Dunn Docent “Tattler” Volume I, Issue 1

In the spirit of old-timey, ink-stained-wretched, hometown journalism, I’m calling this blog post The Dunn Docent Tattler.  With unfounded optimism and in the remotely plausible event there will be similar posts in the future, I’ve dubbed it Volume I. No promises.  But here’s a recap of today’s, very newsy meeting.


I don’t have to tell those who were there today that Christine Ranneger gave a fun and informative talk about our pollinator friends. A beekeeper and member of the Puget Sound Beekeepers Assocation, which has a website HERE, Christine showed herself to be as knowledgable as she is enthusiastic about these fascinating and important creatures.   There were lots of jokes about boy bees, referred to at one point as “flying packages of sperm.”   Christine told us that when you go out to capture a swarm, it is recommended that you walk softly and carry a big box.  We learned about how to attract, house and care for native mason bees and bumblebees. And, thanks to a glassed-in “observation hive,” we were able to get a close look at honey bees at home.  Many of us went home with bear-shaped glass jars full of very local, raw, lovingly produced honey.  I  promised to post information about some bee books:

  • The Bees a novel by playwright Laline Paull has been described as a dystopian Watership Down with honey bees instead of bunnies as the characters.  The protagonist is a worker bee who challenges the hive mentality.  It’s fiction, amusing and entertaining – but I wondered when I read it whether the depiction of hive life and bee society had any basis in fact.  Here’s what I found about that quesion on the Web:  How Accurate? 
  • A Sting in the Tale by Dave Goulson is a factual and funny look at the author’s life work with bumblebees.  Goulson is a professor of biology at the University of Sussex in England who in 2w006 founded the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, a charity devoted to reversing bumblebee declines. Concerned about one bumblebee native to England which had gone extinct there, he managed to find the species elsewhere and return it.  Here’s a review of his book:  Guardian review.
  • Humblebee Bumblebee and Orchard Mason Bees, both written by Bellingham resident Brian Griffin are concise, information packed guides that are widely available.


Beginning in June, Dunn Gardens members will have the opportunity to join in “Tuesday Morning Wanders.”  The brainchild, I believe,  of Executive Director Beth Weir, the Wanders benefit was recently approved by the board and will soon be announced to members.  You may tell visitors about it as an example of member benefits.  Here are the ground rules:

·   The Dunn Gardens are open to members from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm each Tuesday.
·   Members are asked to  notify the office at info@dunngardens.org ahead of time or call 206 362-0933 and let us know you would like to come.
·   Members are welcome to bring a guest; parties limited to 4 persons.
·   Members are asked to check in at the office prior to exploring the grounds.
·   Visitors are asked to observe garden etiquette and respect the plantings and the privacy of the residents.
·   No dogs permitted.
·   The Dunn Gardens reserves the right to close Tuesday Morning Wanders on a given Tuesday.
·   Notice of closing will be posted the night before on the website.
·   Photography for personal use is permitted. The Dunn Gardens would appreciate any shots and they will be used only with your permission and appropriate credit.


Congratulations are in order to longtime Dunn grounds manager Zsolt Lehoczky, who has just accepted a garden management position at a very large property at Lake Oswego near Portland, Oregon.  He is excited about the opportunity to put his mark on a landscape.  The “bad news,” of course, is that we will miss his energy and expertise.  If you see him in the next 6  weeks, please wish him well.


I’ve asked docents to please participate in harvesting erythronium seed pods for sale to our visitors.  We will probably want some help in packaging them for sale as well.  By way of a reward for your efforts, I will try to arrange for a gift from the garden of some seeds or a plant for those who help out.  If you would like to harvest – and most especially if you would be willing to coordinate the harvesting project – please let me know via email ASAP.   It won’t be a terribly time consuming or difficult project, but because it is difficult to determine just when the pods will be ripe – and because will will want to be careful not to strip all of the seeds, it will take some oversight.  I’m about to leave on a 3-week trip so I cannot do this myself.


There’s a new link at the top of the Dunn Gardens home page.  It’s a little icon at the upper right, near the Facebook symbol, that looks like a camera. If you click on it you will be taken to Quill’s Instagram posts which are photos taken in the garden.  Good way to get a visual heads up about what’s in bloom and maybe even learn about some “new” plants.  You don’t have to sign up for Instagram or download anything.


No Bob Findlay presentation on June 13.  Bob is healing from an injury.  Instead Tanya DeMarsh Dodson is coordinating a field trip to two gardens near Orting:  The soon-to-be closed Chase Garden and The Old Goat Farm.  You will want to organize yourselves into carpools and consider bringing or ordering lunch.  I will be away but Tanya and Jan Peterson will provide leadership for this outing.


Please use this web site to check on program events and to sign up to lead tours.  Another reminder:  with the departure of the resident curators it should no longer be necessary for the “button locks” on classroom doors to be used.  However, in the event that someone does lock those doors, know that there is a key to them in the “old” lock box by the door from the curators’ garden.  It has the same code as the dead bolts.  If you don’t know how to open it, make it your business to learn.  Any of the new recruits, who have been very well trained, can show you. So can office staff.




  1. Marta Horvath on May 17, 2017 at 3:07 am

    seed pods harvesting

    Hi, Judy, 

    I can help with the seed pod harvesting or the packaging.  Please, have the coordinator contact me in time for the date and time.

    I enjoyed reading your new “Tattler”. Thank you for doing it for us.

    Have a great week,

    Marta H.

  2. Margot Hill on May 31, 2017 at 4:41 pm


    Judy, thank you.  I like this format.  Helps me to keep up with what is going on with the docent program.  




    • Judy Broom on June 2, 2017 at 8:51 pm

      More to come

      Wonderful, Margot.  Christine has posted a handout from the earlier Clematis talk and will add Penny’s Volunteer Park tree handout. This information is under the “plant resources” tab.