With Jeff Hughes, Grounds & Sustainability Manager at Seattle Children’s

We all care about our homes, our streets, where we raise our children, property values and how neighborhoods and communities are built. That’s a good thing! Great neighborhoods and cities come from that. At Seattle Children’s, it’s incredibly important for us to be a great neighbor.

For nearly 30 years I’ve spent many happy hours talking with adjacent neighbors, hearing their concerns and working with them to address issues. (I’ve enjoyed lots of cookies on lots of front porches over those years!) I make personal house visits. I walk their properties with them and sit in their living rooms to see what they see. This way I can advise on plantings for them as well as Children’s, to mitigate our presence as much as possible. Perimeter and buffer zone plantings can be carefully chosen to screen buildings, light and even noise. If a neighbor has a concern, I’m happy to meet with them and I’ll do my best to address it. That’s my personal promise.

We frequently choose what and where to plant based upon neighbors’ needs and concerns. And we also make sure that our plantings are harmonious with theirs. We want the neighborhood to be a beautiful, restorative place for everyone. I’m a painter too, so my visual sense is finely tuned for color, line, texture, shape and balance. All of those things come into play.

A fun bit of history: We had a group of neighbors who were concerned about some parking lot lights at night, so we planted a white cedar hedge (Thuja occidentalis) to create a border for a particular spot. I love that we were given those trees by the Seattle Mariners! They originally had them to reduce glare from the scoreboard for Ichiro and Edgar in center field. It didn’t work out as planned, so we got lucky and happily received this nice gift.

Garden Tip:

When a plant produces a lot of extra fruit, cones or berries, sometimes it’s a sign of stress. This can mean the plant is over-producing seeds to make sure it survives. Watch for this in your garden, as you see changes year to year. Plants show stress just like people!

Questions or comments? Feel free to contact Jeff Hughes directly:

206-987-3889 or jeff.hughes@seattlechildrens.org