Unwelcome plants sprout at Poulsbo Library

POULSBO — The native green belt around the Poulsbo Library is growing and thriving, but not the way developers intended when they revamped the Lincoln Road structure and created a landscape that would make Martha Stewart envious.

Weeds are a spreading issue at the site, giving the exterior of one of the city’s most lauded projects in recent history the appearance of a neglected back yard. The problem has gotten so bad that some of the unwanted growths is rivaling landscape plants in terms of size.

Hoping to get to the root of the matter, Friends of the Library member Yvonne Saddler met with members of the Poulsbo Public Works Committee Wednesday to explain the current situation.

“This spring we started to notice the weeds and then a few more a couple of weeks later,” Saddler said, noting that very little progress has been made to curtail the infestation over the past two months. “That place was very carefully planted with plants and ground cover but we really need to get those weeds out so the ground cover can do its thing.”

The Friends of the Library are willing to purchase beauty bark and weed-deterring landscape fabric, she added, but the city will have to establish a maintenance routine to ensure the issue doesn’t pop through the soil again.

“I think the city somehow got the idea that between the Poulsbo Garden Club and the Friends that it would be done — that is simply not the case,” Saddler said, pointing out that maintenance at the site was the city’s responsibility.

With a busy spring schedule underway though, Poulsbo Public Works’ employees are finding such projects increasingly difficult to tackle. Work release crews assist with the weeds from time to time but, even so, the landscape continues to suffer.

“It just looks bad,” Saddler said, adding that sometimes volunteer crews and even city staff end up eradicating the wrong vegetation. “We need to have someone who knows a plant from a weed.”

Councilwoman Jackie Aitchison said she would check whether the Master Gardeners and members of the Poulsbo Garden Club could help with education and future efforts at the grounds, but also wanted to ensure the city didn’t let the problem grow in the meantime.

“We’re overwhelmed,” Public Works Supt. Bill Duffy explained. Even so, Duffy said his department would do its best to address the matter when enough funds are available — namely the 2003 budget cycle. “It’s not just the garden. It’s the building. We’ve got to put a new coat of stain on it sometime soon and we’ve been chasing caterpillars all week.”

Duffy also pointed out that any work done this year would simply be a short-term fix to a long ongoing problem. Public Works has had its share of such dilemmas since the expanded library re-opened in January 2001. Maintenance has become a key issue at the popular site and Duffy has already had to bump up janitorial hours to address interior cleaning.

In the meantime, though the Friends of Library are simply looking for helping hands at the library to help tackle the weeds so the landscape fabric and beauty bark could be added.

“Right now, it’s a weedy problem,” Saddler observed.

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