Bradner Gardens: neighbor power at its best



Joyce Moty and a number of her neighborhood colleagues prevailed on the Powers That Be about fifteen years ago to preserve 1.6 acres in the Mt. Baker neighborhood for a community garden and multi-purpose park. 

They are the quintessential community leaders who had a good idea, wrote grants, leveraged the grants, and have created a delightful garden, learning site, and community tool shed for beginners, master gardeners, and all of us in between.

Quoting from the City website:

“Community volunteers worked with Barker Landscape Architects to design Bradner Gardens Park in cooperation with the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation. Friends of Bradner Gardens Park is a special collaboration of residents of the Mt. Baker Community and the following horticultural organizations:

  • King County Master Gardeners
  • Seattle P-Patch Program
  • Seattle Tilth Association
  • WSU Cooperative Extension Master Urban Gardeners

Friends of Bradner Gardens Park maintain the gardens in cooperation with DPR staff. Bradner is a pesticide-free park that uses sustainable gardening practices.”

When I visited a couple of weekends ago, I was joined by Joyce Moty, Clair Colquitt, Bill Caldwell, Liz Cross, Gyda Fossland, and Jim Dutkiewycz – all of whom are passionate about their work on this neighborhood treasure.  They generate electricity for their library and civic meeting space through roof-top solar panels provided by Seattle City Light, and even on a semi-cloudy day they return electricity to the grid.  The have a working windmill that pumps water collected off the roof of their building back up into the garden where the water is wisely used to water the plants.  

They improved the basketball court and fenced it off with a very artistically interesting fence so basketball players and vegetables can co-exist. They encourage phenomenal art within the space, and the tiled bathroom walls (created, designed, and decorated by Joyce, Liz, and Gyda) are something truly worth a separate trip to see.  Jim showed me with great pride their compost system, Bill and Clair are bringing in honey bees, and the Mason bees are already hard at work pollinating the early blooming plants like sarcococa and viburnum.  

This is a gem and shows what Neighbor Power can do.  It’s another perfect example supporting Margaret Mead’s most famous saying:

 “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

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