How Many Bath Tubs?

And the Rain will Fall.....

And the Rain will Fall.....

Every winter Meerkerk experiences a tremendous amount of surface water drainage. This year we have been proactive in installing additional swales, improving culverts, and upgrading french drains to help move the water through the gardens to protect plants and facility structures. 

 We thought it would be interesting to calculate the total amount of water and convert the total drainage to bathtubs to help visualize the millions of gallons of surface water that Meerkerk has to manage each year. 

Thanks to Meerkerk’s Special Projects Manager Barton Cole for providing the calculations for this demonstration.

So here it goes.....

 Assume 20 acres of watershed.

Assume 24" of annual rainfall

thus, 40 acre-feet of water falls to the ground

(One acre-foot equals about 326,000 gallons, or enough water to cover an acre of land, about the size of a football field, one foot deep.).

That equals 13,000,000 gallons of rainfall - WOW!

Assume 80% evaporates/transpires/infiltrates.

Therefore 20% of annual rainfall becomes surface water for Meerkerk to manage.

13,000,000 x.2 = 2,600,000 gallons of surface water - WOW Again!

So how many bathtubs is that?

Average Bathtub holds 40 gallons of water and is 5 feet long.

2,600,000 divided by 40 = 65,000 bath tubs.


Here's the Visual:

Place the bathtubs end to end = 61.55 miles (Whidbey Island  is 51 miles long).

For those who are familiar with the Alderwood Mall: If it takes 7 bathtubs to fit into one parking lot space at the Seattle Alderwood Mall then 65,000 bathtubs would fill 9,285 parking spaces. The Alderwood Mall only has 6,300 spaces.


When is Peak Bloom?

Visitors want to know when the optimum time is to come and visit the Gardens. We always struggle with this question because we think the Gardens are special all year round. Peak Bloom is a cascade of color and texture instead of a single event. The rhodies open at different times during the warm spring weather and the blossoms of the trees add extra color and weight to the experience. 

If you can, Meerkerk is a garden that invites repeated visits. Even people that have been coming for years will comment that they have been delighted for the first time by a splash of unexpected color never seen before.

When is Peak Bloom? Hmmmm..... when is a woman at her most beautiful? If you know the answer to that-- then you will know the exact day to come to Meerkerk. Otherwise, come and behold beauty in all its stages.

Native Plants Enthusiasm

Native Plants Class Tour

Native Plants Class Tour

Attendees to Meerkerk's Native Plant Class on March 12th were treated to a 3 hour lecture and tour of the gardens that both informed and inspired all that partook. One attendee remarked that the "gardens are looking so good this year!" Indeed, the staff and volunteers have been working all fall and winter on several areas that were in need of pruning, cleaning, and general TLC.

Master Gardener Don Lee provided the class with samples of conifers, flowering shrubs, and leaf samples for the participants to have a hands-on learning experience to differentiate the native plants that Whidbey Island naturally grows.  As Don Lee says, "It's one thing to see a plant photo in a book, it is much more helpful to actually hold the plant and visually see the bark, leaves, and berries."


November Surprise


"I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do."
-   Willa Cather (1873-1947), O Pioneers 1913

 Just when it seems that the day will turn into a typical November afternoon full of wind, dark skies, and chilling raindrops on the face, a slight turn on the path at Meerkerk presents a sun burst of fall color. The tree has dropped her yellow skirt and beckons all visitors to circle her and remember those child hood days of leaf piles and pulling a rake much too big for small hands.

Bluegrass in the Garden

It was a fine day for a concert! Starting with the 11 am workshop, fiddles, guitars, and banjos filled the gardens with toe tapping music. The Presentation Grounds donned a kaleidoscope of colorful blankets and chairs occupied by contented listeners, and more than a few were moved to dance a bit.  The Presentation Grounds donned a kaleidoscope of colorful blankets and chairs occupied by contented listeners, and more than a few were moved to dance a bit. We wish to thank the bands and our team of volunteers that made this a great event.