New Plant Cuttings Appear at the Washington Park Arboretum

April 30th, 2010 by Pat Chinn-Sloan

Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum 4/26/10 - 5/10/10

  1. Cercis siliquastrum (European Redbud)
  2. Davidia involucrata var. vilmoriniana (Dove or Handkerchief Tree)
  3. Rehderodendron macrocarpum
  4. Rhododendron ‘Loderi Hybrid’
  5. Viburnum ‘Pragense’

Complete details.

Work party to clean up Union Bay and Arboretum

April 30th, 2010 by Tech Librarian, Tracy Mehlin

The Student Chapter of the American Fisheries Society plans a lake cleanup on May 15th in Union Bay and the Arboretum.

The UW Chapter of American Fisheries Society is partnering with Puget Soundkeeper Alliance in the Lake Union Sweep on Saturday, May 15th.  This is the 8th year of the Lake Union Sweep, and the goal is to extend this stewardship to the Arboretum and Union Bay.

The cleanup is happening on Saturday, May 15th from 8:30 am to noon.  Canoes from the Waterfront Activities Center and kayaks from Agua Verde will be available for volunteers.  The student chapter will organize boats, people, supplies, teams/sites, and trash removal.

All volunteer slots are filled, but for more information contact Lauren Kuehne at

April Color at WPA – New Selected Cuttings

April 15th, 2010 by Pat Chinn-Sloan

Selected cuttings for the 2nd half of April 2010 at the Washington Park Arboretum

Selected Cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum

  1. Abies bornmuelleriana (Turkish Fir)
  2. Amelanchier arborea (Downy Serviceberry)
  3. Larix laricina (Tamarack)
  4. Malus ‘Makamik’ (Crabapple)
  5. Picea orientalis (Oriental Spruce)

Complete details.

April Color Appears at CUH

April 9th, 2010 by Pat Chinn-Sloan

April cutting at CUH

A Selection of Hybrid Narcissus from the Center for Urban Horticulture’s Fragrance Garden

  1. Narcissus ‘Thalia’ – Triandus Hybrid
  2. Narcissus ‘Cheerfulness’ – Double-flowered hybrid
  3. Narcissus ‘Avalanche’ – Tazetta Hybrid
  4. Narcissus ‘Bell Song’ – Jonquilla Hybrid
  5. Narcissus ‘Quail’ – Jonquilla Hybrid

Complete details.

Climate Change Garden designed to be replicated

April 6th, 2010 by Jennifer Youngman, Program Coordinator

The UW Botanic Gardens Climate Change Garden is doing more than monitoring the effects of a changing climate on plant growth and survival. (What’s the Climate Change Garden?) It’s part of a nationwide climate change education initiative entitled Floral Report Card.

Sponsored by Chicago Botanic Garden, Floral Report Card aims to integrate existing phenology citizen science programs into elementary, middle and high school classrooms through garden replication on school grounds. The UWBG Climate Change Garden serves as the model demonstration garden for teachers, students and community members in our region who want to be involved in the Floral Report Card project. The project is currently funded through an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) planning grant that supports collaborative development for adapting Climate Change Gardens and related curricula and technology for schools, teachers and students.

Plants are laid out for planting in the Climate Change Garden

Allison McCarthy plants the Climate Change Garden

Floral Report Card program implementation is in its planning stages, and recruitment of interested educators and community members is underway. In May, Master of Environmental Horticulture Candidate Allison McCarthy will host a teacher focus group with local educators who have expressed interest in being a part of the Climate Change Garden.

Educational goals of the Floral Report Card include:

  • Engaging formal education institutions and communities in citizen science, field studies, and scientific research skills;
  • Increasing visitor awareness of climate and climate change impacts;
  • Understanding the social, cultural, and economic effects of climate change;
  • Understanding how plants and people can mitigate the effects of climate change;
  • Bringing more botany into the formal education curriculum; and
  • Nurturing and empowering students and citizen scientists to be “local experts” on climate change.

Allison McCarthy and Washington Park Arboretum Education Supervisor Patrick Mulligan are presenting at the “Cool School Challenge Training Workshop with a Special Focus on Climate Change and Plants” Saturday, May 1, at the Center for Urban Horticulture. Registration is currently open for this workshop.

Content by Allison McCarthy. Photos by Jennifer Youngman.

Top left: Species are laid out for planting in the Climate Change Garden. Top right: Allison McCarthy plants one of 16 raised beds in the UWBG’s Climate Change Garden.

April Color at WPA

April 2nd, 2010 by Pat Chinn-Sloan

Selected cuttings from the WPA for the first half of April 2010

Selected Cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum

  1. Berberis x lologensis
  2. Litsea cubeba
  3. Magnolia x soulangiana ‘Bronzonii’
  4. Prunus (Sato-zakura group) ‘Shirotae’
  5. Rhododendron ‘Idealist’ x (‘Moonstone’ x ‘Adrastia’)

Complete details.

April 2010 Plant Profile: Epimedium

April 1st, 2010 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

It has taken me almost three years to get the chance to feature one of my most favorite of all blooming shade perennials and with a wide assortment of them beginning to hit their peak, I will discuss the entire genus. Known as” Barrenwort” to some, “Fairy Wings” to others and “Horny Goat Weed” to herbalist, I am talking about the enchanting Epimedium.

“Eppies”, as I often call them amongst fellow plant geeks, have long been known as a tried-and-true perennial for dry shade. Typically planted under trees in a woodland setting, we have a wide assortment of various species and selected cultivars that thrive in various conditions just to demonstrate how adaptive they can really be in many landscape settings here in the Pacific Northwest. With many recent introductions from China finding their way into the market, many unusual forms and hybrids are beginning to turn up.

Within the Soest Garden, we have about 10 different species and named cultivars on display. Most of them are evergreen and reside underneath a large red oak tree and a handful are deciduous that have evident buds ready to spring into full bloom in the month of April.

Every landscape deserves an Epimedium. You really can’t ask for a more elegant, tough and reliable perennial.

  • Common Name: Barrenwort, Fairy Wings
  • Location: Soest Garden Beds 2, 6, 7 and the dry shade bed under the large red oak. Two species in the Fragrance Garden (thought no Epimedium is fragrant, unfortunately)
  • Family: Berberidaceae
  • Origin: Asian and Eastern European species and some of garden origin
  • Height: 6-12″
  • Spread: Can form tight clumps after several years
  • Bloom Time: Usually mid-late March onto April and sometimes into May.
  • Bloom Type/Color: Various
  • Exposure: Part-Full Shade
  • Water/Soil: Well drained, moderately moist. Asian species and their hybrids tend to prefer more water.

CUH Update April 2010

April 1st, 2010 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

April 2010

It’s finally beginning to feel like spring. Yes, we have our occasional bouts of cool temperatures that threaten the tender young growth steadily coming to the fore, but in true spring fashion, plants flaunt the floral frenzy that this season is known for. A new wave of spring flowering bulbs can be admired and adored here at CUH as they fill the air with their potent perfume. A mass of daffodils and fawn lilies take center-stage in the Fragrance Garden and the Daphnes are still going at it strong as they aren’t only blooming, but also pushing new vegetative growth for more blooms next season!

Nearby NHS Hall, we have a lovely, but often overlooked relative of the kiwi fruit, Akebia quinata ‘Alba’, that is so elegant and deliciously scented, no one really notices it. It is a vigorous deciduous vine (in very mild winters it can be semi-evergreen), but it is easily manageable.

In our efforts to promote and encourage research and education, a section of CUH grounds has been designated for a test plot we’ve referred to as the “Climate Change Garden”. Spear-headed by Prof. Soo-Hyung Kim, his graduate students and CUH grounds staff have begun to install beds that will feature genetically identical species selected for their biological responsiveness to temperature. Read more about it here.

Things are picking up momentum as I type so I’m eager to get outside and get on top of our cutting back and dive into some serious weeding. If we have a break in the weather, the Soest lawn is crying out for another haircut!

Ornamental grasses have begun to push their new growth so it’s time to get most of them cut back to allow them to develop. As always, we use our hedge trimmers to shear the grasses down to make the job go more quickly. Those trimmers are then put to use on the hedges themselves as our stunning Osmanthus delavayi also gets a haircut following their wonderfully scented white blooms.

April is also the month we turn on our irrigation system. In the next couple of weeks, the irrigation crew from UW Campus will meet with our irrigation specialist, Annie Billota, to check that heads are working properly and we cover the areas we need to be watered. We then set the frequency and just tweak it during the season as needed.

It is an absolutely great time to visit CUH as there’s so much to see, smell and admire. As many gardeners begin to brainstorm for their landscapes this year, our gardens are a wealth of ideas and fascinating plants!