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Coronavirus COVID-19

COVID-19 Advisory: WSU Extension is working to keep our communities safe. All Extension programming is being conducted consistent with the latest official state guidance. WSU Extension county offices and WSU Research & Extension Centers are following protocols for vaccination, masking, distancing and hygiene. If this office is not open to the public, we are available during normal business hours via email, phone, and web conference.

Demonstration Gardens in Thurston County

Program Contact: Cori Carlton, Master Gardener & Master Recycler Composter Program Manager
(360) 867-2162 • cori.carlton@co.thurston.wa.us

The Thurston County Demonstration Gardens serve as a model for the public of gardening techniques and recommendations of the Master Gardeners. It is a place where we test out different plants to come up with specific recommendations for our local area.

Our demonstration gardens provides a special setting for educating Thurston County residents and the region about landscape management practices that reduce impacts on land and water resources. To achieve this earth-friendly goal, Thurston County WSU Master Gardeners emphasize:

  • Selection of plant material that is disease resistant and insect tolerant
  • Proper soil preparation
  • Proper planting techniques
  • Integrated pest management (IPM) techniques and plant health care
  • Water conservation via drip irrigation systems that are operated based on measured rainfall and soil moisture levels
  • Composting to conserve valuable landfill space and turn garden wastes into valuable organic matter
  • Suppression of weeds via mulches and hand pulling

Do you have a plant problem? Possibly a plant is eaten-up by bugs or diseases? Maybe you have a plant or weed you cannot identify? Or, you have a spot in your garden and you need advice on what to plant? That’s where the WSU Master Gardener volunteers of Thurston County can help. Contact our Question & Answer Clinic via email at master@co.thurston.wa.us.

The Gardens and Clinics are operated by WSU trained volunteers. These volunteers can only provide information to home gardeners. Commercial farms and businesses need to contact the Extension office for help, 360-867-2162.


Olympia Farmers Market Garden

Olympia Farmers Market GardenThe Garden, called Gallacci Gardens at the request of the Farmers Market board, originally consisted of plants donated by the vendors and the Market itself. Today this garden gem show examples of how to use small spaces for maximum efficiency in gardening and composting. Come wander the paths, learn something new, and enjoy this garden oasis in the city.

Hours: The garden is open from dawn until dusk, year round. When available WSU Master Gardeners and/or Thurston County Master Recycler Composters serve in the garden.

Directions: The Market is located at the north end of Capitol Way in downtown Olympia.  The Olympia Farmers Market Garden is located at the east end of the market.


Closed Loop Park

Closed Loop ParkThe Closed Loop Park Demonstration Garden is developed and maintained by Thurston County Solid Waste Division and WSU Thurston County Extension – Master Gardeners and Master Recycler Composters.

This ornamental garden is an excellent example of how we can reuse a former landfill site. It sits on only 18 inches of soil above an impermeable protective liner to nourish a wide variety of plants, shrubs, and trees.  Come out and stroll through the two-acre garden and view over 150 varieties of sedum and peonies.

In addition, Closed Loop Park also houses test beds for several “Great Plant Picks,” a large composting demonstration area, native gardens, a quiet picnic area among the beds, and a gazebo for relaxing. Also, located nearby is a play yard for children. Please note that Closed Loop Park is not a dog friendly garden. The garden has been here for 25 years and some of the plants are part of a long-term trial so they can’t be removed.  We encourage you to visit the Thurston County Dog Park which is adjacent to Closed Loop Park.

Hours:  Closed Loop Park is open the same hours as the Waste and Recovery Center. Visit https://www.co.thurston.wa.us/solidwaste/garbage/garbage-warc.html  for hours.

When available, WSU Master Gardeners and Master Recycler Composter volunteers serve in the garden.

Directions: Closed Loop Park is located inside the Thurston County Waste and Recovery Center (WARC) off of Hogum Bay Road. Take Exit 111 off of I-5, and travel north and turn right into the WARC entrance. Look for signs.


Dirt Works Demonstration and Composting Garden

Dirt Works Demonstration and Composting GardenDirt Works garden was developed through a partnership with the City of Olympia and is located inside Yauger Park in West Olympia. Dirt Works highlights garden examples as well as yard waste and worm composting operations. Garden examples include water-wise, native, mixed border, shade, rose, fruit, vegetable, rain and adaptive gardens.

Dirt Works Garden hosts our summer Children’s Program for children ages 4 to 12. Visit our Workshop & Events page of this website to learn more.

It is also home to the Annual Plant Sale of the Master Gardener Foundation of Thurston County. The sale is held annually on the third Saturday in May.  Great plants are available at great prices, and all proceeds from the sale go toward supporting the WSU Master Gardener and Thurston County Master Recycler Composter programs.

Dirt Works Garden is not currently open to the public due to COVID.

Directions:  Dirt Works is located on Olympia’s west side within Yauger Park.

From the East, take Hwy 101 to the Black Lake Blvd. exit. Turn right off the ramp but stay in your left lane so you can turn left onto Cooper Point Road. Follow Cooper Point Road until you reach Capital Mall Drive SW.  Turn Left.  Follow Capital Mall Drive until you reach Alta street. Turn right and follow the road into Yauger Park. Dirt Works garden is at the end of the parking lot.

From the West, take Hwy 101 to the Black Lake Blvd. Exit.  Turn Left on Black Lake Blvd and go approximately 0.2 miles to Cooper Point Road. Turn Left.   Go approximately half a mile to Capital Mall Drive SW.  Turn Left.  Travel approximately 100 yards from the corner and turn right onto Alta street. Follow the road into Yauger Park. Dirt Works garden is located at the end of the parking lot.