Otis Douglas Hyde Herbarium

May 29th, 2012 by Heidi Unruh, UWBG Communications Volunteer

photo Have you ever stopped in to visit the Otis Douglas Hyde Herbarium here at the Center for Urban Horticulture? This amazing resource is home to over 20,000 plant specimens and focuses on horticulturally significant plants for gardens and landscapes. With specimens dating as far back as 1908, you can view native plant specimens taken from the UW campus from before the campus was even built. Or identify a plant growing in your garden today with the Herbarium’s free plant identification service.

In addition to providing plant identification to the public, the Herbarium serves as a resource to University of Washington students learning about plant identification. Students can compare multiple  specimens of the same plant side-by-side to observe finite details between species, something that would be very difficult to do in nature!

Want to support this great resource? Take a little piece of the UW Botanic Gardens home with a one-of-a-kind framed herbarium specimen  or stop by the Washington Park Arboretum gift shop for a pressed flower note card handmade by Herbarium volunteers.  Speaking of volunteers, the Herbarium has a large and active volunteer community and is always looking for new volunteers.

The Herbarium is run by a part-time Research Assistant and is open 20 hours per week. Check the website for current hours.

Save the Date: 2nd Annual Vendor Showcase

May 29th, 2012 by Heidi Unruh, UWBG Communications Volunteer

Looking for a beautiful place to plan an event? Our lawns, outdoor patios, large hall and classrooms are available for events such as  business meetings, conferences, graduations, weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, auctions, memorial services and parties. Join us for our 2nd annual Vendor Showcase, where nearly 50 caterers, rental companies, photographers, entertainers, florists and many other vendors will be on hand to showcase their specialties.



Event Details:

When:  Thursday, July 26, 2012 from 3 – 7 pm.

Where:   Center for Urban Horticulture, 3501 NE 41st St. (directions).

RSVP:  Friday, July 13. Please call 206-221-2500 or email uwbgfac@uw.edu with your name and # attending.

Price: Free

Questions:  Contact Lauren S. Fortune, UWBG Facilities & Rental Program,  206-685-1706, laurenf@u.washington.edu

See many more photos of last year’s Vendors Showcase at photographer Lauren Kahan’s website.

Meet our Summer Camp Staff

May 29th, 2012 by Sarah Heller, Community Programs Coordinator & Fiddleheads Forest School Director

We are very excited about the Garden Guides we hired to run our summer camps. All three come with a love for and knowledge of the natural world, experience and educational background in teaching and being outside with kids, and a diverse set of qualities that will make for a dynamic and fun-filled summer!

Kathie Bradford

Born and raised in beautiful Northern California, I grew up exploring the creek behind my house and playing with the horses and goats that lived next door.  After graduating from Brigham Young University with a degree in Biology, I worked at a small education consulting company in the Bay Area.  Wanting to combine my love of the natural world and my new-found interest in education, I fortuitously found and was accepted to IslandWood’s graduate residency program.  After spending a year on Bainbridge Island teaching environmental education to elementary school students, I recently moved to Seattle to finish a Master’s Degree in Science Education at the University of Washington.   I’ve completely fallen in love with the Pacific Northwest and I love encouraging students from all over the city to explore the beautiful ecosystems that can be found right outside their back door! This will be my second summer as a Garden Guide.


Rachel McCaffrey

Originally from Portland, Oregon and having lived in Seattle for school, my Pacific Northwest roots run deep. I just graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in both Community, Environment & Planning (CEP) and Environmental Studies. I’m interested in outreach projects that educate and engage people in urban environmental, education, and social justice issues. I am a runner, writer, climber, cook, aspiring adventurer, and – most importantly – a learner. I believe that education should be fun and am excited to share my enthusiasm for environmental education with students this summer.


Dana Radcliffe

I recently moved to Seattle from Virginia and completed my Master’s of Science in Education.  Since my move, I have been able to teach in the classroom, in small groups, and in one-on-one settings covering a range of content areas and topics – everything from the environment to music!  I am always excited and inspired by the vast possibilities working with kids and the opportunity to be a part of the dynamic and interactive process of learning and development.  This summer I look forward to sharing my love of nature with the kids through our hikes and activities.  I am an avid hiker and backpacker and it will be a lot of fun to share the joys of being outdoors and explore the many wonders of nature available throughout the Arboretum.


Sarah Heller

I have worked for the Arboretum for about a year and half and could not possibly love my job any more than I do right now. I was brought on in 2010 to design and develop a summer camp program. We piloted a 3 week program last summer and through positive parent, camper and staff feedback we deemed it a huge success. I am excited this program is growing and that we will spend this summer teaching about, playing in and connecting over 140 kids with the natural world at the Arboretum. Like many in the field of environmental education my love for the outdoors started as a kid building forts, going on forest expeditions with my sister on Orcas Island, using mud for mosquito repellent and experiences with the Wilderness Awareness School. Now, I am grateful I get to share my passion for nature through teaching and program development (check out our new Family Ecology Tour Program). My current naturalist pursuits are expanding my ethnobotanical knowledge, learning some bird ID and song skills, and stretching my plant knowledge to include the higher altitudes as I explore the mountains through backpacking and alpine scrambling.

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

May 29th, 2012 by Pat Chinn-Sloan

Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (May 21 - June 4, 2012)

1) Aesculus pavia   (Red Buckeye)

  • Deciduous shrub to 8 – 12 feet
  • Native to southern U.S.
  • Located along Lake Washington Boulevard near the Japanese Garden

2) Cornus alternifolia   (Alternate Leaf Dogwood)

  • Small tree to 20 feet
  • Native to eastern North America
  • Located between Loderi Valley and Azalea Way

3) Illicium henryi   (Henry Anise Tree)

  • Small tree to 10 – 15 feet
  • Native to western China
  • Located near the Asiatic Maples and the Rhododendrons seedling bed

4) Pterostyrax psilophylla   (Small Epaulette Tree)

  • Deciduous tree up to 45 – 50 feet
  • Native to central China
  • Located behind Azalea Way (bed H)

5) Sinojackia rhederiana   (Jack Tree)

  • Small tree or shrub reaching heights of 15 – 20 feet
  • Native to southeast China
  • Located near the Rhododendron Glen parking lot

CUH Update – SPRING 2012

May 25th, 2012 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

Finding the time to do a regular update has been a challenge as this time of year demands so much of our time as the gardens take on a life of their own! With only two gardeners (one half-time and one 3/4 time) overseeing the grounds, we must scramble to get on top of things and sometimes it doesn’t always happen. The gardens, somehow, find a way to look fabulous and put on a show like no other.

MvVay Courtyard revovation:
We have just completed the first phase of a redesign and renovation of the McVay Courtyard here at the Center of Urban Horticulture. In the next couple of months, we will slowly transition into a new look thanks to UW Professor in Landscape Architecture, Ian Robertson. His aim is to integrate more architectural plants and add much needed color and vibrancy to the space.

CUH McVay Renovation
In this brand new makeover of this bed, we’ve relocated the existing ferns to make room for striking Manzanitas
(Arctostaphylos cvs.), azaleas, and an assortment of various bulbs including Nerine, Amaryllis, and Lilies.


Seattle Garden Club’s Scented Garden:
After 5 years since its installation, the Fragrance Garden is another one that has has taken on a life of its own as the beds are just about full and plants have really had a chance to get established.

Now it’s just a matter of editing and ensuring that there’s color (and fragrance, of course) all throughout the year.

Fragrant azaleas perfume the air even on drizzly days.
(Rhododendron occidentalis)
Newly installed trellis for a profusion of fragrant sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus)

A grand entrance in progress:


Visitors might be wondering what’s happening up front; it’s getting kind of weedy and the horsetails are back in full force. It’s just one of the challenges we have in maintaining the grounds with just 2 part time gardeners, but we’ve been recruiting volunteers and partnering with the Hardy Plant Society of Washington
who have something spectacular in store as they are gathering troops to take on this challenge and transform this site into a most spectacular perennial border! There’s so much to do and they could really use a few hands during their work parties. If you’re interested in volunteering and being a part of what’s expected to be a traffic-stopper, check out the link to their site.



It’s time to assemble our seasonal containers; both indoors and out! We’ve been trying to keep our small foyer in the Douglas Conservatory actually look like a conservatory with random tropical plants we’ve nursed back to health and put on display here. These have also been the source of plant material for ESRM 411 (Plant Propagation).


The cutting lab is always a fun activity and I had an opportunity to help out this quarter! They take a wide assortment of cuttings utilizing various techniques and treatments. If they are successful, they’re able to take their new starts home and just marvel at the fact that they started a new plant from just a single section of stem and brought it back to life!



In Remembrance.

   It’s been about 5 years since I started working in the Soest
Perennial Display Garden and in that time, I’ve had the pleasure of
meeting and interacting with the Soest family. This February, we were
saddened by the passing of Orin Soest. Alongside his wife, Ally, it was
always a treat to see them visit and walk them through the splendid
garden that bears their name. Even in his fragile state just a few years
ago, Orin still insisted on seeing the beds and always marvelled at
just how much it has grown and evolved.








I’ll always admire him as a kind and generous man who wasn’t afraid to smell the flowers. In fact, one of this favorites was a highly scented English Rose called ‘Gertrude Jekyll’, which should be in bloom in a few weeks in June and into July. Please come by CUH and the SoestGarden and help me remember Orin by sampling the scent of this exceptional rose and admiring a garden that will continue to live on in his honor. His presence, both in and out of the garden setting, will truly be missed.




May Color Appears at the Washington Park Arboretum

May 20th, 2012 by Pat Chinn-Sloan

Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum for May 7 - 21, 2012

1)   Rhododendron luteum

  • Also called Yellow Azalea or Honeysuckle Azalea.
  • Despite the sweet perfume, the nectar is toxic. Records of people poisoned by eating the honey date back to 4th century B.C.
  • Cultivated both as an ornamental and as root stock.

2)   Laburnocytisus adamii

  • Also known as Adam’s laburnum or broom laburnum.
  • Considered a horticultural curiosity, some branches produce yellow flowers while other branches produce coppery-pink flowers.
  • Located along Arboretum Drive south just south of the Sassafras.

3)   Paeonia Lutea var. Ludlowii

  • A rare Chinese form of tree peony.
  • Large saucer-shaped blooms appear in late spring in a beautiful clear yellow color.
  • Avoid pruning except to remove large branches.
  • Located along Arboretum Drive across from the Sequoias.

4)   Petteria ramemtacea

  • Fragrant yellow flowers in early summer and tri-foliate leaves make this unusual plant resemble a shrubby golden chain tree.
  • Native to Yugoslavia and Albania.
  • This specimen is located along the east side of Arboretum Drive behind the Dove Tree.

5)   Sophora microphylla

  • Known as the Kowhai tree in its native New Zealand.
  • The blooms of the Kowhai are regarded as New Zealand’s national flower.
  • All parts of the Kowhai, but particularly the seeds, are poisonous to humans.
  • Located along Arboretum Drive

Service Learning at the ARB

May 17th, 2012 by Arboretum Education Supervisor, Patrick Mulligan

Posted on behalf of Alyce Flanagan, UW student intern

our first planting

This spring one of my classes gave me the option of doing a service-learning project instead of writing a research paper. I jumped at the opportunity to gain some sort of real world experience instead of sitting in the library.  I ended up volunteering in the vegetable garden at the UWBG Arboretum, and it has been an enjoyable experience.  It is great to have an excuse to spend a few hours outside, get dirt on my hands and learn about growing food.  The class that my arboretum service learning is connected to is Global Food Policy.  Modern cultures have become extremely disconnected from our sources of food.  Technology allows for the mass production of cheap food, and working in a garden has given me perspective on how what it takes to grow vegetables.

Food is a vital resource that is frequently taken for granted.  Growing and gathering food is something that was an integral part of our ancestors’ lifestyles.  In recent years, we have grown away from this routine.  Food is bought from the grocery store, and we have only a vague idea of where it was before that. My Global Food Policy class looked at where food was before it got to the store.  Our severe disconnection from the production of the food we eat is unfortunate, but it is a system that we are totally reliant on. Learning about food; where is comes from and how its grown, is the first step to not taking food and this its large scale production for granted.

Food sovereignty is an issue that relates to peoples right to decide what food they eat, where it comes from, and how it is produced.  In America, most people would say that they have the right to choose their food, but in reality, much of our food is under the control of a few big agricultural businesses.  Growing at least some of our own food is an important step towards food sovereignty.

future pickles

The vegetable garden at the UWBG Arboretum is intended to teach children about the process of growing food, and hopefully inspire in them an interest in growing their own food. Volunteering at the Arb has done just that for me.  Watching plants grow over the course of a few months is somehow exciting and motivational.  Hopefully sometime in the next few years I will be able to start a garden and become at least a little less reliant on the mysterious system that produces food that feeds the world.

I am looking forward to visiting during the summer and seeing how the garden has changed.

3 sisters garden


Supporting LIDAR research in the Washington Park Arboretum

May 17th, 2012 by Heidi Unruh, UWBG Communications Volunteer
 photo. Graphic by Jeff Richardson

Did you know that the Washington Park Arboretum often serves as a research site for researchers at the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences? Recently, researchers at UW have been using the Arboretum to study LiDAR and its applications. LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) is a method of airborne laser scanning that can be used as a tool to inventory and manage forests. Below are some of the research papers discussing their findings.

Akira Kato, L. Monika Moskal, Peter Schiess, Mark E. Swanson, Donna Calhoun, Werner Stuetzle, Capturing tree crown formation through implicit surface reconstruction using airborne lidar data.  Remote Sensing of the Environment. Volume 113, Issue 6, 15 June 2009, Pages 1148-1162.

Kim, Sooyoung; Hinckley, Thomas; Briggs, David. Classifying individual tree genera using stepwise cluster analysis based on height and intensity metrics derived from airborne laser scanner data, Remote Sensing of Environment. Volume 115, Issue 12, 15 December 2011, Pages 3329-3342.

Moskal, L.M.; Zheng, G. Retrieving Forest Inventory Variables with Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS) in Urban Heterogeneous Forest. Remote Sens. 2012, 4, 1-20.

Richardson, Jeffery J.; Moskal, Monika; Kim, Soo-Hyung. Modeling approaches to estimate effective leaf area index from aerial discrete-return LIDAR. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, Volume 149, Issues 6–7, 15 June 2009, Pages 1152-1160.

Vaughn, N.R.; Moskal, L.M.; Turnblom, E.C. Fourier transformation of waveform Lidar for species recognition. Remote Sensing Letters, 2011, Volume 2, Number 4, 347 – 356.

Vaughn, N.R.; Moskal, L.M.; Turnblom, E.C. Tree Species Detection Accuracies Using Discrete Point Lidar and Airborne Waveform Lidar. Remote Sens. 2012, 4, 377-403.

New Issue of the Rare Plant Press

May 17th, 2012 by Heidi Unruh, UWBG Communications Volunteer

The latest issue of the Rare Plant Press is out.  Learn about the rare Astragalus plant, projects to conduct a population  estimate of the largest Sidalcea oregana var. calva and mapping Sisyrinchium sarmentosum populations, and more! The Rare Plant Press is a publication of Rare Care, a program dedicated to conserving Washington’s native rare plants.

Astragalus sinuatus photo

Astragalus flower close-up photo by Julie Combs

Cash donation helps vandalized garden recover

May 10th, 2012 by Tech Librarian, Tracy Mehlin

In early May UWBG suffered a sever vandalism attack of  in the Gateway to Chile garden. This follows similar vandalism last May in the same location and in some cases, the same plants.  KOMO news covered the story with an interview with the Manager of Horticulture, David Zuckerman:


Yesterday Director Sarah Reichard received a call from a private banker representing an anonymous donor and by late yesterday UWBG had a check to cover the estimated costs to replace plants and repair the damages – $43,000!

Director Reichard reassured staff in an email announcing the donation that the investigation continues:

“This does not mean we will not continue to assist the police to track down the guilty parties but I hope you feel – as I do – that your faith in human nature at least a little bit restored.”

Seattle Parks and Recreation, the Arboretum Foundation, and the UW Botanic Gardens ask anyone with information about the crime to contact the Seattle Police Department’s East Burglary Unit at 206-684-4300

Donations can be made through the University of Washington Foundation.