On a sunny day in a plot of land behind , you’re likely to find Trish Knox watering the plants, tending to weeds and examining crops. Tucked away back there is the Heritage Garden, a 21-acre space that’s a project of the Sammamish Valley Grange.
Knox has been the garden manager for about two years. She discovered the secluded spot about five years ago while on the Burke-Gilman Trail.
“As I was riding my bike along the trail, I saw someone working and was drawn in,” she said. “It’s just a quiet, open space. You don’t find those very often.”
The garden was developed by the Grange to express some of its core values, Knox said. Boulders engraved with words like faith and charity and descriptions of tools like the plow and the harrow are scattered throughout the garden.
An information plate reads, “The Sammamish Valley Heritage Agricultural Garden’s design is based on the 1867 Grange manual, describing the profound and inspirational connections between agriculture and humanity.”
Now, the garden is in a transitional phase, Knox said.
“It’s very symbolic,” she said. “We’re in the process of making it practical.”
That process involves planting crops — potatoes, wheat, barley — along with an herb garden, and keeping away the deer, rabbits and birds that like to feast on what’s planted. As of now, Knox doesn’t have definite plans for the crops, but she’s taking it slow.
“I’m letting it evolve organically,” she said.
There are links to the past to be found all over the garden, from the dilapidated trooper’s cabin in the corner to an old saw mill to antique farm implements now serving as decoration. For Knox, who is also the founder of sustainability organization Transition Woodinville, those links aren’t remembered enough.
“I think people are moving too fast (today),” Knox said. “Our local residents are not supporting local food or local agriculture. We’re trying to raise awareness.”
Making the heritage garden an educational center will help further that goal, but for now, Knox needs volunteers to weed, water and weed-whack, she said.
“Those are the mundane, fun chores we get to do out here,” she said.
While it’s not a polished piece of land, the Heritage Garden has its own charms.
“It might be rustic; it might not be a park, but it’s wild and free,” Knox said.
The Heritage Garden is open to the public. To get there, pull off 140th Place NE into Olympic Nursery’s entrance and drive past the nursery down a dirt road about a quarter-mile to the garden.
Those interested in volunteering at the garden can email Trish Knox.