West Seattle, Washington
What better way to let your kids learn about bees and their vital role in our ecosystem, than by taking them to the West Seattle Bee Garden for Kids’ Day, presented by the Puget Sound Beekeepers Association? Above, you can watch the bees without getting too close. Earlier, it was story time:
Art activities are keeping other young visitors busy:
And the grownup visitors might be interested in buying honey to support the nonprofit PSBA:
The event’s on until 2 pm. The WS Bee Garden is on the north end of High Point Commons Park – scroll down this page for a map.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
As all gardeners know, what you grow and how you grow it – whether from seed or start – will change. Not always according to plan.
The lease comes up in January, explains orchard steward Narcissa Nelson, and decisions need to be made.
One possibility that sprouted unexpectedly – though potentially, Narcissa says, serendipitously – is that the orchard could become a college project.
All along, one of the intentions for the eighth-of-an-acre plot has been that it would be involved with food security for the area. Eastern West Seattle is a known “food desert,” after all. Along with being a place for growing and harvesting food, the orchard has also been a teaching venue – including workshops on permaculture.
We talked with Narcissa this week at the orchard, within view of its espaliered apples (above) and raised beds growing everything from tomatoes to herbs to squash; earlier in the season, strawberries, collards, parsley, kale. She explained that the college has started a food-pantry program, with an interest in access to fresh food, and the need is increasing. This growing space could become part of that.
COWS already is part “giving garden,” with food harvested for and donated to the White Center Food Bank. Part of it also has been open for community “forage,” though its visibility is minimal – it’s between a fence and a forest, separated from the nearest public road – 16th SW – by SSC’s sprawling north parking lot.
What it really needs, Narcissa explains, is consistent support for maintenance. Student/school involvement could provide that.
In the early going, the thought was that COWS could become a large-scale food-production site for the community. Early involvement was strong, especially from Puget Ridge neighbors. But many of them, Narcissa has noticed, are now focused on growing their own gardens. “A lot of people who were inspired locally have moved on to their own thing, and it’s beautiful – we were a demonstration garden, hoping to inspire people.”
Another thing that has changed: The orchard at one point had a paid manager, funded by a grant. She moved away. What project funding there is, still stems from the original grant.
But the decisions to be made aren’t about money or a lack of it. They’re about the right future for the orchard/garden and its space, whether that’s as the Community Orchard of West Seattle or something else, Narcissa says.
It’s time, she says, for open discussion. “At one point, the community asked for this” (the orchard) – “a lot of people put work into it over the years. This is yours.”
So what do you think its future should be? For starters, you can weigh in via e-mail at email@example.com.
If you had a ticket for this year’s West Seattle Garden Tour last month (WSB coverage here), you helped support six nonprofits, who officially received their share of a record-setting WSGT donation tonight. The announcement:
Tonight the West Seattle Garden Tour held their “Summer Finale” to thank the 2017 gardeners, sponsors, and committee members who produced the annual garden tour. The highlight of the evening was hearing from representatives of all six tour beneficiaries, who each spoke about how grants from the tour will fund their special projects.
This year WSGT donated the largest annual gift in the 23-year-old organization’s history — $26,800 was raised collectively for six beneficiaries. The non-profits to receive a grant in 2017 are City Fruit, Seattle Children’s PlayGarden, West Seattle Bee Garden, One Reel / Pianos in the Parks, Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association, and ArtsWest.
Since its inception in 1995, West Seattle Garden Tour has been one of the premier garden tours in the Northwest, as well as a fundraiser. In the last twenty-three years, the all-volunteer 501(c)(3) organization has donated $377,514 to local non-profits in support of their horticultural, educational, and artistic missions. The 2018 tour will be on Sunday, June 24.
In the photo atop this report, from left, are Jan Clow (West Seattle Garden Tour), Mathew Wright (ArtsWest), Chris Weber and Gaylynn Kiser (One Reel), Krista Conner (West Seattle Bee Garden), Sara Maxwell and Adana Protonentis (Seattle Children’s PlayGarden), Willard Brown (Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association), and Carrie Ferrence (City Fruit).
Another sign of summer! It’s the first weekly Farm Stand day at High Point Market Garden (32nd SW/SW Juneau). Every Wednesday, 4-7 pm, through September 27th, you can buy organic produce grown by local residents at the mini-farm that’s steps from the stand:
As announced by the city Department of Neighborhoods, which oversees the program, the farm stand (one of two in the city – the other is at NewHolly) accepts EBT cards and participates in Fresh Bucks, “which doubles consumers’ first $10 spent on the card.” Also, ROAR is at the stand again this year; it “sells produce to neighborhoods with limited access to healthy food.”
The West Seattle Garden Tour continues until 5 pm – a self-guided tour of 11 very different gardens – and we’ve just visited three (after first publishing a contributed report about Garden I in Arbor Heights). Above (sea holly) and below (lettuce), the Solstice P-Patch across from the north end of Lincoln Park is Garden H.
The P-Patch is also where we found Willard Brown from Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association and Yeggy Michael from Nature Consortium, talking to people about the ongoing Delridge Wetlands Project and upcoming Arts in Nature Festival (August 26-27).
Six of this year’s gardens are in the greater Beach Drive area; we stopped by waterfront garden E shortly before this afternoon’s low-low tide:
Complementing the blue sea were purple seas of ground cover, including thyme.
Inland, garden A is at a corner house between Admiral and The Junction, with pockets of both in-ground and in-planter color:
Three more hours to tour – check West Seattle Nursery (California/Brandon) for last-minute ticket-book sales. The WSGT is a nonprofit that raises money for other nonprofits – here are this year’s beneficiaries. Besides ticket sales, money is also raised by raffle-ticket sales at stops on the tour, so don’t miss those!
The photo and report are from Greg Olsen, owner of an Arbor Heights home that’s one of 11 sites comprising today’s West Seattle Garden Tour – on now, until 5 pm – and father of the gardener:
Designing and enjoying your garden when suffering from a disability can be challenging.
Avery Armstrong, age 42, has accomplished that goal.
See today during the West Seattle Garden Tour … [Garden #I in the ticket book]
Due to a near-fatal blood clot in her leg at age 35, while studying Landscape Architecture at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, Ms. Armstrong is now partially disabled, forced to walk with a cane.
Being a garden lover and being on her feet is a challenge. Her four-year-young, sustainable garden features accessibility and beauty.
Greg advises visiting before 3 pm – “before it gets too hot!” – though the tour continues until 5. We’ll be stopping by several gardens later today. If you didn’t pre-purchase a ticket book, which is required for admission (and includes addresses and maps), go to West Seattle Nursery (California/Brandon), or, until 11, Metropolitan Market (41st/42nd/Admiral; WSB sponsor).
That’s the “Corner Paradise,” one of 12 gardens you can visit this Sunday during the 2017 West Seattle Garden Tour. It’s a self-guided event, 9 am-5 pm on tour day, but you have to have a $25 ticket book, which includes the locations and maps, and you have to get it in advance, so you have a few more days to do that – here’s how and where. The tour is a fundraiser for local nonprofits – here’s who’s benefiting this year.
Sunday’s forecast is for hot weather, possibly into the 90s, so WSGT’s Aubbie Beal tells WSB, “We are encouraging people to be prepared for heat and sun (sunscreen, hats, water). We will sell water in a few (not all) gardens this year because of the heat, but people should always plan to carry their own.”
As we have been reporting, you’ll find something new by most baskets this year – a plaque for the local business/organization/individual that “adopted” the basket. (Including us!)
P.S. One good way to get a close-up look – go volunteer in The Junction tomorrow for Spring Clean! Not too late. Here’s how.
This year’s West Seattle Garden Tour is only six weeks away – 9 am-5 pm Sunday, June 25th. While the gardens grow, other preparations are under way – including presenting this year’s poster-art-contest winner with her $500 prize! Above, that’s artist Sarah Mottaghinejad with WSGT president Jan Clow, who made the presentation during West Seattle Art Walk this past Thursday night at West Seattle Windermere. We first told you in March about Sarah’s winning work The Sower, which will be auctioned at one of the gardens during this year’s WSGT.
P.S. Garden Tour tickets are on sale now – here’s how to get yours.
1:18 PM: Sunshine got you in the mood to grow something? Check out this year’s Westside Plant and Garden Art Fair, on until 3 pm today (and again 10 am-2 pm Sunday) at WSUU, 7141 California SW, in Gatewood. You can do more than shop – right now, until 2 pm, for one, Kevin Pinnell, “The Balloon Man,” is there to make balloon sculptures for kids. Live music until 2:30 pm, too.
ADDED SATURDAY EVENING: Thanks to Jonathan Rawle for the next two photos:
Above, WSUU member Eileen Duffy was showing her young friend Binegar what’s in the raffle prize baskets. Below left, plant volunteer Rose Sheppard offered advice on plant selection:
Again, you can check out the second day of the fair 10 am-2 pm Sunday.
Back in January, we reported on a new fundraiser in The Junction – the chance to adopt one of the 90+ flower baskets that are displayed in spring and summer. This year’s baskets are almost ready to go – the photo above is from the greenhouse where they’re growing until the weather’s consistently warm(ish) enough to bring them out. More than 80 were adopted, and you’ll see commemorative plaques next to them (including one for WSB – we signed up too!) when they appear within the next few weeks.
“All is looking good for our festival this weekend,” Seattle Chinese Garden spokesperson Sandy Marvinney tells WSB, as they get ready for the rescheduled Peony and Bamboo Festival. “The garden should be at or close to full bloom this weekend!” The garden is at the north end of the South Seattle College (6000 16th SW; WSB sponsor) campus on Puget Ridge, and the festival is set to run 10 am-4 pm both days this weekend (Saturday and Sunday, May 6-7). Here’s the latest update on the blooms; here’s the festival flyer. $5 suggested donation for adults; all ages are welcome to visit. The lion dance at 11:30 am Saturday will be a highlight; other activities continue all weekend. You’re advised to check seattlechinesegarden.org before you go, in case of schedule updates.
If you’re looking for somewhere to garden – a P-Patch spot might be waiting for you. The city just published a list today of community gardens that have spots open, and two of them are in West Seattle – Westcrest Park in Highland Park and Longfellow Creek in Westwood. Interested? Contact Angela Vega-Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 206-617-1787.
Like many places, West Seattle has more than a few “best-kept secrets.” Is the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) Arboretum one of them? That’s what the Arboretum Advisory Committee hopes you can help them find out. Even if you’ve never heard of it, they would love to have your participation in this quick one-page online survey, as they gauge community awareness while working toward celebrating the Arboretum’s 40th anniversary next year.
3:33 PM: The greening of Gatewood Elementary‘s schoolyard continues. This afternoon, volunteers are working to build and install raised garden beds – and Sandy Lennon tells us about two chances for everyone to get a look this week at what else is going on:
We’ve been working hard and are gaining momentum in improving our playground and learning garden at Gatewood Elementary.
*To support our learning garden, our online fundraiser through Seattle Seed Co. continues through this week. Order organic seeds and/or other garden-related goodies here. (See the flyer here.) Gatewood receives 50% of proceeds. Thanks for your support!
*We recently won a $5,000 Small Sparks grant from the City’s Department of Neighborhoods to complete design and construction documents for improvements in the southwest corner of our playground (our playfield).
*We’ve been working this school year to gather information and ideas and confirm the school’s priorities for that space, and we have a few draft design sketches ready for community viewing and feedback. We’ll be posting the sketches at our PTA meeting on Monday night, March 13, 6:30-8 pm in the school library, and at our Art Walk / Open House on Thursday, March 16, 5:30-7 pm on the main floor of the school. Community members are invited to stop by, take a look, and leave comments that will be considered as we finalize the design. For a preview, you can go here.
Gatewood Elementary is at 4320 SW Myrtle.
ADDED 5:55 PM: “Here’s what our group of volunteer students, parents and teachers accomplished today,” Jeannie wrote, sending us this “after” photo:
Village Green Nursery at 10223 26th SW, closed last year by longtime owner Vera Johnson, is reopening under new ownership. Noah Trutzschler and Sarah Young (photo at right) contacted us to say they’ve taken over and are getting ready for a grand opening next month. Right now, they say they’re “in the process of setting up the nursery to its former beauty, and plan on continuing the tradition of providing the community with healthy and beautiful plants.” They also plan to feature garden art and are looking for artists. You can see their full announcement on our partner site White Center Now.
That’s “The Sower” by West Seattle artist Sarah Mottaghinejad, just announced as the winner of this year’s West Seattle Garden Tour art competition:
The winning piece features cherry veneer, acrylic, watercolor, mica, and hollyhock seeds on a clay panel measuring 18” x 24”. The artwork will be featured on the 2017 Garden Tour’s marketing materials, including the official poster and ticket book. Ms. Mottaghinejad will also receive a $500 cash prize.
Ms. Mottaghinejad says she is a storyteller before anything else. As a letterpress printer and bookbinder, she mostly works with paper, but will use any medium that best tells the story. She has a master’s degree in Linguistics, but very little formal art training. She currently works as an instructional designer, practicing her art and craft on the weekends.
Read more about her and her work on the WSGT website. This year’s tour will be earlier than recent years – June 25th; the winning work will be auctioned in one of the gardens that day, with proceeds going toward this year’s nonprofit beneficiaries, which WSGT organizers plan to announce next week.
Thanks to Katie Kauffman for the photo from today’s event at the Community Orchard of West Seattle. She reports that neighbors gathered to learn about sheet mulching, “a no-till technique for soil building.” The orchard is on the northeast side of the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) campus. As previewed on the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar, Glenn Herlihy, co-founder of Beacon Food Forest, was there for the “talk and mini-work-party.” Within the next month or so, the Community Orchard will restart its annual series of meetups/work parties, so keep watch on its website (and on our calendar) for that news soon.
Until 3 pm – as previewed in today’s list of calendar highlights – you’re invited to stop by Highland Park Improvement Club to learn more about raingardens with RainWise, to help maintain the raingardens and related areas at HPIC, and/or to pick up free tree(s) for your yard! We took the photo while leaving HPIC after this morning’s Delridge Bus Triangle Park workshop (separate story coming up later).
Meantime, HPIC sent out this announcement today for its new art initiative:
Highland Park Improvement Club is looking for art teachers!
2017 brings new programming ideas to HPIC that showcase the artist talents of our neighborhood. Starting in February, we’re kicking off an art night at the club! HPIC will serve as a venue for local artists to teach a class, as well as offer a community art room. And yes, the HP bar will be open!
Are you interested in sharing your craft? All ideas are welcome! Sewing, knitting, a DIY project, jewelry making, pottery, painting, collage, making dream catchers, etc. Our pilot painting class in December – Bottles & Brushes – was a sold out success!
Please come to our info session to learn more about the opportunities to teach your classes at our neighborhood club!
Date: Tuesday February 7th at 7 PM
Location: HPIC (1116 SW Holden)
Come share your talents, interests and ideas! If you have any questions please email email@example.com
Something else you can do today — create art for the West Seattle Garden Tour. The volunteers behind the WSGT asked if we would remind you one more time about the annual competition, because turn-in time is now just two weeks away – February 10th-12th. The theme is “The Art of Gardening” and the winner is showcased on the poster and ticket-book cover as well as during the West Seattle Art Walk, as well as receiving a $500 prize. This year’s WSGT, by the way, is on June 25th.
New program in The Junction this year: You can “adopt” one of the 95 flower baskets that adorn light poles in the business district from May through September. The program just announced by the West Seattle Junction Association offers “a name plate affixed to the historic light pole [adjacent to your basket] showing who adopted the basket” – in your name, someone else’s as a gift, or in memory. A $145 donation – yes, WSJA is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization – gets you sponsorship of one basket. It’ll be professionally planted and designed, and WSJA takes care of watering and maintenance. Lots more info is here – along with a form you can use to adopt and pay online right now (or scroll down that page for info on adopting by postal mail).
West Seattle Nursery‘s holiday open house – on until 5 pm – is your first chance to get a look inside its just-completed greenhouse building, full of plants and gifts just in time for the holidays. The nursery’s outdoor grounds are especially festive, too:
The first trees – mostly Noble fir – arrived a few days ago.
But back to the new building: Shortly after walking in, we found its architect, Parie Hines of LD Arch Design (WSB sponsor), who demurred that it was an “easy” project.
Here’s an Instagram-video spin around inside:
Go see for yourself and enjoy treats and presentations – California/Brandon, until 5!
Four months since this year’s West Seattle Garden Tour, eight months until next year’s WSGT – but NOW is the time to start thinking about its poster/ticket-book art, chosen via competition. Just out of the WSB inbox this afternoon:
Call for Artists: West Seattle Garden Tour Art Competition
West Seattle Garden Tour’s annual search for local talent is under way! Your creative interpretation of the theme “The Art of Gardening” could win you prominence on the 2017 garden tour poster and ticket book, a spot in the West Seattle Art Walk, and $500! Original artwork may be submitted in person February 10-12, 2017, so start creating now. Get all the details and an entry form at the WSGT website.