Lauren Becherer


It’s time for spring cleaning! Office desks and homes aren’t the only things that could use tidying up this time of year—your neighborhood can use a refresh as well. The annual Madison Valley Spring Clean is coming up on Saturday, April 30th from 10am to 1pm.

This yearly spring clean, hosted by Madison Valley and McGilvra Elementary School, brings the community together to freshen up local businesses, public areas, sidewalks, streets and parks along Madison Street. All neighbors, staff and business owners are asked to lend a helping hand for an hour or two throughout the day. Volunteers will be planting flowers, touching up paint, pulling weeds, washing storefront windows, removing stickers from poles, and any other light maintenance tasks. Supplies will be provided but participants are asked to bring garden tools, gloves and/or paint scrapers.

The Spring Clean will meet at Fast Frame (2840 E Madison St) at 10am. There will be complimentary coffee and treats from the Madison Valley Merchants Association and Community Council. Cash donations will be accepted for the cost of cleanup materials. Donations can also be made online here.

Happy cleaning!

Featured photo via

The Arboretum’s loop trail is getting a makeover. Construction and groundwork has begun along the trail and is expected to continue through December 2017 for maintenance and adding a 1.2 mile connection between the existing Arboretum Drive. The park will remain open during construction with detour routes marked for pedestrians.

Here is the project description from Seattle Parks and Recreation:

“This project provides a multi-use/loop trail from the intersection of East Madison through the Arboretum to the intersection of Foster Island Road and Lake Washington Boulevard. The addition of the 1.2 miles of paved multi-use trail creates a “loop” with the existing Arboretum Drive providing an accessible path for all visitors. The path will offer recreation opportunities and access to new parts of the Arboretum collection for all.

The city received $7.8 million dollars from Washington State Department of Transportation. Seattle Parks and Recreation awarded the Berger Partnership the design contract after an RFP and interview process was conducted.

The scope of work calls for a coordinated and phased construction of a multi-use trail system through the Washington Park Arboretum, a living museum of rare high value trees and plants. The contract work includes installation and maintenance of tree and plant protection, temporary erosion and sedimentation controls, temporary access issues and coordination for the Washington Park Arboretum, operations staff and visitors. The construction of a paved multi-use trail includes selective site demolition, specialty excavation by hand or air-spade, selective tree removal, excavation, grading, fill placement, paving, walls, bridges, storm drainage, utilities, parking, stream restoration, wetland restoration, site restoration, irrigation and planting. The work will be carefully controlled to limit the impacts.

The project will:

  • Add 1.2 miles of paved multi use trail creating a “loop” with the existing Arboretum Drive providing recreation and access to the Arboretum collection
  • Remove 132 trees greater than 6″ diameter, move 13 trees and propagate over 75 trees and large woody plants
  • Plant over 800 new trees throughout the Arboretum (a ratio of over 6:1 greatly exceeding the City of Seattle 2:1 tree replacement requirements)
  • Restore over 2.5 acres of wetland
  • Restore over 2 acres of forest around Lake Washington Playfield
  • Plant over 30,000 plantings for wetland, trail restoration, rain garden, groundcover and collections

The master plan for renewing the Washington Park Arboretum was adopted by City Council and the University of Washington Board of Regents in May 2001. The University, City and the Arboretum Foundation are working together to continue implementing the master plan.”


Featured photo via

A 520 Bridge opening party, Haiku Day, and classes at the Arboretum are a few Madison Park events coming up this month.

April 1: Free Nia Workout Class
9:45-10:45am | Montlake Community Center
This free Nia workout class will introduce participants to Nia, a non-impact workout that conditions the whole body. Black Belt Nia instructor Melanie McFarland will lead this class before regular sessions begin on April 8th.

April 2-3: 520 Bridge Grand Opening
The world’s longest floating bridge has a new, bigger and better version right in our own backyard. The 520 Bridge Grand Opening will debut with pedestrian and bike access only before it opens to vehicle traffic. The public is welcome to experience this rare opportunity to cross the bridge on foot—probably the only time this will ever happen!

April 17: Haiku Day
11am—3pm | Seattle Japanese Garden
The Seattle Japanese Garden’s first Haiku Day will celebrate international Haiku Writing Day with introductory writing workshops, crafts, installations, readings, and poetry from Haiku Northwest and Haiku Ginsha. This event is free with garden admission.

April 20: These Shrubs Could Be Trees
8:30am – 12pm | Washington Park Arboretum
These Shrubs Could Be Trees will focus on a specific group of the Arboretum’s evergreen and deciduous plants that represent arboreal characteristics and functions that are more important than some people think. This interactive class will incorporate classroom and outdoor portions. Register here. 

Featured photo via

Madison Valley’s City People’s Garden Store has been sold to a development company for a mixed-use building, according to the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog. The beloved gardening store will remain open through 2016, with its exact closure date to be determined.

The following statement was posted on the City People’s Garden Store website:

Many of you have seen the surveyors and trucks on our property and have had questions about what is happening. We are sad to report that the property City People’s Garden Store leases is in the process of being sold. While there is still uncertainty as to whether the sale will go through, we are preparing for that possibility.

The timeline is still being determined, but we have been assured of being open at least through 2016. We will keep you posted as details emerge (see FAQ below). 

We are devastated by this news but are determined to enjoy this year and to make it our best ever. The staff wants everyone to know that we have cherished your support over the years, and we will make the most of the remaining time. We love what we do. Each day we remind ourselves how lucky we have been to work together in such a nurturing environment, in this location, with such great customers. 

Some staff are exploring the possibility of creating a new retail nursery if it comes to that. As these plans develop, we will be asking the community for help in this endeavor.

In the meantime, we hope you will continue to visit us in Madison Valley and in return, we will continue to provide a great selection of outdoor plants, houseplants, gift items and excellent customer service. 

Thank you very much,

Steve Magley & Staff

Comments are welcomed and encouraged on City People’s Garden Store’s Facebook page.


Featured photo via City People’s Garden Facebook.