For nearly two decades, Sequim’s Friendship Garden at Carrie Blake Park has been a place of peace, beauty and tranquility.
The idea for a garden began in 1993, not long after then-mayor Ed Beggs and Junzo Yasiu, mayor of Yamasaki, signed a charter for Sequim’s Sister City.
In an article for the Sequim Gazette that July, Jessie Rhude, a Sequim resident and member of the Friendship Garden committee, wrote, “The dream (was a) creating of garden that shared the culture and horticulture of both East and West.”
In following years, that dream came true. In the mid-1990s, city officials cleared blackberry vines and weeds and added pedestrian bridges, and in 1997 a stone lantern was placed on the island. In 1999, an interpretive sign was added near the park’s entrance and in 2000, a large viewing pavilion was added at the garden’s northeast corner, among other amenities.
The garden’s become a real “go to place,” Rhude says. “We are pleased at this — it was our beginning dream and it has been accomplished.”
Rhude notes in the 2001 article that, “A garden needs much work. Weeds keep growing, plants and trees require much care.” And so do the amenities.
But Friendship Garden advocates note that despite help from community groups like Sequim Sunrise Rotary, the Sequim Lions and the City of Sequim, their funding has stopped. The group now depends solely on residents, local nurseries and private donors to help pay for maintenance and materials, Rhude says.
“The Gardening Committee has been frugal with the diminishing dollar amount,” Rhude says. “We are reaching the bottom of our pot and are in dire need of some financial help to restore some of our wooden structures at the garden.”
That need got a boost recently with a donation from three local residents, who donated enough funds to restore wood at the garden’s viewing pavilion.
“I love Japanese gardens — it shows the art of living,” says Anne Minton, who joined fellow donors James Minton and Kyoko Parsely at the garden last week, along with Sequim mayor Ken Hays and three residents who help maintain the garden once a week — Rhude, Jan Danford and George Kennedy.
The garden group installed a plaque on one of the the viewing pavilion’s roof support beams.
Still, Rhude notes, there are other wooden structures at the Friendship Garden that could use some care and that require funding.
For more information or to help, call Rhude at 681-3818.