Gardening time! Anyone want a plot in White Center Heights Park?

March 30th, 2014 Tracy Posted in Gardening, Parks, White Center Food Bank, White Center news Comments Off

Spring is here, and that means it’s time to dig in. Mara Bernard, White Center Food Bank garden coordinator, has a message to share:

Just wanting to get the word out again for this year, that community garden beds are available in White Center Heights Park. Anyone interested should contact to get more information. Signup ends April 9th.

P.S. Check out the White Center Giving Garden Facebook page!

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North Highline Unincorporated Area Council to hear from Weed Warriors on Thursday (no, not THAT kind of ‘weed’)

February 3rd, 2014 Tracy Posted in Gardening, North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off

This Thursday, it’s time for the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council‘s next meeting. President Barbara Dobkin shares the preview:

North Highline Unincorporated Area Council Meeting
When: 7 pm Thursday, February 6
Where: North Highline Fire Station (1243 SW 112th)

We are pleased to be hosting Grace Stiller, President of the non-profit group “Weed Warriors.” Weed Warriors work with cities and communities to reduce the negative impact of invasive, noxious weeds in public places, like parks, trails, and open spaces. 
The program offers education about invasive weeds, methods for control or eradication, and provides opportunities where volunteers participate in “hands-on” restoration projects; thus improving the environmental health, and aesthetic and recreational qualities of our public places.

We are also pleased to have a presentation from Hannah Kett, Neighborhood Program Manager for Sustainable Seattle. Ms. Kett will be providing information on plans for the introduction of rain gardens and urban gardens at Holy Family School in White Center. She is also interested in ideas for where these types of projects could be located in the greater North Highline community.

White Center Storefront Deputy BJ Myers will be on hand to provide updates on crime trends.

Please plan on joining us for this informative community discussion – All are welcome –

Community Matters – Be Involved – Be Informed – Be Heard

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Photos: Seen during the Village Green Tour of Gardens

July 30th, 2013 Tracy Posted in Gardening, White Center news Comments Off

It’s a beautiful day, perfect for beautiful photos. White Center resident Sarah Beard kindly shared hers (thank you!) from the recent Village Green Tour of Gardens, presented by Village Green Perennial Nursery, and this seems like the right time to admire the peaking-at-midsummer scenes:















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Gardening fan? Village Green sets tour for July 20th

June 29th, 2013 Tracy Posted in Gardening, White Center news Comments Off

Mark your calendar! Here’s the official poster:

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Reader’s open letter: ‘There needs to be a conversational, emotional, and cognitive return to the original purpose of this event: The community’

April 9th, 2013 Tracy Posted in Gardening, White Center Jubilee Days, White Center news 38 Comments »

On Monday, we reported local entrepreneur Vera Johnson‘s decision to change the name of the White Center garden tour she is sponsoring July 20th, after WC Jubilee Days asked her to do so, in a way that touched off a Facebook firestorm. Sara Sanford has followed up with an open letter to Jubilee Days organizers and asked if we would publish it. (Note that “today” in her letter refers to Monday.):

Dear David Krause, Greg McCorkle, Michael McGrath, Peter Mort, and Karen Padden,

Seven months after moving to White Center and immediately falling head-over-heels for the neighborhood, I had the opportunity to be one of three co-chairs for the annual Jubilee Days’ Spring Gala. It was truly a labor of love that ultimately gave me and the other volunteers the great gift of meeting vibrant generous community members we might not have encountered otherwise. Vera Johnson was one of these gracious humbling individuals.

In the midst of the chaos that typically accompanies community events and fundraisers, Vera Johnson – a stranger to me until then – found out we were in need of some last-minute miscellany. She and her employee threw together centerpieces and decorations and donated auction items to raise funds for the Jubilee Days event. After giving away her own time and materials, she refused a free ticket to the event and insisted on buying tickets for herself and several friends. I’m fairly sure that in the course of the evening we broke one of her vases and may have lost some decorations. She never cared. She thanked us for all our hard work and went on to run the Garden Tour that had been handed over to her at the last moment. I do not know all the behind-the-scenes that produced this garden tour – but I know the overall community impact was positive, as all events at her nursery have been.

Today, White Center Jubilee Days Board publicly posted a Cease and Desist letter to Vera Johnson on Facebook. They had already sent this letter to her in the mail, and she had received it Friday. She hadn’t even had an entire business day to respond before her name and business had been dragged through the mud by an organization she had assisted in the past. Again, I was not privy to all the behind-the- scenes action on this either – I just know that the overall impact on the community has been nothing but toxic.

As noted in the thread that ensued, there are endless ways to discuss where and how and why this was the poor choice.

There’s the technical/legal side of it all:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Will a garden tour by any other name smell as sweet? One tour’s name will change

April 8th, 2013 Tracy Posted in Gardening, White Center Jubilee Days, White Center news 4 Comments »

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

Nine months after the last White Center Jubilee Days festival and three months before the next one, the local business owner who organized last year’s WC Garden Tour in connection with the festival says she’ll run a tour under a different name this time. This, after the Jubilee Days board went public with accusations via Facebook, and sent her a letter demanding that she stop using the name “White Center Garden Tour.”

We contacted Village Green Perennial Nursery owner Vera Johnson for comment after readers pointed us to this post on the Jubilee Days FB page, accusing her of focusing last year’s tour promotion on her business instead of WCJD. Festival organizers also published a cease-and-desist letter on the Jubilee Days website. Here’s how Johnson answered our inquiry:

The WC Garden Tour was started by Peggy Weiss 20 years ago (she and I are in direct contact). Peggy fully supports me taking over the garden tour, as an educational tool/experience and fun community event.

However, to avoid any community conflict, I’d prefer to be respectful to the people who the tour is intended for, which are the gardeners and tourgoers; I will change the name of my garden tour to the ‘Village Green Tour of Gardens’… in White Center’ and move forward towards a happy and joyous gardening season and look about the gardens we have already lined up, visiting the gardens, and connecting with the tourgoers.

The ‘Village Green Tour of Gardens’… in White Center’ will still take place on July 20th; all information will remain the same.

According to the Jubilee Days website, the festival is having its own garden tour on July 14th.

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Need somewhere to garden? Check out White Center Food Bank

March 19th, 2013 Tracy Posted in Gardening, White Center Food Bank, White Center news Comments Off

From new garden manager Mara at the White Center Food Bank:

Been looking for garden space? The White Center Food Bank’s new garden manager Mara is “wanting to get the word out about the availability of garden beds for community use. These beds are FREE, with only a commitment to care for the space as it’s provided. Tool checkout available.

Anyone interested, or with questions, can contact Mara at to find out more.

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Early alert: White Center Garden Tour on July 20th!

February 16th, 2013 Tracy Posted in Gardening, White Center news Comments Off

(2012 White Center Garden Tour photo by Nick Adams for WCN)
Announced by Vera Johnson of Village Green Perennial Nursery:

July 20th, 2013, 10 am. FREE!!!

White Center Garden Tour has been a much-anticipated tour for 18 years now, drawing tourgoers from the Olympic peninsula all the way to Portland.

10 gardens will be featured on this tour, 2 having rain gardens. Rain gardens are a very important way of handling our rain fall to prevent erosion and allow for water filtering into the soil./

Come and learn about how this works!
Maps will be made as a download file from the Facebook page as well as online at – more info to follow soon.

This is entirely a community supported event. We get all of our money to host this event by sponsorship from many local businesses. This is the 19th year, born out of an idea from Peggy Weiss, who handled this event on her own for many years.
It’s back as an independent event, full of educational gardens and community building. We hope you enjoy this event.

Here’s the Facebook page for the WCGT.

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Ciscoe Morris returning to Village Green Perennial Nursery: Mark your calendar for May 19

February 12th, 2013 Tracy Posted in Gardening, White Center news Comments Off

(White Center Now/West Seattle Blog video of Ciscoe at Village Green in April 2012)
Again this year, fabled gardener/broadcast personality Ciscoe Morris will visit Village Green Perennial Nursery, announces owner Vera Johnson:

Ooh-la-la! Ciscoe Morris, renowned gardening expert, will be coming to the Village Green Perennial Nursery again this spring.

That very same day, members of the National Wildlife Federation will be here to explain how to certify your backyard as an official wildlife habitat.

Ciscoe is the author of a bestselling gardening book, and he hosts the “Gardening with Ciscoe” radio show on 97.3 FM Kiro radio and a weekly TV show on KING 5. He leads garden tours around the world, and he still somehow finds time to tend his own garden here in Seattle. Ciscoe is full of personality and wisdom, and he is sure to make you laugh. This is not an event you’ll want to miss!

The visit is set for 1 pm May 19th; Village Green is at 10223 26th SW.

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White Center Garden Tour 2012: One stop along the way

July 15th, 2012 Tracy Posted in Gardening, White Center Jubilee Days, White Center news Comments Off

(Photos by Nick Adams for WCN)
This year’s White Center Garden Tour is a wrap! Coordinator Vera Johnson of Village Green Perennial Nursery (one of the tour stops) says today’s tour participants voted on their favorites, which won prizes as a result, and the one garden photographed for WCN came in first – #7, Russell Hodgkinson and Shelley Poncy‘s garden in White Center near 17th and 106th.

They get a $15 Village Green gift certificate and a 4-pound bag of fertilizer. Here’s one more view:

(The vintage trailer, we’re told, is a recent addition.) In third place, receiving a $10 gift certificate, was the Barton Street P-Patch; and in second place, with a $15 gift certificate, was garden #6 on the tour map.

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Today: White Center Garden Tour, part of Jubilee Days!

July 15th, 2012 Tracy Posted in Gardening, White Center Jubilee Days, White Center news Comments Off

The Village Green Perennial Nursery-organized White Center Garden Tour is today – 10 am-4 pm, free! The map, first linked here July 5th, includes locations in south West Seattle as well as White Center; download it here, and/or get a printed copy at locations including Village Green, Full Tilt Ice Cream, and Proletariat Pizza.

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White Center Garden Tour: The map is out!

July 5th, 2012 Tracy Posted in Gardening, White Center Jubilee Days, White Center news Comments Off

Village Green Perennial Nursery, sponsor of this year’s White Center Garden Tour, sends word that the map is available! The tour is part of White Center Jubilee Days; it’s free, self-guided, and coming up on July 15th – 10 am to 4 pm – just one week from this Sunday. The map includes locations in south West Seattle as well as White Center; download it here, and/or pick up a copy at locations including Village Green, Full Tilt Ice Cream, and Proletariat Pizza. P.S. The Garden Tour has a Facebook page; see it here.

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White Center beautification: New plants, courtesy of NHUAC & community volunteers

May 5th, 2012 Tracy Posted in Gardening, North Highline UAC, White Center news 1 Comment »

That’s the “after” photo from the south side of the heart of downtown White Center! The North Highline Unincorporated Area Council shares the photos and the before/after explanation:

Concerned with the two large neglected planter beds on 16th and 100th, the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council obtained a permit from King County to dig up the beds and put in new plants.

With good weather this morning, council members Steve Porter, and Barbara Dobkin, as well as community members, Eric, Gill, and Alex, the bed on the west side of 16th was dug up and new soil added as well as drought resistant perennials (picked out specially for us by Vera at Village Green Perennial Nursery).

Next up for NHUAC – their next quarterly public-safety forum, this Thursday, May 10, 7 pm at North Highline Fire District HQ (1243 SW 112th).

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3 for Saturday: Pancakes, plants, and the Jubilee Days gala

May 4th, 2012 Tracy Posted in Gardening, Schools, White Center Jubilee Days, White Center news Comments Off

Three events you won’t want to miss on Saturday:

MCLENDON HARDWARE PANCAKE BREAKFAST: The tasty tradition arrives at the store again on Saturday morning. 7:30-10 am, free.

WEST SEATTLE MONTESSORI PLANT SALE: 9 am-3 pm, at the campus (11215 15th SW) – with a bake sale, organic soil, student vegetable starts, plants from Village Green Perennial Nursery, and more – read about it on the school’s website.

WHITE CENTER JUBILEE DAYS GALA: Saturday’s the night, Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge Way SW in West Seattle) is the place, 6:30 pm – the ticket link and more details are on the Jubilee Days website.

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White Center-area gardeners invited to join in new Westcrest Park P-Patch

April 26th, 2012 Tracy Posted in Gardening, White Center news Comments Off

Though this project is in the Seattle city limits, there’s an explicit invitation for White Center-area gardeners to join in, so we are crossposting this from partner site West Seattle Blog:

Ready to garden? The Westcrest P-Patch is about to be built, and ready to build its gardener/volunteer team, too! Here’s the official announcement (along with the finalized design, shown above):

After two community garden design meetings, the Westcrest P-Patch community garden project is planning to start construction next month in Seattle’s Westcrest Park! (Located at 9000 8th Ave. SW) The plan is to create over 200 10′ x 10′ garden plots following the final design which will feature crushed rock and wood chip pathways that interact with existing park features, gathering and storage structures, an out-door “kitchen”, and lots of room for artistic elements and common spaces.

The plots will be open to both Seattle residents as well as residents living in nearby unincorporated King County such as White Center which is two blocks from the south border of the park.

If you are interested in a plot, your probability of getting a spot will correlate to the number of hours you donate to the project. The more you volunteer the higher your chances of getting a plot. The Steering Committee is currently trying to determine what portions of the construction will be performed by contractors and what we, as a community, are willing to take on. If we can keep costs below the $90,000 budget, we can use the surplus funds to enhance the project. There are innumerable ways that you can volunteer in both outreach and construction.

Please contact Phi Huynh if you would like to explore volunteer opportunities.

Phone: 206-684-4531

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Video: Ciscoe brings laughs, prizes, garden wisdom to Village Green Perennial Nursery

April 15th, 2012 Tracy Posted in Gardening, White Center news Comments Off

Huge day at Village Green Perennial Nursery – and the sun came out to cooperate. While proprietor Vera Johnson had scheduled a beekeeping seminar and a Master Gardener clinic, the day’s headliner was TV/radio gardening guru Ciscoe Morris, and more than 100 people showed up to see/hear him. In case you missed it, we have the entire hour on video, above, starting with Vera’s explanation of how they met, and then a few minutes later, his explanation of his trademark exclamation, “Oh la la!”

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Get ‘em while you can! Apply for raised beds at White Center Heights Park Community Garden

March 13th, 2012 Tracy Posted in Gardening, White Center news Comments Off

From Audrey Zemke at White Center Food Bank:

Want to garden in White Center? Applications are now available for 16 raised beds at the White Center Heights Park Community Garden. Community members have been growing their own vegetables at this garden for 5 seasons. The garden is located at 102nd SW and SW 7th. The beds are all organic and there is no cost to use one. You must apply to be considered. Gardeners will be picked by a lottery process. To get an application, contact Audrey at the White Center Food Bank ( or (206) 762-2848, or stop by 10829 8th Ave SW). Applications must be returned by March 29 and those who will be able to garden will be notified within two weeks. The White Center Food Bank is working to get donations of organic compost, seeds and starts for use by the gardeners.

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Gardening 101: Start now, so you’ll have a new planting area in spring

January 7th, 2012 Tracy Posted in Gardening, White Center news Comments Off

(After and before!)

By Vera Johnson of Village Green Perennial Nursery
Special to White Center Now

New garden beds over existing lawn: Skill level…Easy.

Have you been wanting to start a garden in an area of your yard, but it feels too overwhelming and you have no idea where to begin?

Do you have too much lawn to mow? Want to get rid of some of it?

Want to grow food and flowers? Growing perennial flowers is essential to healthy vegetable gardening, as the bees rely on the food source and the wasps that are attrracted to the plants are a predator to many of the bugs that attack vegetable starts … more on that later!

It’s really quite easy, but it does take some effort. Are you in? Willing? Then let’s go!!

Gather materials…this can take time, and that’s ok.

* Look around and see what you have to work with…rocks, concrete chunks from an old sidewalk or patio, wood rounds (preferably small diameter)

*Cardboard with tape and staples removed

*Newspaper…no shiny pages; the chemicals in the inks are not what we want for the gardens.

*Fallen leaves – there should be plenty in the neighborhood; ask your neighbors. Leaves (not all leaves are equal – see below) are a treasure trove of nutrients. You can also get free wood chips from a tree service; call ahead and have a place ready where they can dump, and you will get all the free mulch you can handle.

*Fertilizers (organic) with high nitrogen. Blood meal is great; bat guano; or fresh chicken manure if you have chickens – we’re not planting right away, so there’s no risk of burning the plants’ roots. I also LOVE to use KELP in this procedure, the soil benefits are spectacular.

1. Choose your location (think big, don’t limit yourself!) I like to use a garden hose to determine the border and have a visual aid for what the garden will look like.

2. Mow or weedwhack the area you’ve chosen (very, very short…leave the clippings for extra nitrogen)

3. Lay a heavy dose of nitrogen (fertilizer and/or manures) over the entire area you are planning to use as a garden; this will heat up under the layers we are about to put on the new garden and be ready in spring … patience.

4. On the chosen area for the new gardens, lay out cardboard so that it overlaps – or newspaper in thick layers, also overlapping – to prevent weeds from pushing up through. You are laying the paper or cardboard over the existing mowed lawn, and over the fertilizers.

5. Water the paper or cardboard to keep it from flying away. This is the stage where you can start heaping on the raked leaves. Birch, maple, oak, alder are the best leaves for this project.

You can also pile on any small branches and wood chips (not bark mulch, which is not a useful garden product, as it repels water – don’t get me started). You want the top layer to be at least 6 inches deep, more if possible. This will get the underground soil food web something to work on over the winter.

Come spring, you will be amazed at how loose and workable the ground is. You can expect to be able to stick the shovel in, right into the paper/cardboard; dig a hole, add fertilizer, soil amendment, and plant whatever you were planning to put in the garden.

Vera Johnson is proprietor of Village Green Perennial Nursery, and plans to share some gardening advice/secrets/info here from time to time. She writes about a variety of subjects at her own website – check it out here.

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Volunteers brighten up prominent White Center corner

June 27th, 2011 Tracy Posted in Businesses, Gardening, White Center Community Development Association, White Center news 3 Comments »

(Photo courtesy White Center Community Development Association, used with permission)
Next time you’re at 16th and Roxbury, take a close look and appreciate the freshened-up planting areas! Nhan Nguyen of the White Center Community Development Association shared the news today that a small group went out on Sunday to beautify the corner. He says that nearby Pho Lynna and Decoraciones Ely have ” volunteered to take care of regular watering.” The planting, according to Nhan, was led by Erika and Clark from Community Harvest of Southwest Seattle and WCCDA member Judy.

Want to be part of an occasional “mini-cleanup” in the business district? WCCDA would love to hear from you – and Nhan says they’ll supply the trash bags, trash pickers, and gloves!

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This afternoon: Jubilee Days spring fling; West Seattle Montessori plant sale

May 7th, 2011 Tracy Posted in Fun, Gardening, Schools, White Center Jubilee Days, White Center news Comments Off

At Big Al Brewing (9832 14th SW), the White Center Jubilee Days Spring Fling and Pinewood Derby is happening this afternoon, all the way till 7 – go support WCJD! Also in White Center:

Till 3 pm, at West Seattle Montessori/West Seattle Academy, the halls are lined with plants and gift items for today’s annual sale – and it’s not just a shopping opportunity; edible-gardening expert and author Amy Pennington is speaking and signing books till 3 pm. 11215 15th SW.

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