Ballard Edible Garden Tour

The Sustainable Ballard team hosted their 8th Annual Edible Garden Tour on Saturday, June 25th. Of course, Swansons had to go see what our neighbors have been working on! We love to share in the delight of helping gardeners grow and celebrating their successes.

The Edible Garden Tour featured more than a dozen gardening spaces within walking distance of the Ballard Community Center. The entry fee included one raffle ticket and the proceeds supported Sustainable Ballard's community projects. Swansons was a proud sponsor of this event; we were thrilled to contribute by donating one of the raffle prizes. It was a treat to visit the private gardens that were opened up to the public for just a day. What a great opportunity to indulge our love of gardening, and for a good cause, too! 

The Edible Garden Tour is more than showing off lavish gardens around the community. Their posted goal is to "educate and inspire folks to grow food by giving examples of creative uses of parking strips, containers, raised beds, bee houses, chicken coops, goats, fruit trees, berries and more." The gardeners were encouraged to stay around their plot to chat with eager garden tour participants. 

 This colorful garden art doubles as a cooler! 

This colorful garden art doubles as a cooler! 

Gardeners welcomed everyone with more than an educational and informative speech. The community spirit was uplifting and charming. Greetings were full of smiles, casual conversations, and cool refreshments on this particularly sunny afternoon. Shout out to the young entrepreneur selling cookies and lemonade between gardens! It felt like a little garden party for the whole neighborhood.

These gardeners were passionate about their flourishing plots. They cheerfully shared how their personalized space serves them. A range of creativity was utilized to make urban organic gardening not only possible but greatly successful. Some of the gardeners enhanced their small spaces by growing vertically, some by spreading out their plants into all available sunny spaces. Each garden was personal and distinct from the next since they all had a unique personality.

We loved hearing personal stories from the gardeners themselves. Gardeners Gayle and Jerry redeveloped an all veggie garden into a combination ornamental garden and organic raised bed veggie garden with recent additions like espalier fruit trees, berries, and herbs. How exciting to hear this space has been passed down through generations of families in the community; this has been a private garden space since the time of the original owners in the early 1900's! Oh, how wonderfully it has evolved. 

Another neighbor, Margaret, turned her cozy backyard into an oasis complete with raised veggie beds and a greenhouse. Hospitable and welcoming, she shared her long history being a part of the Ballard community. Her garden is endearing yet functional. She has enough sun to produce what veggies she needs, and a bit of shade to relax in, too. Her garden boasts a classic beauty, bordered with hydrangeas and clematis, while a garden painting hangs over her patio. The quirky structures of local garden art sprinkled about are subtle and surprising to stumble upon.

Another highlight were the gardens that involved the community at large. Of course, there was the Thyme Patch Park, an inviting neighborhood park and community garden with a beautiful design. Another stop on the tour was the Ballard Sprouts Project. Ballard Sprouts is a backyard greenhouse project that grows all of the starts for the Seattle Giving Gardens, located in P-Patches throughout Seattle. Volunteers and P-Patch gardeners work together to grow and distribute food to the Seattle Food Banks. More than 8,000 plants were provided to the Giving Gardens in 2016!

There were a lot of gardens to explore! They varied from combinations of edible and ornamental plants, garden art, and lounge spaces. From tree houses to rooftop gardens to container gardens, the personal touch (aka elbow grease and a little love) brought these spaces to life.

We would like to send a huge thank you to the garden owners who were willing to share their personal spaces with the community! The 9th Edible Garden Tour event by Sustainable Ballard is one to mark on your calendars for 2017!