Shopping Center Gardens of Seattle


Not since Chicago have I seen a city that used horticulture so effectively in the service of commerce.  Chicago’s horticultural offerings span the whole downtown and Seattle’s efforts are perhaps less concentrated, but gardenbloggers visiting in August happened to congregate just blocks from the University Village shopping center, and were feted by the garden center there.

I wrote to the managers of University Village to praise their gardeners and ask for inspiring details about how much these gardens have helped business, but never got a response.





Below, the gorgeous Ravenna Gardens.



  1. I lived just up the street from the U Village in the late 80s – early 90s when it was a tired old relic of an open-air mall from the 60s. I think, if I’m not mistaken, it’s owned by the UW. A decision was made to give it an overhaul into a mall catering to, well, rich people in the neighborhoods to the north and east (where Bill Gates grew up), instead of students. Old tenants booted out, chic boutiques ushered in.

    It seemed to be a success and I’m sure the U makes lots of money off it. But did you notice that the ‘Ave,’ just to the west of campus, is a dump? Its decline paralleled the rise of the U Village. I don’t know if they’re related, but ask any longtime local and they’ll get all nostalgic for the old days when there was a whole lot more funk and less well-vegetated polish in the U District.

    I certainly don’t begrudge a city I adore its well-deserved kudos. I guess my point is that, yeah, you can have lots of beauty anywhere if you throw enough money and attention at it.

  2. The University Village is not owned by the University of Washington. I’ve heard that it is owned by whoever owns the giant QFC franchise. I don’t want people thinking that UW doesn’t need state funding! Remember the bowling alley that used to be in the U village?


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