Apr 272013
Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens Post:: 5 Great Parks - Seattle Edition

This is an excerpt from my latest post at the Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens blog. Click the link below to visit the full post. Every city has parks, however not all parks are created equal. Many are used primarily for recreation, others for dogs, but some are devoted to nature. Seattle is lucky to have a lot of parks, over 400 of them (counting open spaces) and the largest is over 500 acres. Following are five of my favorites to visit for nature. Many Seattlites will very strongly disagree with my list because I’ve left off  the most obvious …continue reading

Oct 032011
Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens Post:: A Visit to Kew Gardens

This is an excerpt from my latest post at the Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens blog. Click the link below to visit the full post. For anyone with an interest in botany and horticulture, Kew Royal Botanical Gardens in London is like the holy grail. Started in 1759, this garden is now over 250 years old and is full of history, research, conservation, wildlife and a massive collection of plants. The entire garden is now 132 hectares (300 acres) in size, a rather dramatic change from the original 9 acres. It has World Heritage status and contains the worlds most diverse botanical collections. This …continue reading

Aug 272011
Magnuson Park:: Reconstructed Wetlands

Magnuson Park is located in Seattle along Lake Washington, north of the University of Washington. The park has a long history of dramatic land use change and part of it has now come back full circle. In the days of early settlers the area was a wetlands, alder grove, and Douglas fir forest with trees up to six feet in diameter. In the following years the site saw a homestead, brickyard, shipyard and post office.  This landscape was altered in 1917 with the building of the canals and Ballard Locks when the level of Lake Washington was lowered by nine feet …continue reading

Jun 012011
Ballard Locks and Botanical Garden

The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Seattle, have been moving boats and other vessels from the Puget Sound to Lake Washington and beyond since 1917.  The Army Corps of Engineers built and maintains the locks, garden, grounds and buildings. To the east of the locks is Salmon Bay, a freshwater bay connecting to the rest of the freshwater bodies including Lake Union and Lake Washington. To the west is Shilshole Bay, a saltwater bay which connects to the Puget Sound. Before the construction of the locks however, the waterway from Lake Union was only a small creek and Lake Union …continue reading

May 042011
Art Meets Habitat:: The Olympic Sculpture Park

The Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle is a beautiful place. The 8.5 acre park sits alongside Elliott Bay, overlooking the Puget Sound, islands and the Olympic Mountains to the west, downtown Seattle to the south and the Space Needle to the east. The site is divided by a major street, railroad tracks and a bike path and yet appears seamlessly connected. The nearly nine acres brilliantly blend art, landscaping, views and native plant gardens by connecting a variety of landscapes. It’s a unique park, free and open to the public, but it’s owned and managed by the Seattle Art Museum (SAM). …continue reading

Mar 232011
Marsh Madness (Brackishology):: Marsh & Foster Islands and 'the Fill'

This post is for Marsh Madness, an idea from Ken Lo at the Connected by Nature Blog. “Brackishology n., (brackish, slightly salty, as in the combination of seawater & fresh water, + ology, the study of) the study of wetlands during the NCAA basketball tournament. See also #MarshMadness.” Read more about Marsh Madness and Brackishology here. Seattle is fortunate to have wetlands in the city although they are a relatively new feature. In 1916, when the Chittenden Locks were finished they lowered the level of Lake Washington and Union Bay between nine and eleven feet. This exposed two islands on …continue reading