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University of Washington Botanic Gardens


Washington Park Arboretum
Center for Urban Horticulture


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What are the goals of UW Botanic Gardens?

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

As an international hub for plant science, information, teaching, and stewardship, we will promote an educated, inspired, and engaged society dedicated to sustainable ecosystem management.

Is UW Botanic Gardens open to the public?

Yes! You can enjoy our public education programs, library, and facility rentals year-round, and tour the gardens at each site during daylight hours.

Please consider exploring all we have to offer by visiting the Elisabeth C. Miller Library and the Otis Hyde Herbarium at the Center for Urban Horticulture, or the Graham Visitor's Center at the Arboretum.

How is UW Botanic Gardens structured?

UW Botanic Gardens is part of the College of the Environment in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences and has two sites: the Center for Urban Horticulture and the Washington Park Arboretum.

Who manages the Washington Park Arboretum?

UW Botanic Gardens and the City of Seattle jointly manage the Arboretum. The university owns the plant collections and manages the functions of the Arboretum and its public programs and activities.  The City is responsible for all infrastructure support, turf, security, the Waterfront Trail, Japanese Garden. The Arboretum Foundation, a non-profit organization with 3,000 members, has provided critical support to the Arboretum, giving nearly $5 million in donations since 1935.

I have a question about my garden. Can UW Botanic Gardens help?

Yes!  You'll find many experts who can assist you with gardening questions here:

  • The Plant Answer Line is a quick reference service for gardeners provided by the Miller Library.  Call 206-UW-PLANT (206-897-5268) Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or send your question electronically. 

  • Hyde Herbarium provides help with plant identification and the Master Gardeners hold problem-solving clinics at both the Center for Urban Horticulture and the Arboretum.  Contact the Plant Answer Line for the hours these services are available.

Can I tour the greenhouses?

The greenhouses are used by staff, students and faculty for teaching and research purposes and are not open to the public. We recommend the Conservatory at Volunteer Park as a wonderful place to visit!

What types of classes do you offer?

UW Botanic Gardens offers classes for horticultural professionals and public enthusiasts on topics ranging from botanical art and urban horticulture to native plant landscaping and nature journaling. Our quarterly schedule can include lectures, workshops, and specialized tours at UW Botanic Gardens sites and beyond.

Families will find many programs at the Arboretum, including school group programs, self-led explorer packs, and special events. Learn more about upcoming events on our Public Education pages.

How can I stay up to date on classes and events?

Sign up for E-Flora, our monthly electronic newsletter!

I'd like to learn about volunteer opportunities

UW Botanic Gardens would not succeed without the involvement of dedicated volunteers like you. Our volunteers lead tours or teach school Sapling classes at the Arboretum, collect and process herbarium specimens, maintain gardens and natural areas, assist with plant production, and much more.  Public Education, Rare Care and other programs, and the Miller Library all depend on these dedicated individuals.

More information on how to get involved with UW Botanic Gardens, and thanks for your interest!

My neighbors and I are trying to improve our neighborhood park/greenspace. Can you help?

Possibly. The Restoration Ecology Network works with community clients to perform landscape restoration and/or rehabilitation. Their website offers program information, including the type of help they provide and the type of projects they conduct.

Does UWBG have an undergraduate/graduate program?

There are undergraduate and graduate programs taught by faculty located at UWBG offered through the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences in the College of the Environment

The undergraduate BS in Environmental Science and Resource Management (ESRM) has a transcripted option in Restoration Ecology and Environmental Horticulture (REEH)
More information on the: BS in ESRM  and the REEH option.

At the graduate level, there are Master of Science (a research based degree), Master of Environmental Horticulture (a professional degree) and PhD programs, with a Research Interest Group in Restoration Ecology and Environmental Horticulture.  For more information, please see the Academic Programs page.

What are the career opportunities for graduates from the REEH area?

Graduates can find jobs in government, with private foundations, consulting firms, and tribes. The common thread is that our graduates can measure, describe, manage and improve the environment in which we live.

What kind of career opportunties does a degree in environmental horticulture create?

Graduates can find jobs in government, with private foundations, consulting firms, and tribes. The common thread is that our graduates can measure, describe, manage and improve the environment in which we live.

What is urban horticulture?

The early and initial focus of urban horticulture was on the new science of growing and using plants in cities. Its focus is on the problems and opportunities unique to city gardening: pollution, restricted root systems, anomalies of wind, light and water in urban canyons, the use of plants as climate or noise controls, and so on.  Urban horticulture is different from traditional horticulture in that the focus is on hundreds of species, including both native and introduced, rather than on the production of a few economically important species. Today, this foundation built on horticultural principles and practices continues; however, it is being applied to a wider array of problems arising in human-impacted environments spanning from urban-industrialized areas to distant wilderness areas.

How is environmental horticulture different from horticulture?

Environmental horticulture combines ecology, horticulture, restoration and conservation in a way that allows the use of horticultural practices to improve natural systems.

What is a sustainable landscape?

A sustainable landscape is one where proper plant care is provided, resources are not wasted, and plants, animals, and humans are nourished. Plants are correctly selected, installed, and maintained, eliminating preventable losses due to improper management techniques. A sustainable landscape works with environmental conditions, correcting past mistakes and not creating new problems.

What is an urban forest?

Generally, urban forests are collective masses of trees found within the boundaries of cities, towns or neighborhoods. Such forests contain publicly and privately owned trees growing in parks, near schools, within residential yards, on the grounds of institutions and along streets. These tree collections may look very different from each other. They may be remnant forests or small tracts of trees preserved during development that become a naturalistic looking greenbelt. Some sites have a designed landscape, made up of carefully placed trees and shrubs surrounded by turf, as in many urban or community parks. Some forests are on "leftover" land, an untended collection of plant volunteers and scruffy vegetation. Each of these forest settings not only looks different but the ecological function of each varies. Nonetheless, scientists have proven that trees, in all settings, provide extensive environmental benefits such as carbon dioxide exchange, reduced energy use, air pollution reduction, and water quality improvements.


Last modified:
Thursday, 29-Jan-2015 15:45:54 PST