Northwest Horticultural Society Spring Plant Sale

February 25th, 2013 by UWBG Communication Staff

Saturday, March 9, 2013 9am – 3pm


Find elusive spring ephemerals for sale at the NHS Plant Sale

Come get your early blooming plants at the Northwest Horticultural Society Spring Plant Sale. This annual event features dozens of vendors and lectures by gardening experts, including Dan Hinkley.

Dan Hinkley will be speaking twice at the sale. Tickets go on sale at 8:30 for $5. At 10am his topic is Foliage First – Building the foundation of your garden. At 1pm the topic is The moment at Windcliff – Winter gives way to early spring.

Also, at 11:30 there will be a free experts Q&A session with Lorene Edwards Forkner, Richie Steffen & Marty Wingate.

The sale is free, but tickets for the lectures cost $5.00. Proceeds benefit the Miller Library.

3501 NE 41st St, Seattle, WA 98195

Work parties to restore nature

February 22nd, 2013 by UWBG Communication Staff

The students involved with UW Restoration Ecology Network need the public’s help restoring degraded natural areas in urban sites. Join a work party to rip out invasive weeds, build trails, spread mulch and many more invigorating tasks.

Richmond Beach Saltwater Park


Click for work party details

Yesler Swamp Trail

Proposed dates

February Color Appears at the Washington Park Arboretum

February 11th, 2013 by Pat Chinn-Sloan

Witt Winter Garden

Selected cuttings from the Witt Winter Garden at the Washington Park Arboretum (February 4 - 21, 2013)

1) Chimonanthus praecox           Wintersweet

  • Wintersweet is in the allspice family of Calycanthaceae.
  • The sulfur-yellow flowers are intensely fragrant and are born on bare stems.
  • This winter garden favorite is native to China.

2) Ganya x issaquahensis            Hybrid Silktassel

  • This natural hybrid, between G. elliptica and G. fremontii, is native to the western U.S.
  • The showy male catkins will soon produce large amounts of yellow pollen.

3) Hamamelis x intennedia ‘Pallida’           Hybrid Witch Hazel

  • This cultivar produces large, pale-yellow flowers on a horizontal growing form.
  • H. x intermedia is a hybrid between H. japonica and H. mollis, both native to Asia.

4) Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Winter Beauty’           Hybrid Witch Hazel

  • This cultivar, though of the same parents as ‘Pallida’, has orange flowers on a taller,
    more rounded form.

5) Salix irrorata           Bluestem Willow

  • The shoots of this upright shrub are purple with a distinct white bloom in the winter.
  • The catkins are grey when they emerge, turning red and then quickly to yellow.

UBNA hosts creatures of all sizes…urban wildlife never ceases to amaze!

February 10th, 2013 by Rosemary Baker, UBNA RA


A surprising UBNA find - a western redback salamander (Plethedon vehiculum)

A surprising UBNA find – a western redback salamander (Plethedon vehiculum)

Amphibians are the canary in the mineshaft, warning-systems for deteriorating ecosystems and yet this species was found in the former-landfill, Union Bay Natural Area, in January 2013.  Nestled beneath woody debris and in hibernation mode, it was accidentally discovered by a volunteer during a work party to remove Himalayan blackberry.  Why isn’t this one “red-backed”, you ask?  That’s because although most commonly having an orangey-red dorsal stripe, this species occasionally presents a yellow one instead.

What a great find!



What’s new in Union Bay Natural Area for 2013, you ask?

February 10th, 2013 by Rosemary Baker, UBNA RA

Greetings! I’m excited and grateful to be the 2013 UBNA graduate student manager for winter and spring quarters. I will be leading volunteer groups maintaining restoration sites throughout the natural area and this season we have begun an internship program with students from Edmonds Community College!

The interns and I are working every Tuesday and Thursday through early June, so if you have any interest in getting dirty, releasing some pent up aggression on the proper objects (weeds!), and basking in the beauty of urban nature, we’re happy to have individual folks join us.  Or if you have a group and wish to arrange for a volunteer work party please contact UBNA manager, Dr. Kern Ewing. His contact info can be found through the University of Washington staff directory.

UBNA Assistant manager, Rosemary Baker planting Skunk cabbage

UBNA Assistant manager, Rosemary Baker planting Skunk cabbage (Lysichiton americanum)

Am so pleased to contribute to the Center for Urban Horticulture community. Happy gardening!

-Rosemary Baker

520 Bridge Mitigation Projects in the Arboretum

February 7th, 2013 by Heidi Unruh, UWBG Communications Volunteer
Photo Credit:  Ethan Welty

Photo Credit: Ethan Welty

Say goodbye to the “ramps to nowhere.” As part of the new 520 bridge construction project, the ramps will be coming down. As announced in a recent press conference, WSDOT will pay Seattle Parks and Recreation  $7.8 million for mitigation projects in the Arboretum.  These projects include the design and construction of a 1-mile multi-use trail, as well as improvements to Azalea Way Pond, parts of Arboretum Creek, and Foster Island. Learn more about this groundbreaking agreement at the Arboretum Foundation  cite and read the full press release here (PDF).

In the Media:

Arboretum Says Goodbye Highway Ramps, Hello Bike Trail
Arboretum Gets $7.7 Million for New Trail, Improvements
520 “Ramps to Nowhere” To Be Demolished
Arboretum Trades Empty Ramps for New Trails
520 Ramps to Come Down

NW Flower & Garden Show – Get a Jump on Spring

February 7th, 2013 by Arboretum Education Supervisor, Patrick Mulligan

Please stop by the UWBG booth and say “hello” at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show this year. We’ve got a great corner spot at booth #2304 in the Community Organizations area. New for this year, we’re combining forces with Seattle Parks & Recreation to create a “mega-booth” connected by a wedding arbor being built by the city’s carpenter crew. During the show, we’ll be highlighting our Rental Program, so look for lots of pretty pictures of events at our rental sites at the Center for Urban Horticulture and the Graham Visitors Center.

A Hobbit house surrounded by native New Zealand plants at the NW Flower and Garden Show

A Hobbit house surrounded by native New Zealand plants at the NW Flower and Garden Show


The Arboretum Foundation’s award winning garden from 2012 featured birdsong.

This year’s show runs February 20-24 at the Washington State Convention Center.

graphicFor a fantastic evening out why not attend the Tuesday evening Preview Party hosted by the Arboretum Foundation? You can bid on unique items in the silent auction, stroll the display gardens before the crowds arrive, sip wine and enjoy a dessert buffet. This fund raiser for the Arboretum is always a fun time. Tickets on sale now.

Witch Hazels are in bloom

February 4th, 2013 by Catherine Nelson, Adult Tours Program Assistant

Hamamelis There are several species of Witch Hazel, genus Hamamelis, featured in the Witt Winter Garden, which is in all its glory this month. The colors range from yellow to orange to red and their scent is incredibly heady.
The plant’s common name comes from the Old English word “Wych” which means “pliable”. The pliable branches of this plant were used for water dowsing, which was a way to find underground water, hence this activity also is known as ‘water witching”.
The Witch Hazel and many other winter blooming plants are featured on the Free Weekend Walks held each Sunday at 1:00 pm.

Save the Date: Urban Forest Symposium 5-13-13

February 4th, 2013 by Jessica Farmer, Adult Education Supervisor

photo2013 Urban Forest Symposium

What: 5th Annual Urban Forest Symposium: Trees and Views

When: May 13, Monday from 9 am to 4 pm

Where: University of Washington Botanic Gardens, Center for Urban Horticulture,3501 NE 41st, Street, Seattle, WA 98105

Cost: $75 per person. Lunches are available at a cost of $15. Free lunch for the first 100 registrants.

Contact: Jessica Farmer at or 206.685.8033. 

Hosted by: UW Botanic Gardens and PlantAmnesty


The issue of trees vs. views is a contentious one, pitting view seekers against tree lovers on hillsides facing mountains and water, up and down both coasts. This symposium, the first of its kind, is entirely devoted to an in-depth look at the issue. Topics include: The Aesthetics of Views; Municipal View Policies; View Covenants and Ordinances; Trees, Views, and Slope Stability; How View and Tree Values Are Determined; View Pruning; as well as case studies from the trenches. This symposium will be of interest to communities, HOAs, municipalities, arborists, lawyers and prosecutors, planners, developers, tree advocates, and individuals dealing with this complex issue.

Speakers include landscape architect Kathleen Day, tree law experts Barri Bonapart of Bonapart & Associates and attorney/certified arborist Randall Stamen, Elliott Menashe of Greenbelt Consulting, Seattle Parks Senior Arborist Mark Mead, Bellevue Natural Resource Manager Dan DeWald, King County Tax Assessor, Windermere Real Estate Agent, I-tree spokeswoman and others.

ISA Credits Available: 6


February 2013 Plant Profile: Cyclamen coum

February 1st, 2013 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

Cyclamen coum portraitWho says there isn’t much color in the landscape in the winter time? The month of February is peak bloom for one of the most delicate, yet tough plants in the winter garden. Hugging the ground with it’s rounded foliage often mottled and marked with silver patterns, this prolific tuberous perennial sends out multiple buds that gently emerge and, all of a sudden, burst  into bloom.

What makes Cyclamen coum so charming are their diminuitive size and the diversity of leaf color and patterns on the foliage and the vibrant colors that seem to appear in the ground as if a child had spilled a bag full of candy! They come in wonderful whites, pinks, purples,  lavenders and an occasional darker colored “eye” giving a bi-color effect.

Through the rigors of winter, whether it be  gloomy and wet or  bitter cold, these delicate charmers are as tough as can be.  Even gardeners with winters temperatures dropping down to -15F can enjoy these cheery flowers once the snow melts and the weather warms.


They are wonderful under deciduous trees and shrubs or even scattered about in a lawn where you don’t want children and pets playing in during the winter.


Cyclamen coum Common Name: Winter Cyclamen

Location: Soest Garden – Bed 7

Origin: Eastern Europe/Turkey/Caucasus

Exposure: Part sun – shade

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