Friday, March 5, 2010

In the Cascadia Garden

 The beds are densely planted with perennials.  May 2009

 There is shrubbery. May 2009

There is a lot of color. June 2009

There is a xeric garden. August 2008

There are often clouds. October 2008

You can see the houses across the street, for now. December 2008

You can see Lake Washington, Mercer Island & the Cascade Mountains. March 2009

My garden, the Cascadia Garden, sits on top of Cascadia Ridge in the Mt Baker neighborhood of the city of Seattle.  The city of Seattle rests between 2 bodies of water: Puget Sound & Lake Washington.  Cascadia Ridge is much closer to Lake Washington than to Puget Sound: a substantial part of the Salish Sea & a very small part of the Pacific Ocean.  The Salish Sea is set apart from the Pacific by the Olympic Peninsula in the state of Washington & Vancouver Island in the province of British Columbia. The dense, wet clouds of the Pacific Ocean travel as far as the Cascade Mountains, near the Salish Sea & not very far from the ocean.  East of the Cascades lies the desert of the Columbia Basin.  The moist, temperate climate of Seattle extends south to northern California, north to southwestern Alaska.  The Pacific Northwest Coast from San Francisco Bay to Cook Inlet shares a flora dominated by coniferous forest

The central portion, west of the Cascade Mountains, is called Cascadia.  The climate is cool & wet from fall to spring, warm & dry in summer.  The Olympic Mountains block Seattle from much of the Pacific rainfall.  Seattle is drier than the Atlantic coast of North America & northern Europe.  It lies near the latitude of Paris & Munich, but is cooler in summer, warmer in winter. In this tiny piece of the vast world, I grow plants from the Pacific Northwest, eastern North America, Europe, Asia, few from Chile, from New Zealand mostly Hebe, a few Callistemon from Australia & not very many perennials from South Africa: Agapanthus, Crocosmia, Eucomis & Kniphofia. The first exotic plants came to Cascadia from Europe with the American settlers.  Ilex aquifolium & Hedera helix remain a problem.  Japanese plants & garden design became popular in the 20th century, after Japanese immigration.  Native plants are seldom seen except in natural areas.  Many of the native plants in the Cascadia Garden came from the logged forest land of my grandparents on Phantom Lake near Lake Sammamish.  From the original homesteader, they bought 60 acres of stumps with a bog & a bit of shore on a tiny lake. 

The original people of Cascadia were the Coast Salish, in Seattle the Duwamish.  The Duwamish River flows through Seattle to Puget Sound.  The Coast Salish people of Puget Sound lived in long wooden houses shared by many.  It is said that all the Suquamish lived in Old Man House, more than 600 feet long.  They collected plant foods from the forest, salmon from the rivers & shell fish from the margins of Salish Sea. Seattle was chief of the Duwamish & Suquamish peoples.  There was a small Duwamish village on Lake Washington near Seward Park.  An amazing forest grows there.  It has survived almost untouched.  Near towering Pseudotsuga menziesii & Thuja plicata, grow Quercus garryana, likely planted by the Duwamish as a source of acorns.  When I walk through that forest, I know the ground where I garden was once just the same.


louli said...

The copse, the mixture Heuchère-fougères and the xéric garden are magnificent!!! Thank you for this walk

Karen said...

Hi Jordan, thank you so much for your comment on my blog! How did I not know about you before? My loss! Your photos are gorgeous, as is your garden. I would LOVE to come see your sidewalk garden, I will email you about that for sure! We are also having a little bloggers' get-together on Sunday at the Bellevue Botanical Gardens, I can send you info on that if you're interested. We meet semi-monthly and it's a great group of folks. Cheers! - Karen (Greenwalks)