Our Favorite Spring Plant Sales

April 17, 2015 7:43am

Stop the car! Buy-able plants Image, Erica Grivas

A neon green haze is spreading over Green Lake’s trees and miniature daisies are colonizing the grass, but that’s not all sprouting this time of year – it’s Plant Sale time!  For gardeners of all levels, it’s a critical moment – where plant nerds and bargain hunters seek new prizes to bolster their garden this season.
To help plot your attack strategy, here are some of the best in and around Green Lake this weekend and next:

This weekend:
Superfluity Plant, Collectible and Rummage Sale
Friday, April 17, 9:30am-6pm, Saturday, April 18, 9:30am-1pm
Congregational United Church of Christ, 4515 16th Ave. NE
This is a rummage sale benefiting local charities which also has plants – many from avid home gardeners, some donated by nurseries.  In the past I have found a great selection of tomato starts, a wide selection of perennials, and even a few choice shrubs/trees.
The scoop: Good prices, nice selection

Children’s Hospital 91st Annual Garden Sale
Sunday, April 19, 10am – 2pm
Seattle Children’s Administrative Building, 6901 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115
“Perennials, annuals, shrubs & trees – many propagated on hospital grounds. Groundskeepers will be on hand to provide expert advice.”
The scoop: Not the least expensive, but nice choices.

Northwest Perennial Alliance Spring Plant Sale
Sunday April 19, 9am-3pm
North Seattle Community College, 9600 College Way N
“Our biggest sale of the year features thousands of plants from specialty nurseries, our famous NPA Border and members’ gardens. ”
The scoop: Free parking, weatherproof indoor shopping and a fantastic selection from professionals and collectors.

Hardy Plant Society of Washington Spring Plant Sale
Sunday,  April 19, 10am – 2pm
Center for Urban Horticulture, NHS Hall, 3
501 NE 41st St, Seattle
“Hardy plants & choice treasures from members’ gardens at great prices. Plant experts on hand. ”
The scoop: Good stuff from knowledgeable folks

Next Weekend:
Olympic View Elementary Plant Sale
Friday, April 24, 9am – 7pm, and Saturday April 25, 9am-7pm
Olympic View Elementary east parking lot, 504 NE 95th St, Seattle
A wide assortment of vegetables, blooming annuals, perennials, herbs & garden art. All proceeds benefit the school’s students.”
The scoop: Nice selection. Go Friday for the best selection, or late Saturday for the negotiable bargains.

Arboretum Foundation FlorAbundance Spring Plant Sale
Saturday, April 25, 9am – 5pm, Sunday April 26, 10am-2
Warren G. Magnuson Park Building 30
7400 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle
“Dozens of top specialty nurseries & vendors selling a wide selection of choice, locally-grown plants.”
The scoop: Huge. Go caffeinated, bring a wagon if you have one.


Trilliums showing off at (I think ) last year’s FlorAbundance sale Image, Erica Grivas

Seattle-Luoyang Peony & Bamboo Festival & Plant Sale
Sunday, April 26, 10am – 4pm
Seattle Chinese Garden, 6000 16th Ave SW, Seattle
Suggested donation: $5/adults. A double festival of Chinese horticulture with plant displays, plant sales, demonstrations, lectures, arts & crafts sales & entertainment.” For more info see Bamboo Festival
The scoop: new to us, but sounds awesome!


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Celebrate Earth Week at Latona Pub Apr. 20-25

April 16, 2015 7:53am
Photo courtesy of Latona Pub's Facebook page.

Photo courtesy of Latona Pub’s Facebook page.

When it comes to Earth Day and Earth Week, Green Lake’s Latona Pub takes it seriously. The pub talks the talk and walks the walk –quite literally even.

This year, the team at Latona will continue its tradition to reduce its carbon footprint by keg delivery without the assistance of motorized vehicles. Yes, that means kegs are walked, biked and sailed to places as far away as Gig Harbor and Bellingham. And for about a week, the pub only pours beers delivered by these means.

What’s more, the pub will host a variety of events throughout the week, which benefit three, local organizations:

  1. Washington Bikes Benefit
     Monday, April 20, 7pm
    Details: Join-in for a celebration and benefit for Washington Bikes sponsored by Hales. Washington Bikes is an educational and political organization dedicated to improving access and safety of all things bikes. A portion of sales will go to this worthy organization.
  2. An Earth Day Benefit for Washington Wild Brewshed Alliance
     Wednesday, April 22, 7pm
    Details: Latona Pub celebrates Earth Day with Washington Wild Brewshed Alliance. Proceeds from the keg brewed specifically for the event will be donated to the organization, which works to protect the watersheds from which our breweries get the water for their brew. The evening includes a live auction and bluegrass music.
  3. Annual Celebration With Feet First & Two Beers Brewing
    Saturday, April 25, 3pm 
    Details: Celebrate Earth Week’s finale with Feet First, an organization dedicated to making the city safe and accessible for walking. Latona Pub will host a special barbecue and celebrate the week-long event.

For more information, visit www.3pubs.com/Latona.html and follow the pub on Facebook and Twitter @LatonaPub. Latona Pub is located at 6423 Latona Ave NE.


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Save Seattle’s Apples: Learning About Fruit Trees in the City

April 15, 2015 6:15am

Ever wonder what happens to the fruit from the numerous fruit trees around the city? According to local organization City Fruit, most of it goes to waste, or owners don’t know how to care for the trees. City Fruit is trying to change this by reclaiming the “urban orchard” all around us through teaching tree owners how to properly harvest the fruit from the trees in the city.

They are hosting their Save Seattle’s Apple’s kick off event on April 19 at local park Linden Orchard. From the organizer:

In an effort to build awareness and strengthen the health of Seattle’s urban fruit canopy, City Fruit is hosting neighborhood-specific pest prevention campaigns. Join us as we unite, then diverge to walk door to door in the Phinney neighborhood educating and assisting homeowners in protecting their apple trees from pests.

Event info

  • Event website
  • Location: Linden Orchard Park, N 67th St and Linden Ave N
  • When: April 19, 2015 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
  • For: All Ages
  • Signup form

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Green Lake Guide to Seattle Restaurant Week: Apr. 12-16 & 19-23

April 10, 2015 7:07am

10991069_10152604409771680_3331187911571372970_nThis month marks the return of Seattle Restaurant Week, the popular opportunity to enjoy special three-course dinners ($30) and two-course lunches ($15) at some of Seattle’s most celebrated restaurants. The week, which actually takes place across two weeks (Apr. 12-16, 19-23, no weekends), includes five participating restaurants near Green Lake. From Ravenna to Greenwood, we have you covered with this quick guide:


Frank’s Oyster House & Champagne Parloer
Where: 2616 NE 55th St
When: Dinner, 5-11pm 
Type of Food: Seafood; Vegetarian options available
Phone: (206) 525-0220
Website: www.franksoysterhouse.com
Details: Appetizers range from spring nettle soup to bibb lettuce wedges to cornmeal fried oysters. Main entrees include pan seared king salmon, sous vide trip tip with caramelized fingerling hash or spinach pappardelle. Dessert finishes off with petite whiskey cake, rhubarb bread pudding or a “Cracker Jack Ice Cream Sundae” with popcorn-infused peanut brittle ice cream. View the full menu here.


Where: 2101 N 55th St #100
When: Dinner, 5-9:30pm
Type of Food: Asian
Phone: (206) 545-9050
Website: http://kisaku.com/kisaku 
Details: Appetizers start with panko fried Pacific oysters, sauteed mushroom salad, shredded asparagus salad or seared tuna belly. Main entrees include flame-broiled black cod, assorted vegetable tempura and a variety of sushi and sashimi plates. Finish off with dessert options of cheesecake, strawberry mousse or mochi ice cream. View the full menu here.

Ming China Bistro
Where: 7119 Woodlawn Ave NE
When: Dinner, 4-9pm
Type of Food: Chinese; Vegetarian options available 
Phone: (206) 588-1363
Start with appetizers like the hot sour soup and fried wonton, deep-fried vegetarian egg roles or pork dumplings. Entrees vary from general tao chicken and mongolian beef to honey walnut prawns and sauteed veggie delight. All entrees are served with steamed rice and vegetables. Desserts include nutella cream pop, ginger tofu pudding or fresh fruit with milk cream. View the full menu here.

Where: 6804 E. Green Lake Way N 
Dinner, 5:30-10pm
Type of Food: American
Phone: (206) 524-4044
Website: www.nellsrestaurant.com
Details: Enjoy appetizers from wild nettle soup to house-made pappardelle with duck confit to hearts of palm, fennel and asparagus salad. There are four main entrees to choose from: grilled marlin with celery root puree, grilled New York steak with rutabaga gratin, braised lamb shoulder with couscous or risotto with spring onions.  Finish off dinner with strawberry rhubarb crisp and ginger ice cream, vanilla bean yogurt sherbet or a callebaut chocolate brownie topped with whipped cream and raspberries. View the full menu here.


Stumbling Goat Bistro
6722 Greenwood Ave N
When: Dinner
Type of Food: American; Vegetarian, Vegan and GF
Phone: (206) 784-3535
Website: www.stumblinggoatbistro.com
Details: Appetizers will start you off with baby green or butter lettuce salads, or an artichoke parmesan bisque. Choose from entrees of seasonal risotto, braised lamb ragu, pork tenderloin with creamy polenta, pan seared Idaho trout or a seasonal, vegan dish. Desserts include chocolate ardbeg cremeux, macaroon ice cream sandwich, griddled poppy seed pound cake or a selection of house-made ice creams and sorbets. View the full menu here.

For more information on Seattle Restaurant Week, visit http://srw.seattletimes.com and follow the conversation on Twitter @SeattleRW, hashtag #SRW and Facebook.



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Garden Smarter: Combos that Pop Year-Round

April 9, 2015 7:40am

This Swanson’s Nursery container is supported by yellow carex, red heuchera, and a pink-flowered hellebore (Image, Erica Grivas)

If you had acreage and a staff of gardeners, you could have a lilac border, and a cherry tree allee, and a potager to indulge all your seasonal favorites. But let’s face it – most Greenlake gardens have room for a bonsaied version of one of these choices.

So given your real estate and time limits, how can you choose what will offer the most visual bang for your buck?

This mix has a small percentage of flowers – the hebe, heather and heuchera will still look great after the pansy and viola fade  (Image, Erica Grivas)

Whether you want a focal point near your front door, or in a patio pot, take your cue from professional plantings at nurseries, restaurants, hotels, and libraries. Those companies don’t want to change out their displays every month, so the designers pick plants that hold their interest over many months, if not all year.  You can also find inspiration at the early spring flower shows.

First, you need to fall in love – with foliage. Foliage can be there for you 24/7, while flowers are like the cute counselor at summer camp. And you know what, breeders are making foliage so flamboyant it’s even sexy now.

Osier dogwoods showing off amid lime-green moss at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in February Image, Erica Grivas

Osier dogwoods showing off amid lime-green moss at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in February
(Image, Erica Grivas)

 The stars:

To earn their spot, these should be evergreen or have excellent winter interest in the form of showy bark or a shapely form. I’ve picked compact varieties for a small garden or container.

Year-round Structure

  • Dwarf conifers, like Cypress Wilma, Chamaecyparis ‘Mops”, Irish Yew, Mugo Pine, Cryptomeria ‘Elegans”
  • Low-growing evergreen shrubs like Pieris japonica ‘Little Heath,’ (new pink leaves add color even before the flowers), Hebe variegata, Calluna vulgaris (look for ones which change color like ‘Firefly’ and‘Spring Torch’), Erica carnea varieties, Nandina domestica ‘Firepower,’ Euphorbia hybrids like ‘Ruby Glow’ and ‘Ascot Rainbow’

 Striking shapes:

With a shape like this, who needs flowers?  Weirdly wonderful conifers at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show Image, Erica Grivas

With a shape like this, who needs flowers?
Weirdly wonderful conifers at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show
(Image, Erica Grivas)

  • Weeping Japanese maples (Acer palmatum)
  • Corokia contorta
  • Weeping Cedrus deodara ‘Snow Sprite’
  • Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Wissel’s Saguaro’
  • Yucca ‘Color Guard’
  • Phormiums (note: these can be marginally hardy here)

 Snazzy bark:

  • Vine Maples (Acer circinatum ‘’Pacific Fire’) and Coral Bark Maple (Acer palmatum ‘Beni Kawa’)
  • Osier Dogwoods – choose shorties like Cornus sericea‘Arctic Fire’ and kelseyii with flaming bark or plant a big ‘Bud’s Yellow’ or ‘Elegantissima’ if you have space
  • Paperbark Maple – Acer griseum – flaky to the max
  • Birch (Betula species) – peach-to-white peeling; look for smaller varieties
  • Stewartia varieties – like a mosaic of earth tones

Best Supporting:

  • Heucheras – available in a rainbow of choices and frill level, some with showy flowers, some not
  • Hellebores – months of winter bloom and handsome leaves
  • Sedums – just cool
  • Evergreen grasses – Carex hybrids come in green, yellow and variegated and Ophipogon nigrescens (Black mondo grass) brings the sleek drama

The Wisecracking Neighbor:

Perennials with long-term presence: interesting seedheads or structure over the winter

  • Allium – showy ornamental onions.  The flowers look like baseballs made of stars even after the color fades
  • Compact non-evergreen grasses: ‘Karl Foerster’ Feather Reed grass, Pennisetum, hybrids Boutela ‘Blonde Ambition’ (blue grama)

The Eye Candy:

Finally the flowers!

  • annuals changed out as needed (the plants you see at the supermarket door)
  • long-bloomers like Hellebores, Heaths/Heathers, Echinacea, pansies, violas, perennial geranium ‘Rozanne,’ and coreopsis

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Rules of the Road: Follow Up

April 8, 2015 7:55am


Okay Greenlakers, you asked and we listened. We were so excited to see the responses from last week’s Rules of the Road article, we wanted to follow up on your questions.

So, we enlisted the help of our friends (and experts) at the Seattle Parks Department:

Q: Where do toddler with small bikes go?
The outer lane is meant for faster-moving wheeled use, so toddler with smaller bikes, especially those with training wheels, are appropriate for the inner lane.

Q: What about strollers? They have wheels too.
A: Strollers, for the same reason, belong in the inner lane.

Q: Why are strollers considered walking and not wheeled? Is it because of speed?
Yes, it’s because of the speed. Most strollers are pushed at a walking or slow jogging pace.

Q: Is there a certain direction to go around the lake? There are conflicting signs.
While walking or running, we recommend clockwise. Both directions are fine. We ask that bicyclists and skaters go counterclockwise in the outer lane.

Q: What about skateboarders. Especially the guy being pulled by his dog?
Outside lane because of the speed.

Did we miss anything? Leave additional questions below.


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Volunteers Needed for Green Lake Water Quality Project

April 7, 2015 7:39am

Want to be part of the water quality effort for Green Lake? Have access to a kayak, rowboat or canoe? Volunteers are needed for water quality sampling, which begins May 3 and continues until October 18.

The program is done through the King county Lake Stewardship program who provides equipment, training and support. Samples are collected at an anchored float located at the deepest part of the Lake, approximately in front of the Hearthstone residences. Sampling has been done by Friends of Green Lake volunteers from kayaks every summer since 2004. Data from these previous samplings were used to help evaluate the effectiveness of the 2004 Alum Treatment and plan for the 2016 Treatment.

Here’s more details provided by Friends of Green Lake:

Sampling is performed at an anchored buoy about 100 yards offshore, opposite Sunnyside Avenue, on the east side of the lake. Sampling has been done from kayaks, rowboats, and canoes and requires the sampling party to be comfortable and competent in a small boat.

Monitorling includes measuring water temperature, clarity with a Secchi Disk, and using a Van Dorn sampler to get a 1 liter water sample from 1 meter below the surface.

Usually notes are also made about weather, the number of anglers and geese. Two times each summer, temperature and water samples are added at mid-depth and the bottom of the lake to get a profile of changes with depth.

If you are interested, please email or phone Richard Fleming, President – Friends of Green Lake at rsfleming@centurylink.net – or 206-525-1974.


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Green Lake Branch Library’s Bikes For Books is Back

April 6, 2015 7:49am

Good news for little readers – Green Lake Branch Library’s reading program Bikes for Books is back. You may remember that this program ran last year and provides the opportunity for kids to receive a bike in exchange for reading. (Here’s our previous post.)

This time the Bikes for Books runs from April 8 – June 13, ending with a celebration and prize drawing from 11:30 – noon on Saturday the 13th.

Bikes for Books is open to children in first, second and third grades. Participants are allowed to enter their names for the drawing once for every 10 books they read between April 8 and June 13. One girl and one boy will win a bike, helmet and bike lock.

“Bikes for Books” is sponsored by the Masonic Lodge #149 in Green Lake.
For more information, call the Green Lake Branch at 206-684-7547 or ask a librarian.


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Decades & Doughnuts: Upcoming Spring Races

April 5, 2015 7:28am

Have donuts…will run? Polyester, neon or parachute pants? This spring, Green Lake races are getting festive. Whether you need to work off your Sunday-morning doughnut fix or need an excuse to pull out those neon leggings, Green Lake 5ks will help you get there. Here’s two upcoming races to consider:

Photo courtesy of Top Pot Doughnuts Facebook Page

Photo courtesy of Top Pot Doughnuts Facebook Page

  1. Decade Dash by Northwest Seattle Young Life
    Saturday, April 11, starts at 8:30 a.m.
    Price: $15 Kids 14 & Under, $30-35 adults (price increases 3/30)
    About: Get decked out for this 5K run/walk as if it were your favorite decade. Imagine polyester, neon and parachute pants! It’s up to you, have fun. It will be a run for the ages! Consider a rallying a group of friends to coordinate a fun group costume. For more information, visit http://nwseattle.younglife.org/.
  2. Top Pot Doughnuts Doughnut Dash
     Sunday, April 26, starting at 7:00 a.m.
    Price: 10 Kids Dash, $35-$45 adults (price increases after 3/30)
    About: Celebrate Top Pot Doughnuts with a run around Green Lake, proceeds to benefit Childhaven, a local non-profit that protects and supports abused children ages one month to five years. Each registered runner and walker will receive a limited edition t-shirt. Celebrate your victory with a free performance by Caspar Babypants and of course, donuts.  For more information, visit http://www.promotionevents.com/TopPot5K/Info.htm. 

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