Saturday, July 24, 2010

Volunteers are the Greatest!!!

This past Wednesday, the Children's Garden was visited by an awesome group of volunteers from Seattle Works. They spent 2 hours working hard in the hot sun, to completely weed and mulch the Grey Whale Garden and surrounding areas, to make it all 'spiffed up' for the next day's filming of "Gardening with Ciscoe". And they did it all with smiles on their faces!

Today, another awesome group of Seattle Works volunteers came to do some major projects in the garden. How could we be so lucky! Over a dozen hearty soils spent 4 hours on another hot day, and the result was a transformation of the entire west side of the garden. They weeded and mulched the "Rose Tunnel", a huge bed of Fragrant Sumac, and the "Fort Zone". They also mulched all the main paths and gathering places, to make sure there is a soft landing for any little ones who take a tumble. On top of that, they completely renovated the giant kiosk so that children can paint a garden mural there.

Seattle Works <> is a non-profit organization that has been a vital ingredient in the success and sustainability of the Children's Garden for several years now, enabling us to accomplish many expansion projects as well as helping keep the garden maintained.

Each group and team of volunteers that has come our way from Seattle Works has been full of life and laughter whether rain or shine, and their enthusiasm has been like "wind in the sails" for everyone associated with the garden. Some Seattle Works volunteers have also come up with great ideas for the garden! We are so grateful for the support from this wonderful organization, and all the volunteers who take part in its work.

Joining both of the Seattle Works events this week were volunteers from King County Master Gardeners, another non-profit organization that has been a stalwart and long-time supporter of the Children's Garden. Since 2002, veteran and intern Master Gardeners have been participating in the planning and development of the garden, as well as attending almost every workparty and special event that we have hosted. They too, have contributed an enormous amount of energy and ideas to the garden, and their dedication is a mainstay in its success and sustainability! The Master Gardener Foundation of King County also provides an annual donation to the Children's Garden for supplies and volunteer recognition.

Over the years, there have been many other volunteers and organizations involved in expanding and sustaining the Magnuson Children's Garden, and we are very grateful for all of their efforts. Here are a few more:

2 local Eagle Scout candidates who, along with their troop members, built two major additions to the garden: the first scout group built the giant entry arbor in 2005, and the second scout group built the colorful and beautiful Children's Garden sign and songbird roosting-boxes that grace it just this spring!

Horticulture students from Edmonds Community College, under the guidance of Christine Pfeiffer, instructor and long-time member of the Children's Garden Commitee: her students have expertly pruned many different types of shrubs in the Children's Garden on several occasions, as well as trees in the nearby Demonstration Orchard.

Parents, teachers, and students from Thornton Creek School, who created the beautiful and educational Salmon Survival Path mosaic in 2007.

Last but certainly not least, the many children from age 4-14 who have graced the garden with their willing hands, hard work, and joyous spirit over these past eight years!

We welcome you to contribute your efforts to sustaining the Magnuson Children's Garden, whether for a one-time workparty or for ongoing support. The Children's Garden is part of the Magnuson Community Garden, a registered 501-C3 non-profit organization. For more information, visit
or email us at

Thursday, July 22, 2010

"Gardening with Ciscoe" in the Children's Garden!

The Magnuson Children's Garden welcomed some very special guests today: Ciscoe Morris and Meeghan Black from the very popular "Gardening with Ciscoe" TV show!

A group of happy and excited children from the Jr. Nature Explorers program greeted Ciscoe and Meeghan, and showed them all their favorite parts of the Children's Garden: the Lookout, the Salmon Survival Path, Grey Whale Garden, Worm Bin, Starfish Garden, and of course the Rolling Lawn!

And guess what? Ciscoe even rolled down the hill with them!

There were several other special guests that day too: three of the young garden designers who first helped dream up all the features that make this garden so wonderful, and then helped dig holes for the very first "baby plants" that have now grown big and beautiful. These three knew the garden when it was just a parking lot, and helped transform it into what it is today, along with many others from the community!
Above: Jasper (far left) and Madison (very far right)
Below: Max

As they have grown up over the past 8 years, they have also seen the the legacy of their imagination, creation, and energy benefit all the young children who now find such joy in the garden.

One of the magical things about the Magnuson Children's Garden is that every interesting and colorful feature that you will see when you visit- from the "high peak" of the Lookout to the "ocean's edge" filled with Tide Pool and Bog Gardens- came from the imagination of dozens of young children. Design charettes in 2002-2003, hosted by a group of volunteer landscape professionals, enabled them to dream big and create a wish list of amazing ideas that the 'grown-ups' then put together into a plan. Subsequent charettes and ongoing input each year from children who love the garden have nurtured its growth, gradually and sustainably. And isn't it the way of all living things to start small and grow bigger?

Most of the children present for today's filming have been to the garden many times for Jr. Nature Explorers Camps or special events. But several were there for the first time, and yet instinctively knew how they could explore it, and were drawn to navigate each and every special place and make it their own. Seeing this happen again and again at each of our events is a reminder of the wisdom of children - both that of the young designers and that of the visitors!

Kids weren't the only ones having fun today, as it looked like all the 'grown-ups' found the whole garden quite enjoyable too!

The "Gardening with Ciscoe" episode featuring the Magnuson Children's Garden will premiere on the following dates and channels:

Saturday July 31st at 10am on KING-TV, channel 5

Saturday July 31st at 1:30pm on KONG-TV, channel 6

Sunday August 1st at 11:30am on NWCN-TV, channel 2

It will be aired again on:
Saturday August 14th at 10am on KING-TV, channel 5

Saturday August 14th at 1:30pm on KONG-TV, channel 6

Sunday August 15th at 11:30pm on NWCN-TV, channel 2

We hope you'll tune in, and that you'll come visit the garden yourself! For more info on the Magnuson Children's Garden and the list of all our upcoming summer and fall events, click on the June posting above, or contact us at

If you're interested in finding out about Magnuson Community Center's "Nature Explorers" Program would be a great fit for your child, family, or school, visit or contact the Magnuson Community Center at 206-684-7026.

Thanks again to Ciscoe, Meeghan, Anne, Wolfgang, and all the children and parents who brightened up the garden with their smiles today!