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At the Warren G. Magnuson Park
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Native Plant Nursery

This page is focused on the building of the Native Plant Nursery. The Magnuson Community Garden Native Plant Nursery (NPN) was designed and constructed in 2003, in cooperation with the Magnuson Environmental Stewardship Alliance (MESA), the Washington Native Plant Society (WNPS), Earth Corp (EC), Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR), and the United States Geological Survey (USGS).  The nursery is in the northwest corner of  the Community Garden.  It is northeast of the Brig andsouth of  the NOAA ground; along the fence that separates NOAA from Magnuson park.  

This is a photo of the prototype nursery bed.  The beds were assembled in Building 30 at Magnuson Park, and then transported to the nursery site

Each member group was assigned a specific area of the nursery.   The plant inventory is used in restoration projects at Magnuson Park, other Seattle parks, and at various public and private projects through out greater King County

The nursery was constructed on a large concrete pad; formerly part of a parking lot. Cardboard was placed on the concrete floor of each bed before a continuous section of 10 mil plastic sheeting was installed.  The cardboard was installed to protect the plastic liner from perforation.   The liner in each bed was then covered with 2 to 3” of sawdust or wood chips.  Saw dust is the preferred bedding medium.

Earth Corp volunteers fill the beds with plants as soon as the beds were assembled.

Thirty of the capillary beds were built with 2X6” cedar boards, and the remaining (ten) beds were built with 2X6” recycled plastic lumber.   The shade cloth frames on all 40 beds are built with 2X2” cedar posts.   (Recycled products will eventually replace all the natural wood elements of the nursery). 

The covered potting shelter was built in 2004.  USGS constructed, planted, and maintained the native plant cutting beds.


The chain fence delineates the nursery.  Seattle Parks beds were located along the west end of the nursery. 

The nursery is comprised of forty capillary beds, a native plant cutting bed and a covered potting shelter.  Each 5X10’ capillary bed will hold 200 plants in one gallon containers.  The design layout permits adequate access. A fence comprised of  chain and steel bollards was erected to protect and delineate the nursery. 

Wood chips were placed around each bed.   The chips help to protect the irrigation system.  The chips also help hold the bed frames in place as well as helping to retain moisture in the nursery.

Many plants also need to be top watered.  Hand watering is often preferred during hot dry weather at the WNPS beds. 

An irrigation system was installed in 2003.  It is a flood type system that bottom waters the nursery plants.  The irrigation system can be either manually or timer controlled.  Various irrigation programs can be implemented that meets the need of member groups.

MESA propagates  native grasses

In early May 2004 the WNPS portion of the nursery held over 3000 plants.  

Magnuson Community Garden, Warren G. Magnuson Park - 6344 N.E. 74th St., Suite 104 - Seattle, WA 98115