August Color Appears at the Washington Park Arboretum

August 30th, 2011 by Pat Chinn-Sloan

Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum for August 2011

  1. Catalpa X erubescens (Hybrid Catalpa)
  2. Hibiscus ‘Lohengrin’
  3. Kalopanax pictus (Prickly castor-oil tree)
  4. Quercus hypoleucoides (Silverleaf oak)
  5. Sequoia sempervirens ‘Henderson Blue’

Complete details.

How does your garden grow?

August 29th, 2011 by Arboretum Education Supervisor, Patrick Mulligan

The following was submitted by Angela Williams, one of five UW student interns who worked with us this past spring through the Carlson Leadership Center. Angela and co. were tasked with transforming the long neglected “Back 40” located between Plant Donations and the Greenhouse at the Arboretum into a vegetable garden…

“As a student majoring in public health nutrition, I’ve worked in many food-related service learning/volunteering positions in the past several years. My recent experience as “Greenhouse and Garden Caretaker” at the UW Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, however, was by far my favorite position ever. I so looked forward to my Friday shift each week; it was a welcome break from the classroom as I was outside working in the fresh air tending to the garden. I could hardly wait to get there each week to see how much the plants had grown. Seeds that I had put in the ground only weeks before had evolved into beautiful spinach, kale, pea, beet and tomato plants!
It really was a pleasure working with the staff; Patrick and Cari were so responsive and knowledgeable. They provided great leadership and support, yet also allowed me to work independently and use my own creativity; such as deciding what and where vegetables should be planted. They taught me a variety of organic gardening methods that I have already put to use in my own garden.
I find it especially rewarding to know that the garden I helped establish will be used as a learning garden for field trips and summer camps. It makes me happy to know the sustainable, organic produce grown in this garden will provide many years of delicious education for the thousands of children that visit.”

The Science and Practice of Sustainable Sites

August 26th, 2011 by Tech Librarian, Tracy Mehlin

Three stand-alone Tuesday evening sessions: 6:30–8:30pm at CUH, September 20; September 27; October 4.

$30 per event; $50 for two; $75 for three, with an additional 10% early-bird discount by EOB September 9.

Approved for Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LACES) credits.

Register online, call 206-685-8033 with a credit card, or mail in this downloadable registration form.


Tuesday, September 20

“The Science and Practice of Sustainable Sites: Observations from Two Parks Pilot Projects”

6:30 – 8:30 pm, 2.0 LACES PDH

This session will compare and contrast how the SITES™ process applies to two Seattle Parks e

Bradner Park Fence image

Bradner Park Fence

nrolled in the Sustainable Sites (SITES) Initiative’s Pilot Program: Bradner Gardens Park, an existing park; and Kirke Park, a park in development. Participants will gain an understanding of the application of SITES to different project types as project-team leads share their experiences with SITES and compare notes on their decision-making and documentation processes. Team members will review how they determined the appropriate credits, show sample documentation from credit requirements, and speculate on possible lessons learned from the process. The event will conclude with a lively dialog about how SITES may influence Seattle Parks’ design, operations, maintenance, and marketing, and conversely how the pilot projects may inform SITES standards. This training is intended for design professionals, site owners, and landscape contractors who want to learn how to effectively contribute to the team-oriented process of creating and documenting sustainable landscapes.

“Observations from Two Parks Pilot Projects” is a standalone course in an evening series exploring the Sustainable Sites Initiative and the sustainable practices that will enable built landscapes to support ecological functions and regenerate natural resources. We examine the SITES metric and its use as a tool to effect change through the lens of our instructors’ experiences with SITES pilot projects and other performance-based tools. This series is co-sponsored by UW Botanic Gardens, the Washington Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (WASLA) and Seattle Public Utilities.

Karen Galt is a landscape architect and coordinates the Irrigation Conservation Program for the Stewardship and Sustainability Unit of Seattle Parks and Recreation. For nearly twelve years Karen has worked for Parks in neighborhood planning and park development; her work has recently focused on maintenance operations.

Clayton Beaudoin, MLA, LEED AP®. With a background in the environmental community, Clayton’s landscape-architecture experience includes several LEED certified buildings, creek daylighting, neighborhood development, and several regional and neighborhood parks.


Tuesday, September 27

“The Science and Practice of Sustainable Sites: Practical Implementation of Soil Protection”

6:30 – 8:30 pm, 2.0 LACES PDH

Effective soil protection starts early in planning and doesn’t stop with best intentions. This seminar will prepare design, construction and landscape professionals to meet the Sustainable Sites (SITES™) Initiative’s soil benchmarks as well as Washington’s required Post-Construction Soil Best Management Practices, which the SITES requirements are modeled on. After an introduction to soil functions and ecosystems, we’ll discuss best practices in soil protection and restoration, the soil management plan, materials selection, and writing effective specifications. We’ll discuss construction strategies for both large and small sites — sequencing, equipment and coordinating on-site teams, as well as ongoing practices for soil regeneration.

“Practical Implementation of Soil Protection” is a standalone course in an evening series exploring the Sustainable Sites Initiative and the sustainable practices that will enable built landscapes to support ecological functions and regenerate natural resources. We examine the SITES metric and its use as a tool to effect change through the lens of our instructors’ experiences with SITES pilot projects and other performance-based tools. This series is co-sponsored by UW Botanic Gardens, the Washington Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (WASLA) and Seattle Public Utilities.

David McDonald is a resource conservation planner at Seattle Public Utilities, leads SPU’s professional training program and Washington’s Soils for Salmon project, and serves on the national SITES technical core committee.

Howard Stenn is a design consultant and co-author of Washington State’s Soil BMPs with extensive site development, specification, and soil best practice professional education experience.

Jim Berger is Senior Construction Manager at Port Blakely Communities, teaches CESCL erosion courses, and coordinates construction teams and installation processes. He shares with our other presenters a keen interest in sustainability and soil.


Tuesday, October 4

 “The Science and Practice of Sustainable Sites: Watering without Waste”

6:30 – 8:30 pm, 2.0 LACES PDH

Resource-savvy irrigation is more than a technical skill; it requires the communication, forethought and systems thinking of an integrated team. This two-hour session will provide an irrigation technical overview and prepare professionals for the requirements of the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES™). The instructors lead you through the water conservation prerequisites and credits, as well as strategic approaches that support SITES’ multiple objectives. Planning for plant establishment, life-cycle and ongoing maintenance involves good communication and documentation. We’ll explore irrigation efficiency, materials, the influence of maintenance on design, the appropriate use of drip systems and temporary irrigation, and weaning off supplemental water. We’ll tap into the experience of our instructors, including a SITES pilot project that looks ahead to disconnection.

“Watering without Waste” is a standalone course in an evening series exploring the Sustainable Sites Initiative and the sustainable practices that will enable built landscapes to support ecological functions and regenerate natural resources. We examine the SITES metric and its use as a tool to effect change through the lens of our instructors’ experiences with SITES pilot projects and other performance-based tools. This series is co-sponsored by UW Botanic Gardens, the Washington Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (WASLA) and Seattle Public Utilities.

David Hilgers, ASLA, LEED AP®, works for R Miller Construction as a landscape architect and sustainability advisor, and integrates sustainable design and construction practice in all types of development.

Matt Suhadolnik, ASLA, LEED AP®, is a landscape architect with SvR Design, where he collaborates with other engineering, landscape architecture, and planning professions on well integrated, sustainable solutions.

Summer Greetings from Director Sarah Reichard

August 25th, 2011 by Sarah Reichard, UW Botanic Gardens Director

Summer color at the Center for Urban Horticulture

Summer Greetings  from UW Botanic Gardens!  I hope you are having a wonderful (if somewhat delayed) summer, filled with the joy of the season.  I invite you to come visit us as often as you can – the gardens and natural areas we manage are free to all, so whether it’s respite and relaxation you seek, a quiet walk in the woods, the beauty of what’s blooming, a guided kayak tour of Foster Island, or the splendid colors of fall, UW Botanic Gardens offers you magnificent nature experiences year-round.

I also invite you to continue your support to UWBG, joining us in our goal to promote an educated, inspired, and engaged society, dedicated to sustainable ecosystems.  Together we can do great things to safeguard the health of our environment, restore damaged ecosystems, and preserve valuable species for generations to come.  Now, more than any time in the recent past, your support is vitally needed as state funding continues to decline, resulting in a continued reduction of staff. Consider giving a gift to UWBG via the UW Foundation’s secure website.

Read the rest of Director Reichard’s letter to friends of UWBG.

Learn field sketching and botanical watercolor

August 24th, 2011 by Jennifer Youngman, Program Coordinator

Koi Rock by Suzanne FerrisIn a single, all-day Plein Air Field Sketching workshop Sept. 24, botanical artist Suzanne Ferris will get you started indoors by drawing basic shapes and then head outdoors to discover the same shapes in trees and shrubs. You’ll consider “value veils” for creating depth, one- and two-point perspective, point of view and the process of seeing by mark making, while working in sumi and walnut ink as well as soft graphite. Register by Sept. 12to secure the Early Bird Price of $75. Suzanne’s work is pictured at right.

In Beginning Botanical Watercolor, botanical artist and instructor Kathleen McKeehen will show you how the application of controlled washes and the dry-brush technique produce images that are three-dimensional and aesthetically appealing. Five weekly classes meet at the Center for Urban Horticulture 7:00-9:30 PM beginning Sept. 28. Register by Sept. 16 to secure the Early Bird Price of $170.

Maintenance Improvement: Azalea Way Gravel Path

August 22nd, 2011 by UWBG Horticulturist
Azalea Way photo

An expansion of the Azalea Way lawn path is proposed.

Historically the Azalea Way lawn path experiences 8-9 months a year that are very wet making access difficult. In 2009 a crushed rock path was added to the middle of Azalea Way from Boyer Parking lot to the Woodland Garden. The proposed improvement will add 700 feet of 6 foot wide crushed rock path from the Woodland Garden to the Lynn Street Bridge Trail.

Parks anticipates the construction of the path will take place over the first two weeks in September 2011. We will work in sections to minimize the impact on users.

The project is funded by generous donation from the Arboretum Foundation.

Thank you for your support and patience during this project. 

For more project information please contact:

Lisa Chen, Park Horticulturalist Seattle Parks and Recreation 206-233-3777 or


August 10th, 2011 by Arboretum Education Supervisor, Patrick Mulligan





















We had rolled into Terney the evening before after dropping our various chauffeurs at the “wilderness lodge” on the edge of the nearby Sikhote-Alin Zapovednik.  The drive into Terney was gorgeous – rolling hills of deep green forests and fields spattered with various sized bodies of water reflecting the grey sky overhead.  It felt a bit like the Oregon Coast.  The town itself felt different from the other towns we’d passed through.  It was clean and bright and all the roofs were similar and newish.  Terney is home to a large Japanese timber company which accounts for its prosperity.  It’s also home to a branch of the Wildlife Conservation Society, started by an American guy named Dale Miquelle in 1992.  WCS is primarily devoted to research and protection of the Amur Tiger & Amur Leopard.  Their headquarters, a cozy little home/office perched on a hill overlooking the town, was our base – the most comfortable base we’d had yet, complete with tiger striped blankets & towels, and a super high-tech shower from the future.  Our host, Anna, was the only staff member around and the first true red-head we’d seen in Russia.  Anna made me notice how many different noses there are in the world – hers was very cute and elf-like.

After settling into our new digs and a delicious dinner featuring fresh baked bread, we headed over to another organization’s space, Uragus, where we would be presenting the following morning.  On this night, however, it was our turn to be presented to while nibbling on the compulsory tea and sweets.  The speaker, and our primary contact in Terney, was yet another passionate woman named Galina.  She and her husband Serge (a former ornithologist for the zapovednik with the most amazing eye brows I’ve ever seen) had founded two organizations, one for adults the other for children, both dedicated to ecological conservation.  Uragus, the adult version, was named after a very common bird native to the area.  Among the various projects these organizations had started was an ecology club that went on hikes and camping trips in the region that included trail building; summer ecology camps for kids; an ecology olympics that sounded like a lot of fun; student/teacher workshops with all 10 villages located in the Terney region (2 of these villages are inhabited by the indigenous peoples known as the Udege); and last but not least a mini-arboretum that surrounded the building in which we now sat.  We talked until 11:30 before finally calling it a night.  The forecast was for rain in the morning so we went to bed not knowing if we would have much of a crowd when we awoke.


We had little reason for concern.  Russians are a hearty lot and like Seattlites, a little rain is hardly discouraging.  But before our schtick, we were to take a tour of the garden that Uragus had planted with the help of kids and community members.  Our tour guide was a little girl with a bright pink shirt and a long red stick for pointing at things (or snapping our attention).  She was incredible.  If only I could recruit American kids like her to help lead our Weekend Walks.  It was a tough act to follow, but Tony and Sally knocked it out of the park and as we had come to expect, the kids who participated in the ecosystem challenge demonstrated a deeper understanding of ecological concepts than most adults.  My favorite part about this particular session was how the small group of slightly older kids (teens) helped out the younger ones in figuring out the ecosystem puzzle.  Bandura would have been pleased with such effective modeling.




























Afterwards we took it outside for some games.  We were short on time, the kids wanted to run and we were dealing with a pretty big age spread.  So we played a few rounds of “bear, salmon, mosquito” followed by a little “maple seed mix-up” during which I learned the Russian word for “tree” (dierova).  We were joined, un-expectedly, by Helaina and the kids that had basically kidnapped me the day before.  It was good to see them, and a nice feeling to have been missed.  We returned to our base at the Wildlife Conservation Society where we were joined by Galina for a delicious lunch of soup, salad and bread.  We brainstormed how we could help and get Vlad BG involved and came up with a few ideas, the most simple of which was to provide them with plans to install a cattle guard in their front gate to protect their garden from the “free-range” cows and goats that roam the town.


Our time in Terney had been too brief, but there was still so much to see and do.  First on the list was a crappy little art museum back in Kavalerovo, and who should we find as our tour guide – Helaina, showing up yet again like a dirty penny.  The first piece I saw as I entered was an intergalactic landscape scene complete with space station (Russians love space).  I knew I was in for it.  Featured prominently in the gallery were works by a local sculptor.  When I say local, I mean 5 minutes down the road.  So we went to his house and toured his garden.  Oleg was not only an artist, but also a proprietor of a “banya” (sauna).  I use that word “proprietor” loosely as I don’t think we actually paid anything, but sauna we did!  It was terrific and if I could choose one aspect of Russian culture to bring home, it would be the banya.


p.s.  If anyone out there is interested in collaborating for some sort of artist exchange, I know a Russian sculptor who’s dying to show some work in Seattle.











SPRAY NOTIFICATION: Garden Loosestrife, Initial Applications July 26 through August 9

August 4th, 2011 by UWBG Horticulturist

UW Botanic Gardens has begun its 5th and final year of the 5yr Dept. of Ecology, Garden Loostrife eradication project.

 Our contractor, NW Aquatic Eco-Systems, has scheduled initial  spray applications to commence on July 26 and continue through first week of August.  Postings of project and current spray dates are located at all public accessible waterfront locations.  There will be a final follow-up application in September.

Lysimachia vulgaris, Garden Loosestrife, a non-native wetland species is invasive in this area. State listed as a class B noxious weed, it requires control by the land manager UW Botanic Gardens as mandated by King County Noxious Weed Control Board.



Treatment includes: 

  •  Approximately 5 miles of shoreline property bordering Union Bay including Foster and Marsh Islands in the Washington Park Arboretum
  • An initial and follow up spray application to occur between July 15 and October 1
  •  Both shoreline and land side application of the herbicide Habitat (imazapyr), a selective broadleaf herbicide. 
    •  Non toxic to fish and their food web.
    •  No significant risk to birds or mammals


Call for Abstracts: Conserving Plant Biodiversity

August 4th, 2011 by Wendy Gibble
 arctic alpine forget-me-not

Arctic alpine forget-me-not, Ertrichiumnanumvar elongatum

The University of Washington Botanic Gardens will be hosting a conference next March, on Conserving Plant Biodiversity in a Changing World: A View from NW North America. Complete  information is on the conference website, including program themes, sponsorship opportunities and a call for entries for a botanical art competition.

The call for abstracts will be open until October 28th.

Note that we define change as not just climate, but also economic and political change.

CUH Update – Sprimmer 2011: There is NO summer!

August 2nd, 2011 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

Things certainly ramped up since my last post on here hence the absence of updates, but it’s been a busy past few months here at the Center for Urban Horticulture Grounds. There are several exciting new projects underway and our regular summer regiment is in full swing with regular volunteers that have helped what is now a two person crew to oversee all of CUH Grounds since our third colleague left. It’s been stressful, at times disheartening, to see colleagues leave or hours cut because our budgets are whittled down to the point where “do less with less” is the new mantra.

Like I’ve said before, plants and nature move on and grow and so we should do the same. There’s so many beautiful things in the garden right now such as our bizarre and highly unusual “Plant Profile” for August, but the weather has been so variable and relatively cool as things are incredibly late this year. Comparing photographs from previous years, we’re easily three, even four weeks behind where we were last year. We wonder if our late season bloomers will ever mature in time as leaves are sort of beginning to change color and gardeners joke that we could have frost as soon as tomorrow! Slowly things are catching up, but that doesn’t mean we’re ahead either. Weeding has been constant and certain areas just have to sit until we are able to get to them. My thanks to those who have left neat little piles of fireweed and thistle for us to pick up. =)

The number of projects we have is certainly overwhelming, but at the same time, very exciting and much anticipated! One of those projects is certainly an exciting endeavor that will hopefully get the UW Community more involved. A site just Northwest of the main CUH complex is being prepared as an expansion of the current Seattle Youth Garden Works site as a partnership between Seattle Tilth and the UW Farm. Seattle Youth Garden Works has been farming at CUH for almost 10 years  and recently teamed up with the UW Farm to expand production.  With its humble origins along the Burke-Gilman trail adjacent to the UW Botany Greenhouse in campus, the UW Farm been encouraged to expand in the hopes of growing the program and having a far greater impact not only for those taking part, but for the surrounding communities that would benefit from their hard work producing organic, sustainably grown produce. You can purchase produce from the site at the Seattle Youth Garden Works booth at the U-District farmers market. For more information on the partnership between Seattle Tilth and the UW Urban Farm, please contact Robert Servine, SYGW Farm Coordinator – or (206)633-0451 x102 and Michelle Venetucci Harvey, UW Student Farm –

Just north of their site is the run-down “Soundscapes” Garden that has received very little attention over the years. Once a demonstration garden, it has been overtaken by blackberries, horsetail and other unwanted weeds. Some of the original woody plants still add structure , but it is in dire need of a revamp as it is essentially the  front door to the center. A few months ago, the newly formed Hardy Plant Society of Washington proposed to take over the site to design, install, and regularly maintain the garden. A group of plant savvy, highly passionate gardeners is required to refurbish that site and it will be no easy task. Negotiations are underway, but we are all anxious to give this part of CUH a much needed face-lift.

Speaking of face-lifts, these prominent gardens will see some dramatic changes in the next couple of months:
The McVay Courtyard is undergoing a re-design by the original designer, UW landscape-architect professor Iain Robertson. He aims to have more architectural elements and much needed color interest. Like any large project, it will be done in phases and it will depend a lot on events scheduled and, of course, the budget.

Artists painting watercolors of the Soest Garden on a rare sunny day this summer.

The Soest Garden will see one of its large Parrotia persica trees removed this fall to be replaced with a different species. The trees have outgrown their space in the raised beds. Its been overdue for a revamp because the original plan was to replant shade trees every ten years to showcase different species that serve the purpose of providing shade to  perennials growing underneath.

On a smaller scale, we have another project installed and through the 1st phase of its completion and that’s the rain garden at the base of the south-facing Stormwater slope. Students and volunteers have prepared the site and have begun planting natives to take advantage of an ideal situation to collect excess stormwater and by having plants there, they improve the water quality of surrounding bodies of water by reducing the amount of potential pollutants flowing through. For more information on this project please contact David Zuckerman
Neighborhood support and involvement has also grown as Friends of Yesler Swamphave had several work parties these past few months. A Union Bay East Basin development grant is in progress and is currently in a design phase.

A lot going on and a lot to look forward to, that’s for sure. Please take some time to visit us and witness our slow progress and if you’ve got some time to share your expertise, there are volunteer opportunities both here and at Washington Park Arboretum.

I hope everyone has a great “sprimmer” and we’ll catch up again come Autumn!


Riz (and Tracy…thanks for the links and edits!)