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UW Botanic Gardens Newsletter, Vol 7 Issue 2, February 2012

Northwest Horticultural Society's Spring Plant Sale

dan hinkleyMark your calendars! The Northwest Horticultural Society is having their Spring Plant Sale on Friday March 9th from 9am to 4pm. It takes place at the Center for Urban Horticulture and will benefit the Elisabeth C. Miller Library. Famed plantsman Dan Hinkley, a dedicated supporter of the library, has again agreed to give two lectures at the sale. Workshops will address specific gardening issues, specialty nurseries will offer their beautiful plants, and a selection of very special connoisseur’s plants will be offered. An enlarged horticultural display will spotlight those plants which are striking in the late winter landscape. And the library will be open to help you find that special book or answer any gardening questions you might bring.

This year we will explore the virtues of ephemerals, and answer that burning question, “Just what are ephemerals, and how can I use them in my garden?” We will also study trees and shrubs notable at this time of year. Dan’s ability to entertain while informing always makes for a delightful time.

Entrance to the plant sale is free. Dan Hinkley lecture tickets will be on sale an hour before each lecture for $5.00 per lecture. For more information, go here.

Biodiversity Conference Registration Open

There’s still time to register for the upcoming conference Conserving Plant Biodiversity in a Changing World: A View from NW North America to be held at UW Botanic Gardens, March 13-14. Act now so you don’t miss the chance to raise questions and find solutions to protect endangered plant communites. Program sessions include Climate Change: Observed Effects on Plants and Plant Communities and Recovery of Rare Species and the Restoration of Their Habitat. Mingle with experts from around the Northwest and hear keynote speakers Dr. Peter Raven, President Emeritus of the Missouri Botanical Garden and Dr. Joshua Lawler, Associate Professor of the University of Washington.

Northwest Native Plant Botanical Illustrations and Photos

bolton illo

A botanical art exhibit and contest will be held in conjuction with the Plant Biodiversity Conference. Botanical illustrations and photographs of native flora from NW North America will be on display in the Elisabeth C. Miller Library from March 1st - 29th.

2012 Japanese Garden First Viewing now set for March 4

The 2012 First Viewing of the Seattle Japanese Garden at Washington Park Arboretum was originally scheduled for Sunday, February 12th. However, a burst water main on 26th Avenue East has caused significant flooding on the garden paths and in the parking lot. As a result, Seattle Parks and Recreation are postponing the garden's season-opening special event until Sunday, March 4. Parks and Recreation is working hard to resolve the problem, and does hope to open the garden as scheduled on Tuesday, February 14, for its regular late-winter season. For more information and updates, visit the Seattle Japanese Garden website or call 206-684-4725.

Spotlight on Graduate student Ilana Calvert

The UWBG is fortunate to have UW Graduate students doing some incredible work in our collections. Ilana Calvert is a first-year student in the Master of Environmental Horticulture program. She is working on the collection of plants of global conservation concern at the Arboretum. Take it away, Ilana:

“The Arboretum has, in the past decade, made a commitment to increasing its collection of rare and threatened plant species. The last time a thorough check of the information and the specimens was performed was in 2001, so it was high time to be done again. While there are several accepted threatened species lists, the UWBG has selected the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List as the primary source for identifying threatened species. A new Red List was released in November 2011, with perfect timing for the undertaking of the 2011-12 assessment. 

“Not only has the Arboretum collection grown in the past 10 years, but due to continued habitat loss, the Red List has grown as well. My work is to go through the existing plant list for the Arboretum, identifying all species that appear on the current IUCN Red List. I’ll check that all the information in the database is updated and accurate, from the source of the specimens to the naming authority, as well as the nature of the threat against the species. After completing the computer work, I will be working with Head Horticulturist Dave Zuckerman to develop an assessment matrix for field checks of the individuals in the Arboretum this spring and summer.

“I feel, in my work done so far, that I have become acquainted with the Arboretum’s collection on a level much more intimate than many people would experience. I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to work on a project that has such significant value not just for the Arboretum, but in the area of species conservation as well.”

Plant profile: Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’

viburnum x bodnantese -Dawn-(by Soest Gardener Riz Reyes) This month’s plant profile showcases one of the showiest and most reliably fragrant winter blooming shrubs. According to Great Plant Picks, it is a “tough shrub (that) grows best in full sun to light or open shade. It prefers well-drained soil, but will tolerate sandy sites or clay if the drainage is adequate. It is drought tolerant once established, but flowering will be more profuse if it receives occasional water during dry weather. Little pruning is needed to maintain an attractive plant."

This is a lovely shrub for the urban garden. Its dark green, bronze foliage has a rugged texture that works well as a background plant during the growing season. It simply lights up in the winter time as it flowers. On a warm day, the delicious scent of warm sugary vanilla and lilac wafts in the air. Truly exquisite and, as mentioned, a reliable shrub for the Pacific Northwest. 

Common Name: Bodnant Viburnum/Dawn Viburnum
Family: Adoxaceae
Location: CUH-Fragrance Garden
Origin: Garden Origin: Bodnant Gardens in Wales, UK.
Height and spread: 8ft. high and 10ft. wide.
Bloom Time: Winter

Still time to sign up for these classes

There is still room in these garden-related classes being offered through the UWBG:

Introduction to Landscape Tree Identification Saturday, February 18th at the Graham Visitors Center

Introduction to Mosaic Sunday, February 19th at Bedrock Industries

Pruning Woody Plants - ProHort Tuesday, February 21st at the Graham Visitors Center

Introduction to Digital Photo Editing Saturday, February 25th, Isaacson Classroom, Center for Urban Horticulture

Plant Identification Series Tuesday, March 6th, UW Campus

Orchard Mason Bees Wednesday, March 21st, Douglas Classroom, Center for Urban Horticulture


arboretum oak topplingThe UWBG Grounds crew went to some heroic measures to save two signature oaks that toppled over during the recent snowstorm (see the "before" shot at right). Look at this article in UW Today for the full story and a dramatic slideshow.

The Education Department is featuring Spring Break Camps for the young ones this year. It will be a wonderful time for the kids to explore springtime flora and fauna of the Arboretum. To find out more details, go to their webpage.

Last month, we ran an article about a project by Abby Aresty called Paths II: The Music of Trees, a sound installation for the Arboretum. Abby sent out an appreciative email letting her supporters know that she reached her fund-raising goal for the project. If you still haven't checked it out, take a look and listen at her website.

Have extra gardening or plant books over-flowing your book shelves? Donate them to the Miller Library to sell at the upcoming Garden Lover's Book Sale in April.

If you were at the NW Flower and Garden Show, you probably saw the award-winning “Birdsong” display from the Arboretum Foundation and Seattle Audubon. The Foundation website now has profiles of the plants and birds featured in the exhibit. Click on the bird photos to hear their songs!

The Northwest Perennial Alliance will be having an Art Auction and Lecture at the Center for Urban Horticulture on March 18th. The featured painting, a watercolor by Kevin Nicolay, will be on display at the Miller Library from March 1st to March 17th.

Interested in helping out in Yesler Swamp Trail? There are regularly scheduled work parties on the second Saturday of each month through May, 2012. They will go from 10 AM till noon. If you want to join in, just show up or contact Fred Hoffer at

E-Flora is a regular online newsletter of the University of Washington Botanic Gardens

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Sustaining managed to natural ecosystems and the human spirit through plant research, display, and education

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Phone: 206.543.8616

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