WELCOME TO KIM’S GARDEN - A Project of Friends of Kim Brenegar

WELCOME TO KIM’S GARDEN - A Project of Friends of Kim Brenegar

Kim Brenegar, a Capitol Hill resident and owner of the Washington, D.C. landscaping business “The Ornamental Garden,” died in a car accident in 2009 at the age of 49. The Friends of Kim Brenegar formed in 2010 to create a living legacy in honor of Kim’s love of community and the environment. We chose the renovation of a small public park just steps from Kim’s home, where for many years she had volunteered her talents and plant materials to maintain the garden.

Please check back here for updates and photos of our progress, become a Follower via Google Friend Connect or contact us to learn more about how you can help with the garden restoration. We look forward to hearing from you!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Greens of Summer at Kim's Garden

The June sun highlights different greens at Kim's Garden

Mountain Mint in shade

Thread-leaf Blue Star foliage

View of the park from 8th Street SE

Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Story of Kim's Garden - Distributed on House & Garden Tour

Graceful spikes of Feather Reed Grass, swaying gently in a Capitol Hill breeze; the buzzing of dozens of bees among fragrant clumps of Calamint and Mountain Mint; dramatic yellow and green striped sword-like leaves of the robust Adam’s Needle, echoed by delicate tussocks of Variegated Dwarf Sweet Flag; children exclaiming as they explore the colorful shards of tile, glass and pottery, beads, metal critters, pebbles, shells and garden implements in the mosaic sculpture; fat rain drops splattering on permeable concrete pavers, then draining away quickly into the D.C. aquifer; vibrant yellow-orange swaths of Brown-eyed Susans bursting forth in late summer – these are the sights, sounds and smells of Kim’s Garden today.

Now a District of Columbia public park administered by the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation, Kim’s Garden was created as Reservation 232 on July 1, 1898, as part of the federal park system. The National Park Service described it as a "trapezoid (area, 7,837 square feet; highly improved): Between Eighth and Ninth streets east and at the intersection of North Carolina Avenue and B Street South. Inclosed [sic] with post-and-chain fence, a flower bed in the center, and water introduced." Pursuant to the National Capital Planning Act of 1952, the National Park Service transferred Reservation 232 to the District of Columbia government on December 18, 1973, so that "limited use of a portion or portions of such area or areas" could be used for minor street improvements.

More recently, landscaper Kim Brenegar, proprietor of Capitol Hill-based business The Ornamental Garden, often donated her time and resources to help maintain the park. Whether it was trimming the bushes, mulching, carrying buckets of water, raking or adding a shrub, Kim’s love of nature and her devotion to preserving beauty were a gift to the park, to the neighborhood, and to the city. After Kim died in a car accident in 2009 at age 49, a group of her friends, neighbors, fiancĂ© and co-workers formed the Friends of Kim Brenegar in 2010, with a resolve to create a living legacy in honor of Kim’s love of community and the environment. In partnership with D.C. Dept. of Parks and Recreation, we chose to restore Reservation 232, steps from Kim’s home and long the object of her attention and care.

Horticulturist Jim Adams created the design of Kim’s Garden, with masses of perennials blooming in patterns that echo the mosaic centerpiece conceived by artist Deirdre Saunder. Plants in the landscape were chosen for both their hardiness and beauty, with something in bloom at least 10 months out of the year, yet requiring minimal maintenance and water. Most are native species and serve as hosts to a variety of birds and insects.

In 2011, the existing Littleleaf Linden and Cornelian Cherry Dogwood trees were pruned by Capitol Tree Care, the broken concrete curb along 8th Street was repaired by FMS Construction, and an overgrown hedge of Euonymus was removed to open up the site and reveal the beautiful granite bench. In 2012, Robbie Massey’s Eagle Scout Project replaced broken bricks and graded the pathway between the park and Christ Our Shepherd Church, and Friends of Kim Brenegar achieved a long-sought goal of Kim’s: a permanent water supply was re-established in the park. Also in 2012, an historic reproduction iron fence was erected by Craftsman Iron to protect the plantings, and crumbling bricks were replaced by gravel trenches covered with ECO Cobble permeable pavers.

Then planting of the garden began: the east bed is inhabited by shade- and drought-tolerant perennials that grow low to the ground, providing an easy view of the mosaic. The flowering here begins with Lenten Rose in the winter months, Hairy Alumroot in spring, Mountain Mint and the striking bi-color Indian Pink in summer, and continues through autumn with the White Wood Aster. The west bed is much more colorful so that passersby can experience the garden’s beauty while going to and from Eastern Market. It is filled with clumps of Daffodil cultivars and a large planting of Thread-leaf Blue Star that flowers in late spring and grows tall enough to veil the bench and the space beyond, giving those inside the garden a sense of tranquility from busy 8th Street. During summer, large rafts of Brown-eyed Susan and Calamint enliven the garden. Flowering culminates with purple Turtlehead and finally “Autumn Fire” Sedum in late fall. Feather Reed Grass and the orange-tinged foliage of Thread-leaf Blue Star create a beautiful backdrop into winter.

The organic shapes of the mosaic design and the idea to use recycled materials are in tribute to Kim and her love for conservation. Through this mosaic, installed in 2013, viewers may honor her philosophy of life, love of nature, and belief in sustainability. We also hope that it will speak to Kim’s sense of humor and whimsy, as both children and adults search for hidden objects throughout the sculpture.

In 2014, electric service was run to the park, and historic reproduction street lights were placed on both sides of the garden to enhance safety at night. Kim’s Garden was formally dedicated in July 2014. Please visit our website for more information or to make a tax-deductible donation: http://kimsgardendc.blogspot.com/

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Kim's Garden On 2016 Capitol Hill House & Garden Tour

Come out to the 59th annual Capitol Hill Restoration Society House & Garden Tour: Saturday, 7 May 2016 from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM, and Sunday, 8 May 2016 from noon to 5:00 PM. And be sure to stop by Kim's Garden to see what is blooming!