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Since its official founding in 1935, the arboretum has weathered funding crises, neighborhood controversies, and storms that have toppled trees and frozen shrubs. But it has survived and survived beautifully. Walking trails crisscross the varied terrain of woodland, wetland, and gardens, taking visitors to acclaimed collections of azaleas, rhododendrons, oaks, conifers, camellias, magnolias, Japanese maples, and hollies. The Seattle Japanese Garden occupies the southwestern portion of arboretum but is separate from it. The arboretum is full of seasonal highlights, and there is always something of special interest to discover (pick up a map in the Graham Visitors Center). But the arboretum’s must-see springtime spectacle is, without a doubt, Azalea Way, bordered by hundreds of Japanese cherry trees, eastern dogwoods, and an undergrowth of azaleas. It required over 10,000 hours of hand labor by WPA workmen to complete. For a refreshing waterside stroll in any season, walk north along Arboretum Drive East, cross the road, and follow the gravel trail along the shoreline to the large wetlands area that’s a favorite spot for birders. But all this only hints at the riches you’ll find in this wonderfully explorable urban garden.