George Pinyuh Memorial Cactus Bed
George Pinyuh was the WSU Regional Extension Agent for Urban and Suburban Horticulture for both King and Pierce County from July 1976 until 1994. He was involved in founding the King County Master Gardeners Bellevue Urban Demonstration Garden, better known as “the Demo Garden.” After his retirement, George stayed involved with the Demo Garden, presenting workshops, attending special events, advising the Master Gardeners, and just enjoying the garden.
George and Larry Davis designed and planted a small cactus bed on the west slope of the Demo Garden. Despite making a few errors in the planning, most of the cactus plants did well in this site, blossoming profusely. The original plants soon outgrew the plot, and, in addition, they were really difficult to maintain weed and slug free.
After George’s death in 2013, Larry, along with others who had worked with George in the Demo Garden, decided to do something meaningful in his memory at the Demo Garden. Larry sent George’s wife, Susi, a cash donation, suggesting that it, and other memorial donations, be used to completely renovate the cactus bed. Susi really liked the idea, and she matched the original donation for the project. When the Master Gardeners at the Demo Garden heard about the proposal, they liked the idea as well. Wally Prestbo suggested that the cactus bed be relocated into the larger raised and curved Curb Garden Bed location.
It was at this point that the project really took off. Wally contacted his friend in Yakima, Ron McKitrick, about the idea. Ron’s whole yard is planted with cactus as a show place, and George and the group had toured it several times. During the winter of 2013-14, the Curb Garden Bed was removed, soil and all, and drainage was installed. The bed was refilled with cactus soil, and, with new cactus starts from Mr. McKitrick along with several of the plants saved from George’s original cacti bed. Most of the cactus and other succulents in the bed survived the 2015 winter and are growing well at this time. Some will even blossom this summer.
Wally Prestbo and Larry Davis arranged for a dedication plaque for the Cactus Bed to honor George. The Master Gardener Foundation of King County helped fund the plaque. The new plaque is affixed to a mounting stone which was placed on the Cactus Bed end wall.
The dedication of the George Pinyuh Memorial Cactus Bed at Bellevue Demonstration Garden is planned for Saturday, July 18, at 2:00 PM at the site of the garden. Ciscoe Morris will preside.
Ownership of the George Pinyuh Memorial Cactus Bed rests with all of George’s friends, Master Gardener or not. This garden bed is a labor of love in honor of a great and talented man and a true friend.
If you would like to make a contribution to this garden, or any of the other Master Gardener Demonstration or Outreach gardens, send your donation to the Master Gardener Foundation of King County. You may find details on the Foundation donation page.
Historical details about the cactus bed and garden for this article were provided by Larry Davis.