By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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Members of the Sequim Association of Realtors on Friday planted hundreds of drought-resistant plants — such as trailing raspberries, lilacs, heliantheum and kinnikinnick — on the south edge of the parking lot for the Albert Haller Playfields in Carrie Blake Park.
“The idea is to demonstrate to people what they can grow without having to water it,” said Joe Holtrop, manager of the Clallam Conservation District.
Over the past couple of weeks, such volunteers as the Realtors and the Sequim High School FFA — along with special help from the Washington Conservation Corps — have planted more than 2,000 plants in a half-acre plot to be used as a template for those looking to minimize water for their homes' landscaping.
“It's a big concern for all of us, conserving water,” Realtor Marguerite Glover said Friday while digging holes for coastal strawberry plants in a demonstration rain garden at the site.
The project has been a long time in the works, begun in 2008 by the Master Gardener Foundation of Clallam County and Washington State University Clallam County Extension Office.
The two groups acquired grants to begin low-impact landscaping at the park, but financial and time constraints forced them to back out.
The conservation district has since taken over the lead, and Holtrop said the goal is to have it all done this summer.
With a grant from the federal Environmental Protection Agency, Holtrop said, a portion of the playfields' parking lot will be paved with a porous concrete that will allow runoff to filter through it to the soil.
More funding has come from the Washington Conservation Commission and the state Department of Ecology.
But, Holtrop said, it has been the donations and discount supplies from the community that have made the project a reality.
Several nurseries, excavators and mulch companies have provided material,he said.
“The generosity of the community's really been awesome on this,” he said.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.