Grand Cajun Yesler Swamp Ribbon-Cutting Celebration!

September 9th, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

AugustThirtyFirst-47-300x200The Friends of Yesler Swamp have been working for years to turn a weed choked corner of the Center for Urban Horticulture into a safe, accessible, natural area that supports wildlife.

On Sunday, September 21, 2014, 2 – 4pm they will host a public event to celebrate recent progress building a boardwalk.

Help us celebrate completion of the first phase of boardwalk construction through Yesler Swamp.

The Cajun band Folichon will be playing. We’ll have food, beer and wine plus tours of the swamp. Everyone is invited–all ages welcome. We will have a short program to thank the many organizations and friends whose generosity has made the Yesler Swamp Trail possible. Donations will be accepted to help finish the Trail. Free!

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Art Exhibit: Botanical art & hand-painted silks by Linda Ann Vorobik

September 8th, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

Vorobik paintingPaintings of ferns, orchids, and other treasures will be on exhibit in the Miller Library from September 19 to November 3rd. Botanists, teacher and artist, Linda Ann Vorobik, paints exquisite and botanically accurate water colors of ferns and orchids that will delight you.

Meet the artist at a free reception at the Library on Friday, September 19th from 5:00 to 7:00pm.

Feel inspired? Take a workshop from Linda on October 4th & 5th.

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A glimpse into the past – origins of the Holmdahl Rockery

September 3rd, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

By John A. Wott, Director Emeritus

One of more famous locations in the Washington Park Arboretum is known as the Holmdahl Rockery, located along Lake Washington Boulevard E., and now the location of the Gateway to Chile Forest in the Pacific Connections Gardens section.

As cited in the Washington Park Historic Review, September 2003, page 78:

Otto Holmdahl was trained as a naval architect in Sweden, but became known as one of the best garden designers in the Northwest. Holmdahl consulted unofficially on the Arboretum for several years. He was well known to Sophie Krauss, who recommended that he be included in its planning: “I am sure some plan could be worked out for using some of the most competent men, such as Mr. Holmdahl who really does the most perfect rock gardens I think can be done…” In the summer of 1934, Holmdahl prepared a preliminary plan for the (entire) Arboretum, which was presented to the Advisory Committee. This plan has since been lost.

Frederick Leissler, Seattle Dept. of Parks Landscape Architect, had proposed the rock garden be located at the southwestern intersection of the Upper Road with Lake Washington Boulevard, where a steep hillside with southwest exposure provided better conditions for alpine plants. Leissler anticipated the rock garden would encompass 10 acres, but started the WPA (Works Progress Administration) crew in early 1937 laying basalt rock on the southernmost portion, and repairing the road cut made by the original construction of the boulevard. Otto Holmdahl supervised placement of stonework for the rock garden.

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Planting the Holmdahl Rockery. Click to enlarge.

Note the accession numbers jotted on to the photo to document the plantings. Click to enlarge.

Note the accession numbers jotted on to the photo to document the plantings. Click to enlarge.

Verbal legends passed by successive Arboretum staff indicated that several attempts were made to “populate” the rockery, but all met with ultimate failure, either due to the steep exposed terrain but mostly due to thievery of the small specialized plants. The photographs above, titled “Penstemon Plantings, 12 – 1954”, show an unidentified worker laying out specimens. A large number of accession numbers were added onto the photographs, and assumed planted. Needless to say, the penstemons also did not survive. Note the small sign pointing out the City of Seattle “Scenic Drive” on Arboretum Drive E.

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2014-2015 Wott Fellowship Recipient Named

September 2nd, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

Eve Rickenbaker, graduate student as well as Hyde Herbarium Collection Manager, is the recipient of the John A. Wott Fellowship in Plant Collection and Curatorship for 2014.

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UW Botanic Gardens Director Sarah Reichard, Director Emeritus John Wott, Fellowship recipient Eve Rickenbaker

Eve’s working thesis title is the UW student perception of the Washington Park Arboretum. She is conducting focus groups with University of Washington students in order to understand their motivations and constraints to visiting the Washington Park Arboretum. She says, “My hope is that if students connect to the Washington Park Arboretum now while attending college they will reap the benefits the Arboretum can offer through recreation, relaxation, and education. My long range goal is that their experience will create a deep-rooted respect and admiration for nature and plants, and perhaps they will even become ardent supporters one day of the Washington Park Arboretum as alumni or as leaders at the University of Washington or at similar public botanic gardens.”

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UW Farm opens produce stand on Fridays

August 28th, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

Beginning Friday, August 29, the UW Farm will be partnering with UW Transportation Services to set up a weekly farm stand on the Burke Gilman trail on Fridays 3-5:30pm. The stand will be located just across the trail from the Husky Grind at the Mercer Court apartments.

Get your fill of fresh, hyper-local lettuce, kale, chard, heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, carrots, beets, zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, turnips, radishes, beans, tomatillos, herbs (parsley, sage, rosemary, oregano, thyme, lavender), mustard, garlic and more!

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The UW Farm is a campus center for the practice and study of urban agriculture and sustainability. It is an educational, community-oriented resource for people who want to learn about building productive and sustainable urban landscapes. All proceeds go towards sustainable farming education and student development.

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Wisteria Hall: New name, same beautiful venue

August 28th, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

We have big news about the Graham Visitors Center in the Washington Park Arboretum. We bid a fond farewell to the very plain name of the Large Meeting Room and welcome Wisteria Hall to the UW Botanic Gardens family!

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Wisteria Hall at the Washington Park Arboretum

What bride wouldn’t want to celebrate her big day in Wisteria Hall and walk down the aisle in our garden patio?! The beautiful wisteria vines hang on all the arbors surrounding the building, so it only seemed fitting to name our event space after it. Not planning a wedding? Think of us the next time you are planning a party, meeting, memorial or any other type of social/corporate event.WH-Britt & Scott 2

Wisteria Hall can accommodate up to 90 people seated and features a catering kitchen. The outdoor patios enhance any event and increase wedding capacity to 150 people. Additional amenities when renting the venue include tables and chairs, WiFi access, a boardroom/changing room and parking. 2014 weddings are $2,250 for a 2pm – 11pm or nine hour rental. Contact our staff for more details and to book your next event, 206.221.2500.

 

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An intimate wedding in the courtyard off of Wisteria Hall at the Washington Park Arboretum


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Summer curation internship: getting behind-the-scenes with plant records

August 25th, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

By Nichole Sheehan

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Photo by Nichole Sheehan

Field-testing my classwork and expanding my plant palette as a curation intern

I am wrapping up a fantastic internship experience at the University of Washington Botanic Gardens this week and I’m already scheduling myself to continue as a volunteer. My internship was a wildly fortunate opportunity since I’m not a current student of the University of Washington. Tracy Mehlin of the Elisabeth Miller Library arranged the perfect internship to combine my attention to detail from my Navy service, my research and organizational skills from my MLIS, and my recent horticultural studies at Edmonds Community College.

I had two tasks; assist in the on-going plant inventory in the Arboretum, and help clean-up data for the interactive map (see the post, “Where in the Arboretum . . .”). Keith Ferguson provided me with excellent training for both BG Base and field inventory and Ryan Garrison helped me with the basics of the Arc GIS program. I amended scientific names, solved discrepancies with accession numbers, and linked mapped plants to the BG Base plant database for the arboretum. While I couldn’t solve all the problems, I did evaluate each of the more than 16,500 mapped plants and came up with a short-list of plants that need field checks. In the last program update, my work linked 1,436 mapped plants to the database so proper information can be displayed.

I really enjoyed the behind-the-scenes aspects such as reading historical plant condition notes and evaluating plants for health and maintenance using my pests and diseases classwork. The five plant identification courses I had proved extremely helpful for inventorying, and my database work introduced me to hundreds of fantastic cultivars to consider using in the future. My experience here has really helped reinforce my coursework for ornamental landscaping and nursery and greenhouse production.

All of the staff and volunteers I met and worked with helped to make me feel comfortable and part of the team. They are truly the reason I want to stay on and continue helping with the field inventory. I’m grateful for everyone’s help and proud of my work. I strongly recommend others take advantage of this great opportunity to learn in the field and make a difference at the UW Botanic Gardens.

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A glimpse into the past – new buildings for visitors and crew

August 4th, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff
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Looking east, new sewer lines were installed behind the old apartment (aka barn).

By John A. Wott, Director Emeritus

The first buildings to be added to the grounds of the Washington Park Arboretum were begun in 1985, as defined in the Jones and Jones Master Plan Update for the Washington Park Arboretum. It took almost ten years for the building plans to be finalized and the funds to be raised. The public building was named the Donald B. Graham Visitors Center, and it housed offices, meeting spaces, public information space and a gift shop.

The Arboretum Foundation conducted the fund raising campaign, with the City of Seattle Parks Department supervising the project.

The original Works Progress Administration-constructed office/crew building was razed. A near-by large barn/apartment building was converted into the current crew headquarters and shop, with the upstairs apartment eventually being converted to office space. A new machine storage shed was added and the terrain of the land greatly changed.

The photographs taken March/April 1985 show sewer work and the building foundation and beginning walls of the storage shed. The new facilities were dedicated in 1986.

 

 

 

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Looking north to the new shed under construction and re-purposed apartment (aka barn).

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Walls for the new storage shed being poured.


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Art Exhibit: Oil Paintings by Kathleen Wolfe opens August 5

July 22nd, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

Wolfe paintingSeattle Parks and the Northwest
Artist Kathleen Wolfe celebrates her love of nature with oil paintings on canvas featuring poppies, water lilies and landscape with majestic trees. Her paintings will be on display in the Miller Library from August 5th to September 16th.

Meet the artist at a free reception at the Elisabeth C. Miller Library on Wednesday, August 13th from 5:00 to 7:00pm. 3501 NE 41st Street, Seattle.

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A glimpse into the past – Joe Witt in the “pit house”

July 1st, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

By John A. Wott, Director Emeritus

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Joseph A. Witt inspecting seed flats and cuttings in the “pit houses” of the University of Washington Greenhouses at Washington Park Arboretum. April 1976,

This photograph taken in April 1976, shows Joseph A. Witt inspecting seed flats and cuttings in the “pit houses” of the University of Washington Greenhouses at Washington Park Arboretum. Joe, as he preferred to be called, was a prominent staff member of the Arboretum for more than 30 yrs. Officially the Curator, he was also appointed as a Professor of Urban Horticulture at the University of Washington’s Center for Urban Horticulture, when it officially opened in 1980.

Joe was a “people person” and was instrumental in assisting the Arboretum Foundation in starting many programs, including encouraging volunteers, “fun days” in weeding, and other educational events. As curator, he was in charge of bringing many new plants into the collection and for the leadership of the UW grounds crew. He was an expert on the horticultural and native flora of the Pacific Northwest. He was renowned and sought-after for his teaching of plant materials, both to UW students and to thousands of horticulturists who came to the Arboretum during his tenure. He also experimented with plant breeding and many of his unnamed rhododendron hybrids still “lurk” within the Arboretum collections. He named many plants and the famed Acer tegmentosum ‘Joe Witt’, a highly striped form of the Manchurian Stripebark Maple, is now  found in increasing numbers on Seattle streets.

His widow, Jean, still active in her mid-90’s, was a keen iris breeder and together they were well known and respected in the native and hardy plant societies of the world. I personally remember several memorable field study trips to the Cascades and east side of Washington in the early 1980’s, whereby Joe spoke about the plants and Jean spoke about the geology. As Joe approached retirement age, he was stricken with cancer and died in May 1984, a great loss to the Northwest horticultural community. However, his legacy lives on.

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Joe and Jean Witt, Arboretum Foundation Annual Dinner, June 1972


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