Like many this summer, I spent a lot of time outdoors. My wife and I like to walk and photograph various neighborhoods throughout Edmonds. I recently obtained a copy of an Edmonds map published by the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce and decided to visit and explore every single park within city limits. I was astonished to learn that there are 26 parks in the city limits. You can see the full list on the city’s website:.
What is even more amazing is that the Edmonds Parks and Recreation Department’s maintenance efforts are not limited to these parks. They also maintain many other locations such as the Library Plaza, the downtown corner plantings, the hanging baskets, the Edmonds Marsh, and much more. The total green space area of Edmonds is over 450 acres.
After visiting and photographing all of our parks and exploring many neighborhoods of Edmonds, one thing became very clear to me: Beyond the fact that we live in a beautiful city by the sound, our parks and other public spaces are amazingly well maintained. I felt compelled to write this short article because I have observed that our two great volunteer organizations — the Edmonds Floretum Garden Club and Edmonds In Bloom — often receive most of the media attention due to their volunteer city beautification efforts (primarily via the hanging baskets and the downtown corner plantings programs).
The reality is that while these two organizations do wonderful things to voluntarily support our city, the Parks and Recreation Department needs to be acknowledged as the team who does the majority of the work. They do it every day, all year long. Additionally, even during this pandemic, and with limited staffing, our parks and outdoor spaces continue to be clean and well maintained.
As a member of the Edmonds Floretum Garden Club, I have worked alongside Debra Dill and Eric Bird (both Parks and Recreation Department employees) during short work parties when we have assisted them in planting downtown corners in the spring. It is very obvious from these limited interactions that maintaining our city’s public spaces and parks isn’t just a job to them. For them it is a passion. They are dedicated and love what they do.
Often you will see residents out for a walk stopping to ask Eric and Debra questions about the city’s many plants and trees. Their team doesn’t just go to the nursery and buy a truck load of pretty plants each year. The city has a greenhouse adjacent to City Park where they propagate new plants and perform a variety of other horticultural activities.
The parks team is very knowledgeable about trees and plants. They have detailed plans and strategies for baskets, corners, and park maintenance. They keep records of which plants have done well and which plants may not be suitable for certain locations. Debra is ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) Certified Arborist and maintains ISA TRAQ (Tree Risk Assessment Qualification).
In conclusion, let me suggest that the next time you see one of the city’s Parks and Recreation white trucks with the “Park Maintenance” logo, take a moment to say hello to those staff members and thank them for keeping Edmonds the beautiful city that it is!
— By Chris Walton
Chris Walton is an active member of the Edmonds Floretum Garden Club and occasionally volunteers to assist the city in planting corners or pruning plants at the Anderson Center. He and his wife have enjoyed exploring Edmonds for about 17 years. Chris has no personal association with the city’s parks department or their staff. You can visit City of Edmonds Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services at their website.