Friday, June 28, 2013

Estelle Street P-Patch

Estelle Street P-Patch June 2012

Storm drain, Estelle Street P-Patch June 2012

Foxglove, Estelle Street P-Patch June 2012

Furniture, Estelle Street P-Patch June 2012

Treillage, Estelle Street P-Patch June 2012 

The Estelle Street P-Patch is located in the Mt Baker neighborhood in southeast Seattle.  It lies at the eastern end of S Estelle Street, which does little more than cross Rainier Avenue S, making it one of the shortest streets in Seattle.  The p-patch takes up the Seattle Department of Transportation right-of-way, a low slope that might have connected S Estelle Street to S Hinds Street, had it been paved for vehicular traffic.  An asphalt path lined with blackberry brambles existed here before the p-patch was created in 1990.  This garden is somewhat chaotic, with 23 plots of different sizes & shapes, most of them contained by charmingly ramshackle fences & furnished with recycled items, on 6,000 square feet.  This is in marked contrast to its orderly neighbor, the Courtland Place P-Patch, a short walk away.  S Estelle Street sits in a very low-lying area of the Rainier Valley.  The elevated storm drains are a reminder of the time when Wetmore Slough flowed through the lower part of this garden on its way from the vicinity of Rainier Avenue S & S Dearborn Street to S Genessee Street, where it emptied into Lake Washington through what is now Genessee Park.  The slough was mostly drained when Lake Washington was lowered by 20 feet, as part of the Lake Washington Ship Canal project, in 1917.  Click here to see more Seattle P-Patches.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Courtland Place P-Patch

Courtland Place P-Patch June 2012

Courtland Place P-Patch June 2012 

Broken concrete wall, Courtland Place P-Patch June 2012 

Cosmos, Courtland Place P-Patch June 2012

Artichoke, Courtland Place P-Patch June 2012

The Courtland Place P-Patch is located in the Mt Baker neighborhood of southeast Seattle, between 35th Avenue S & 36th Avenue S, near Courtland Place S.  It sits on land owned by the Seattle Department of Transportation as right-of-way for S Spokane Street.  Spokane Street is notoriously intermittent, starting & stopping more than a dozen times on its way from Lake Washington to Puget Sound.  Here is a 1-block stretch covering 2,500 square feet.  25 plots are filled with identical, rectangular beds, each neatly contained with 2 x 6 inch boards.  There are 2 picnic tables at the center of the garden, which is entirely enclosed by a sturdy fence & a wall of broken concrete.  There are gates at both ends on the 2 avenues.  This garden was established in 1999.  The Estelle Street P-Patch is within easy walking distance & offers an interesting contrast in p-patch styles.  Click here to see more Seattle P-Patches.

Friday, June 14, 2013

May in Seattle

Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum at an electrical substation built of concrete cement in the deco style in Columbia City. May 2013

This building is slated for demolition.  It will most likely be replaced with a much larger building of apartments or condominiums with ground floor retail space. Columbia City is rapidly developing into a densely populated urban village. May 2013

Brick Tudors are common early 20th century homes in Seattle.  The landscape is also no surprise.  The Bergenia may date back to the 1920s.  The Western Sword Fern (Polystichum munitum) is a remnant of the native forest.  Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) & Kurume azalea (Rhododendron obtusum) became (& remain) popular in the 1950s & 60s when Japanese style gardens were fashionable.  Euphorbia characias  & Euphorbia in general has come to be used commonly within the past few decades.  This house is on Mt Baker Ridge. May 2013

This is a very uncommon early 20th century home in Seattle.  The Spanish colonial style was never popular here.  Stucco is considered inappropriate for the rainy climate.  On Mt Baker Ridge in May 2013

A garden at New Holly in May 2013.  The lot across the street is undeveloped.  The business district in the Othello neighborhood has been redeveloping slowly since the 1980s, after decades of decline.

Click here for more pictures of May in Seattle.

May 2013 in Seattle was warmer & wetter than normal.  The mean temperature was 58.6F/14.8C.  The normal mean temperature is 56F/13.3C.  Total precipitation was 2.38 inches/60.45 mm.  Normal precipitation is 1.94 inches/49.27 mm.  The weather was unusually warm & sunny early in the month.  The temperature rose from 65F/18.3C on May 1 to 87F/30.6C on May 6, which set a record for that day at 17 degrees above normal.  The temperature dropped to 67F/19.4C on May 8, then rose to 81F/27.2C on May 11 at 13 degrees above normal.  Cooler weather prevailed for the rest of the month, included a high of 52F/11.1C on May 22 at 8 degrees below normal.  There were 6 days with rain, 17 days with light rain, 14 days with fog, 3 days with haze, 14 cloudy days, 11 partly cloudy days & 6 fair days.

May is the most flowerful month in Seattle.  The leaves on the trees are still a bright green as the rainy season comes to an end.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Madrona Park

Picnic shelter, Lake Washington, Madrona Park, May 2012

 Lake shore natural area, Madrona Park, May 2012

Madrona Woods, Madrona Park, May 2012

Madrona Woods, Madrona Park, May 2012 

Stream with Lysichiton americanum, Madrona Park, May 2012

Madrona Park is one of a series of parks along Lake Washington Boulevard in Seattle.  It contains lake shore including a swimming beach, a wooded hillside of native plants, several streams, lawn, a picnic shelter, a barbecue concession open in summer & a dance studio, on its total of 31 acres.  Madrona Park is located in the Madrona neighborhood in east central Seattle.  Madrona was was named by John Ayer, who contributed the land for Madrona Park, after the tree Arbutus menziesii (known in Seattle as Madrona) which was common to the area.  This species is known as Madrone in California.  A number of Madrona still exist here.  The Friends of Madrona Woods teamed up with the Seattle Department of Parks & Recreation to turn the 9-acre urban forest within the park into a welcoming place for people and wildlife & encourage its return to a more natural & sustainable state.  Work was also done to recreate a natural area along a section of lake shore, which included the re-emergence of a stream flowing into Lake Washington.  The result of all this work is quite impressive.  Click here to read about more parks along Lake Washington Boulevard.