, 7571 N.E. Dolphin Drive, Bainbridge Island; $15 for adults, with $5 discount for couples. (206) 842-7631 or Also: at 7 p.m. Feb. 13, jazz vocalist Carrie Wicks with pianist Bill Anshell and bassist Jeff Johnson will perform; admission, $35-$38, includes dessert and a glass of wine. Tickets:

“He was a very romantic person and devoted to her,” said Edward Moydell, the reserve’s executive director. “He built things just for her to show he really cared; you don’t run into people like that very often.”

It seems fitting, then, that the reserve will mark Valentine’s weekend with the Cupid’s Walk self-guided tour, complete with a map of best kissing spots and discount pricing for couples.

Moydell said that since coming to the reserve six years ago, he’s witnessed at least 20 engagements.

“It’s become a place where people can come connect with each other, connect with nature, and kind of leave all of your worries behind and spend a two-hour walk in a really beautiful and tranquil environment,” said Erin Jennings, the reserve’s marketing and outreach manager.

The property, which sees about 50,000 visitors a year, includes Japanese, moss and reflection gardens, a bird refuge and rhododendrons with blossoms “the size of a dinner plate,” according to Jennings.

Andrea Mercado, the property’s guest services and shop manager, said she’s seen several engagements. Some were elaborate — one suitor called in advance, intending to surprise his girlfriend with a custom-made box holding the ring at a particular location — while for others, the thought was what counts.

Her favorite story?

“He asked her almost at the very end of the walk at the Reflection Pool, which is the last striking feature, and she said that she’d go to hold his hand and he wouldn’t take it out of his pocket — because he had it around the ring and didn’t want to lose the ring,” she recalled. “So she thought that he was cranky at her, but he said, ‘Once I gave you the ring you wouldn’t look at the garden anymore!,’ ” wanting her to appreciate the surroundings before he popped the question.

The Bloedels, whose daughters and granddaughters remain involved with the reserve, wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

“This whole place is as much a romance between Mr. and Mrs. Bloedel as it is between them and the land,” Moydell said.