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Gardening Answers Knowledgebase

Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Washington Park Arboretum, Fothergilla, Polystichum, Hamamelis mollis, Kalmia, Actinidia

I'm thinking of planting the following plants in my garden but would like to see them first. Can you tell me if they are at the Washington Park Arboretum? The plants are: Chinese Witchhazel, Witch Alder, Mountain Laurel, Soft Shield Fern, and Variegated Kiwi Vine.


The Washington Park Arboretum has many examples of Hamamelis mollis, or Chinese witch hazel (unless you meant Corylopsis sinensis or Loropetalum chinense, which also go by the common name 'Chinese witch hazel'). Kalmia latifolia (Mountain laurel) and Fothergilla (but not Fothergilla gardenii, which is Witch alder) are also in the Arboretum. The variegated kiwi, Actinidia kolomikta, used to be grown here at the Center for Urban Horticulture. Soft shield fern, or Polystichum setiferum, may be in the Arboretum, but is not listed, as it is not a woody plant. You can search the Washington Park Arboretum's Living Collections database by the plants' scientific or common names (sometimes it's best to search the scientific name, for clarity). You can search the Arboretum's interactive map and there is also a trail map linked here which provides information on large collections of plants, so you can get a sense of where to find things. You can go to the Graham Visitors Center in the Arboretum and ask for assistance in locating the witch hazels (some are in the Witt Winter Garden, and others are in a grove on the south end of the park) and other plants.

All of these plants grow well in our area. I have a dwarf form of Fothergilla in my garden, and it has been thriving. I have also seen many of the other plants in your list growing happily in private gardens in Seattle. Since you wish to know what they look like, here are several links to additional information with pictures.

Hamamelis mollis picture >

Fothergilla gardenii Picture 1
Picture 2

Kalmia latifolia Picture 1
Picture 2

Actinidia kolomikta Picture 1
Picture 2

Polystichum setiferum Picture 1 (from a local gardener)
Picture 2

Date 2017-05-24
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Garden Tip

Keywords: Polystichum, Cyrtomium, Blechnum spicant, Plant and garden societies, Polystichum munitum, Ferns

To create a desert oasis look plant a few hardy palms and then add evergreen hardy ferns such as Deer fern (Blechnum spicant),Big leaf holly fern (Cyrtomium macrophyllum), Western Sword fern (Polystichum munitum), and Soft shield fern (Polystichum setiferum). Growing a few ferns usually leads to growing many ferns - there are so many cool species out there. Learn more about the world of pteridology (study of ferns) by joining the locally based Hardy Fern Society. Members receive a packet of fern growing information and a quarterly newsletter; they also participate in a spore exchange and produce the wonderful Fern Festival and plant sale each June. To join the society send $25.00 to The Hardy Fern Foundation, P. O. Box 3797 Federal Way, WA 98063-3797.

Date: 2007-04-03
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May 31 2018 13:14:08