News Page 2. Responses to "Pea-O'd" in the Seattle Weekly 1/3/07;

an article about the Pelican Tea Garden P-Patch.


No Free Ride
Well, let's see. I started my day by writing a check for $45 to the P-Patch program to renew my garden plot for 2007. Then I wrote a check for $250 to the P-Patch Trust, to be matched by Microsoft, which will be used to support the program by purchasing property for gardens, tools, and other garden materials and paying fees for less well-off gardeners. As I've done the past six years, in 2007 I'll likely devote well over 100 hours of my time to Bradner Gardens Park, a city gem which exists largely because of the tireless efforts of volunteers. "Squatter"? "Renegade plot"? The city as a "funding source"? Is John Metcalfe kidding? ["Pea-O'd," Jan. 3.]

I'm sure he's been inundated with e-mails disabusing him of the notion that the city's P-Patches don't pay their own way. I doubt that I have to tell him that we pay fees, hold fund-raising events, provide 99.9 percent of the labor (Parks does mow the lawn at Bradner!), and donate an enormous amount of fresh produce to local food banks. And I suppose that more than a few people have pointed out to him that using his garage to store a car in a city is considered a colossal waste of real estate in these parts.

What I want to know is this—when Metcalfe was speaking to Sandy Pernitz of the P-Patch office, did he not think to ask her how the program actually works? Or did he ask but decide that the truth was not as entertaining as a rant about his disappointment in finding his (his landlord's?) garage inaccessible? We have more than enough so-called journalists in this city who use their columns to whine about Seattle's failure to live up to their preconceived fantasies. Why amble down that hackneyed path? The fact that this article appeared under the title "News" is astounding.

May I suggest that after purchasing an umbrella, Metcalfe head on over to Metzger Maps in the Pike Place Market, just a short bus ride from Capitol Hill. He can pick up a map of Seattle and make the amazing discovery that Capitol Hill can easily be "cruised," by foot, in less than a day. That should leave him with plenty of time to devote to the practice of his craft. Perhaps we can look forward to a well-researched article on a subject that actually matters.

Elizabeth Cross

Ditch the Car
Hey, John Metcalfe: Get a life and sell the "kaa" ["Pea-O'd," Jan. 3].
Metcalfe's whining about a P-Patch blocking his garage was pathetic. He should relax and enjoy the garden. Maybe if he is nice, the gardeners might share some of their bounty next summer. And one more thing: Plants grow in soil, not dirt.
Joyce Moty

Victory Garden
As a former 19-year resident of the Pelican Bay Artists' Cooperative, which borders the Pelican Tea Garden, and as a board member of the Pelican Bay Foundation for 24 years, I am a pretty good resource regarding this matter ["Pea-O'd," Jan. 3]. That hidden piece of land was a rat-infested dump, and through my efforts, about 15 years ago, and with the full cooperation and delight of my neighbors, it became a garden.

Despite the assertion in "Pea-O'd," there was no "clandestine growing." I contacted the Department of Design, Construction and Land Use before the garden was created to ascertain if there would be any problem in having the garden at that location. I also contacted the Transportation Department. In both cases, I was told it was not an issue.

For two years, gardening was difficult, as a neighboring business kept dumping debris on the garden. In an attempt to protect it, I contacted the community garden coordinator in the Department of Neighborhoods, in the hope that the garden could become a P-Patch, but my request was declined. After 11 years of repeated requests on my part, Sandy Pernitz expressed interest. I then had to obtain signatures, in support of creating the P-Patch, from every property owner whose property borders the garden.

And that was only the beginning. . . . The foundation had to obtain volunteers to work on the garden, including hand digging a long and deep trough for the waterline, in return for a matching grant to pay for the various expenses including the water supply.

Far from being a "rogue," "renegade" plot with "squatter's rights," "guerrilla gardening," and "clandestine growing," creation of this P-Patch took adherence to a multitude of legal and bureaucratic requirements, and, yes, sometimes dealing with a neighboring "anarchist" along the way.

Anne Hagen
President, Pelican Bay Foundation