[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, submitted by a verified resident. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of The B-Town Blog, nor its staff:]

COMMUNITY TREASURE STOLEN

One of the greatest treasures of the Highline area is the Seike Family Garden at the Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden. 60 plus years ago, in a gesture of sublime grace, the Seike family, who ran the Des Moines Way Nursery, created a beautiful Japanese garden. The nursery owners were the surviving two of three brothers. The oldest two had fought for the US in World War II, while the youngest, their parents, and their sisters, had spent the war in an internment camp. The family’s property, which became the site of the nursery, was recovered at the end of the war. Unfortunately their middle son, Toll, did not survive the war. e died in France during one of the War’s most horrific battles. The Seike’s Japanese Garden was a tribute to Toll, but also a sign of forgiveness and love after all the family had been through.

However, when the third runway at Sea-Tac International Airport was built, the Seike’s property was needed for a new stormwater storage pond. The destruction of the Seike Garden was an unacceptable loss for not just the Highline area, but also for Washington State. Our Legislature, with some help from the City of SeaTac, funded moving the Garden to the Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden, and its precise reconstruction at the new location.

Hal Seike, Toll’s younger brother, helped tend his family’s garden at its new location up until his recent death at 94. His home garden held a collection of beautiful trees pruned lovingly, and with great artistry, in the Japanese style. Before his death, he gave those trees to the Highline Community for their enjoyment as part of an expanded Seike Garden. The mature trees needed special equipment to move them because of their huge and heavy root-balls, which were essential to ensure their survival. The move was expensive and this time, the Port of Seattle funded it, in recognition of the significance of the gift.

Now part of this community treasure has been stolen. In March, and again in July, someone stole first one, and then two more, of these irreplaceable trees. The thieves knew the trees were valuable and beautiful, but they didn’t know enough about them to ensure their survival: the holes they dug to get the trees out of the ground were too small, depriving the trees of life-supporting root mass. So not only does the Highline Community lose some of its treasure, the thieves will be stuck with dying trees. Talk about lose lose!

Please spread the word about this thoughtless crime and if you have any information about it, contact the Garden at [email protected]. In the meantime, come out and visit the beautiful Seike Garden and the rest of the treasure at the Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden – visit on Sept. 17 from 1-3 p.m. and enjoy our Ice Cream Social.

– Sarah Moore
Executive Director
Highline Botanical Garden Foundation

EDITOR’S NOTE: Do you have an opinion you’d like to share with our highly engaged local Readers? If so, please email your Letter to the Editor to [email protected] and, pending review and verification, we may publish it. Letter writers must use their full names and cite sources – as well as provide an address and phone number (NOT for publication but for verification purposes).