The East Ballard Community Association has created a "beautification branding plan" that aims to create more character in the neighborhood, building on successes last year to improve the safety of 14th Avenue Northwest with a new curb bulb and planted median.

In December, at 58th and 14th Avenue Northwest, the curb bulb was installed, a raised crosswalk that provides better visibility to pedestrians and bicyclists crossing the intersection. Also a curb extension, bioswale and planted median were installed to calm traffic as well as filter rainwater before it reaches Salmon Bay.

It's part of the neighbor's long-term project to beautify and improve safety on 14th Avenue Northwest, which started in 2005.

“Realizing that project will take a lot of money and years, I sat down and kind of drew up a plan that I think we can implement in the meantime to still get the affects of beautifying Ballard with sort of working with what we have,” said Shannon Dunn, member of East Ballard Community Association and the 14th Avenue Steering Committee.

Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

April 18, the East Ballard Community Association kicked-off its "beautification and branding project" during their Adopt-A-Street and Planting Party event. They hope to spread the plantings in front of businesses and residences to distinguish East Ballard as a unified neighborhood. Click photo for more images.

If you are into art glass you probably know her. If you go to the local garden shows around the town, you’ve probably seen her work, or maybe spoken to her. Barbara Sanderson of Glass Gardens NW is working away to “the next best thing” in the world of glass. Yes, Chihuly, step aside.

Barbara has the honor of gracing the front cover of a national magazine, "Better Homes and Gardens," next month - the June issue that will hit the newsstands in mid-May. I have written about her before in regards to her wonderful glass bubble terrariums, which are perfectly darling. "Better Homes and Gardens" chose to highlight her floats.

But, neither of these two products even scratches the surface of what Barbara really creates.

After all, she makes carrots, too.

Barbara has done a public installation here in Seattle where you can go to see her work. In August of 2007, she was commissioned to create glass sculptures for the US Bank Center at 1420 5th Ave. between Pike and Union.

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Glass garden work by Barbara Sanderson of Glass Gardens NW.

I think I’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of the number of Web sites that cater to apartment or condominium owners and I’m not sure I like what I see. Pages after pages of wonderfully decorated rooms, highlighting all the many possibilities that one can achieve in a small space. But where are the plants?

Can I see just one plant? On a windowsill? As a centerpiece? The kitchen counter?

I guess it’s just my plant-aholic nature to surround myself with living green things, but I keep scrolling through these Web sites, in the hopes that I see what solutions people in small spaces have come up with.

There are many different types of plants out there, and they don’t have to be high maintenance, make a big mess, or tie you down in any way. Here’s a quick trip through a couple of different ideas to get you started.

Photo credit: 
Janit Calvo

Magical moments to celebrate Earth Day. The photos in the slideshow are from the famous Indoor Sun Shoppe in Fremont. Click the image to view more photos.

This recent tax season spurred on yet another garden analogy from Yours Truly. I realized, as gardeners, that we already pay taxes in our own way. I wonder if this could fly with the IRS?

Here’s what I have so far:
Garden Tax Filing Status – Choose one only.

1. New

2. Not so new and should know better

3. Knows better

Sales Taxes – You know those plant sales where you overbuy, or buy on impulse? Ya, you know what I mean. There were some plants that were definitely on your list, and you bought them for a particular spot – those usually go into the ground first.

But then there are the plants that you fell in love with at first sight, bought on impulse, and will “find a spot for it later." It is some of this group that invariably perish and die, either through hesitation, or unintentional neglect. Hey, they were new, and slipped your mind – a perfectly plausible reason, eh? Those dead ones are the sales tax that we pay a couple/few times a year.

Photo credit: 
Janit Calvo

Gardeners pay their own taxes in their own way. Pictured above is one of our tax collectors. He is 1/2 inch tall.

The upcoming 15th Annual West Seattle Garden Tour that will take place on July 19 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with guest lecturer "master gardener" and TV and radio personality Ciscoe Morris. This will be Morris' second year attending.

This year's self-guided tour will feature an eclectic mix of eight residential gardens. Tickets for the tour are $15, which includes lecture admission. Children under 12 years old are free. Tickets will be available throughout the Seattle metro area as well as on-line beginning in early June.

The 2008 edition of the West Seattle Garden Tour attracted more than 650 attendees and raised $17,000 for ArtsWest and four specially selected beneficiaries. In addition, two of the featured gardens showcased in the 2008 tour won honorable mention in the 2008 Pacific Northwest Magazine garden competition.

Each year, the Garden Tour donates a portion of the day's proceeds to Seattle-based non-profit organizations that promote horticultural education or community gardens. The proceeds from the 2009 Garden Tour will once again benefit ArtsWest in addition to Seattle Youth Garden Works, Transitional Resources and Plant Amnesty.

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Photo credit: 
Image courtesy of West Seattle Garden Tour

A not-so-wise man once told me, “You can’t fly like an eagle if you walk with turkeys.” He was right about that one. And it’s a metaphor that we can apply to gardening in this current economic climate, too.

It was the eagle camera through the Hancock Wildlife Federation up in B.C. that prompted this metaphor. If you haven’t checked it out, it’s absolutely addicting. This group has set up eagle cameras in several nests, and lately the “Sidney Cam 2” has had some action in the last couple of days. (Sidney is north of Victoria on Vancouver Island.)

The babies just hatched yesterday, and now, as I type this, Mama Eagle just changed shifts with Papa Eagle, and is now feeding the two wee Baby Eagles.

What. A. Treat.

It’s amazing to see such a magnificent bird be so loving and gentle with her babies – they are about the size of her beak! Check it out, but first, on to my new metaphor.

Everyone is on a budget these days. It seems that if you don’t have to be on a budget, peer pressure is dictating that you at least feign to be on one, lest you insult someone. Less is more, extravagance is out… is it the 1990's again?

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Photo credit: 
Janit Calvo

Choosing eagles instead of turkeys: the Jean Iseli Hinoki Cypress in this miniature garden is approximately 8 years old - and a champion in this climate.

The White Center Food Bank has announced that the raised beds in the community garden at White Center Heights Park are available by application to community members.

The community garden was part of the Starbucks Ultimate Park Makeover in 2007. The Garden is located at Southwest 102nd and 7th Avenue Southwest. The raised beds measuring seven feet by three feet are available to do organic gardening. The garden features compost bins. There is no cost to use a raised bed for the 2009 gardening season and tools will be available to borrow.

The raised beds will be given to households and community groups based on a lottery to be drawn April 21. Interested people or community groups must apply. Applications are available by contacting Audrey Zemke at the White Center Food Bank at (206) 762-2848 or .

Only one raised bed will be given to each household or community group.

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Photo credit: 
Photo courtesy the White Center Food Bank

Here is the White Center Heights Community Garden last summer. Plots area available.

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