The Red Maples are flowering

March 24th, 2013 by Catherine Nelson, Adult Tours Program Assistant

acer rubrum flowerThe Red or Swamp Maple, Acer rubrum, is always noticed for its intense flame color in the fall, but I love these trees best right now – when they are covered in flowers prior to foliation.

From a distance the light gray bark of the tree sets off the pink & maroon flowers creating a stunning effect – it’s as if the tree is full of red fuzz.  In order to see these gorgeous tiny flowers, you need to find a tree with low hanging branches and get up close; they are only about an 1-1 1/2″ long.

The Acer rubrum is native to North America, East of the Mississippi from the Southern US to Canada.  The tree is monoecious and carries both male and female flowers, but bears them on separate branches.   The flowers with a darker red color are identified as the females. It is a very popular street tree in Seattle, so keep your eyes open while traveling around the city right now, you can’t miss them.


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

March 24th, 2013 by Pat Chinn-Sloan

Selected cuttings from the Pacific Connections Garden at the Washington Park Arboretum (March 18 - 31, 2013)

Pacific Connections Garden

1)  Corokia x virgata    ‘Sunsplash’

  • An odd shrub from New Zealand with variegated foliage and wiry, twisty branches.
  • This carefree evergreen tolerates some dry and looks great in containers.
  • Specimens can be found in the New Zealand Entry Garden.

2)  Grevillea victoriae

  • Fine-textured foliage, long thin flower clusters and drought tolerance make these evergreen shrubs very popular.
  • Also known as Royal Grevillea, it is endemic to parts of Victoria in Australia.
  • Several varieties of Grevillea can be found in the Australian Entry Garden.

3)  Gaultheria mucronata   ‘Rubra’ 

  • A hardy evergreen shrub with pinkish-white bell-shaped flowers followed by beautiful red berries late summer through winter.
  • Often referred to as “female prickly heath”, it needs a male plant to ensure fruiting.
  • Beautiful masses of G. mucronata can be found in the Chilean Gateway Garden.

4)  Phyllostachys dulcis

  • Sweet shoot bamboo is considered one of the best edible bamboos.
  • Large drooping leaves, thick culms and a white ring at the node make this a very beautiful bamboo.
  • A lovely drift graces the Chinese Entry Garden.

5)  Ribes sanguineum cv.

  • Flowering current is native to western coastal North America.
  • It and its varieties and cultivars are valued for their brightly-colored spring flowers and bird and habitat support.
  • Enjoy the incredible display of Ribes currently blooming in the Cascadian Entry Garden.