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The Secret Garden

From the street, you would miss it! Ravenna P-Patch is hard to find because it's so nicely landscaped it seems to be someone's private yard. But look a little closer. There are eleven small garden beds, lovingly tended by eleven passionate gardeners. The hillside above the garden bursts with tulips in the spring. A fragrant communal herb bed nestles in the corner. Lilac scents the air on spring days. A perfect picture of peace....until nearby building plans threatened to pave part of the site.

"Gardeners at the ready. We will save our garden!" The effort took every ounce of energy each gardener had, and the involvement of the whole neighborhood, community, city, state, world and universe, or so it seemed. But the case for preservation was strong, and the gardeners persuasive. The site had been built with open space and public use in mind, and the approving hand of the Board of Public Works had signed the original plans. These truths prevailed and Ravenna was saved as a neighborhood treasure. Each spring the tulips celebrate.

Tucked into a pedestrian street right-of-way, behind a row of plum trees, lies a little jewel, Ravenna's secret garden. In the late 1970s the site was an overgrown hillside with only a trampled path. The Seattle Engineering Department planned to build a stairway on the steepest part of the site and accepted the challenge of including a P-Patch on the flatter part. A beautifully designed, fully landscaped garden with space for eleven gardening households opened in 1981. The gardeners quickly outgrew their plots and adopted the hillside, naturalizing it with daffodils and tulips.

Ten peaceful years of tomatoes later, an access roadway for a adjacent development threatened to pave over the P-Patch, but the whole neighborhood galvanized behind the tomatoes, and the gardeners. Today tomatoes, not asphalt, grace the secret garden.



From Downtown:

  1. Take I-5 north
  2. Take the NE 45th St / NE 50th St exit towards University of Washington, exit #169
  3. Continue on 7th Ave NE
  4. Turn Right on NE 45th St
  5. Turn Left on 20th Ave NE
  6. Turn Right on NE 54th St
  7. Continue on NE 55th St
  8. Turn Right on Ravenna Ave NE to P-Patch


5200 Ravenna Avenue NE (Map)


Size: 2,200 sq ft
Established: 1981
Number of plots: 18
Plot Size: 100-200 sq'
Average wait: 1 1/2 years
Ownership of land: Seattle Transportation


Year round gardening only
Spring flowered hillside

Bus Routes

71, 72



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