Fast break: Highline Sea-Tac Botanical Garden

Showers may be in the forecast this weekend, but locals know this is a great time of year to get outdoors. Beautiful colors abound and flowers still bloom in our mild fall weather, great for a visit to local gardens, including a small South King County gem, the Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden.

A partnership between the city of SeaTac, the Port of Seattle and community volunteers, the garden opened in 2000. It's a work in progress: two acres of garden on 11 acres adjacent to North SeaTac Park, in the shadow of Sea-Tac Airport.

Though the garden is a newcomer, its inspiration has a 30-year history in the "Paradise Garden, " an award-winning horticultural treasure created by Elda Behm. When her neighborhood was demolished in the 1990s for the airport's third runway, Behm's extensive plant collection was relocated to form the basis of the Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden. The garden includes King County Iris Society and Puget Sound Daylily Club display gardens, dahlias, shade garden, streams, two small waterfalls and a large pond, Japanese maples and other colorful fall trees along with Elda Behm's Paradise Garden.

Future projects include the relocation of the Seiki Japanese Garden, also lost to airport expansion, into the botanical garden.

The garden is at 13735 24th Ave. S. in SeaTac, open from dawn to dusk daily. When the North SeaTac Community Center at the same address is closed, the gate to the garden's parking area may be closed, but the garden is still open to walk in during daylight hours. Guided tours of the garden are available by calling 206-391-4003, and help is welcome at work parties 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on first and third Saturdays, March through November. For more information:

— Madeline McKenzie, Seattle Times staff