As I sit here typing at my kitchen island, a gentle rain has fallen and lifted my mood. Looking out my kitchen window, there’s a Tetrapanax papyifera ‘Steroidal Giant’, bejeweled with raindrops and dripping steadily from its giant palmate leaves. Oh, the days when we complained of too much rain. Even my sunbaked lawn looks somehow richer, softer, if dormant.
Unlike my own garden, the Kruckeberg Botanic Garden looks lush and green despite the heat bubble, drought conditions, and the drumming of children’s feet with summer camps. That last one may be a stretch, the garden lawn is trampled, but it will recover its mossy goodness soon. Thanks to the garden’s well, we can irrigate generously during these dry months. You’ll still see signs of summer crisping in fringe areas where sprinklers do not reach. There are numerous ‘canaries’ in the garden that tell me where to move sprinklers next. Our garden soil is porous and rocky, letting go of water freely.
When you visit, you’ll notice quite a few changes in the garden; some subtle, other’s not so much.
Summer internships have been a tremendous help in furthering work on garden refinements. Angie Vinyard is continuing our earlier efforts in the lower garden to reinvent the old nursery area at the bottom of the hill. This will tie together our earlier project with the Bug Motel gardens, bringing visual cohesiveness to the space and further softening and defining its usage. Ben Skoltheim is building stairs and renovating the adjoining slope and rockery as part of his internship. You’ll see these as you pass the Giant Sequoia. This will greatly enhance our access to the propagation area and minimize the wear and tear on the slope. A bonus, they’re beautiful and made from sustainably harvested juniper timbers.
When I started working at the garden, the city told me that the cottage was slated for removal. Each year it would get postponed as other items took priority. Earlier this year, the city undertook the task of dismantling the cottage. Originally a garage and chicken coop, they converted it into a living space for Mareen’s parents, the Schultz’s. Mareen used the cottage as well during her illness, and I remember a story of Enid recouping from a broken leg there at one time. More notably, the cottage was home to the garden’s longtime caretaker, Roland Adenyi. More than just a caretaker, Roland was a friend and family member to the Kruckeberg’s, dedicating much of his life to the garden and them. The removal of the cottage will go unnoticed by many, but it is a bittersweet moment for some. Just as the garden has an origin story, its collected memories, dwellings, and homes, have their own histories, their attachments to the collective memories of others. Its passing will leave a notch in the timeline. Work will wrap up this next week or so on its reinvention as an open space and future nursery retail area for the garden. We hope that the tables laden with plants will give new meaning to the space, soften the loss and fill a visual void with life and vitality.
We hosted the Shorelake Arts concert in the park last Wednesday evening, featuring Hyaline. Hyaline is a symphonic electronic collaboration between violinist Bill Panks, violist Aleida Gehrels, and percussionist Jake Ransom. An evening of perfect weather, setting, and music. Our thanks to ShoreLake Arts for their partnership and collaboration at the garden. I love this image of the band on the iconic Woodwave sculpture.
Thank you for your continued support of the garden through visitation, plant sales, and volunteering. There are still several weeks of summer left, and we look forward to seeing you in the garden.
Joseph Abken, Executive Director