Today, the Demonstration Gardens consist of the following:
Backyard Wildlife Garden
The primary purpose of this bed is to provide food and water year-round for the resident and migratory birds that utilize the Park and Gardens. Shelter is provided, also, by leaving piles of plant litter throughout this bed. Bird habitat is created by the wide variety of plant material; deciduous and evergreen trees, and middle and under-story shrubs and trees.
Hazel Wolf Garden
Designed first and foremost as bird habitat. Sit quietly on the bench for a moment and you may hear our resident hummingbirds, robins, warblers, wrens, and woodpeckers. A visit from the Cooper’s hawk may occur in spring. This garden area, left untended, is an integral part of the Park.
Edibles can be beautiful and highly ornamental, as you can see in the blooms of Chive, the brilliant colors of Bright Lights Swiss Chard, and the small, intense flowers of purple Sage.
Adding edibles to your ornamental garden beds is an efficient way to increase your food production space and create interest in your garden beds. Pollinators love these plants, also!
Rain gardens play a crucial role in preventing urban flooding. In addition, many plants used in these gardens take up and store pollutants which prevents run-off into local streams and ponds. The deep roots of these plants are able to withstand periods of standing water or extended drought; and soil erosion is decreased or eliminated.
Use the ideas here to create your own rain garden at home.
This is a very busy garden from late spring, through summer, and into fall! It is filled with pollinators both large and small – birds, bees, butterflies, moths – and this bed is an important companion to the Prairie-style garden.
The plants used here represent those found in the Palouse region of Washington State, and of the tall-grass and short-grass prairies of the mid-west US. Grasses, Coneflowers, Yarrow, False Indigo, Camas, perennial Blue Flax, and Arkansas Blue-star are some of the species we grow here. All plants in this bed are crucial to wildlife by providing either food or nesting materials; these plants are so hardy they will need no supplemental water after their first year; and no plants need maintenance other than a once-a-year trim.
As a bonus, most plants in this bed provide beautiful fall color.
The majority of plants in this bed are native to the Pacific Northwest, and many were traditional sources of food and common-use materials for indigenous people. Of special note: Elderberry, Huckleberry, Sword Fern, and Kinnikinnick.
Shady Woodland Garden
Subtle colors, delicate foliage, ephemeral blooms – such is the nature of a shady, woodland garden. Shade gardening presents many challenges – including being too wet or too dry depending upon what causes the shade. But when the right plants are used, those challenges result in an area of unique and memorable beauty with little maintenance.
Oak Island Garden
This bed represents the greatest challenges and problems urban gardeners face. Areas of deep, dry shade (under the Oak tree); full sun and xeric conditions; to dappled shade are present here. To meet these challenges, we have “followed the sun” and planted Daisies, Sedum, Fremontodendron, and other sun-loving plants on the northwestern slope. At the top of the island, which receives dappled shade, we have planted Blue-leaf rose, Oak leaf Hydrangea, Oxalis, Mahonia, and Physocarpus. Under the Oak tree, where shade is deep, we have planted native ferns and shade-loving Carex species.
This beautiful garden demonstrates the wide variety of low-maintenance plants that bring spring/summer color and autumn interest to gardeners throughout our region.
The Demonstration Gardens’ most colorful bed – summer brings a blooming riot of Joe Pye Weed, Daisy, Coneflower, and Black-eyed Susan. This is a full sun garden, a regularly watered bed, and the plants respond with a dramatic show that lasts into early winter.
Restoration begun 2016; ongoing.
This area has been planted with native trees, shrubs, grasses, perennials, and spring ephemerals. Attention has been paid to enhancing areas of poor soil quality by using materials found on site – autumn leaf-fall, plant debris from prunings, our own compost – with the intent of returning these areas to a soil-type more conducive to growing PNW native plants.
Installed in late spring 2017. This area borders the Hazel Wolf garden and had been a troublesome area, infested with weeds and shade-tolerant grass, and difficult to control. In late spring I began the process of turning this area into a moss garden by harvesting and cleaning the existing moss, and adding moss found throughout the park. Large pieces of moss-covered wood debris have been added to enhance the garden and facilitate spreading of the moss. This area is scheduled to be completed by early spring 2018.
→ For more information or to volunteer, please contact:
Master Gardner: Drexie Malone | 206.550.5406 | Drexie.Malone@comcast.net
- Read about the Carkeek Park Demonstration Garden Volunteers.
- The Carkeek Demonstration Garden Blog about what the volunteers are doing.
- Saving Place: Restoring the Demonstration Gardens at Carkeek Park, an article by Deborah Phare
- Display Garden, Carkeek Park — a photographic slide show by Plumb Pixel Photography
- The Whispering Season, an essay contribution by Deborah Phare.
- Rhododendron Map
- Fern Glen Ferns Map