By SHARON S. LEE
It started as an idea. A dedicated team of volunteers that had become friends over the years kept thinking about how they could help make the library more beautiful.
As avid gardeners and members of the Poulsbo Garden Club, they decided that work parties would be a great place to start. Margaret Atwood offered to chair the newly minted beautification committee, and a new adventure began.
Margaret set dates, called out for volunteers, and they all showed up with gardening tools. It was amazing how much could be accomplished in a few short hours on a sunny or not-so-sunny day. Over time, this volunteer committee adopted a few of the garden beds on the library grounds. They began to transform them through weeding, pruning and adding fresh new plants. People noticed.
During one of their work dates, Cathy Carson, Susan Willis, Gail Pignon, and Judy Guttormsen kept talking about creating a themed garden of some kind. Suggestions rang out, but none of them stuck until Gail came up with the idea of designing a Norwegian garden bed. Such a garden would celebrate Poulsbo’s heritage, enhance the beauty of a civic building, and connect library visitors to a people, culture, and climate of a far distant country. At this point, they invited me in.
We dreamed together, we planned, and we weeded the space. I applied for a Poulsbo Garden Club grant in February 2016, and we got it. KRL Facilities came out to move the big plants and shrubs. Some were dead, and some were transferred to other locations on the grounds. The “Dream Team” began to envision a gravel path that would invite visitors into the small garden for a nice pause on a busy day. Danson’s Landscaping came up with a path design and installation at a price adjusted to match the grant award. They were engaged.
A bench was needed. Susan Willis and Cathy Carson applied for a Poulsbo Rotary grant to purchase and install a basalt tower bench. The grant was graciously awarded by local Rotarians, and this made it happen.
Plants native to Norway or their Pacific Northwest cousins were planted with loving hands and mulched with wood chips donated by Poulsbo Parks and Recreation last fall. Moreover, now, there is a modest Norwegian garden at your library. It is winter, which means it is not at its showy best, but you can still see the difference that a few dedicated volunteers can make in our world.
The dream continues. We will add more plants, shrubs, and a guardian tree this year. We also hope to add signage to enhance your experience of a small Norwegian garden at your library.
— Sharon S. Lee is director of the Kitsap Regional Library in Poulsbo. Contact her at email@example.com.