WEEKEND: New native plant arboretum opens today in Chimacum

Linda Landkammer helps get the new arboretum ready for today's opening at H.J. Carroll Park in Chimacum. Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News

Linda Landkammer helps get the new arboretum ready for today's opening at H.J. Carroll Park in Chimacum. Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News

CHIMACUM — A 1-acre portion of a popular county park has been converted to an arboretum that showcases native plants as a way for visitors to gain a scientific perspective about area vegetation.

“This is a center of information about native plants,” said Linda Landkammer, the garden’s designer and project coordinator.

“It is a place where you can see all the plants in the flesh, so to speak, and learn about them at the same time.”

A grand opening is planned from 5 to 8 tonight.

A plant sale, music, food carts and a raffle are planned.

The space, which is located inside H.J. Carroll Park at 9884 state Highway 19, just north of the Chimacum crossroads, has been christened the Kul Kah Han Native Plant Demonstration Garden.

It is named in honor of the last-known chief of the Chimakum tribe who, in the 1850s, lived not far from the present gardens and used the native plants for food, clothing and medicine.

The park includes 900 feet of pathways that lead through displays of 240 species of plants that are labeled and cross-referenced.

Within the park are divisions keyed to the plants’ native environment, such as damp forest, dry forest, edgeland, meadow, montane (high elevation), subalpine and wetland.

Landkammer said she hopes to acquire 160 more species for a total of 400.

The organization has created a database with information on each plant, including its botanical name, its common name and whether a sign for the plant has been made.

The database also includes a field to enter the names of plants she wants to add to the collection and the disposition of that acquisition.

“Our goal is to sponsor educational presentations and to collaborate with other like-minded organizations,” Landkammer said, adding that the park could be a field trip destination for school classes.

Landkammer said about $3,000 had been spent in developing the park over a 15-year period.

Area organizations, governmental entities and individuals donated cash and materials.

Landkammer said the success is attributable to volunteers, who she estimates contributed about 15,000 hours.

After the park ceremony, she will step down as project coordinator.

The park will run on volunteer labor, with the first order of business the recruitment of a new volunteer part-time director.

The park requires care and maintenance from March to October.

Landkammer is recruiting volunteers for two teams of four people who will be asked to commit to a few hours twice a month.

“We are looking for people who already know about native plants to join us,” she said.

“And we can take a few more who know gardening in general but are willing to enrich their knowledge of native plants through research.”

For more information, visit www.nativeplant

garden.org, email [email protected] or phone 360-379-8733.

Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or [email protected]

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