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UW Botanic Gardens Newsletter, Vol 8 Issue 1, January 2013
One of the most anticipated events of the horticultural calendar is The Northwest Flower and Garden Show. This year's event takes place on February 20-24 at the Washington State Convention Center. The Arboretum Foundation's display will be "A Hobbit's New Zealand Garden: Middle-Earth meets the Arboretum's New Eco-Geographic Forest". All of the plant material is from the New Zealand Focal Forest highlighting the new forest and tying it to the show's theme of The Silver Screen Takes Root...Gardens Go Hollywood.
Visit our NWFGS Booth!
UWBG will be teaming up with the Seattle Parks Department to create a wonderful and educational booth. Be sure to stop by to say hello and learn about everything going on.
Graduate Student's Thesis Work Benefits Rare Plants
(by Wendy Gibble; reprinted with permission from Rare Plant Press) Graduate student Lauren “Ivy” Clark has been knee-deep in seeds ever since she started her Master’s work at University of Washington. She first came to work with Rare Care in 2009 to develop protocols for propagating ten shrub-steppe species from seed for a project Rare Care was working on with the Bureau of Land Management. Having developed an interest in germination ecology, Ivy also started working with Rare Care’s rare plant seed collection, conducting germination tests on collections held in the Miller Seed Vault. This ongoing work dovetails nicely with her thesis work, in which she explores the potential for hybridization between golden paintbrush (Castilleja levisecta) and harsh Indian paintbrush (Castilleja hispida).
Both Castilleja species occur on Puget Sound prairies, and hybridization has been observed in a nursery setting. Recent golden paintbrush reintroductions have resulted in both species growing in close proximity to one another at out-planting sites. After ascertaining that the same pollinator species frequent both species, Ivy collected seeds from both where they co-occur and is propagating them in the greenhouse. She will evaluate morphological features of the progeny to determine whether and to what extent hybridization is occurring at these reintroduction sites and whether the risk of hybridization is reduced by increasing the distance between neighboring individuals of the two species.
Ivy has had an interest in plants for as long as she can remember. Growing up in Texas, her interest in the natural world was nurtured by her parents. She’s held a variety of jobs since becoming a biologist, many of them restricting her to laboratories. Finding that she really enjoys being in the field, she hopes to use her skills and degree to work in the restoration ecology field. In the meantime, we are delighted to have her working on Rare Care projects and caring for our ex situ collection.
A Glimpse Into the Past
(A monthly column by Dr. John A. Wott, Director Emeritus)
Much sweat and hard work went into the building of the Arboretum in the early days. This 1939 photo shows a crew of men moving, lowering, and setting some of the rocks into place for the Woodland Garden. The truck was used to bring the rocks in (origin of rocks currently unknown), then each rock was carefully winched down the slope. The crew had to hand dig the “holes” and then carefully and laboriously maneuver the rocks into place. This most certainly was a Works Progress Crew, but look at how they are dressed, with hats and even a tie (perhaps on the “boss”). (Photo from UWBG Photo Archives.)
January 2013 Plant Profile: Blechnum chilense
Once so rare and only available through close-knit garden circles, this exquisite fern can now be purchased from several growers and specialty nurseries.
Our original plant growing here at the Center for Urban Horticulture came from the famed Elisabeth C. Miller. Over the years it has established into a prolific clump of thick, evergreen fronds that resemble the local name in its native Chile “costilla de vaca”, which literally translates to “cow’s ribs”.
It’s a robust, but slow growing fern compared to others, but it thrives in the same condition with adequate moisture and full to part shade with rich, but well drained soil with a lot of organic matter.
One caveat: although this incredible fern can easily easily survive temperatures just below freezing, a very hard frost will damage the tough fronds. Also, the plant can take its time waking back up from the base. It is best suited in a protected and sheltered location such as a deep woodland or in close proximity to a building or neighboring trees and shrubs.
Common Name: Chilean Hard Fern
There are still some slots open for the UWBG Tour to Ecuador and Galapagos Islands, led by director Sarah Reichard. Registration closes on January 11, so act quickly!
Come to the Miller Library on Saturday, January 13 for the Winter Wildlife Story Program. For those who wonder where animals go when the weather gets frosty, these stories offer factual information as well as imaginative fun. After the stories, make a winter habitat tree picture. The tales include In the Snow: Who's Been Here? by Lindsay Barrett George, The Mitten by Jan Brett and When Winter Comes by Nancy Van Laan. The program starts at 10:30am and is designed for children ages 3 to 8 and their families, but all are welcome.
The early registration ends January 23rd for the class WHAT THE CLUCK?! Making sense of keeping chickens in the home garden.
Are you looking to improve your skills as a botanical artist? Instructor Kathleen McKeehen is starting a weekly Botanical Drawing class on January 22. The pencil is an effective tool for producing beautiful botanical works, and skill in pencil rendering is also a good basis for ongoing study of botanical art in other media, such as watercolor. All levels are welcome; intermediate students can take on more advanced plant subjects. The whole series is $230 if you register by January 15.
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