Ryug Frostinson’s home for fairies, elves and gnomes open at Kirkland’s Juanita Park

The tree’s potential as hobbit housing was revealed during a routine tree assessment to ensure the safety of parks users.

  • Monday, March 25, 2019 1:30pm
  • Life

Gnomes, fairies, elves and hobbits have new lodging available in Juanita Beach Park, thanks to an aging cottonwood tree and creative Kirkland Parks staff.

The roughly six-foot-tall stump is perched in the park’s grassy field on the north side of Northeast Juanita Drive directly east of the tennis courts. The diminutive dwelling is suitable for all species of stubby stature, featuring a doorway, windows and even a tiny cedar shake roof, according to a city press release. Parks staff put the finishing touches on the structure on March 15, adding brightly colored flower-festooned window boxes and a placard proclaiming the stump “Ryug Frostinson’s home for fairies, elves and gnomes.”

The tree’s potential as hobbit housing was revealed during a routine tree assessment, periodically done to ensure the safety of parks users, the release states. Cottonwood is notorious for brittleness with age and heartwood deterioration, so assessments are commonly done to identify high-risk trees and slate them for removal. During his assessment of the old cottonwood, Kirkland parks’ field arborist Doug Hunter spotted a long narrow crack near the tree’s base, peered inside and discovered that the tree was quite hollow, the release states.

Hunter was immediately struck by the idea of repurposing the old tree. He had recently read a story about a similarly hollow cottonwood that had been converted into a “Little Free Library,” which kicked his creativity into high gear, according to the release.

He pitched his idea to the city’s parks maintenance and operations team and a plan was hatched.

“Parks staff unanimously fell in love with this project and we know the community will too,” said Green Kirkland Partnership supervisor Jodie Galvan in the release. “This was such a great opportunity to keep our community safe while adding something creative for families to enjoy. We couldn’t pass it up.”

The tree’s tiny features were primarily built from repurposed materials, including the roof, which was constructed by Hunter and parks groundsperson Ian Frost. Additional project contributors included Galvan, Rob Martinson, Ryan Fowler and others.

“This was truly a team effort,” parks and community services director Lynn Zwaagstra said in the release. “We are grateful to our staff for their innovative ideas and hope that everyone gets the chance to enjoy this fun addition to the park.”

More in Life

Kirkland Transition Academy partners with Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A is the first for-profit business to partner with the LWSD academy.

Friends of Youth welcomes Juniel as director of development

Juniel Brings more than 30 years of development experience to Friends of Youth.

Congratulations to the Juanita High School and Futures School class of 2019. Photo courtesy of LWSD Facebook page
Juanita and Futures seniors graduate

The ceremony took place on June 14 at the JHS Field House.

Rumba Kings return to Kirkland Performance Center

They will be debuting their new album, “The Instrumental Sessions, Vol II.”

Sustainability in action at LWSD

Rockwell elementary’s outdoor classroom is one of many ways schools are going green.

Dying from an overdose; not just heroin that’s killing us

A monthly column about mindfulness and health.

Healthy summer recipes — herbs, veggies and wild fish abound

A monthly health column from the Eastside.

Juanita Friday Market opens June 7

The market runs every Friday through Sept. 27.

Kirkland Girl Scout troop raises funds to travel to Europe

The scouts will travel to Europe from June 25 - July 9.

Kirkland volunteers honor local fallen veterans at their graves in the Kirkland Cemetery. White crosses mark each veteran and a U.S. flag commemorates their service. Kailan Manandic / staff photo
Locals honor fallen heroes at Kirkland Cemetery

Numerous Kirkland volunteers honored local veterans in recognition of Memorial Day.

Six LWSD students receive National Merit scholarships

The students are six of 2,500 high school seniors nationwide to win this scholarship.