Russell Link began stewarding the four-acre landscape on Heggenes Road twenty-five years ago while working as a Wildlife Biologist for the State of Washington. As he researched for his first book, Landscaping for Wildlife in the Pacific Northwest, he built sculptural brush piles for songbirds, rock assemblages for hibernating reptiles, and ponds for amphibians and other creatures. He also created plantings for hummingbirds, butterflies and other pollinators. While writing his second book, Living with Wildlife in the Pacific Northwest, he began experimenting with deer and rabbit resistant plants.
Link’s professional background has been in Landscape Architecture and Wildlife Biology. Aside from occasional assistance with wheelbarrowing mulch, gravel, soil and rocks around, he’s the person who does all the design and other work on this land. He says, “Somewhere I read it described as HART work—horticulturally artistic retirement therapy.” Link has been designing more spaces for two-legged creatures since retirement.
Visitors will see pergolas, gazebos, patios and benches throughout the Russell Link Garden landscape. The plant palate has also broadened to include a gold garden, silver garden, other themed areas and several mixed borders. There is a year-round creek/waterfall walk, several seasonal ponds and garden pools. A wide range of local art is placed throughout the property.
Directional signs lead through the landscape, but visitors are free to explore and sit where they wish. This is a landscape that can be visited many times and new plants, vistas, and art would be seen on every visit.
The gardens are a mixture of semi-formal and could be described as naturalist. There is a large vegetable garden and a small orchard that also includes a mixture of found art, much of which came from Island Recycling over the years. Link was fortunate to have visited Island Recycling during the transition to new ownership, when he acquired many wood and metal sculptures. Some pieces may be familiar to visitors who frequented places where the pieces were salvaged from.
One of the goals for this open garden is to share examples of the trees, shrubs, perennials and other plants can be grown in areas where deer and rabbits abound. A lot of attention has also been placed on plant combinations, recognizing that color, form and texture can illicit various sensations. All that, combined with the sounds of songbirds, floating butterflies and various fragrances, will make for a memorable experience.
Editor, Cynthia Albers (May 2023)