The Community Garden is bordered by a native plant border which provides habitat for wildlife as well as educational opportunities for students and others interested in native plants, while offering naturalistic aesthetic value. As a biological screen, the border enhances the serenity and beauty of the garden and compliments the natural environment of the park.
The border serves as a wind barrier, reduces soil erosion, filters and reduces storm water run off, serves as a wildlife habitat corridor, and provides habitat for native pollinators. Additional ecosystem services from the border include air filtration, carbon sequestration, temperature moderation, and providing human psycho-social benefits.
A small amount signage and labeling in the border enhances educational opportunity for those interested in plants or considering their use. The concentration of plants allows property owners and others to preview plantings which could provide water use reduction, conservation value, and aesthetic value in their landscaping.
Favored plantings have been selected from species native to Oregon, British Columbia, and Washington State. Not all were originally native to Seattle itself. Wild volunteer plants, some non-native, are also scattered among intentional plantings. Ill fitting, volunteer plants are removed as maintenance resources permit.
The border will continue to change over time due to plant growth, addition of more species, some plants reaching end of life, and managed enhancement of subareas.
Drip irrigation was used during first few years of garden establishment to conserve water and as a demonstration to encourage use. Present irrigation is minimal except for new plantings or during extreme droughts.
Initial plants and materials were funded via the large grant which created the Magnuson Community Garden. Additional plants and material donations have also come from the Magnuson Environmental Stewardship Alliance, the Green Seattle Partnership, the Washington Native Plant Society, the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation, and other organizations and individuals.
The Magnuson Environmental Stewardship Alliance (MESA) has cared for the site since inception. That stewardship has included planting, maintenance, and attracting and organizing thousands of hours of volunteer labor. Since 2007, the Green Seattle Partnership has helped by providing support for attracting and managing volunteers, by providing additional plants and materials, and by providing technical and scientific support and monitoring.
Almost all planting and maintenance labor has been done by volunteers. These volunteers have come individually to routine work parties or during service events organized in conjunction with corporate, religious, or other community groups.