Imagine No More 520 Ramps in the Arboretum!

May 31st, 2011 by UWBG Communication Staff


Join in the public meeting for the North Entry and Multi-use Trail projects for the Washington Park Arboretum on Wed. June 8, 2011 from 6:30 – 8 p.m. at the Graham Visitor Center in the Arboretum.

This is a great opportunity to be involved with the future of the Washington Park Arboretum.  This project provides scoping and conceptual design for a redeveloped North Entry and the development of a Multi-use Trail from the intersection of East Madison to the Montlake and University neighborhoods.

Come help shape the new look of the park.

Public Meeting
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Graham Visitor Center,
Washington Park Arboretum
2300 Arboretum Drive E

Seattle, Washington 98122

Project information website or for more information please contact :
Seattle Parks Project Manager, Andy Sheffer at 206-684-7041,

A successful season of restoration in UBNA!

May 29th, 2011 by Jake Milofsky - UBNA RA

This spring quarter wrapped up a wonderful season of restoration events in the Union Bay Natural Area, with fantastic progress being made on several projects.  Tallying 177 individual visits in the spring quarter, students and community members collectively donated over 400 hours of their time to the restoration efforts being made in UBNA!

The northern end of Yesler Swamp saw a major improvement with the removal of a large monoculture of Himalayan blackberry.  UW students and the UWBG partnered with the Friends of Yesler Swamp to complete this work and install a suite of native plants including Indian plum, red-flowering currant, snowberry, Douglas hawthorne, ocean spray and live willow stakes.  Maintenance will continue in the coming months as volunteers return to weed this area and support the growth of these newly installed plants.


A community volunteer helps remove bindweed from live willow stakes in Yesler Swamp

A large amount of effort was put forth this season in the newly established woodland at the western end of Wahkiakum Lane as well.  What had seemed like an impenetrable sea of Himalayan blackberry during the winter quarter was tamed by the efforts of many students in UW’s Environmental Science course.  As they supplemented their course work with these service learning opportunities in ecological restoration, they also saw many native species appear from below the blackberry as they cut, pulled, and dug it out of the ground.


A big thanks goes out to everyone who participated in this year’s efforts!

May Color Appears at the Washington Park Arboretum (Part II)

May 25th, 2011 by Pat Chinn-Sloan

Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum for the 2nd part of May 2011

  1. Rhododendron ‘Firefly’     Grid 16-B
  2. Rhododendron japonicum Grid 40-1E
  3. Rhododendron ‘Knap Hill Apricot’     Grid 39-B
  4. Rhododendron occidentale (Pink Form)     Grid 37-1W
  5. Rhododendron ‘Sandpiper’     Grid 37-B

Complete details.

Farm Groundbreaking -May 22, 2011

May 22nd, 2011 by UWBG Horticulturist

“It’s really happening!” shouted the small, yet ecstatic, gathering of Farm Partnership* members, as they watched the plow turn the first soil over in the Center for Urban Horticulture’s northwest field. Farm manager, Robert Servine, knows this is just the first step of many to come before the .75 acre farm will be in full production. It’s certainly a major tangible step after months of planning with UW Botanic Gardens and UW campus grounds management, as well as between the 2 Farm Partnership organizations, to get this exciting urban farm project launched.

Thanks to the generous donation of Full Circle Farms, groundbreaking was a one-person job accomplished via use of tractor, mower and a 4-blade moldboard plow. The conditions for turning earth today couldn’t have been better. After a cold, wet spring, last week’s warmer, sunnier days, dried the field out for accessibility w/ heavy equipment. The plan now is to wait a few weeks, let the weed seed that’s now at the surface germinate, then come in and disc the field. Also, because the field’s soil is depleted of most nutrients, it’s been estimated that 600 yards of compost will need to be incorporated to bring the fertility up to standards needed to grow healthy vegetables.

The farm will contribute to the bounty of our region’s food system by producing vegetables for sale on the University of Washington campus and at the University District Farmers’ Market.

  • The Farm is a partnership between Seattle Tilth’s Seattle Youth Garden Works program and the UW Student Farm.
  • Seattle Youth Garden Works (SYGW) empowers homeless and underserved youth through farm-based education and employment.
  • The UW Student Farm is a student organization committed to growing and learning about sustainable food systems.

For more info or to get involved, contact: Robert Servine, SYGW Farm Coordinator – or (206)633-0451 x102.

Michelle Venetucci Harvey, UW Student Farm –

Plow used to turn soil




Attaching plow to tractor




Arboretum Summer Camp!

May 20th, 2011 by Arboretum Education Supervisor, Patrick Mulligan

Summer is coming. Summer is coming. Summer is coming! I’ve had to repeat this reassuring mantra more than usual this spring, but it’s true, I promise, summer is indeed just around the corner. This is especially exciting for us in the WPA Education Program because it means SUMMER CAMPS! We’ve partnered with other organizations in the past to hold summer camps, but this year we’re taking complete control and we couldn’t be happier about it. Having control means we choose the dates, times, themes, activities, size and most importantly the Summer Camp Guides. We put out the call and were overwhelmed by the response, and now after some difficult decisions we’re thrilled to introduce our summer camp team of top-notch environmental educators:

Sarah Short: Sarah is our fearless leader who will be overseeing our Summer Camps this year. She’s a Seattle native who received her B.A. in Human Ecology at College of the Atlantic in Maine where she realized that her love of nature and science could best be used in teaching others. Sarah returned to Seattle, her one and only true home, to attend IslandWood and the UW. She will be receiving her M.Ed. in Science Education this June. Sarah loves coming up with fun and interesting ways to connect people to science and nature – that’s one of the many reasons she’s so excited about Arboretum Summer Camps!

Rachel Nagorsky: Rachel comes to us via the University of British Colombia, and IslandWood. She will be pursuing her M.Ed. from UW in the fall. Rachel has worked with kids of all ages from kindergarten to high school both here and in Canada, sharing her love of mountains and nature. When she’s not in class learning about teaching or in the field actually teaching, Rachel is a nanny and volunteer at Seattle Tilth’s children’s garden – she just can’t seem to get enough. She’s bubbly and bright and her “bag of tricks” is filled to the brim. She looks forward to putting those tricks to good use this summer at the Arboretum and we look forward to her infectious excitement.


Gabriel Finkelstein: Gabe is an outdoor and environmental educator who loves exploring the natural world any way he can – by bike, foot, kayak or ski. He has spent the last 8 years providing outdoor learning opportunities for youth that engage their natural curiosities and interests. He holds a B.A. in Education from College of the Atlantic in Maine where he was active in programs
that worked to get public school students outdoors and involved with their natural surroundings. He’s fascinated by the interconnections between humans and the environment and loves sharing this fascination with children.

Kathie Branford: Kathie is a transplant from California where she grew up spending summers attending and eventually working at camps set in the redwoods near Yosemite Valley. She received her B.S. in Biology from Brigham Young University and is currently perusing a M.A. in Science Teaching from UW in conjunction with the IslandWood Graduate Program. Aside from summer camps, Kathie has worked at natural history museums teaching students about animals, and environmental consulting firm teaching businesses about water conservation. She also studied abroad in Paris where she fell in love with the French language and the French cuisine. Her favorite book is “The Count of Monte Cristo”, and her favorite tree is the Western Hemlock.

click here to learn more about WPA Summer Camps

Buy a Beautiful Book and Support UBNA

May 18th, 2011 by Kern Ewing

Marilyn Smith Layton has created a book of images called Seasons of Life in the Union Bay Natural Area, and she is donating the profits from the sale of the book to projects in UBNA. The cost of the book is $60, and $20 of that will go to help the natural area.

You may purchase a copy in the Miller Library (cash or check only). If you would like to purchase by mail, please send a check (written out to Marilyn Smith Layton) to:

Marilyn Smith Layton
c/o UW Botanic Gardens
Box 354115
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195

Please include an additional $6 for postage and your mailing address. Books will be sent via USPS.

Seasons of Life has emerged from years of photographing the Union Bay Natural Area:  a sanctuary of renewal and inspiration within the UW Botanic Gardens.

A resident of the nearby neighborhood since 1968, Marilyn walks with camera in hand to capture the lives and light that are forever shifting. When her husband Richard Layton was recovering from a near fatal brain disease in the summer of 2009, they measured his progress by how much of the path he could cover. Slowly he came to walk its full circle again.

Both Marilyn and Richard Layton have close ties and loyalty to the University; Richard graduated in the fifth class of the UW Medical School (1954) and for many years directed a residency program in Family Medicine at Providence Hospital for the university, receiving the 2001 Alumni Service Award from the school. Marilyn completed her doctoral coursework in the UW English Department but a full-time teaching contract from North Seattle Community College prevented her from completing the degree, a choice she has not regretted.

For 40 years until her retirement in December 2008, Marilyn taught writing and literature in the Humanities Division at North Seattle. She continues to serve the college as an executive board member and presently vice-chair of its scholarship-granting Education Fund, and as the secretary of the Seattle Community Colleges Foundation. As an active faculty member, she authored three books, a number of articles, and presented workshops on many topics at
conferences around the country, as well as teaching for short periods in India and Argentina. She has participated in photography and art shows, and a few of her paintings still hang at the college.

Years immersed in a natural history class with science colleagues launched her passion for capturing in photographs the life she observed. She and her husband began to travel widely to wild places like the Antarctic and the Galapagos. Those travels have helped focus her love on what is so close to home: the Union Bay Natural Area.

Proceeds from this book will provide financial support for this well-loved place.

Super Fun Summer Camp at the Arboretum

May 18th, 2011 by Arboretum Education Supervisor, Patrick Mulligan
summer camp photograph

Kids planting a garden at summer camp

Summer camp at the Washington Park Arboretum takes place in July this year.

  • Week 1: Native Plants and People (July 11 – 15)
  • Week 2: Little Green Thumbs (July 18 – 22)
  • Week 3: Arboretum Detectives (July 25 – 29)

Read the full theme descriptions and learn how to register at the Summer Programs page.

Family Fun Day May 22, 2011 gives a taste of what summer camp holds.

May Color Appears at the Washington Park Arboretum

May 12th, 2011 by Pat Chinn-Sloan

Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum for May 2011

  1. Malus x moerlandsii ‘Profusion’
  2. Cornus nuttallii
  3. Fothergilla major
  4. Davidia involucrata
  5. Abies alba

Complete details.

May 2011 Plant Profile: Daphne x transatlantica ‘Summer Ice’

May 11th, 2011 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

Having the coldest spring on record, I figured it would be fitting to introduce this excellent garden plant that might describe what kind of summer we have.

Daphne x transatlantica 'Summer Ice'

Daphne ‘Summer Ice’ is becoming a widely recognized small shrub for the Pacific Northwest. It’s dependable, easy to care for, once established, and possesses fine qualities as such persistent leaves (for the most part) and wonderfully sweet fragrance that’s present almost year round. Gardeners have been impressed with its tidy habit often forming a compact mount with dense blooms from top to bottom.

Common Name: ‘Summer Ice’ Daphne
Family: Thymelaeaceae
Location: Fragrance Garden
Origin: Garden Origin
Height: 2.5-3ft.
Spread: 3ft. wide
Bloom Time: Intermittently throughout the year.
Bloom Type/Color: Terminal clusters of white-pale pink,tubular flowers with exceptional fragrance.
Exposure/Water/Soil: Sun-Part Shade. Moderately moist and well draining soil.

Plant Answer Line: Going Strong After Ten Years

May 9th, 2011 by Tech Librarian, Tracy Mehlin

Plant Answer Line - click to ask a questionIn the spring of 2001 the Elisabeth C. Miller Library launched a new service designed to answer plant and gardening questions quickly over the phone or via email.

“How do I prune a Hollywood juniper to shape and train it so it looks good?”

The Plant Answer Line is staffed by professionally trained librarians who also have a life-time passion for gardening. The librarians find answers in an extensive collection of books and magazines, as well as online from trusted websites and databases. Over the last decade, tens of thousands of gardeners from all over the world received well researched answers with citations to sources.

“Can you tell me how to grow Hibiscus from cuttings?”

travel mug image

Buy your Plant Answer Line gear today!

To celebrate the ten year anniversary of the Plant Answer Line the Miller Library opened a Cafe Press shop where travel mugs, caps, book bags and magnets may be purchased all featuring the PAL anniversary logo.

Have a question? Call 206-897-5268 (UW-PLANT) or send a message to Plant Answer Line is a free service, but the Miller Library depends on private donations to buy books and pay staff.

“Will I be able to get  syrup from maple trees in our climate?”