On Monday morning, Edmonds in Bloom President Carol Murray made a special trip to Salish Crossing to personally honor and recognize Nick Echelbarger for his combination of vision, care and sense of community that resulted in one of the undisputed gems of Edmonds gardens associated with a business.
Begun in 2014 when under Nick’s direction Salish Crossing began its transformation from a supermarket shell to a vibrant business and arts hub, the gardens have held a special place in his vision.
“There are enough supermarket parking lot plantings, and while it would have been easy to do so, I just didn’t want to follow that pattern,” he said. “It began with the need to provide an ADA ramp, and we had the choice to just do it on a budget and without much thought, or to turn it into a net positive.”
The Echelbarger family has deep roots in the Edmonds/Lynnwood area, with Nick’s granddad born in Alderwood Manor in 1922. They’ve been part of the community ever since and have been a positive force in an array of enterprises ranging from real estate development to putting Edmonds on the national arts map with the Cascadia Arts Musuem.
“My heart is in Edmonds,” added Nick. “For me, the decision to build a showcase garden was a no-brainer – it was purse strings or heart strings.”
It began with hiring Withey and Price to plan the gardens. With decades of experience including Shoreline’s showcase Dunn Gardens, the team not only planned the gardens, choosing plantings that would complement each other and provide a year-round show of beauty. They also continue to provide ongoing maintenance, making sure each individual plant receives the care it needs to continue adding color and texture to the gardens regardless of the season.
Early in the project, Nick was fortunate to secure noted Suquamish artist Peg Deam to create bas relief art for the planters, adding a touch that pays homage to the original people of this area. It’s all part of creating something special for the community, he remarked.
“With our signature garden tour cancelled this year due to COVID, we wanted to put some extra effort into recognizing gardens that add to the floral beauty of Edmonds,” said Murray. “This year we’ve recognized more than 30 businesses and at least 90 residences. Look for the Edmonds in Bloom flag around town identifying these gardens.”
— Story and photos by Larry Vogel