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Arboretum celebrates 50 years in Everett
EVERETT — The volunteers who maintain the Evergreen Arboretum and Gardens at American Legion Park are celebrating the arboretum’s 50th anniversary.
The ceremony begins. at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 11 with a commemorative planting. Mayor Ray Stephanson and parks director Paul Kaftanski are scheduled to speak. Light refreshments will be provided afterward.
The 10-garden arboretum spans 3.5 acres. The gardens include a Japanese maple grove, a rock garden and a woodland garden.
The group is using the event as a springboard to raise money to complete the arboretum’s south wing, Evergreen Arboretum Foundation vice president Sandy Schumacher said last week.
The south wing will finish the plans laid out for the arboretum in 1963.
A loyal base of volunteers takes care of the arboretum. The arboretum is funded entirely by the foundation.
The arboretum is open to the public every day during daylight hours. Docents give free tours each Saturday starting at 1 p.m. from June 1 to Sept. 1.
The foundation has worked to get more people aware of the arboretum in past years and it’s now become a destination site in the Puget Sound, Schumacher said.
People by the busloads arrive each summer, Schumacher said.
Dozens of people have their weddings at the arboretum each year.
50 years and counting
The arboretum was the brainchild of three women in the Everett Garden Club, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this September.
In 1963, the plans for the arboretum started with a pin oak tree planted at what is now the 10th hole of the American Legion golf course.
Mayor George Gebert and other city officials celebrated the 1963 planting, which got a small photo and front page blurb in the Herald.
The arboretum’s history is muddy and almost all of the founding members are deceased, but somehow golfers won out, took over the space and the arboretum moved.
Over time, the arboretum grew. It now features 10 different gardens.
The foundation built an education center three years ago to teach people how to grow plants.
“I think for as small a city as it is, it’s pretty amazing and quite an asset,” said Shari Protzman, president of the Everett Garden Club.
“Every time you go, it’s slightly different,” Protzman said. “Different things are in bloom.”
Schumacher remembers when she first ventured into the arboretum. She learned about the arboretum through Sorticulture, the city’s annual garden and arts festival that happens at Legion Park in June.
“I was shocked,” Schumacher said. “I lived in Everett and never heard of it. It was a big surprise.”
A few months passed and Schumacher became a regular volunteer and later became part of its organization.
The foundation is a nonprofit group. Its annual plant sale and its Gardens of Merit Tour, both on June 22, are its biggest fundraisers.
The arboretum is located in American Legion Park at 145 Alverson Blvd.

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