south seattle suburbs

I promised myself this would be a quick, concise post to capture a the interesting spots that I experienced today, in slightly longer than drive-by fashion, in south King County. On such a beautiful day how the hell did I end up in landlocked Kent? To pick up a 55 gallon fermentation tank of course. And what’s the saying? “the voyage is more important than the destination”.

The shot above is from above the Robert Morris earthwork entitled “untitled” but better known as “Johnson Pit #30”.  It’s a quintessential piece of land art in the NW and I’m embarrassed to say I’ve finally stopped to take a look.  There’s been plenty written about it so all I will say is that it does not disappoint. I noticed the concentric arcs of the terraced pit on the steep drive down into the Green River valley and made sure that I backtracked to revisit. Interestingly enough there are several other compelling terrain interventions in the valley, specifically the variety of make shift dikes and levees that line the Green River and surround portions of the Boeing plant, like this one…

If you are not completely burnt out on the news of flooding, levees and disaster from the flooding in the midwest this spring some graphic mapped senarios for the green river valley can be found here.

From there I cut west across the 5 and into Seatac, where I was not surprisingly knocked off my normal route by construction and ended up finding the Highline Seatac Botanical Garden which I had recently heard about this spring.  This lesser known third public Japanese garden in Seattle originally called Seiki was relocated stone by stone because of the SeaTac 3rd runway expansion. From the Seatac Botanical Garden Website:

“The Seike Japanese Garden was previously located at the former site of the Des Moines Way Nursery in the City of SeaTac. In danger of being sold due the expansion of SeaTac Airport, the garden was saved by four different governments and the Highline Botanical Garden Foundation. The project is believed to be the largest relocation of a Japanese Garden ever attempted in the United States.”

It seems a little disjointed from the rest of the garden especially after a long dusty walk down the hill from the rose garden to reach it. It’s modest in size but has some very elegant vignettes of stone, water and highly sculpted plants. Well worth searching out, especially if you have a few minutes before picking up someone at the airport for a late flight.

A few blocks away theres an equally sculptural but very different piece of infrastructure adjacent to the Port of Seattle parking lot and overlooking the north end of the Seatac runways. In the center of  a grassy open space, is what appears to be a very large diameter but low profile water tank.  Looking south west across a massive port of Seattle parking lot jets are taking off at regular intervals.  It could be a great place to do some night time, time lapse of airplanes departing or just enjoying the warm light of a perfect afternoon illuminating a long arc of concrete.


About jim gerlach

A seasoned landscape architect living and working on beautiful Vashon Island.
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2 Responses to south seattle suburbs

  1. duane dietz says:

    i am more curious about the fermentation…would this involve the asian pears?

    • jim gerlach says:

      Yep, should get a batch started in the next month. Not a very good fruit set on the Asian pears so I am looking into sourcing fruit from E Washington and scaling up production a little.

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