By Theresa Goffredo Herald Writer
Everett Parks and Recreation director Paul Kaftanski might have said it best when he called the Evergreen Arboretum &Gardens an oasis in Everett.
At the arboretum’s annual membership meeting in March, Kaftanski went on to say that the arboretum adds to the quality of life here.
“This is a treasure that we have, and today it’s hard to fathom what we could do on this 3.5 acres,” Kaftanski said.
But the arboretum’s board is doing more than fathoming.
Plans are in the works for developing the last unplanted piece of property at the arboretum’s south end.
Plans include a new expanded rain garden, a bog garden, a native plant border, more Japanese maples and a grove that will be a meditation area.
Oh and let’s not forget the pin oak tree.
A pin oak will be planted April 11 to commemorate the arboretum’s first planting 50 years ago, when a pin oak was planted April 11, 1963, in what is today Legion Park Memorial Golf Course.
Legion Park Memorial Golf Course was supposed to be the original site of the arboretum. But Everett’s leaders at the time wanted a golf course. So the arboretum was moved, and today the Evergreen Arboretum &Gardens is next to the golf course on Alverson Boulevard. Its size is limited to about 3.5 acres since the golf course gobbled up most of the land.
The pin oak still remains on the 10th hole of the golf course.
Though small, Everett’s arboretum is a living museum, incorporating a sculpture garden and 10 theme gardens that inspire people to learn more about a variety of plants, from conifers and Japanese maples to perennials and native species.
Some of its 10 themed gardens include the Urban Tree Walk, Rock Garden, Northwest Native Plant Trail, Rain Garden, Japanese Maple Grove and the stunning 200-foot Snohomish County Master Gardener’s Demonstration Border.
The arboretum also has a Viewing Mound with a water feature, a sculpture called “Fibonacci,” inspired by Italian mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci, who discovered proportionate geometry found in nature.
The arboretum hosts weddings, graduations and other parties. Volunteer tour guides offer free tours every summer from June 1 through the first Saturday in September. Last year, those tours brought in about 200 people.
Now that the arboretum is about to celebrate its 50th anniversary, board member Sandy Schumacher asks, “Is the world a better place with an arboretum? I would have to say, ‘yes it is.’”
Schumacher said that the anniversary is a time to reflect on the arboretum’s history and to appreciate the volunteers who make it possible. But just as important is the fact that the milestone anniversary “prodded us to work on completing the arboretum,” she said.
The last phase of development is called “The Completion” by board members. A model of the plan was unveiled at the March membership meeting, when about 130 people crammed into Floral Hall at Forest Park.
The model was put together by a couple of landscape architecture students from the University of Washington. The team spent months working on it, and this was their senior project, Schumacher said.
“The Completion” is estimated to cost $250,000, which includes engineering, site prep, a new path and plants. The project will be done in phases, with construction expected to be complete by 2014.
At the members’ annual meeting, the Evergreen Arboretum &Gardens Foundation pledged $30,000 to begin the fundraising drive to help complete the arboretum’s original footprint.
“Although the plant material and overall design is new, we are completing the vision of our founders, who in the early 1960s, sought land for an arboretum in Snohomish County,” arboretum foundation board president Libbie Soden said.
“It continues to be a source of education and enjoyment for residents of Puget Sound and beyond,” she said.
“We want the arboretum to remain a place of comfort and beauty,” Parks director Kaftanski said.
Theresa Goffredo: 425-339-3424; firstname.lastname@example.org
The 50th Anniversary Commemorative Tree Planting: 10 a.m. April 11, Evergreen Arboretum &Gardens, 145 Alverson Blvd., Everett.
The public ceremony also kicks off “The Completion” project for developing the rest of the arboretum. Mayor Ray Stephanson, Paul Kaftanski, director of Everett Parks and Recreation department, and Libbie Soden, president of Evergreen Arboretum &Gardens Foundation, will help plant the pin oak.
Refreshments will follow the planting.
To help complete the arboretum, mail donations to Evergreen Arboretum &Gardens, P.O. Box 13014, Everett, WA 98206. You can also go to the website, www.evergreenarboretum.com, and select “Donate,” or call 425-257-8597.