December 2012 Plant Profile: Abutilon ‘Tiger Eye’

December 5th, 2012 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

This holiday season, we’re taking you indoors into our Douglas Conservatory and showcasing a plant to warm up our botanical curiosities. This unique and elegant flowering maple (though not technically a maple (that’s the genus Acer)) is best known as an annual shrub for containers and summer bedding, but I haven’t the heart to just chuck it into the compost. So we brought it in for the winter and given a little care, it has decided to flower for us.

Flowering maples come in an assortment of colors and have the distinct maple-like foliage that gives it its common name. They benefit from full sun/part shade and regular watering and fertilizing during the growing season. They seem to bloom on and off and gentle pruning keeps plants bushy and loaded with flowers. ‘Tiger Eyes’  isn’t as prolific a bloomer and stands taller and lankier than most other Flowering maples, but its flowers are too exquisite and makes up for it.


Common Name: Flowering Maple

Location: Douglas Conservatory

Origin: Unknown

Exposure: Full Sun/Part Shade

Height and spread: 6-8ft. tall x 3ft. wide

Bloom Time: Sporadically throughout the year. Heaviest in summer

December Color Appears at the Washington Park Arboretum

December 5th, 2012 by Pat Chinn-Sloan

Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (November 26 - December 9, 2012)


1)   Abies alba  ‘Hybrid’   (Silver Fir)

  • Silver Fir is the species first used as a Christmas tree.
  • A resinous essential oil can be extracted.  The pine-scented oil has soothing qualities and is used in perfumes and bath products.
  • This magnificent specimen can be found on Arboretum Drive.

2)   Cornus sericea  ‘Cardinal’    (Red Osier Dogwood)

  • Bright red twigs provide winter interest in the garden and a beautiful accent to holiday decorations.
  • There are many benefits to Red Osier Dogwood, including overall hardiness and wildlife habitat.
  • Native to the Pacific Northwest, this cultivar can be found in the Pacific Connections Entry Garden.

3)   Ilex opaca  ‘Emily’    (Emily American Holly)

  • Holly is a popular winter, Christmas and holiday season decoration.
  • In English poetry, holly is inseparably connected with merry-making.
  • American Holly is the perfect substitute for English Holly because it is not invasive.
  • Several cultivars of Ilex opaca can be found in the island beds of the Pacific Connections Garden.

4)   Picea brachytyla    (Sargent Spruce)

  • Many species of spruce are used as Christmas trees.
  • Spruce are important economically for timber, resin and Christmas tree production.
  • The Sargent Spruce is native to China and is threatened by habitat loss.

5)   Thuja plicata    (Western Red Cedar)

  • The flattened sprays of dark green foliage droop gracefully and are prefect for holiday wreaths and swags.
  • Strongly aromatic, the scent of crushed Western Red Cedar is reminiscent of pineapple.
  • A strong player in our native matrix, beautiful Thuja plicata can be found throughout the entire Arboretum.