August Color Appears at the Washington Park Arboretum

August 26th, 2012 by Pat Chinn-Sloan

Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum for 8/20/12 - 9/3/12

1)   Blechnum chilense

  • This impressive evergreen fern grows in full sun to full shade.
  • The Chilean Spanish name ‘Costilla de vaca’ translates into “cow’s rib” and refers to the shape of the fronds.
  • This fern can be found thriving in the Chilean Entry Garden in Pacific Connections.

2)   Eucalyptus pauciflora ssp. niphophila

  • Beautiful peeling brown bark is just one of the attributes of this Australian native.
  • This snow gum can be found in the highest part of the Australian Alps straddling the Victoria-New South Wales border.
  • A youthful specimen is located in the Australian Entry Garden in Pacific Connections.

3)   Ginkgo biloba

  • Ginkgo has been used medicinally for thousands of years.
  • The Ginkgo is a living fossil; a unique species recognizably similar to fossils dating back 270 million years.
  • A young ginkgo tree adorns the China Entry Garden in Pacific Connections.

4)   Pittosporum tenuifolium  ‘Majorie Channon’

  • Also known as Majorie Channon Kohuhu or variegated Kohuhu.
  • Slow-growing, compact shrub. In early summer it bears bell-shaped, honey-scented, black-red flowers.
  • The New Zealand Entry Garden sports three very nice specimens.

5)   Rhamnus californica  ‘Leather Leaf

  • Commonly called “Leather Leaf Coffeeberry”, the Rhamnus are in the Buckthorn family.
  • Its dark foliage makes it a great foil for lighter green or grey-colored plants.
  • A lovely drift of Rhamnus californica ‘Leather Leaf’ can be found in the Cascadian Entry Garden in Pacific Connections.

Fiddlehead Thursdays – Fall Series

August 23rd, 2012 by Sarah Heller, Community Programs Coordinator & Fiddleheads Forest School Director

Check out our new twice-a-month Thursday program geared towards preschool-age children and their caregivers. Come adventure through the Arboretum with us this fall! Fun, nature-based themes will guide us through an hour and a half of free play, exploration, games, and songs along the trails of the Arboretum.

More information and registration can be found on our Fiddleheads Forest School web page.

September 20 – Salamanders

Salamanders live in our Woodland Garden ponds starting as an egg, growing into larva and eventually leaving the pond as full-grown adults. We will use nets to catch a few and see who else makes their home in the ponds.

October 4 – Nature’s Design: Spiders and their Webs

Explore the intricate webs and the diversity of spiders along our trails. We will use bug sheets and bug boxes to catch and observe spiders, and anything else that crosses our path.

October 18 – Falling Changing Leaves

Everything is changing as we move from summer to fall. How can we tell and what is happening? Falling leaves, changing colors, and shifting wildlife patterns will clue us into the signs of fall.

November 1 – Bats

Bats move through the forest at night using only sound while they hunt for insects. What’s it like to be a bat?

November 15 – Where do the Birds Go?

Some birds stay, some birds fly south. Why? We will learn about why birds migrate and discover which birds are here to stay for winter.

December 6 – Camouflage

How come we rarely see the coyotes living in Seattle or the millions of insects tucked around our green spaces? Camouflage is the ticket to staying hidden. We’ll discover different forms of camouflage and see how well we can camouflage ourselves!

December 20 – Trees in Winter

What are trees doing in the winter? We will investigate different trees and discover what they’re up to.

Kayak Tours at the Arboretum Start Aug 29

August 23rd, 2012 by Arboretum Education Supervisor, Patrick Mulligan

Discover Hidden Water-ways on a Guided Kayak Tour of the Washington Park Arboretum.

Paddling through the cattail marsh last summer.

The UWBG is unique among other botanic gardens in the country in that our “grounds” include quite a bit of water. Owing to our location around Lake Washington, our approximately 300 acres include the longest stretch of freshwater marsh in Washington State. There is no better way to enjoy this wetland ecosystem than by kayak.

The Agua Verde Paddle Club in partnership with the UWBG is pleased to offer guided kayak tours of our Foster Island Wetlands to the public for the third consecutive summer. Tours are approximately 90 minutes in length and push off from “Duck Bay” at the north end of the Washington Park Arboretum.

During the tour you will learn a little about the history of the area and have a chance to meet some of our plant and animal residents. All proceeds will go from Agua Verde Paddle Club to the UWBG for the Agua Verde Scholarship fund. This fund will help provide educational opportunities to students and schools with limited resources.

No experience necessary. Double kayaks, safety equipment and a brief training session will be provided by Agua Verde Paddle Club. Youth & children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by their parent/guardian.

Tour Dates & Times:

Wednesday, Aug. 29th: 11am & 3pm

Thursday, Aug. 30th: 11am & 3pm

Wednesday, Sept. 5th: 11am & 3pm

Thursday, Sept. 6th: 11am & 3pm

Friday, Sept. 7th: 7am (“early birders”), 11am & 3pm

Cost & Registration:

Space is limited to 12 participants per tour, so pre-registration is required. Cost: $30/person; ($5 discount for early registration before August 1st)

Register online

Save the date: CUH work party on 9/15

August 13th, 2012 by Heidi Unruh, UWBG Communications Volunteer

UWBG invites our friends and neighbors to join NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, to a work party to spiff up the Center for Urban Horticulture. Projects include invasive plant removal, small construction projects, painting, planting and much more. The transformation starts at 6:30 am on Saturday, September 15.

IT’S EASY AS PIE TO VOLUNTEER FOR NAIOP 2012 Community Enhancement Project/SEPT 15/CUH:

  • Register w/ NAIOP anytime from 6:30am or sleep in and join us later in the day
  • Registration located north side of NHS Hall
  • You or your group will be assigned to one of the 17 work projects throughout CUH grounds and gardens, including UBNA!
  • Grab a T-shirt and gloves!
  • Public transportation, carpooling, biking… all recommended, as parking may be difficult, especially if you’re not an early bird.
  • Community Service Hours honored!
  • Breakfast treats and BBQ lunch provided!

Come one, come all and help your CUH take on a fresh new look!  Projects include:

  • New Stairway from central courtyard to events lawn!!
  • New landscape along 41st St planting strip!!
  • New gravel along entire length of UBNA loop trail
  • New pavers to replace gravel paths in Soest Garden
  • 2 newly refurbished hoop houses
  • Newly painted sheds
  • Invasive weed removal
  • Mulching and weeding in Goodfellow Grove
  • And MORE!!!!

It’s Hydrangea Season

August 13th, 2012 by Catherine Nelson, Adult Tours Program Assistant

All of the Hydrangeas in the park are at their prime flowering beauty right now. Its a great month to go on one of our free Sunday tours with a guide and walk down Arboretum Drive to view the variety of Hydrangeas in the UW collection which includes everything from exotic Asian vines to the bluest mopheads I’ve seen in a while to the pictured Hydrangea aspera – my personal favorite. The aspera is native to Western China. It grows to about 10′ tall and features lovely mauve lace cap flowers and fuzzy leaves and stems. Older bark exfoliates for a shaggy look. This wonder shrub will take more sun than most hydrangeas.
If you are interested in learning more about these great shrubs, join us on a August Sunday at 1 pm, tours leave from the Graham Visitors Center.

August 2012 Plant Profile: Magnolia grandiflora (dwarf cultivars)

August 7th, 2012 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

The bold presences of the Evergreen Southern Magnolia is truly a sight to behold in late summer as its creamy white blossoms unfurl, emitting a sweet, pleasantly pungent aroma that fills the warm air.

One of the problems, however, is its eventual size. Most of the cultivars readily available will easily get too large for a small urban garden, but there are a handful of selections that stay at a reasonable height, yet still provide the exquisite, deep green, glossy foliage and russet brown undersides and, of course, the ethereal blooms in summer.

The one photographed here is one we have here at CUH called ‘Baby Doll’. Unfortunately, it’s not readily available in the trade, but it possesses a wonderful mounded compact habit for a small tree. It stands about 10ft. tall and about 15 feet wide in canopy.

More commonly available in the trade is ‘Little Gem’. A handsome, but sometimes overused selection. This still gets to be quite large when fully mature at 20-25 feet high, but much smaller compared to the standard selections.

A little newer on the market, but appears to be quite promising are ‘Teddy Bear’ and ‘Baby Grand’. The wonderful russet undersides are very prominent in ‘Teddy Bear’  as the densely leaved selection is calling to be embraced. It has rounder foliage and a tidy and fairly uniform habit. Another fine selection that has proven itself to be a performer even in not so ideal conditions is the newest selection dubbed ‘Baby Grand’. It has a wonderful short stature that will make it great for large container work and it seems to be a great bloomer even on a young, establishing plant.

Magnolia grandiflora could almost be a staple in almost every landscape/garden. The plant looks wonderful year round, adds a nice tropical feel to the Pacific Northwest landscapes here and it’s fabulous flowers in this month are an absolute treat!

Common Name: Southern Magnolia, Evergreen Magnolia
Location: CUH West Entry
Origin: Dwarf selections are of garden origin.
Height and spread: Most dwarf cultivars stay around 15-25 feet in height and about 15-20 feet wide.
Bloom Time: Late Summer into Autumn




WSDOT Starts SR520 Related Field Study at Arboretum

August 3rd, 2012 by Tech Librarian, Tracy Mehlin

The Washington State Department of Transportation will start geotechnical and cultural field studies at the Washington Park Arboretum near the location of the future 520 bridge on August 6, 2012.

Complete information can be found at the WSDOT 520 Project webpage.

Cultural Resources Fields Study Factsheet

Geotechnical Drilling Field Study Factsheet