Using the words "Fall" or "Autumn" in September in the Pacific Northwest feels like dropping an f-bomb in your grandmother's living room. It should never be done, but if you're going to tempt the wrath, you'd better do it under your breath. Nobody wants to hear that.
Especially not the flowers, which are currently blissfully ignorant of the fact that The-Season-Which-Shall-Not-Be-Named is on its way. 
So while a change in the weather might be coming, you still have time this summer to check out one of Pierce County's incredible gardens, filled with not just flowers, but soaring trees, shaded gazebos, plant life from all over the world, and - perhaps most importantly right now - an atmosphere of calm that's getting harder to find without driving off into the hinterland.
Lakewold Gardens (Lakewood)
The word "oasis" is maybe one of the most overused words in travel writing lately, but when you're trying to describe a literal tree-studded shady place of respite and calm in the middle of noise and chaos, your choices are limited. So let's call it what it is. Lakewold Gardens is an oasis. Filled with quiet corners, hidden nooks of solitude, and soft paths through manicured lawns and around pools overlooking Gravelly Lake, Lakewold Garden is an escape from the city, but miraculously, it's just a couple minutes' drive from I-5. Thursdays are free, but donations are always accepted. 
Lakewold Gardens

Point Defiance Park is like a top-10-list writer's dream. Want to write about the best beaches in Pierce County? It's going to include Owen Beach at Point Defiance Park. Best forested trails? Can't forget Point Defiance's dozens of miles of old-growth-lined roads and trails for bikers and hikers. Music venues? You've got the new outdoor space at Dune Peninsula at Point Defiance Park. Best gardens? You guessed it. The rose garden naturally gets the lion's share of love (Shakespeare didn't write about "fuchsias by any other name), but that's just what gets you in the door. Once you're there, you'll find yourself wandering around to the seven (SEVEN!) other gardens nearby in the park: the Fuchsia Garden, Herb Garden, Rhododendron Garden, Dahlia Trial Garden, Northwest Native Garden, Iris Garden, and the Japanese Garden. 
Point Defiance Fuchsia Garden

Windmill Garden (Sumner)
Part show garden, part horticulture store, and all in the shadow of an eye-catching (and photogenic!) Dutch-style windmill: Windmill Garden is an afternoon's worth of sightseeing and shopping packed into just a few acres. And with one of the coolest tea shops in the region on site, you won't have a reason to leave. Except closing time. Then you have to leave. 
Windmill Bistro