WSB reader report: ‘Gray-haired plant lady’ appreciates that ‘West Seattle loves green’

Do you know “the gray-haired plant lady”? We don’t know her name, but she had a friend forward these photos and reader report expressing appreciation for West Seattle’s individual green spaces, so we are in turn sharing her words and pictures with you, which she sent under the heading ‘West Seattle Loves Green’:

With all the concrete and steel coming into our community, the citizens of West Seattle are creating their own green spaces. Have you noticed all the new plant containers in front of the local stores? The merchants also contributed to the beautiful hanging baskets. Even the new buildings are adding greenery in front of their buildings. In front of the stores you will find pots, boxes and even a wagon.

The old stump on the corner of California and Alaska has been replaced by a tree and a planter. A couple of days ago, I walked both sides of the street from Admiral Way to West Seattle Nursery. I found over 1,000 pots and planters and over 1,000 plantings. I didn’t count all the deck plants and patios.

I have been asked many times if I do the landscape in front of Hope Lutheran Church. A group of people help weed, mow grass and deadhead plants. The Loren Sommer family grows and plants the whole landscape. Loren, Rachel, and Bernadette spend many hours growing and planting. If you see them, say “thank you!” Omar Sommer, grandpa, helps with the watering system.

I just can’t resist adding that I was Loren’s and Rachel’s first-grade teacher.

‘The gray-haired plant lady’

15 Replies to "WSB reader report: 'Gray-haired plant lady' appreciates that 'West Seattle loves green'"

  • JayDee August 10, 2014 (12:09 pm)

    I like the flowers near Red Cup, The Juno’s hanging baskets, and my favorite, the wine barrel and window sill plantings by bin 41, done by one of the owners.

  • JoB August 10, 2014 (12:42 pm)

    thank you
    the world needs more gray haired plant ladies
    to inspire young gardeners

  • ACG August 10, 2014 (1:11 pm)

    WSB, I believe you did a brief little story on her- maybe within the last year? She is awesome, a very sweet, kind and caring woman.

  • fiz August 10, 2014 (1:42 pm)

    The Junction Merchants spend nearly $20,000 on those hanging baskets.

    Elois Gruenhagen, thank you for the beauty you plant and tend for the enjoyment of all.

    • WSB August 10, 2014 (2:45 pm)

      Ah! Didn’t make the connection, since “gray-haired plant lady” was a handle I hadn’t heard before. We have three stories on Ms. Gruenhagen in the archives.

  • NW August 10, 2014 (5:52 pm)

    Great job and if you need any native plants I have a growing collection from lots that have been bulldozed which I have rescued. They are quite a few pockets along California ave and beyond which many of you out there ,myself included, can do a small make over and make a lasting difference.

  • Karen Lyons August 10, 2014 (5:53 pm)

    JUNO’s hanging baskets are the best I have ever seen! I am a botanist and have worked at several Botanical Gardens and for large nurseries and it is incredible how these baskets stay so beautiful for such an extended length of time! JUNO should let Junction visitors know who created, and who maintains these?

  • WSB August 10, 2014 (6:17 pm)

    I think by Juno, the West Seattle Junction Association is what was meant – the baskets hanging along California SW in the heart of The Junction. JuNO is the recently revived community council and while they’ve done some cool stuff – most recently, a Night Out party in Junction Plaza Park – I don’t *think* they have baskets. Just a datapoint – TR

  • Fiz August 10, 2014 (8:49 pm)

    The Junction Merchants Association, not JUNO, pays for those baskets. Please let our local businesses know that you enjoy them.

  • JayDee August 10, 2014 (9:31 pm)

    My Bad re Juno. Praise be to the West Seattle Junction Association for the wonderful flower baskets. They brighten up the street and make me jealous at the same time…

  • Kate K August 10, 2014 (10:00 pm)

    Every visitor I have remarks on the beautiful flower baskets in the Junction :)

  • Elois Gruenhagen August 11, 2014 (8:58 am)

    I am Elois Gruenhagen who is the gray haired plant lady. I did not have complete information about the hanging baskets. I too think they are beautiful. My purpose of writing what I did was to point out all the new planters in front of the stores to add beauty to West Seattle. I also wanted to make it clear that the beautiful gardens at Hope Luthern Church are due to the hard work of the Sommer family. I have done some planters in the Junction, but I did not want to have anyone think think I did those beautiful gardens. The gray haired plant lady name came from the day I had a concussion and people were calling to see who it was. The name some of them were given was “the gray haired plant lady” and it stuck. I am so happy with our community to care enough to add such beauty. ghpl

    • WSB August 11, 2014 (9:00 am)

      Thank you, “GHPL”!

  • Mary S. August 11, 2014 (10:16 am)

    Aw, this is the nicest. And I agree.

  • NW August 11, 2014 (6:13 pm)

    I nominate you GHPL the leader of Junos Junction Beautification Volunteers seems you would be a great example for others to follow in the area and could drum up support.

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