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The Seattle Sketcher

An illustrated journal of life in the Puget Sound region by Times artist Gabriel Campanario.

May 9, 2014 at 8:41 PM

Mother’s Day plant sale recalls Shoreline mom’s gardening legacy

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“Wood Wave” is a 10-foot-tall salvaged redwood repurposed as a climbable art piece by sculptor Bruce Johnson. Enid Kruckeberg said it’s the largest public art in the City of Shoreline. (Yes, larger than the Ponies!)

Sketched May 6, 2014

Gabi_0509_kruckeberg_01Here’s a unique place I would take my mom for Mother’s Day if she didn’t live on another continent: The Kruckeberg Botanic Garden in Shoreline.

Mareen and Art Kruckeberg, a local horticulturist-botanist couple, moved to this 4-acre property in 1958 and transformed their grassy backyard into a world-class garden home to more than 2,000 plant species and some cool art installations.

Their daughter, Enid Kruckeberg, got a bit misty reminiscing. She showed me the nursery where her late mom spent countless hours propagating plant cuttings that the family would collect during field trips around the region. Enid recalled that so many people would call Mareen to buy her plants, that she started an annual Mother’s Day plant sale in 1987 so everyone “could come to the garden and make a day of it.” (The event now goes Friday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

Enid’s mom passed away before the property was purchased by the city of Shoreline and preserved for future generations. If she saw it today, “she would love it,” said Enid. “To have the space saved was what she’d always wanted.”

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Turns out Mareen Kruckeberg wasn’t just a horticulturist. She also relished illustrating the plants she worked so hard to nurture. Enid showed me some prints signed with her mom’s distinctive rendering of her initials: MsK. The artwork instantly inspired me to do some close-up sketches of plants myself. Drawing every single leaf, you sure realize how unique every plant is. No wonder they give them all those Latin names to differentiate one from another.

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North Seattle College instructor Lynne Hull and her students created this temporary art installation for the garden. Isn’t it cool? It’s one of several “Talking Tree Stops” where you can dial a phone number for more information.

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A highlight of my visit to the garden was meeting Art Kruckeberg, who is 94. A native of Los Angeles, Kruckeberg said the love for plants and agriculture runs in his family. His grandfather published agricultural journals and had a 2-acre garden in Pasadena. Art and Mareen met at the University of Washington, where he taught botany for many years. He remembered exactly how they met: “She was in my field class.”

Comments | More in History, Nature, Parks, Portraits, Public art | Topics: Shoreline

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