Friday, October 5, 2012

Pollinator Pathway

The lavishly landscaped Seattle University is at the west end of the Pollinator Pathway.  
This is the School of Law at 12th Avenue & E Columbia Street. September 2012  

The view west down the Pollinator Pathway (E Columbia Street) to Seattle University, 
with Swedish Medical Center on 1st Hill behind it. September 2012

Pollinator Pathway (E Columbia Street) with Helleborus x sternii 
& Oxalis oregana. September 2012

Pollinator Pathway (E Columbia Street) with Calluna vulgaris 'Wickwar Flame' 
& Hebe topiaria. September 2012

Pollinator Pathway (E Columbia Street) with Lavandula angustifolia
Armeria maritima. September 2012

Nora's Woods at the east end of the Pollinator Pathway (E Columbia Street)
with Mahonia nervosa. September 2012

The Pollinator Pathway runs along E Columbia Street in Seattle from Seattle University at 12th Avenue to Nora's Woods, a city park at 29th Avenue.  The idea here is to move pollinators between these 2 green spaces, which are about 1.5 miles (1.9 kilometers) apart.  Small gardens are planted in the space between the sidewalk & the street on land owned by the City of Seattle, but under the control of owners or residents of the adjacent properties.  This is a harsh environment for plants, which are subject to damage from pedestrians, dogs, bikes, baby strollers, cars & especially passengers getting in & out.  According to the website, 'The Pollinator Pathway is a plan being developed by artist and ecological designer Sarah Bergmann to provide a model of support to the foundation of the food web. The Pollinator Pathway balances an emphasis on native plants useful to pollinators with plants chosen for beauty and structure. The project uses between 70-90% native plants for each garden.'  

On a sunny Friday afternoon in late September 2012, John & I walked this route in both directions, starting from 12th Avenue, in about an hour.  There were not a huge number of pollinator gardens, but we found 1 or 2 in most blocks.  The most common plants we saw in these gardens, which could be in sun or shade, depending upon whether street trees were planted, were Armeria maritima (Thrift), Calluna vulgaris (Heather), Hebe topiaria, Helleborus x sternii, Lavandula angustifolia (English Lavender), Polystichum munitum (Western Sword Fern) & Sedum 'Autumn Joy'.  The route took us over Cherry Hill, through the Central Area & into Madrona.  I should mention that this route, although pleasant, includes areas with higher-than-average crime rates.  I didn't feel comfortable with the idea of walking it alone.  Nora's Woods is a thickly-wooded lot with an amazing number of native plants, an excellent destination in itself.

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