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UW Botanic Gardens Newsletter, Vol 7 Issue 1, January 2012

Val Easton Book Launch Party

Petal & Twig cover Former library manager and well-known garden writer Val Easton will launch her newest book on Wednesday, February 1, at 6:30 pm at CUH. Val has been perfecting her floral design talents over the last years, and now in Petal and Twig: Seasonal Bouquets with Blossoms, Branches, and Grasses from Your Garden, she shows us how to make beautiful arrangements with what grows in our own backyards. We are grateful that Val has chosen to continue her strong support of the Miller Library by having a book launch event as a fundraiser for the library.

Val will be available to sign books, which we will have for purchase. There will be a delectable dessert buffet to enjoy, and a drawing for some choice and beautiful plants, after which Val will present her new book.

Path II: The Music of Trees

Abby Aresty, a talented graduate student in Music Composition, is in the process of putting together Paths II: The Music of Trees, a sound installation for the Arboretum. It will be a unique exploration of the Park as an acoustic space. Although the installation won’t officially open until August, 2012, you can get a sneak preview. Check out her music and ideas (and show your support) at this website.

Flower Show Preview Party Tickets Now On Sale

2012 Flower ShowTickets to the annual Opening Night Party at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show (February 7) are now on sale! You can purchase tickets online, by phone at 206-325-4510, or over the counter at the Arboretum Shop. Prices start at $65 for Foundation members, as well as for members of the Seattle Audubon Society, our partners at this year’s show. Enjoy wine, food, live entertainment, silent auctions, and a first look at the fabulous displays in the Flower Show. Our 2012 preview party and display garden have an avian theme. Opening Night is presented by the Arboretum Foundation as a benefit for Washington Park Arboretum.

Art in the Very Slow Lane

Slow Lane coverArt in the Very Slow Lane is an exhibit of original pen and ink drawings and oil paintings by Seattle artist Karen Luke Fildes.  The drawings are from The Secret World of Slugs and Snails: Life in the Very Slow Lane, written by Northwest naturalist David George Gordon and published by Sasquatch Books of Seattle.  The paintings depict an array of Northwest garden habitats and wilderness tableaus from the Nisqually and Thornton Creek watersheds.  The exhibit will be at the Miller Library from February 2 to February 29, 2012.

Farther along that same slug trail....

" 'The Secret World of Slugs and Snails' is a charmer, and one you won't have to slog through,” wrote the Chicago Tribune. David George Gordon will speak and sign copies of his book at the Center For Urban Horticulture, 3501 NE 41st St. in Seattle, on the evening of February 2. Gordon has written on topics that range from watching gray whales and bald eagles to appreciating cockroaches, coral reef fish and geoduck clams. He is also the Science Writer for Washington Sea Grant, a branch of NOAA located on the University of Washington campus. He has been featured in Ripley's Believe It or Not, National Geographic Kids and Time magazine and has appeared as a guest on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Nightline and The View.

Andrea Wulf Speaks About The Founding Gardeners

Andrea Wulf
The Seattle Garden Club’s 2012 Pamela Green Horticulture Speaker/Series PresentsAndrea Wulf, the best-selling author of The Founding Gardeners. The book is a fascinating look at our founding fathers from the unique perspective of their lives as gardeners, plantsmen and farmers. The Washington Post says The Founding Gardeners is a “lively and deeply researched history…Wulf ingeniously connects that highbrow political philosophy to the founding father’s personal passion for horticulture." The event takes place on Thursday, March 1 at 7PM at the Museum of History and Industry. Tickets are $20, $10 for students, and all proceeds will benefit SGC’s Community Projects Fund. For more information and tickets, visit

Opportunity To Become A Pacific Connections Steward

If you have a horticulture/gardening background and can commit to volunteering a minimum of 24 hours over a six month period of April – September, then you too can be a Pacific Connections Garden Steward. Seize the opportunity to surround yourself with the exotic flora of New Zealand, Australia, Chile, China and Cascadia (The Pacific Northwest) by joining the Pacific Connections Garden Stewards.  This volunteer corps assists UWBG horticulture staff in the maintenance of the Pacific Connections Garden at The Arboretum. For those interested in achieving levels of volunteer leadership, additional levels of Master and Leader Stewards have been developed.  Interested?  Apply online at or contact Rhonda Bush, Coordinator for The Pacific Connections Garden Stewards, at 206-941-2550,

Branch Out This Winter

Here are some 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

Plant Profile: Salix lasiandra

salix lasiandra[by Soest Gardener Riz Reyes] Happy New Year, everyone! So far we’ve been blessed with several cool and clear days that bring out the best in the winter landscape. Working out in the Union Bay Natural Area, I was drawn by the picturesque views of the bay and looking out into the restoration sites, I also couldn’t help but notice the glowing stems of vibrant willows. Naturally occurring in consistently wet areas, they make UBNA glow and you can’t help but stop and admire them especially on a sunny day. UBNA is home to several species of willow, but the Pacific Willow stands out the most.

In the managed landscape, there are several species and cultivated varieties of Salix that are highly attractive. Salix alba, a European species, comes to mind along with the cultivars ‘Golden Curls’ and ‘Scarlet Curls’ derived as hybrids from S. matsudama ‘Tortuosa’, the famous 'corkscrew willow’. These plants are fast growing and are often best coppiced in the winter or late springtime to get the slimmest stems with the most intense color the following year. This is achieved by taking down the shrub to about 6-10 inches tall and allowing new growth to develop from the base.

Common Name: Pacific Willow
Family: Salicaceae
Location: Union Bay Natural Area
Origin: Pacific Northwest Native
Height and spread: 20-30ft. high and 10-15ft. wide.
Bloom Time: Late winter

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Be sure to bring the little ones by the Miller Library on Saturday, February 11th for a Surprising Story Program. February in Seattle means flowers and snowstorms, with weather that's different every day. In these stories, our main characters enjoy funny and touching moments they weren't expecting. After the stories, make a peek-a-boo card for someone you love. Program runs from 10:30-11:15 AM.

If this month’s issue of EFlora has whetted your appetite for literary adventure, make sure to check out Second Nature: Tales from the Montlake Fill by Constance Sidles, master birder and board member of the Audobon Society. This volume collects 32 essays arranged around the birds that visit the Montlake Fill in each of the four seasons.

Starting in February, the popular Weekend Walks at the Arboretum will become a weekly Sunday event. Show up at the Graham Visitors Center on Sundays at 1:00 PM and join a guided tour of “Winter Scenes and Evergreens”. You’ll visit winter bloomers, see forms revealed when the leaves are gone and learn to appreciate the steadfast evergreen. Allow at least ninety minutes and dress appropriately for the weather. The walks are free and registration is not required.

And be sure to check out next month’s EFlora for a new column from Dr. John Wott, Director Emeritus of the Washington Park Arboretum. He has been going through our photographic archives and promises a unique historical view in every issue.

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

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