UWBG pilots Climate Change Garden project

March 30th, 2010 by Jennifer Youngman, Program Coordinator

UW Botanic Gardens is partnering with botanic gardens across the country in the installation of a network of Climate Change Gardens that will create a nationwide “ecological antenna” to monitor the effects of a changing climate on plant growth and survival. Each Climate Change Garden features genetically identical plant species selected for their biological responsiveness to temperature. Garden monitors will record climate data and a set of standard phenological events, from first leaf to flower to fruit set. The data will be used to help predict the impacts of climate change on plants and services they provide to people and wildlife.

Annie Bilotta and David Zuckerman plant Chinese lilac

Soo-Hyung Kim plants Monarda fistulosa

On March 23, 2010, Principal Investigator Soo-Hyung Kim, Ph.D, Master of Environmental Horticulture Candidate Allison McCarthy, Washington Park Arboretum (WPA) Horticulture Staff Supervisor David Zuckerman, Center for Urban Horticulture (CUH) Gardener Annie Bilotta and WPA Education Supervisor Patrick Mulligan planted a Climate Change Garden at the CUH. It includes cloned plants of eight species, each collected from four USDA hardiness zones.

Allison McCarthy lays out the plants for the Climate Change  GardenView more photos of planting day.

Climate Change Gardens are replicated in a range of climatic conditions, yet they maintain standard growing conditions and eliminate the confounding effects of genetic variance with the use of clones. Plants in these gardens therefore act like a network of climate sensors or “phytometers.”

Plant responses to the different climates of participating gardens will allow inferences about how the species might respond to future climate change. For example, how will zone 5 plants respond if the climate becomes more like zone 7? The species selected are long-lived  species that exhibit a variety of breeding systems and wide geographic ranges, which allow them to be planted in different climates across the country. They have flowering times that are initiated by temperature, are easy to clone, and are attractive in a garden setting. Each species will be represented by four ecotypes from each of the USDA hardiness zones 4, 5, 6, and 7. The Climate Change Garden offers a methodology for citizen scientists to explore the implications of climate change for plants.

Plant species to be monitored:

  • Aster novae-angliae, New England aster, blooms August- September
  • Baptisia australis, blue wild false indigo, blooms May-June
  • Monarda fistulosa, wild bergamot or bee balm, blooms  July-September
  • Panicum virgatum, switchgrass, blooms  July-February
  • Penstemon digitalis, beardtongue, blooms  April-June
  • Physostegia virginiana, obedient plant, blooms  June to September
  • Schizachrium scoparium, little bluestem, blooms  August-February
  • Syringa rothomagensis, Chinese lilac, blooms late May- July

Text by Allison McCarthy. Photos by Jennifer Youngman.

Top left: Annie Bilotta and David Zuckerman plant Syringa rothomagensis. Top right: Soo-Hyung Kim plants Monarda fistulosa. Bottom: Allison McCarthy lays out the plants for planting.

Pacific Connections – “Chilean Gateway” Notice

March 26th, 2010 by UWBG Horticulturist

Upcoming Pacific Connections Phase 2 Construction

33 trees will be removed under the Pacific Connections Phase 2 Project. These trees do not contribute to the horticultural collection.  They are being removed as a management tool and to make way for the new Chilean garden.

Location: Pacific Connections Garden – Chilean Immersion Forest NE quadrant of intersection of Lake  Washington Blvd. and Arboretum Drive.

Timeframe: April 19 -23, 2010

Safety: Service roads and trails near tree removal operations will be clearly signed “Closed” for  this removal and a detour will be set up to route pedestrians around the removal.

Contact: Andy Sheffer, Seattle Parks and Recreation, for  additional information. andy.sheffer@seattle.gov or 206.684.7041

March Color at CUH

March 16th, 2010 by Pat Chinn-Sloan

Daphne collection for March 2010 at the Center for Urban Horticulture

A Selection of DAPHNE from the Center for Urban Horticulture

  1. Daphne odora ‘Alba’ – White Winter Daphne
  2. Daphne odora ‘Aureo-Marginata’ – Winter Daphne
  3. Daphne x transatlantica ‘Eternal Fragrance’ – Everblooming Fragrant Daphne
  4. Daphne x transatlantica ‘Summer Ice’ – Summer Ice Fragrant Daphne
  5. Daphne tangutica

Complete details.

March Color at WPA

March 16th, 2010 by Pat Chinn-Sloan

Selected cuttings for March 2010 from the Washington Park Arboretum

Selected Cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum

  1. Camellia japonica ‘Ecstacy’
  2. Kerria japonica ‘Pleniflora’ – Japanese Rose
  3. Magnolia x loebneri ‘Ballerina’
  4. Magnolia x ‘Royal Crown’
  5. Prunus x yedoensis – Yoshino Cherry

Complete details.

March 2010 Plant Profile: Tulipa kaufmanniana ‘Ancilla’

March 5th, 2010 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

Very VERY early this season, but the weather has been outstanding for this little gem. Having lasted a decade in these beds, ‘Anclla’ still keeps coming strong each spring with these outstanding blooms.
They are reliably perennial and stunningly beautiful as a mass or group planting.

Common Name: Ancilla Tulip
Location: Soest Garden Bed 6
Family: Liliacea
Origin: Garden Origin
Height: 6-8″
Spread: Can form tight clumps after several years
Bloom Time: Usually mid-late March onto April
Bloom Type/Color: Cream colored tepals with bright orange red centers. Reverse has a light red/blue blush..
Exposure: Full Sun
Water/Soil: Well drained, moderately moist.

CUH Update March 2010: “Wow! Things are early!”

March 5th, 2010 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

“It’s crazy!”, a visitor commented as I carefully weeded around emerging tulips and blooming lungworts busting out blooms and color we didn’t come to expect until later this month. It kind of has been crazy, but I told her to just enjoy and soak it all in.

I’m a bit irritated that I’m in the office writing this update when it’s bright and remarkably warm outside. haha. But it’s important that I get the word out to encourage EVERYONE to visit the Center for Urban Horticulture this month. So many of our winter blooming treasures are still present while a surge of spring bloomers are coming up WEEKS ahead of their usual bloom times.

The Magnolias (M. ‘Leonard Messel’) are in full peak bloom as are the daffodils in the Soest Garden. Our plant pick-of-the-month is a gorgeous kaufmanniana species tulip called ‘Ancilla’, also in the Soest (Bed 6). Of course, we have to keep in eye out for those plants just coming up that present themselves as a buffet to pesky snails and slugs that can dessimate a stand of plants. We use the safe and environmentally friendly slug bait called “Sluggo” to keep them at bay.

The Fragrance Garden is getting a bit of a makeover as we play “musical plants” and redesign the beds for a more cohesive appearance and to ensure that plants are appropriately placed for best growth. Come see the changes and watch this garden continue to evolve as you savor the wonderful aromas this landscape exudes. Right now, the daphnes take center stage and the vanilla/white chocolate scent of Azara microphylla is absolutely mouth-watering as it drifts in the warm spring air.

We have a new large specimen that has just recently been installed in the west entry of CUH. A mature Carpenteria californica was transplanted from the Aboretum and founds its new home here at CUH. It is somewhat gangly in appearance, but we hope it establishes well for us to prune it later on so it can continue to thrive. Carpenteria californica is a native of California, obviously, and it is an evergreen shrub with clouds of single white flowers that almost resemble species roses that bloom in early summer. It also has exquisite exfoliating bark and it is quite drought tolerant once established.

Our famous grove of Cornelian cherries (Cornus mas) is in full, bright-yellow bloom and seems to slow traffic along NE 41st. Street! Soon these will leaf out and charge the whole character of the landscape!

Please drop by soon as the spring show is well underway. I’d hate for you all to miss it!