Tag Archives: gardening

A robot, some chickens and Dino Rossi

Here’s a rundown of the last week’s news:

Gardening greats: The Bainbridge Public Library’s unsung heroes, the Friday Tidys, have been hard at work for over a decade. With their members aging, the Tidys are now seeking some young (or not-so-young) blood to keep the garden-grooming project going. Read more HERE.

Public pod: Winslow’s newest piece of city-funded public art was unveiled on Saturday. Dozens of attendees at the unveiling praised it. Online commentators have (so far) panned it. Head over HERE and share your thoughts about “Pod.”

Hen homes: The island’s finest chicken coops were on display Saturday for the second-annual Tour de Coop. Read about it HERE and take my virtual tour HERE.

Robot randonneur: A retired engineer wanted the ideal tandem bicycle riding partner. So he built one. “Joules” the robot bike-rider never complains and never slacks off, but he can easily get carried away (and potentially brake the speed limit on most island roads). Read the story, see the photo gallery and watch the video HERE.

Dino drop-in: Two-time Republican gubernatorial candidate and current U.S. Senate candidate Dino Rossi stopped by Bainbridge to say, among other things, that the next ballot he’ll appear on will not carry the ‘baggage’ of more divisive, higher-profile Republican candidates. And that, he said, could give him the edge over incumbent Democrat Patty Murray. Read more HERE.

VIDEO: Planting City Hall’s garden

Councilwoman Debbi Lester shot a short video introducing City Hall’s newly-planted edible garden. That’s Councilman Barry Peters doing the talking and Sound Food member Sallie Maron doing the planting.

A few days later, the planting began in earnest, with about a dozen volunteers planting corn, squash, tomatoes, chard and other crops that will be free for the taking. Read my story about it HERE.

And for more information on the guy who inspired all this, head over HERE and read one of his essays HERE.

Community gardens bloom on Bainbridge

Dawn Snider digs in at the Johnson Farm community garden
Dawn Snider digs in at the Johnson Farm community garden

Below is a sneak peak of my story about Bainbridge Island’s community garden boom. Check the Sun on Monday for some additional photos and information….

Dawn Snider is hoping to deepen the shade of her faded green thumb.

It’s been almost three decades since she’s had a garden, but she can still remember the taste of backyard tomatoes, squash and herbs.

“It’s been a while, but I’m a gardener at heart,” the Minnesota native said as she and her partner Bruce White spread a load of rich, black soil into a small plot at the Johnson Farm community garden.

After a long stint living in the high desert of New Mexico, Snider and White recently moved to Bainbridge looking for an oasis of green.

The only problem was that their small patch of Bainbridge was crowded by concrete.

“We’re living in a townhouse in Winslow, with no yard and no room to garden,” she said.

Snider and White were ready to be caught up in a sudden burst of grassroots organizing to create community gardens on Bainbridge. Over the last few months, neighborhood and small-group gardens have taken shape on city-owned farmland, a low-income apartment complex and a half dozen private properties.

A gathering on March 2 provided the spark. Organized by a loose coalition of gardening groups and local food enthusiasts, the meeting didn’t have a specific aim, but it packed Bainbridge Commons with over 110 people.

“I was totally blown away by the response,” said Debbi Lester, one of the meeting’s organizers. Before meeting ended, attendees had already begun networking, assigning tasks and setting work dates for several of the gardens now underway.

The meeting, Lester said, tapped into a zeitgeist born out of souring economy, an increasingly urbanized downtown and a growing desire to eat healthy, locally-grown food.

Nationwide, more people are planting seeds for better food and bigger savings. The National Gardening Association reports that over 40 million American households will grow their own food this year. That’s a nearly 20 percent increase over last year.

Straddling the fence between suburban and rural, the island has plenty of spacious properties boasting sizable gardens. But many of the island’s most recent residents came to Bainbridge amid the condo boom of 2005 and 2006, when 330 units were built in Winslow.

With no space to enjoy one of the island’s most popular pastimes, condo dwellers were disappointed to find that the only two community gardens were either hard to get to or hard to get into; the garden at Battle Point Park is five miles from Winlsow and the downtown garden at Eagle Harbor Congregational Church often has a three-year wait list.

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History and horticulture meet at Bainbridge Gardens

I’ve been to Bainbridge Gardens a dozen or so times. I knew it had history, but I didn’t know so much of it was still alive, growing in quiet spots throughout the nursery.

For 50 Years, Bainbridge Gardens Has Been a Labor of One Man’s Love
By Tristan Baurick

They’re slower and a little stiffer than they used to be, but Junkoh Harui’s hands are his most prized heirlooms.

They’ve threaded miles of irrigation pipe, shaped hundreds of bonsais and rebuilt Bainbridge Gardens, a nursery that has become one of the island’s most storied landmarks.

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Garden tour celebrates 20th bloom


After two decades, Bainbridge in Bloom reigns as one of the Northwest’s premier garden tours, boasting high-profile speakers, internationally celebrated landscapes and bus loads of green-thumbed gawkers.

“It’s the grand lady of garden tours,” said gardening guru Ciscoe Morris, who will lead one of the tour’s workshops this weekend.

But the two-day event’s origins came out of the not-so-grand financial troubles of an island nonprofit group.

“We were just sitting around a living room trying to come up with ideas for a source of income to keep our organization going,” said Janice Shaw, one of the early board members of the Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Council.

Several ideas were bandied about, but board member Joanna Newnham’s spur-of-the-moment notion for a garden tour stilled the brainstorming session.

“It was an ‘a-ha’ moment,” Shaw said. “We said ‘that’s it’ and everything just started clicking. We cranked the tour out in a short amount of time.”

Hoping for at least $5,000, members were stunned when the 1988 tour of six island gardens generated $11,000.

“It was extremely successful and exceeded expectations,” Shaw said. “We knew we had a winner.”

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Bloedel honored for ‘garden excellence’


The Bloedel Reserve has been named the 2008 recipient of the Award for Garden Excellence from the American Public Garden Association.

The north island reserve — which consists of 150 acres of gardens, woods and ponds — was honored for its design, displays and environmentally friendly practices, according to a statement. It was also chosen for its commitment to plant collections.

“It is a place, unlike most public gardens, that minimizes its messages to its visitors,” said Richard A. Brown, the reserve’s director. “Rather, it provides a high-quality environment within which visitors are given ample opportunity to receive messages from nature.”

The former estate of a Northwest timber baron has been open to the public for 20 years.

Other gardens honored by the APGA include the Chicago Botanic Garden, the Missouri Botanical Garden and the North Carolina Botanical Garden.

The reserve is open for public tours by reservation. Visit www.bloedelreserve.org for more information.