West Seattle, Washington
Just in from West Seattle Garden Tour organizers:
It is with great sadness, disappointment and an abundance of caution, we announce the cancellation of our June 28, 2020 West Seattle Garden Tour due to the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our wish to protect our gardeners, volunteers and ticket holders is of paramount importance.
Anyone who has purchased tickets for this year’s event will be issued a refund.
Since 1995, the West Seattle Garden Tour has been inviting you to visit some of the most beautiful and unique gardens right in our own backyard. We do it for the love of lush, inviting spaces, but that’s not the only reason. We celebrate our neighborhood. We make connections and foster relationships.
Besides showcasing beautiful and creative gardens, we shine a light on local non-profits working hard to make our community a better place, and donate the net proceeds from the tour, about $25,000 each year, to those non-profits whose goals fit our mission—to promote horticultural-based interests, education, and artistic endeavors. Our all-volunteer organization is driven to provide them the funds they need to continue their important missions and create an exciting and enriching garden tour experience to our supporters.
For 25 years, we have found joy in growing community and all of this is made possible by you—our ticket buyers, and the generosity of many sponsors and donors. From the bottom of our heart, we thank you for supporting the West Seattle Garden Tour and hope to see you next year during our 2021 West Seattle Garden Tour.
West Seattle Nursery – the only business of its kind on the peninsula – has decided to close, though it wasn’t required to. Thanks to Marie and Nicole from WSN for sharing their message to customers:
We have made the difficult decision to close West Seattle Nursery until Thursday, April 9th. However, any curbside pick-up or delivery orders (that were) received by 5 pm today (Sunday, March 29th) will be fulfilled over the next few days.
We need to do our part to fight this thing and to not invite our customers to take unnecessary chances during this critical period.
The nursery may be closed, but we can’t wait to see you again and get back to gardening together.
Thank you so much for your patience, loyalty, and love!
Take care and stay safe.
The West Seattle Nursery Team
As spring approaches, it’s a great time to plant, and that’s why fifth-graders from Taproot School were out helping this morning with a new pocket garden at Kilbourne Ravine, by the historic Fauntleroy Schoolhouse. Above, Fauntleroy Watershed Council volunteer Mike Arizona was helping guide them. They had nine species of native shrubs and ground-cover plants to work with:
The pocket garden is meant “to demonstrate the use of beneficial native plants in any landscape,” Judy Pickens, also from the watershed councll, tells WSB. It’ll hold an interpretive sign too.
Volunteers have worked for six years to restore the ravine, with the help of a $70,000 grant from the King Conservation District. The pocket garden’s funding comes from a $4,000 grant from the 2019 West Seattle Garden Tour; maintenance will be funded by donations to the Fauntleroy Watershed Stewardship Fund.
Set your calendar for 2-6 pm Sunday, March 1st, when you’re invited to join in the fun at Puget Ridge Edible Park (5265 18th SW). From Stu Hennessey:
Hello friends and neighbors.
The dark and short days are behind us and spring will be here soon. Even though, if you have not been to PREP lately, you may be surprised at the progress made over the winter months. As usual the first Sundays of the month, March-October, we invite the greater community and PREP family to join us in a celebration of nature and our methods of permaculture techniques and learning opportunities. March is the time to really get going on the cold-loving plants before it is too warm to enjoy them. Planting beds are being prepared for direct sowing and seedling plantings. Come see how to turn “overwhelming” invasive growth into a fertile and abundant food oasis.
From the West Seattle Garden Tour:
Only 3 weeks left in our annual West Seattle Garden Tour Art Competition!
We’re still accepting submissions through November 22nd and the winning artist will have their artwork featured on the 26th annual West Seattle Garden Tour through promotional materials like bookmarks and posters, our website, and the admission ticket book cover to this year’s event. $500 cash will be awarded to the artist for the winning submission. Winning and honorable mention artworks will be featured in West Seattle at Capers Home during West Seattle Art Walk on May 14 and HomeStreet Bank June 11, 2020.
Additional information including the competition rules and our entry form can be found on our website at www.westseattlegardentour.org/call-for-artists. Artwork submissions are accepted online and any questions on the competition can be sent to email@example.com
Next year’s tour is on June 28th.
Two garden parties that might interest you this weekend in West Seattle:
SATURDAY AT BARTON STREET P-PATCH: 4-7 pm in the community garden at 34th/Barton:
Need last-minute plans for dinner? Want to get outside and enjoy the last sunny evening of the summer? Then please come and join us for an early evening of handcrafted and wood-fired pizza at the esteemed Barton Street P-Patch in West Seattle. This fundraiser benefiting GROW is organized as an inclusive, family-oriented social gathering to bring gardeners, their families, and the community together while also supporting a nonprofit organization that advocates to keep green spaces and p-patches in our neighborhoods. Check out the creative art and garden beds hand-crafted by the dedicated Barton Street gardeners while feasting on wood-fired pizza and music by Citizens of the Earth.
Tickets are available online or at the garden when you arrive.
SUNDAY AT PUGET RIDGE EDIBLE PARK: Sunday, you’re invited to tour the park at 18th/Brandon for this free event, 2-5 pm:
We would like to share with you the work being done for the 3rd season at PREP (Puget Ridge Edible Park). .. Growing local and eating seasonal is one of many things we can do to combat the threat of the climate crisis. This is not a work party but if you pull a weed or two, we won”t mind.
Thanks to Jessica for the photo and word of local kids at 34th/Elmgrove, celebrating Labor Day by selling the fruit of their labors – literally! “They are selling lots of produce out of their home gardens which include beans, apples, tomatoes, cucumbers, flowers and lemonade,” for at least another hour or two.
After 35 years, Mark Smith, owner and founder of West Seattle Nursery, is retiring.
His last day on the job will be September 30th.
This business has come a long way from the Christmas tree lot where it began, back in 1984.
Mark has been a great boss and we will miss him. We hope you will stop by this month and wish him well.
We caught up with Mark Smith at the nursery this morning.
He confirmed the announcement and stressed that WSN customers will NOT see a change in operations – he’s working with staffers on a plan for them to take over the nursery. Meantime, he’ll be on the job for another month. Watch for word of a retirement celebration.
(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).
By the last hour of today’s 25th annual West Seattle Garden Tour, the most historic stop on the map had logged more than 1,000 visitors, we learned. That was the historic Colman family estate in Fauntleroy.
The century-old estate has had “new” owners for a decade now, and they have enhanced the original landscaping. It has breathtaking sight like this – just off the street entrance, an amazing tree looked snow-dusted:
At every stop, tour-takers had the opportunity to learn about one of the Garden Tour’s nonprofit beneficiaries. At this one, fittingly enough, the Fauntleroy Watershed Council was spotlighted. Judy Pickens said she had talked with more than 100 people by the time we stopped by:
The tour offered the chance to visit nine gardens, from The Arroyos to North Admiral – we made it to two, including this Gatewood retreat (that has history too), where the lush gardens screen away a busy street that otherwise might be in view.
A special feature here – interpretive before/after displays like this one:
Extra touches were tucked between the plants in many places:
This year’s tour – the third one since it moved to June – sold out in advance. Watch early in the year for next year’s availability announcement!
Continuing our countdowns to big summer events – we are now just one week away from this year’s West Seattle Garden Tour. It’s a self-guided tour and you have all day next Sunday (June 23rd), 9 am-5 pm, to visit any/all of the nine gardens at your own pace. They’re all previewed on the WSGT website – but to enjoy them in person, you’ll need to buy a ticket book. You can get your ticket book at HomeStreet Bank (4022 SW Alaska; WSB sponsor), West Seattle Nursery (California/Brandon), or Junction True Value (44th/Edmunds), or order online and pick it up on tour day at Metropolitan Market (41st/Admiral; WSB sponsor). Proceeds benefit other local nonprofits; see the list of this year’s beneficiaries here.
The namesake blossoms were on full display for day 1 of the Peony and Bamboo Festival at the Seattle Chinese Garden on Puget Ridge. Thanks to David Hutchinson for sharing photos, including the lion dance:
And the Tai Chi demonstration:
The festival continues on Sunday, 10 am-4 pm; the garden entrance is on the north end of the South Seattle College (6000 16th SW; WSB sponsor) campus.
Didn’t hear about this one until it turned up this afternoon on SPD Blotter:
Police were called to a dispute at a West Seattle P-Patch on Wednesday after a gardener hosed down a man who tried to treat the patch as his personal compost bin.
Just before 4:30 PM, officers responded to the 5000 block of 25th Avenue SW and met with the gardener. The woman told police she was working in the P-Patch when she saw a man dumping a tarp full of leaves, collected from his yard two houses away, onto P-Patch property.
She confronted the man and accused the man of illegally dumping the leaves. The man shrugged, walked off, and returned a short time later with another pile of leaves.
The woman told police she squirted the man with a garden hose as he was dumping the leaves, and that the man then started coming toward her. She alleged the man tripped her, knocking her to the ground.
Police contacted the man, who was sitting on a bench in the P-Patch, and he disputed the woman’s account, saying he had pursued her because he was trying to get the hose away from her. Officers noted the man’s shorts appeared wet.
The man said there was no sign regarding dumping, and agreed not to enter the P-patch again.
And now a PSA regarding dumping compostable items at P-Patches: “I would say it’s frowned upon,” says Department of Neighborhoods spokeswoman Lois Maag. “While we can’t condone spraying your neighbor, you should just use your own compost bin.”
The West Seattle Bee Garden – where you’re invited to enjoy the annual Bee Festival on May 18th – has just been announced as one of this year’s West Seattle Garden Tour beneficiaries. Here’s the WSGT announcement:
The group of grant applicants this year was impressive and the deliberation was tough, but we are very pleased to announce proceeds from the 25th annual tour will support improvements to three public gardens, a playground renovation, habitat restoration and a live community theater program.
With the sale of garden tour tickets and sponsorship revenue, the committee intends to raise and distribute over $25,000 to these six amazing local non-profits: ArtsWest, City Fruit, Community Orchard of West Seattle, Gatewood Elementary School, The Fauntleroy Watershed Council, and West Seattle Bee Garden. Read more about their community-centric projects.
If you’d like to garden but don’t have the right spot to do it … good news! The city says spaces are available in multiple P-Patches, including two in West Seattle. Here’s the announcement:
Would you like to have a plot in one of Seattle’s fabulous P-Patch community gardens? Do you want to grow fresh organic produce for yourself and your family? Would you like to learn great gardening techniques from your gardening neighbors? If so, we have P-Patch plots available for a small fee in these select neighborhoods and gardens:
West and South Seattle
(West Seattle): Longfellow Creek P-Patch (25th Ave SW and SW Thistle)
NewHolly: NewHolly 29 P-Patch, 29th Ave S & S Brighton St
NewHolly: NewHolly Youth & Family P-Patch (32nd Ave S & S Brighton St)
High Point: MacArthur Park, 2726 MacArthur Lane
Jackson Park: Jackson Park P-Patch (13048 10th Ave NE)
Haller Lake: Haller Lake P-Patch, 13045 1st Ave NE
Pinehurst: Pinehurst P-Patch, 11525 12th Ave NE
Maple Leaf: Maple Leaf P-Patch, 5th Ave NE & NE 103rd
To get on the Interest List for one of these gardens (or any garden), sign up here or call 206.684.0264 and press 1.
(We’ve included the ones outside West Seattle just in case you work or otherwise spend a lot of time in any of those areas – or have a friend/relative/co-worker who might be interested.)
The sun’s out, clocks “spring forward” tonight, and it’s time to think about the warmer seasons. Above, you’ll find inspiration – this year’s winning West Seattle Garden Tour artwork, just announced:
West Seattle Garden Tour announced today the artwork titled Garden Girl in Red Shades by West Seattle artist Sheila Lengle has been selected as the winner of this year’s annual art competition.
Ms. Lengle is best known for her exuberant, color-infused paintings. Working primarily in acrylics, her creations are often whimsical, playful, and exhibit a vibrant joie-de-vivre. Not painting “by the rules,”, Ms. Lengle says. “I just absolutely love, love, love painting…creating shapes and using incongruous color combinations with the goal of making me and anyone who sees my work happy. I have unbridled freedom to paint whatever I want, however I want, with whatever I want. I am an UNRULY ARTIST.”
Ms. Lengle was also the winning artist in WSGT’s 2012 call for artists.
Garden Girl in Red Shades (30” wide x 20” high; acrylic) will be featured on the 2019 Garden Tour’s official poster and ticket book. Ms. Lengle will also receive a $500 cash prize. West Seattle Garden Tour will conduct a silent auction of the artwork during the May 2019 West Seattle Art Walk (at Capers Home store) and on the day of the tour, Sunday, June 23, 2019, where bids will be taken in one of the gardens from 9 am to 5 pm. Proceeds will benefit the year’s designated beneficiaries, which will be announced in early April.
Garden Girl in Red Shades will be on view along with works by six WSGT Art Competition finalists will be on view at Capers Home Store during the West Seattle Art Walk on May 9.
Tickets for the June 23rd WSGT itself are already on sale online.
Today we welcome Habitats LLC as a new WSB sponsor. Here’s what they would like you to know about what they do:
We are a small team of enthusiastic horticulturalists that offer solutions and personalized garden services ranging from fine garden maintenance to design and installation. Habitats is proud to be based out of West Seattle.
As your landscape undergoes seasonal changes, Habitats ensures that the aesthetic value, health, and functionality lasts through every month of the year.
We believe that skilled and attentive care is the key to bringing out the best in your ever-evolving residential garden. We specialize in meeting your garden’s changing design and maintenance needs, so the balance and beauty of your natural spaces remain consistent throughout the year. As we make these small renovations to the design and function of your garden, Habitats also provides all weeding, pruning, mulching, and other aspects of care needed through the changing seasons. We offer multiple programs to fit specifically with your garden’s needs.
Habitats’ design philosophy is centered on the creation of sustainable, low-maintenance landscapes that will captivate your interest all year long. We can meet with you on an hourly basis to discuss your garden and landscape needs. The focus of Habitats‘ Design/Build service is on residential landscape projects. We partner with reliable contractors for project installation when needed.
At Habitats LLC, we are dedicated to our clients and all of their landscape needs. Please visit our website to learn more and to schedule a consultation.
We thank Habitats LLC for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news via WSB; find our current sponsor team listed in directory format here, and find info on joining the team by going here.
The snow is mostly melted and even if a few more flakes fall, spring is just a month away and it’s time to think about gardening – from planters to P-Patch plots. One good way to get going with plans for your growing: The annual West Seattle Seed Swap is set for Sunday (February 24th), 2 pm-3:30 pm at West Seattle (Admiral) Library, 2306 42nd SW. This year, the free seed swap is hosted by Terraganics Living, which manages the King County Seed Library‘s location there. Terraganics says, “This is a FREE event. Everyone is welcome, including new gardeners looking for inspiration and some seed varieties to get started. … If you’re bringing seeds to share, please bring as much information as you have about your seeds, such as variety, growth habit, and days to maturity.” The event will include a table of gardening resources, gardening books available for checkout from the Seattle Public Library, and a coloring activity for kids. Any leftover seeds will go toward replenishing the Seed Library.
Miles has a master’s degree in plant physiology and a passion for ornamental plants, so he has just opened a business to put his interests to work: The Plant Store is at 9428 Delridge Way SW, a little shop with a big selection of indoor plants. Some are familiar – cacti, succulents – some are exotic:
Miles also plans to use the shop as a hub for classes and consultations, and might offer a few outdoor plants – herbs, for example – by the time the next warm season comes along. The Plant Store is planning a grand opening event on Saturday, October 20th, but it’s already fully open – you can stop by 10 am-6 pm Tuesdays-Saturdays, noon-4 pm Sundays. (The Plant Store is closed Mondays.)
King County Noxious Weed Control Program specialists were in West Seattle again today – for the second time this week, removing an infestation of a plant that’s one of the most noxious they tackle: Giant hogweed.
We contacted them after two WSB readers suggested we follow up on TV reports about a patch of this weed getting removed in West Seattle earlier this week. Sasha Shaw answered our inquiry and explained, it’s not that West Seattle is a particular hotbed of giant hogweed, but rather, the TV folks contacted her looking for a local angle on a story from the East Coast about someone getting badly burned by this weed, and it just so happened that West Seattle was where their most-recent report of a giant hogweed happened to be. Here’s a photo from that first stop, in the Genesee Hill area, on Tuesday:
Shaw is the communications specialist for the program, which is part of the county Natural Resources and Parks department. She explains, “Our program has the big job of stopping the spread of state-regulated noxious weeds such as giant hogweed throughout King County, including in the cities. For the Class A noxious weeds such as giant hogweed, which are limited in distribution in the state, we offer to help people with the control work because of the huge public benefit to stopping these highly invasive and damaging plants from becoming established. Giant hogweed also poses a serious health risk because of the potential of the sap to cause burns and blisters.”
(Here’s their info sheet about giant hogweed, so you can find out more about it.)
She also clarified that the removals in Genesee on Tuesday and Admiral today aren’t the first discoveries of this scary weed in our area: “We have responded to locations of this plant in West Seattle many times. It isn’t the neighborhood in Seattle with the most giant hogweed, but we have found several hundred sites there over the past 15 or so years that we have been working on this plant. We typically find some new sites every year, but more locations are closed than opened as the plants get controlled.”
She points out that you can use the county’s map to “zoom in and see the locations of all the giant hogweed sites we have found in West Seattle, as well as other regulated noxious weeds.” Go to https://gismaps.kingcounty.gov/iMap/ – and, she advises, “turn on the Noxious Weeds layer, select ‘Most Widespread Noxious Weeds,’ zoom in to West Seattle and look for the little green icons that look like pine trees.”
She continued: “At this point, most of the giant hogweed in West Seattle, and other parts of the city, is out of sight in ravines, alleys and backyards. Typically we find new sites when people contact us either about their own hogweed or their neighbor’s plants. Hogweed spends several years as small plants and can be inconspicuous especially in areas overgrown with other vegetation like blackberry. When they flower they are 10 to 15 feet tall so that is often when people discover them. Sometimes people get burned by the sap while working in the yard and then contact us to find out what they have. That’s what happened in the case of the West Seattle homeowner that was featured on KING5 News, although they actually got burned last year but didn’t know why until they found a flowering plant in their alley and identified it online. … People do get seriously burned by this plant so getting the word out as widely as possible is very important.” Also note, this is already toward the end of giant hogweed’s season, and most of the plants are dying back.
This isn’t the only “big problem” noxious weed/invasive plant out there – “but few that are regulated noxious weeds, highly dangerous to people and very invasive,” Shaw notes. We’re going to take her up on her offer to talk with us for a separate story about other weeds you should watch for. (You can start reading about them all here!)
We just took that photo of the mini-farm that’s known as the High Point Market Garden, after the city Department of Neighborhoods sent word of the opening date for its farm stand – Wednesday, July 11th, 4 pm-7 pm, and every Wednesday thereafter through September 28th. The stand sells fresh-picked organic produce from the garden, tended by nearby residents. As the DoN announcement adds, the stand “accepts EBT cards and participates in Fresh Bucks, which double consumers’ SNAP dollars when they choose to spend them on fresh fruits and vegetables. … The High Point Farm Stand will again host ROAR, the mobile farm stand that sells produce to neighborhoods with limited access to healthy food.” It’s at 32nd SW and SW Juneau (map).
Some stops along today’s West Seattle Garden Tour are more than just nice to look at … they are functional, too, for people and wildlife. Especially Suzanne Krom‘s garden southwest of The Junction, dubbed “An Oasis for Birds, Pollinators, and People.” This stop is educational, too:
Food is also part of the landscape at Nancy Ritzenthaler‘s “Sidewalk Orchard” in North Admiral – edible (including apple and pear trees) and decorative plants, mostly in the planting strip:
In Fauntleroy, one of the most eye-catching features of Alexis Zolner‘s “Collector’s Garden” is this sea of hydrangea blooms:
In a border, you’ll spot a sculpted peacock:
Twelve gardens are featured this year, listed in the ticket books that have been on sale since spring. Proceeds benefit seven nonprofits:
*West Seattle Junction Association, for mural restoration
*ArtsWest (for its Theater Education Program)
*The Arboretum at South Seattle College (for a new message hub and kiosk)
*Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden (for the design and construction of a Victory Garden)
*Little Red Hen Project (for an artistic and functional trellis in its “Winter Feast Garden”)
*PlantAmnesty (to help fund its 10th annual Urban Forest Symposium)
*Seattle Chinese Garden on Puget Ridge (to enhance it with three varieties of camellias)
Along with ticket proceeds, those nonprofits are supported by WSGT sponsorships – this year’s sponsors are listed here (including WSB sponsors WEdesign, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices NW Real Estate, West Seattle Thriftway, Budget Blinds, Dream Dinners, West Seattle Autoworks, Swedish Automotive, Ventana Construction, Stor-More, Menashe and Sons Jewelers, and Metropolitan Market).
P.S. Want to suggest a garden for a future WSGT? You can do that here.
Planning your Sunday? We’re reminding you about one big event – this year’s West Seattle Garden Tour. A dozen gardens – including “Pocket Paradise” (WSGT photo at right) – will be waiting for you, open 9 am-5 pm to ticketholders on Sunday so you can tour at your own pace. Preview them here!
You can buy ticket books (which include location info about where to find the tour gardens) at Junction True Value (4747 44th SW) until 7 tonight, West Seattle Nursery (California/Brandon) until 8 tonight, or order yours online before 6 pm tonight and pick it up Sunday morning 8-11 am at Metropolitan Market (42nd/Admiral; WSB sponsor).
Proceeds benefit local nonprofits – here’s our April story listing this year’s beneficiaries.