Take a class this spring!

January 31st, 2013 by Jessica Farmer, Adult Education Supervisor

The UW Botanic Gardens offers a variety of education programs for everyone, drawing on research and technical expertise from the UW and beyond to include lectures, courses, demonstrations, symposia, and tours. New classes are listed frequently. Please check out our full schedule.


Pollination with Orchard Mason Bees
Instructor: Missy Anderson, aka Queen Bee, King County Master Gardener
Tuesday, February 19, 7-8:30pm
Fee: $10

Growing Up WILD
Instructor: Julie Luthy, Naturalist and Environmental Educator
Saturday, March 2, 9am-12pm
Fee: $60

Perennials: Simple Division
Instructor: Carrie Becker, co-author of Perennials: The Gardener’s Reference
Wednesday, March 13, 7-9pm and Saturday, March 16, 1-4pm
Fee: $50

Introduction to Conifer Identification
Instructor: Patrick Mulligan, Education Supervisor at the Washington Park Arboretum
Saturday, March 23, 10am-12pm
Fee: $45

Woody Landscape Plants of Seattle
Instructor: Katie Murphy, former Collections Manager of the Otis Douglas Hyde Herbarium
8-part series, March 27 – May 1
Fee: $180

Designing and Creating a Wildlife Habitat Garden
Instructor: Emily Bishton, Landscape Designer and Director of Magnuson Nature Programs
3-part series, April 4 – 11
Fee: $85

Creating a Child-Friendly Garden
Instructor: Emily Bishton, Landscape Designer and Director of Magnuson Nature Programs
3-part series, April 18 – 25
Fee: $85

Graham Visitor Center Room Rental now 10% off

January 28th, 2013 by UWBG Communication Staff

Receive a 10% Room Discount*

Hold your event at the Graham Visitor Center between January and June 2013.

Please call 206-221-2500 now to reserve your next event and mention this promotion to receive 10% off your room fee.

*This promotional discount applies to one meeting or social event per customer.

Arboretum wedding photo

Perfect for an intimate party


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

January 28th, 2013 by Pat Chinn-Sloan

Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (January 21 - February 3, 2013)

“Scratch and Sniff”

1)  Abies amabilis (Pacific Silver Fir)

  • Pacific Northwestern native growing up to 250 feet tall in the wild, but is often short-lived in gardens.
  • Its crushed needles smell like orange peel.
  • The easiest of the Arboretum specimens to find is on the Upper Trail below the Peony bed.

2)  Cupressus goveniana var. pygmaea (Mendocino Cypress)

  • The “pygmy” stature occurs in this tree’s native habitat: infertile ancient sand dunes above the Pacific Ocean near Mendocino. In normal soil, it can exceed 100 feet.
  • The crushed needles smell like lemon peel.
  • It is located on Arboretum Drive near the south end.

3)  Laureliopsis philippiana

  • Native to Chile and Argentina.
  • Crushed leaves smell like orange.
  • It is located in the Pacific Connections Entry Garden and on Arboretum Drive in grid  9-4E.

4)  Morella pensylvanica (Bayberry)

  • Formerly Myrica, native to the east coast of North America from Canada to Florida.
  • The fragrant, waxy berries were made into candles.
  • Located in 43-B in the Arboretum’s Oak Collection.

5)  Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas Fir)

  • For Northwesterners, this is the essential smell of Christmas in the winter and the forest in summer.  It is native to the North American west coast and self-sows freely in the Arboretum.

Training Dates Announced

January 16th, 2013 by Lisa Sanphillippo


UWBG School Programs serve over 6,000 kids a year and we could not possibly do it without the help of our volunteers. We are hiring volunteer Garden Guides now and have two dates to get folks started on their journey to engage kids in the great outdoors.

Saturday February 9th from 11:00 – 3:00 pm and
Saturday February 16th from 11:00 – 3:00 pm

Guides need only attend one training, but are welcome to both. Both trainings will cover an introduction to the University of Washington Botanic Gardens as well as round table and in the field discussions about class management, interpretation techniques and age appropriate teaching.

2-way viewer for Paige

February 9th we will focus on our Plants 101 and 201 programs and February 16th we’ll focus on Wetlands 101 and 201. New guides will learn what the big ideas of each program are, how the student’s age affects the level and amount of information given and how to use the props and activities in the field.


If you would like to fill nature with children and teach them about plant science, ecology and more, contact Lisa Sanphillippo at 206-543-8801 or lsanphil@uw.edu for more information.

We value our volunteers for their time, experience and dedication! We hold enrichments, training and other educational opportunities regularly. Call or email now to become a treasured part of our team.

January Color Appears at the Washington Park Arboretum

January 14th, 2013 by Pat Chinn-Sloan

“Judge a Plant by Its Cover”:  Twigs and Bark

Photo of Acer buergerianum (Trident Maple)  trunk

Photo of Acer buergerianum (Trident Maple) trunk (#1)

1)   Acer buergerianum (Trident Maple) – photo of trunk (to the right)

  • Move over Stewartia pseudocamellia, at least for the time being.
  • Exceptional mottled flakey, lighter gray-brown bark on this young Asian maple.
  • Makes a good street tree in Seattle, tolerant of a wide-range of stress factors.

2)   Acer caesium ssp. giraldii

  • Maple featuring young branches covered with a whitish bloom (DO NOT TOUCH)
  • Native to the Himalaya region of China (Shaanxi and Yunnan provinces)
  • Specimen located along Arboretum Drive in the Peonies
Photo of Betula albo-sinensis var. septentrionalis (Chinese Red Birch) trunk

Photo of Betula albo-sinensis var. septentrionalis (Chinese Red Birch) trunk (#3)

3)   Betula albo-sinensis var. septentrionalis (Chinese Red Birch) – photo of trunk (to the right)

  • “The bark is singularly lovely, being a rich orange-red or orange-brown and peels off in sheets, each no thicker than fine tissue paper, and each successive layer is clothed with a white glaucous bloom.”  – E.H. Wilson, Aristocrats of the Trees
  • Please resist the temptation to tear, pull, rub… the bark.  It is disrespectful, potentially harmful to the tree, and a crime to deface public property.
  • Grove located in the Witt Winter Garden.
Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (Jan. 7-17, 2013)

Samples of #2, #4, and #5

4)   Cornus sanguinea   ‘Midwinter Fire’

  • A multi-colored thicket-forming dogwood.
  • Brightens up ones’ spirits on any dark and gloomy winter Seattle day.
  • Located in the twig bed of the Witt Winter Garden.

5)   Prunus maackii   (Manchurian or Goldbark Cherry)

  • Not as common as the Birchbark Cherry, but has brighter honey-brown bark.
  • Located on the north toe of Yew hill, grid 30-3W.

January 2013 Plant Profile: Blechnum chilense

January 8th, 2013 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes
Light frosts are tolerable and quite attractive, but very deep freezes can cause damaged fronds

Light frosts are tolerable and quite attractive, but very deep freezes can cause damaged fronds

Once so rare and only available through close-knit garden circles, this exquisite fern can now be purchased from several growers and specialty nurseries.

Our original plant growing here at the Center for Urban Horticulture came from the famed Miller Garden from Elisabeth C. Miller, herself. Over the years it has established into a prolific clump of thick, evergreen fronds that resemble the local name in its native Chile “costilla de vaca”, which literally translates to “cow’s ribs”.

It’s a robust, but slow growing fern compared to others, but it thrives in the same condition with adequate moisture and full to part shade with rich, but well drained soil with a lot of organic matter.

One caveat to this incredible fern is its winter hardiness.  It can easily survive temperatures just below freezing, but a very hard frost will damage the tough fronds and the plant can take its time waking back up from the base. It is best suited in a protected and sheltered location such as a deep woodland or in close proximity to a building or neighboring trees and shrubs.



photo 1


Common Name: Chilean Hard Fern

Location: Fragrance Garden

Origin: Chile, Argentina

Exposure: Full to part shade

Height and spread: 2-3ft. tall x 5ft. wide

Public Tours for 2013 Starting

January 4th, 2013 by Catherine Nelson, Adult Tours Program Assistant
Japanese Umbrella Pine

Japanese Umbrella Pine

The Washington Park Arboretum’s free Weekend Walk Program resumes in the new year. These 90 minute guided tours are free and open to the public every Sunday at 1:00 pm. No cost, no registration – just meet up at the Graham Visitors Center.
January’s tour is  Ancient Trees; our guides will show and discuss tree species which have been around for millennia – such as the Japanese Umbrella Pine (see photo).

In February our walks will highlight the Witt Winter Garden in all its blossoming glory.

The March tour is Our Favorite Plants, during which your guide will share plants and garden areas that they enjoy the most.

For further information or questions you can email me at cmn23@uw.edu. More Arboretum tour options.