As with any year-end message, I had to go back and look at the previous year through posts and letters to remember where we’ve been. From hoop house construction to wildflowers in the Gorge, from after-school programs to summer camps, to epic plant sales in the spring, to summer concerts and a phenomenal fundraiser in the fall, our year has been filled with so much generosity and support.

This morning as I walked through the garden, I recalled images of people who have been in the garden this year working alongside us to maintain and improve. I was also mindful of those that have come before us. What started as one couple’s passion for plants and gardening has turned into a communal source of refuge, education, healing, and joy. While the origin story of this place still plays a vital role, I feel that the thread of lives since then that have labored to preserve and sustain this space is of equal or greater importance. The Kruckeberg Botanic Garden is a result of passion, vision, commitment, and love from people who believe in our mission and our place.

This year I was a direct recipient of those attributes as I took time away to be with my family. I owe a debt of gratitude to so many.

To our Board President, Katie Schielke, and fellow officers and board members, Rissa Sanchez, John Hushagen, Amanda Masters, Rejean Idzerda, Lisa Witzel, Terry Monett, Kate Schmiett, Bob Hauck, and Krista Tenney. To the staff, Emma McDonald, Heidi Koonz, Vicki Demetre, and Marj Gillespy, who saw to the day-to-day needs of the garden and took up the slack during my absences. Thank you for supporting me through this year, pulling me forward, and sustaining the foundation, indeed, making it flourish. We are so fortunate to have your leadership, support, expertise, and commitment. I would also like to thank some essential volunteers who have been here at the garden week after week to tend and maintain the garden and extend their friendship and support. Thank you, Dean Weller, Nathan Filosi, and Kate Lindsey, for your enthusiasm and hard work. I thank Sheri Berkman and Olga Hauptman, who works quietly in the background to support me each month.  To Bert and Laurie Ann Dudley for showing up when I least expected just to check-in.

The garden was blessed with efforts from students at Edmonds College through our internships. My thanks to Hillary Ethe, Angie Vinyard, and Ben Skoltheim, who all contributed to the garden’s beauty in lasting ways.

I offer thanks to our members, donors, community, and partners at The City of Shoreline. Thank you for sustaining the garden financially and believing in our mission. Your support makes all of this possible.

I’m so fortunate to be in this place at this time. Every day that I walk the garden, I’m so grateful for the peace and the healing it provides. Wherever I look, I see the results of people and their efforts. It is a constant reminder of the goodness in this world. I sincerely wish for all of you to have the joy of the season and the love of family and friends to sustain you and warm you in immeasurable ways. Always remember that the garden is here for you because of you.

From all of us, we wish you a Merry Christmas and cheers to a Happy New Year.