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University of Washington Botanic Gardens

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Washington Park Arboretum
Center for Urban Horticulture

Youth and Family Programs

More for Families

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Washington Park Arboretum: With 230 acres of landscaped gardens, natural areas, and wetlands, plus a world-class collection of 10,000 trees, shrubs, and other plants—there is plenty of material for wide-eyed, hands-on learning!

Self-guided adventures: Explorer Packs for groups of up to 15 students K-6th and Family Adventure Packs are available for groups looking for a self-guided and hands-on educational experience.

School Fieldtrips: Experience hands-on, inquiry-based explorations of Washington Park Arboretums. Bring your class, grade or school as you join our Garden Guides for a 90 minute field trip aligned with Washington State K-12 Learning Standards.

Elisabeth C. Miller Library: Located at the Center for Urban Horticulture, the library has a Children’s Collection of 400 nonfiction and fiction books on gardening, botany, and natural science projects.

Upcoming Family Events

Free Weekend Walks Every Sunday at 1pm

Another collection stunner blooming now

RhododendronoccidentaleAlong Azalea Way this time of year, as many of you know, the Rhododendron cultivars, Redbuds & Dogwood Trees are putting on their show of stunning blossoms.   Amongst all these flowering shrubs and trees it is sometimes hard to discern any individual plants, but its always worth it for me to stop at the group of Rhododendron occindentale at the North end of Azalea Way.   These Rhododendron species, commonly known as Western Azalea, get my attention because in addition to the clusters of pretty flowers (and unlike most Rhododendron species) they have a wonderful scent.  My nose could spend a lot of time near these shrubs.  This grouping of about 10 shrubs (located in the very NW bed along with several other pink/orange flowering cultivars) were planted in 1946 and now each plant stands about 8-10 feet tall.

The R. occindentale is one of two native west coast Rhodies (the other being R. macrophyllum, our state flower) and is found mainly in the mountain and coastal areas of southern Oregon and Northern California.   Because our climate and soils are similar, they are a plant that transfers quite well to our PNW gardens.  They are a slow grower which can take sun or shade and seem to adapt to a variety of soils.  Their native environments range from coastal marshes, river and lake sides and up to mountain meadows.  But that’s not all – the other perk to these shrubs is that they can bear a lovely orange/red fall foliage color.

Come along on one of our Free Weekend Walks and enjoy a guided tour of these and many other collection plants in their full spring glory.   No registration, visitors meet at the Graham Visitors Center at 1:00 pm each Sunday.

For more detail on these shrubs in their natural environment click the article link from Pacific Horticultural Society

Posted on 19 April 2015 | 12:16 pm

Last modified:
March 25 2015 11:24:33