Here at Stone Soup Gardens, we’ve had a busy and very exciting start to this new year. With many new residential and community projects on the horizon, our team has dove into educational opportunities to better serve our community.
Leading the Year with Learning RainWise
Although Jake got to facilitate the inaugural Rainwise Academy last year, 2020 was dry for rain gardens at Stone Soup. So we were grateful to kick off 2021 with an edible rain garden installation! We had a wonderful opportunity for the whole team to share knowledge on the installation of rain gardens on a residential site. Guided by RainWise contractor resources, we went over the why and the how of rain garden construction including plumbing material standards, how to plan a rain garden’s depth and size, how to choose plants, and how to create the best drainage and overflow systems. It was a fun collaborative session co-facilitated by our three experienced installers. This impromptu training has ensured that every single one of our team members has intricate knowledge of the design and installation process for RainWise rain gardens.
Fruit Tree Pruning Workshop
We love getting to care for trees, and we love to further our knowledge of how to do so. As part of our team’s monthly education, we had the awesome opportunity to chat with Barb Burrill, an active orchardist involved in the Tilth Alliance, the Seattle Tree Fruit Society, and other groups that look after our city’s plentiful fruit trees. We had an extensive conversation about specific care regimens for all different kinds of fruits, what time of year is best for different kinds of maintenance, and how best to talk to owners of fruit trees about taking care of them. Some of our team has continued to engage and collaborate with Barb and the Tilth Alliance through consistent pruning sessions.
Water Brings Life
We are excited to share our ongoing collaboration with Highline United Methodist Church in Burien. In 2018, we began work with Highline UMC to design the Hazel Valley Community Garden, which aims to improve stormwater mitigation, increase food access, bring neighbors together, and build healthy soil. In 2019, we returned to collaborate with the Nature Stewards to design and install two edible roadside rain gardens, with Tilth Alliance Soil and Water Stewards to build 30 raised vegetable beds in the community garden, and with King Conservation District to fill those raised beds with Hugelkultur fill. You can learn about our involvement at Hazel Valley Community Farm on our portfolio, as well as in KCD’s blog.
This year, we are returning to this site to dive into the next phase of their community installation, a rain-harvesting irrigation system! We will be installing a 6,000 gallon system that will help irrigate the community farm and the growing food forest.
See below for photos of our past installation work at this site, or see our portfolio for more.
When: Tuesday, October 2, 2018 - 7 - 8:30 pm
Where: 21 Acres Center, 13701 Northeast 171st Street, Woodinville, WA 98072
Permaculture Woodinville is hosting a Who’s Who in Hügelkultur where working landscape and permaculture professionals (including our own Jake Harris!) will offer homeowners insight on how to incorporate hügelkultur into landscape design. Interested individuals are welcome to come learn about Hügelkultur, the European art of mound building, that provides;
*long term source of plant nutrients
*creation of healthy soil
*more surface area for plants
*water retention in the soil
*use of recyclable material from your property
***Prior to the panel of experts discussion at 7pm Permaculture Woodinville will give a walking tour of the ongoing Hugelkultur projects at 21 Acres. The tour will start at 6pm.***
The Nature Conservancy recently did a piece on our design work at Paradise Parking Plots at Kent Hillside Church in Kent, WA. We couldn't be happier! It is such an amazing project, and so many amazing people are involved in making it happen.
"The day to day uncertainty of being a refugee and immigrant can feel more manageable through the visceral feeling of smelling and tasting familiar food. By creating this community garden, Hillside Church and World Relief Seattle are giving refugees and immigrants a renewed sense of belonging."
Read all about it here:
To find out more about Paradise Parking Plots, follow their Facebook Page:
Our own Stone Soup Crew went to help with the depave project - check out our recap of the events of the day here: www.stonesoupgardens.com/blog/depave-party
KCD has prepared a self-guided tour map of Hügelkultur sites across King County, and one of our Stone Soup client gardens is on the map! Now the Hugel-curious can see different forms of Hugelkultur (from urban to rural, from in-ground to raised containers). Visit 6 of the 10 sites and receive a Hugelkultur t-shirt (while supplies last).
Click here for the map!
The sun has come out and our gardens are growing! Here is a look at one of our jobs last year where we installed a David Bowie mosaic flagstone patio into the garden. This was a great project with a large raingarden, we planted out the front rockery, and created a dog zone outside the front door with a gate and pet friendly plants. After all this rain, it is great to see the plants filling out, blooming, and coming into their own. Take a look at how it looked last year.
How is your garden looking? Are you in need of any early summer maintenance? Stone Soup Gardens is here to help. Let us get your garden cleaned and primed for your beautiful summer enjoyment! Give us a call, or email our maintenance lead Jesse Barber at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This was a great little project we just completed. Our clients wanted to create a more hospitable space in the backyard in order to attract more AirBnB guests, as well as for themselves. The backyard used to be a sloped, weedy, wet mess. We leveled the space, and created a nice flat gravel patio for outdoor fires, complete with fire pit. Leveling and using the gravel will help keep the space from becoming oversaturated with water during the rainy winters. We also used varying colors and textures of bark to delineate spaces and to add a nice aesthetic appeal in the garden.
To further assist with drainage, we built a dispersion swale which will direct the water as it flows through the gravel. The swale is also a nice visual feature, as we used river rock to mimic the look of a stream bed and logs as a foot stepping path to the outer reaches of the yard. Our clients also qualified for a rebate on a cistern, which we installed along the side of the house. Since the cistern isn't located in a place that creates great water pressure for watering the backyard, we installed a small pump to assist with building pressure, so our clients can water their new space using rain collected from their roof.
The best feature of this yard, however, is really our Hugelculture raised bed made from repurposed logs. This arc shaped bed is a lovely focal point for the space, while creating additional seating for that outdoor fire.
We are embracing the digital age here at Stone Soup Gardens with our mighty new Instagram Account. Come on over and follow us and see what we are up to. Photos from life, love, landscaping, hardscaping, permaculture, events, and more!
That's a wrap! We've completed this awesome permaculture paradise in West Seattle. It was a great deal of hard work, but a really rewarding process. The plants have been installed, the barked pathways and retaining walls are sculpted, the irrigation lines are set, the lawn has been seeded, and the owners are moving in!
We'll be checking in again on this client after the new year, so stay tuned as we watch this outdoor space develop and grow!
Over the last month, Stone Soup Gardens has been immersed in a new construction job on the west side of Seattle. We came to the project when the new house was 90% complete, and began working with the owner and designer to create a gorgeous garden and outdoor retreat. The design was done by Jenny Pell, a well known and respected founding member of Permaculture Now!
When we began, the landscape was a giant dirt pile.
Our first week on the job involved grading and prepping the area around the house for the Desert Stone Patio installation. We prepped and installed a flagstone pathway from the driveway to the front door, and we began the process of grading and prepping the different areas of the garden, including a rockery, raingarden, and raised beds.
Next up is laying the Desert Stone patio, completing the rockery and log accents for the beds, as well as building the cedar raised beds for the side of the house.
There are more pictures to come as we progress on this awesome project. Stay tuned!
This is how Stone Soup Gardens rolls - check out our blog for current, upcoming, and past projects, events, and other super cool stuff worth mentioning.