Sprucing up the garden

EVERETT — Jeanette Runnelf is 85 years old with bad knees and bad hips. Her arthritis makes it impossible to maintain the garden that she began 20 years ago.

“I used to do it all by myself,” she said. “I just can’t do it anymore.”

Runnelf says her garden has about every kind of flower

possible — at least one flower in bloom every month and a garden of fruits and vegetables.

She didn’t know how the gardening was going to get done.

As part of a one-week service program through the Archdiocese of Seattle, a group of youth volunteered to clean her yard — an opportunity to help those in need and grow in faith.

“It’s a way to show the kids different aspects of the needs of the community,” said Kelly Lake, a chaperone from St. Andrews Catholic Church in Sumner. “It teaches the value of service.”

Runnelf has been a member of the Everett Garden Club since 1978 and knows that it can be difficult to restore a yard after it has been unkempt for so long.

“That’s hard work digging that stuff up,” she said. “They just got right to it.”

The kids filled more than a dozen garbage bags with weeds during the six hours they were there.

Fifteen-year-old Jonathan Ramous of Buckley said the work was much harder than he thought it would be. Most of the kids were from the area near Bonney Lake in eastern Pierce County.

“It was really, really hard,” he said. “But now she can plant whatever she wants.”

The group emptied and cleaned two ponds in Runnelf’s yard and uncovered a bird bath fountain under the bushes.

“There are beautiful plants and flowers, but they were buried,” Lake said.

Runnelf was impressed by the end of the day.

“It was really nice what they did,” she said. “They did great.”

Lindsylee Wheadon: 425-339-3453; lwheadon@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Cars move across Edgewater Bridge toward Everett on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023, in Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edgewater Bridge redo linking Everett, Mukilteo delayed until mid-2024

The project, now with an estimated cost of $27 million, will detour West Mukilteo Boulevard foot and car traffic for a year.

Lynn Deeken, the Dean of Arts, Learning Resources & Pathways at EvCC, addresses a large gathering during the ribbon cutting ceremony of the new Cascade Learning Center on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023, at Everett Community College in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
New EvCC learning resource center opens to students, public

Planners of the Everett Community College building hope it will encourage students to use on-campus tutoring resources.

Everett Police Chief Dan Templeman announces his retirement after 31 years of service at the Everett City Council meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett police chief to retire at the end of October

Chief Dan Templeman announced his retirement at Wednesday’s City Council meeting. He has been chief for nine years.

Boeing employees watch the KC-46 Pegasus delivery event  from the air stairs at Boeing on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Boeing’s iconic Everett factory tour to resume in October

After a three-year hiatus, tours of the Boeing Company’s enormous jet assembly plant are back at Paine Field.

A memorial for a 15-year-old shot and killed last week is set up at a bus stop along Harrison Road on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Teen boy identified in fatal shooting at Everett bus stop

Bryan Tamayo-Franco, 15, was shot at a Hardeson Road bus stop earlier this month. Police arrested two suspects.

Mike Bredstrand, who is trying to get back his job with Lake Stevens Public Works, stands in front of the department’s building on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in Lake Stevens, Washington. Bredstrand believes his firing in July was an unwarranted act of revenge by the city. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lake Stevens worker was fired after getting court order against boss

The city has reportedly spent nearly $60,000 on attorney and arbitration fees related to Mike Bredstrand, who wants his job back.

Chap Grubb, founder and CEO of second-hand outdoor gear store Rerouted, stands inside his new storefront on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in Gold Bar, Washington. Rerouted began as an entirely online shop that connected buyers and sellers of used gear.  (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Used outdoor gear shop Rerouted finds a niche in Gold Bar

Seeking to keep good outdoor gear out of landfills, an online reselling business has put down roots in Gold Bar.

Naval Station Everett. (Chuck Taylor / Herald file)
Everett man sentenced to 6 years for cyberstalking ex-wife

Christopher Crawford, 42, was found guilty of sending intimate photos of his ex-wife to adult websites and to colleagues in the Navy.

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers speaks to the crowd during an opening ceremony at the new PAE2 Amazon Fulfillment Center on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Snohomish County executive pitches $1.66B budget

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers announced his proposed budget Tuesday afternoon. Public comment is slated to begin Oct. 10.

Most Read