FINALLY: THE ELECTION IS HERE! – Voting starts once your ballot arrives in the mail. Summer had not yet faded when this Second Street resident offered this patriotic sentiment. In the last couple of weeks the signs behind the sign have been stolen. Editorial, page 2.	         – Photo by Ken Stern
FINALLY: THE ELECTION IS HERE! – Voting starts once your ballot arrives in the mail. Summer had not yet faded when this Second Street resident offered this patriotic sentiment. In the last couple of weeks the signs behind the sign have been stolen. See Editorial - Vote now, vote entire ballot. – Photo by Ken Stern

A plethora of political signs there this election cycle has in the view of many turned the La Conner roundabout into an eyesore. 

But that is about to change. 

The roundabout area is getting a well-deserved makeover, the effects of which will be visible long after the polls close and candidate signs come down. 

Two local businesses and service club members have teamed up to launch a long-term beautification project at the roundabout at the east entrance to town. With the iconic Pioneer Monument, it offers incoming traffic the first visual impression of La Conner. 

Nursery staff last week planted a mix of durable deciduous shrubs, including ninebark and other Northwest favorites, while Washington Bulb Co. will soon provide hundreds of daffodil and tulip bulbs for the project. 

La Conner Rotarians, Kiwanians and Soroptimists have committed to maintaining the grounds. 

“The original idea,” said Rotarian Ollie Iversen, who also serves on the Town Parks Commission, “was to plant bulbs to help promote the Tulip Festival, to let people know we’re part of it. Christianson’s stepped in and broadened the scope.” 

Iversen said last Thursday that the impact of the COVID-19 crisis has given added impetus to local public service, such as sprucing up the roundabout. 

“There are so many things,” said Iversen, “that we can do to help the community out.” 

Iversen and fellow Rotarians and Parks Commissioners Martin Howard and Marty Pease met with those in other La Conner service groups to discuss what civic projects could be undertaken during the pandemic. 

“This came out of that,” Iversen said of beautifying the roundabout. 

It was only natural that Christianson Nursery be enlisted to take the lead on the roundabout facelift design. 

Having won various display awards and known for its stock of rare and unusual plants and horticultural expertise, Christianson’s often takes on public service tasks. 

Co-owners John and Toni Christianson donated plants for the galvanized tubs in front of the old Zimmerman’s Shell Station building and have planted and maintained the roundabout at the intersection of McLean and Best roads within sight of their nursery. 

“All in all,” Toni Christianson told the Weekly News, “John and I have really enjoyed all the time we’ve spent on these projects.” 

For them, roundabouts have become something of a specialty. The Christiansons even asked Skagit County officials if they could “adopt” the one at McLean and Best. 

“We wanted it to reflect an old farmhouse garden with appropriate plants from the 40s and 50s so it would fit in with the surrounding farmland,” Toni Christianson explained. 

Plenty of thought has also gone into their work at the La Conner roundabout. 

“We chose to go with hardy summer interest plants that do well in Pacific Northwest weather and require low maintenance,” said John Christianson.

“They are all beautiful. The roundabout should look awesome next year.”