Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Check Out Ocean Spray Now Blooming At Sun Park Near Laurelhurst Elementary School

The Sun Park Team, which oversee the upkeep of the small corner pocket park located at the corner of NE 47th Street and 47th Avenue NE, would like to share what is currently blooming:
One of the native plants you can find at SUN Park is Ocean Spray (Holodiscus discolor) also know as cream bush or iron wood.  Ocean Spray is in full bloom in the late spring and early summer; cascading creamy white flowers bring to mind its namesake – the spray of ocean waves.  
Ocean Spray is a common deciduous shrub found in the understory of the coastal forests of Cascadia and elsewhere. The woody stems of the plant are remarkable for their strength, thus it’s other common name: ‘iron wood’.   
Pacific Northwest tribes found many uses for Ocean Spray, taking advantage of its versatility and the strength and resilience of the wood. The stems were used for arrow, spear, and harpoon shafts, as well as bows, roasting tools, needles, and digging sticks.  
The wood could be further hardened by baking it in fire and then polishing it with the horsetail plant (Equisetum). The flowers were used to treat diarrhea, the leaves relieved itching, and the boiled berries or bark was used as a tonic and treatment for diarrhea.

The SUN Park location, planned, funded, developed, and maintained by Laurelhurst neighbors, was originally part of the site of a large 1920's Bungalow style house.   A developer purchased the property, demolished the home, then divided the original lot into three parcels.  Two houses were built on the subdivided lots.

In 2007, the Sun Park group, along with many in the community, attended a meeting along with City representatives, to save the third parcel, on the corner, from being developed.

The plot of land was purchased by a group of Laurelhurst neighbors and friends, through donations to the Cascade Land Conservancy (now Forterra, a nonprofit 501.c.3 organization whose mission is to conserve great lands and create great communities) in order to preserve the small open space from development and create a community park and native plant garden.  

In 2009, SUN Park, named for Saving Urban Nature, was finished and was completely funded by private donations.

The Friends of SUN Park maintain the plantings which include a variety of trees, shrubs, ferns, perennials, and groundcovers native to Western Washington. Identification markers provide information on the plants and "the ways in which their use represented the
first ‘grocery store’ and ‘pharmacy’ for local Native American cultures," a volunteer told the Laurelhurst Blog Staff.

One of the Friends Of SUN Park gardening volunteers added:
SUN Park serves as a demonstration site for those interested in growing native
plants and learning more about the plants indigenous to the region. Gardening
with these plants creates a more nature landscape, promotes wildlife habitats,
and requires less maintenance.
SUN’s Weed and Sweep Brigade work parties are held the second Saturday of each month at 10am.
"Stop by with your favorite garden tool to keep the park in shape," a volunteer told the Laurelhurst Blog.

To support SUN Park, contact Dixie Porter at or 206-383-0147  or Janice Camp at 206-849-5778.

Enjoy "great nature nearby" one of the volunteers told the Laurelhurst Blog.

Go here for more information.

SUN Park

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