Mukilteo Library’s Garden Goes Native!

by Ryan Williams, Habitat Restoration Specialist

Do you ever wonder what a native plant garden would look like in your yard? One way you can find out is by going to the Mukilteo Library to check out the Native Plant Demonstration Garden. This 150-foot long by 12-foot wide garden was created by the Mukilteo Wildlife Habitat Group, Snohomish Conservation District, and the Friends of the Mukilteo Library. The goal of the garden is to show people how easy it is to incorBefore volunteers could begin planting, lots of preparation to improve the soil had to happen. porate native plants into their landscape. “We have so many great native plants to choose from that are easy to grow”, said Janet Carroll from the Habitat Group. “Plus native plants are important sources of food for all kinds of wildlife, from bees and butterflies to mammals and birds.”

The plants were donated by Storm Lake Growers in Monroe, with the remainder provided through the Conservation District plant sale. Volunteers covered the garden with a thick three to four inch layer of bark mulch to keep moisture in and weeds out. Members of the Mukilteo Wildlife Habitat group finished by installing interpretive signs, wood edging and a birdbath. Birdhouses -- built by kids from a local Boy Scout Troop and Harbour Pointe Middle School -- were installed throughout the Library grounds to encourage songbirds, flickers and Douglas squirrels to nest. Most of the funds for design, signs and materials came from a generous donation from the Friends of the Mukilteo Library.

The project began with a plantTo view the garden, visit the ing design by Donna Gleisner, Mukilteo Library and walk down from Natural by Dezign, and sign the trail towards Big Gulch. The illustrations by Sandy Welch, from garden is along the western (left) S. Welch Designs. Next came the side of the Library building. If hardest part – the prep work. Beyou are interested in help with cause the soil was so compacted native plant and wildlife habitat, and devoid of nutrients, it needed After planting - ready for birds, bees, and other pollinators! contact the Snohomish Conserto be rototilled and enriched with vation District Habitat Team at compost so plants would grow well. 425-335-5634 x 116 or email habitat@snohomishcd.org. Cedar Grove Compost donated and delivered 15 yards of compost and Home Depot donated the use of a rototiller. It took 25 volunteers four hours to rototill the soil and shovel a three-inch layer of compost on the garden. After that, the ground was ready for planting. Volunteers planted about 400 native shrubs, flowering plants, ferns and groundcovers, plus a few trees. For information on the Mukilteo Wildlife Habitat Group, backyard habitats and the Backyard Wildlife Habitat certification program, go to www.mukilteowildlife.org. For information on native plants, check out the Washington Native Plant Society website at http://wnps.org/. For living with and attracting native wildlife, go to http://wdfw.wa.gov/living/.

Snohomish Conservation District

425-335-5634, ext. 4 www.snohomishcd.org

528 - 91st Ave NE, Ste A Lake Stevens, WA 98258