At the Oak Harbor Post Office Native Plant Garden, located at the corner of Barrington Dr. and City Beach St, many species of native plants are displayed alongside the giant stump of the 330 year old Post Office Oak. Over 40 new plant identification signs can now be found to aid in exploring the garden. Plants, some with fanciful names, include Chocolate Lilly, Showy Fleabane, Nodding Onion, Sickle Keeled Lupine, and many more.
This garden is a landmark and is the only strictly native plant garden in Oak Harbor. Two 10 year old Garry oaks grow in the garden, although it can not be determined with certainty if they are from the grand old Post Office oak or from local acorns that might have sprouted when Garry oak mulch was brought in to the garden.
Some of the plants were purchased by the Society, while other plants and supplies were donated by community organizations, businesses, and private individuals. As this garden matures it will give the public a thriving example of what can be found in a Garry oak ecosystem on Whidbey Island.
The garden was originally planted by Melissa Duffy and members of the Harbor Pride group in the 90’s when the largest Garry oak in town towered over the Post Office. However, in 2014, the grand old Post Office Oak was lost and the had garden languished.
The Oak Harbor Garry Oak Society formally adopted the garden in late 2016. Society volunteers started by planting new plants and weeded and mulched the garden. The new plant identification signs complete phase 1 of the garden rehabilitation. Eventually, there will be interpretive signs installed in the garden that explain more about the role of native plants in Garry oak ecosystems and the history of the Post Office Oak.