(2013 aerial of Dragonfly Garden/Pavilion, by Long Bach Nguyen)
As that aerial view shows, North Delridge’s Dragonfly Park doesn’t just get its name from the pavilion structure, but also from the garden beds.
The volunteers of Friends of Dragonfly Park were preparing for a new season of work when they got startling news from the Parks Department, as Laura Bruco explains it, “that Parks plans to turf the gardens over and put an outline of the wings in crocuses.” Those, as you probably know, are short-lived early-spring blooms, so most of the year, the garden’s distinctive shape would be lost.
“This park is just too unique and special to replace with an outline of crocus bulbs,” Bruco says. “Our group worked really hard to prepare those beds to take new plantings last year, but Parks kept delaying. They said back then that they were working on figuring out who needed to approve the plans for native plantings that are lower maintenance with the artist Lorna Jordan.”
And then suddenly came the news of the Parks plan to just put in grass.
Bruco asked Parks for a chance to discuss this before it’s done, and that meeting is set for next week, open to anyone who’s interested. We asked Parks why the change, and spokesperson Karen O’Connor replied:
We have been working with the community that has provided many hours of volunteer time to keep the garden maintained along with the support from our SPR landscaping crew. We have concluded the planting and gardening design is not sustainable with the current level of volunteer and staff support.
After much work and consulting with the Office of Arts and Culture, our Sr. Landscape Architect has put together a design that is respectful of the Dragonfly Pavilion original design intent. The plan calls for the large areas of bark mulch to be replaced with grass and consolidate the plants that are doing well into the garden beds along the wall. We plan on planting crocus bulbs throughout the lawn so that there would be a bloom time in the spring where different colors would pop under the dragonfly sculpture. Having grass within the butterfly wings will allow us to mow the returning horsetail along with the other invasive weeds.
The garden dates back to the early 2005, with Seattle Public Utilities originally involved. The garden sections now scheduled to be replaced with grass are an integral part of the original intent, as explained here:
… Dragonfly Pavilion is the entrance feature to SPU’s Longfellow Creek Drainage and Habitat Improvement Project and serves as a creek overlook and outdoor environmental education facility. The artist-designed Dragonfly Garden, which surrounds the pavilion, is a landscaped area demonstrating salmon friendly and water-wise gardening techniques and is crucial to SPU’s mission and educational message at the site. …
Bruco is taking the case to Parks higher-ups as well as Councilmember Lisa Herbold and the aforementioned city Office of Arts and Culture, “and whomever else I can find who may have the power and influence to do something.”
If you’re available at 12:30 pm next Thursday (August 22nd), that’s when Bruco and other Friends of Dragonfly Park volunteers will meet with Parks reps at the park to try to save the garden, and all are welcome to be there (28th SW & SW Dakota).