English Camp Visitor Contact Station on Winter Schedule
The English Camp visitor contact station in the Royal Marine Barracks is closed for the season, starting September 2. Grounds are open daily from dawn to 11 p.m.
American Camp Visitor Center on Winter Schedule
The American Camp visitor center is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily from September 2 to June 6, 2015. Grounds remain open daily from dawn to 11 p.m. Telephone 360-378-2240, ext. 2227 or 2226 for information. More »
The Formal Garden
The English Formal Garden is one of the more beloved features of San Juan Island National Historical Park, generating enthusiastic comments from visitors from around the world — but especially from the United Kingdom.
The garden you see before you today was planted on almost exactly the same spot in 1972 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the boundary settlement. As with Louden’s concept, this garden is a combination of art, logic and science, the geometric design featuring 13 beds of flowers and shrubs in a circular pattern.
Today the garden is maintained by the park’s maintenance division with the help of volunteers from the community. Each spring more than 700 annuals are planted among the hedges providing visitors with spectacular views by mid-summer.
In 1999, with funds provided through the Recreation Fee Demonstration Program, the park installed a gravity-fed, water-efficient irrigation system in the garden. (In the past, when water tables went down, the park would dip into the cisterns built by the Royal Marines to keep the garden going.) The new irrigation system has reduced hand-watering by nearly 70 percent enabling volunteers to manage the garden. This has freed park staff to work on other maintenance projects, and ensured visitor enjoyment of the garden throughout the summer.
Did You Know?
Camas bulbs were so highly prized by Northwest Indians for their creamy potato/baked pear taste that groups sometimes fought over the best growing areas, and people traveled great distances to harvest the bulbs and prepare them into thin, dry cakes. To ensure future harvests, the Indians burned the prairie regularly.