[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written and submitted by a verified resident. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of South King Media, nor its staff:]
Spring is a time for new beginnings. For the Highline Botanical Garden Foundation, 2023 has heralded a kind of spring for the organization. First came a new President of the Board of the Foundation, Luanne Coachman, a founding member and former President when the beautiful gates for the Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden were first hung and the iris, daylily, and rose gardens created. The Garden has grown so much since then and so has the organization and the support from the City of SeaTac. Welcome back Luanne!
Not long after Coachman’s new beginning as President of the Board, the City of SeaTac hired a bright and capable young woman named Sarah Ritums as Gardener at the Highline Botanical Garden. It’s the first time the Garden had a full time paid gardener, and already the Garden is showing her presence. She understands what needs to be done and is going at it full bore! If you have not visited the Garden this spring, you must come see her work!
Another new beginning for the Foundation came in mid-February. With grant funding from the City of SeaTac, we hired a new Executive Director to step into the shoes left empty by Sarah Moore, the garden’s first ED, who departed to take the helm of the King County Master Gardener program. Phil Chang, our new ED has spent years in the world of non-profits and knows his way around the intricacies of the laws governing non-profits and the arts of obtaining grants. He is working on a strategic plan to help the Foundation and the Garden move to the next level and we are excited to see the ideas he will be bringing us to facilitate our growth and maturation. Sarah Moore will still be active with the Garden, serving as the Foundation Secretary.
We have a new planting beginning in the Garden. We are developing a plan for a Lins Peony Garden, which will be located south of the Rose Garden. We look forward to installing the garden so that we can get the peonies in the ground this fall. The Lins family of Normandy Park is the custodian of a collection of peonies developed by their patriarch. They have gifted us with roots from the 33 varieties he developed in Minnesota, which were almost lost after his death and the sale of the land where his nursery and growing areas were located.
We are also cooking up some plans with the BMX folks to expand the trails in the southernmost part of the Garden.
Running a foundation and developing and maintaining a beautiful and instructive garden requires a lot of energy and creativity, as well as money. Our Board of Directors is like the battery that powers the whole thing. If you love the Garden and would like to be part of its exciting growth, please consider joining our Board. Please email with questions or interest to highlinegardenfoundation.org, or you can call the Garden at 206.391.4003 for more information. If you’d just like to get your hands in the dirt and volunteer help keep the garden up, that same number will get you to Maricilla Ah-Siu, who organizes our volunteer work parties.
Or you can apply to volunteer or donate on our website. Your donation to the Botanical Garden will help us maintain and improve our gardens and build our capacity to share our story through signs, public events and docent activities. Please do join us, even if it’s only to stroll through the garden at 13735 24th Ave S. in SeaTac behind the community center) and enjoy the suprising peace and delight that can be found underneath the flight path of a major airport.
Hope to see you there!
– Sarah Moore
On behalf of the Highline Botanical Garden Foundation
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