Of Rain Drums and Native Plants
by Debbie Teashon
What do drums, water, and native flora of the Pacific Northwest have in common? At the Cedar River Watershed Education Center's Rain Drum Court in North Bend, Washington, all three are united in a native plant garden where water droplets play the drums. When it rains, nature pounds out the rhythm on seventeen drums sited throughout the garden. When no moisture falls from the sky, a computer runs a program that releases water droplets, which provide a melodious tempo.
A few summers ago, I drove up to North Bend to see this native garden and listen to the water that played the drums. I could have sat in the garden for hours, just listening, but I explored the area and learned about the history of the watershed, which provides Seattle with 2/3 of its water. A little town called Moncton (1906-1915) established on the northern shore of Rattlesnake Lake had the most interesting history. A dam nearby created Chester Morse Lake, and the water from this lake seeped down through the ground and into Rattlesnake Lake raising its water level, which slowly covered the town with water. Oops! Stumps of trees partially submersed in the now deeper lake gives a visual testimony about the historical event.
Some of the buildings and covered walkways at the educational center have living roofs; even the information kiosk is alive with flora growing on its crown. You can visit the center, stroll down to the lake, sit by a waterfall, or hike the numerous trails around the watershed.
At the end of this series of photos are two videos that explain more about the installation and creation of this site. I recommend a visit to this place with a rich cultural history. You will learn about restoration work, native plants, and much more! Bring the whole family, pack a picnic lunch, but be sure to sit amongst the vine maples and other native plants.
And by all means, enjoy the rhythm of the rain drums.
Three of the seventeen drums nestled in the garden.
The pipes that deliver the water are unobtrusive.
A computer runs a program, which concisely delivers the droplets that fall to the drums.
A water pipe hovers above the snare drum.
A deep red design helps this drum stand out from the others.
The information kiosk is alive with flora growing on its crown.
The breezeways grow many Northwest native plants on their roofs.
Hardhack (Spirea douglasii ssp douglasii) is one of many native plants in the garden.
Stumps of trees partially submersed in the now deeper lake gives a visual testimony of a historical event.
Videos that explain more about the installation:
Cedar River Watershed Education Center
19901 Cedar Falls Rd SE, North Bend, WA