Echo Lake School Native Plant Garden - tour on May 19

Friday, May 4, 2018

The beginning of the project
The courtyard in February 2009

By Donna Franklin and Cathy Floit
Photos by Donna Franklin

Several gardens featuring native plants exist in Shoreline, but did you know that Shoreline’s Echo Lake School has its own Native Plant Garden? The Garden replaced a courtyard full of ivy.

During the 2008-09 school year, a 4th grade teacher and a parent decided to create the Native Plant Garden. Donna Franklin, a plant steward with the Native Plant Society and known for her expertise with native plants, advised them in selecting and acquiring plants for the garden. This trio coordinated work parties and planting days during the next three years.

In 2010, the garden was divided into six habitats: Mountain Meadow, Coastal Bluff, Coniferous Forest, Deciduous Woodland, Prairie, and Wetland. Trails were created, plants were labeled.

The deciduous woodland after planting in 2010
The Garden provides interest every season. In spring, there are wildflowers. The Garden is at its best in June when shrubs are leafed out and most flowers are blooming. In late summer, seeds and seed pods begin to appear. In fall, deciduous trees and shrubs lose their leaves, plants die back, but late flowers still bloom. In winter, the Garden’s structure is visible, while evergreen trees and shrubs add color. The Garden begins to wake up in late winter.

Volunteers and donations were and remain instrumental in creating the garden and in keeping it flourishing. Tools, hoses, and some plants were purchased with a Shoreline Environmental mini-grant. After the ivy was cleared, Sky Nursery donated 5 yards of compost. Washington Native Plant Stewards donated other plants; more were salvaged. A Washington Native Plant Society grant allowed for the purchase of landscaping materials, plant tags, and some plants. 

The Woodland Path on May 8, 2013

Donna Franklin coordinates the Green Thumb Club, consisting of 4th, 5th and 6th graders who give up a recess a week to help maintain the Garden. Donna also enlists community volunteers to assist her.

The Mountain Meadow on June 16, 2014

Current plans/projects include updating the garden’s comprehensive plant list of approximately 120 species, and redoing the Prairie ecosystem.

The garden is located at 19345 Wallingford Ave N, Shoreline 98133, on the north side of Echo Lake School. If you are in the area, stop and peek through the fence!

For a closer look stop by the garden on Saturday, May 19th between 10:00am and 2:00pm for a tour.


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