Art Exhibit: Now You See It! The Slime Mold Revelation

September 11th, 2015 by UWBG Communication Staff

Tuesday, September 15 – Friday, October 30

slime mold artWhat do evolution and the Emperor of Japan have to do with art about slime molds? Now You See It! The Slime Mold Revelation reveals the stories behind four centuries of artistic devotion to these otherworldly organisms. Just what are slime molds? Worldwide, one-celled bacteria-munching travelers of the earth beneath your feet. Shimmering rainbow-colored spore-filled protists on your rosebush. Tiny dwellers of the arctic, the rainforest, and the desert. Now You See It! is a colorful foray into a little-known world: a visual and scientific delight for all ages. Come confused, leave stupefied. Curator Angela Mele is a scientific illustrator finishing the illustrations for a field guide to cosmopolitan slime molds. She recently received a Master’s of Museum Studies from the University of Washington.
The artist invites you to a reception at the Miller Library on Friday, September 18 from 5:00 to 7:00pm.

Hear Angela recount how she got started with slime molds in this interview by KPLU.

September 2015 Plant Profile: Acer japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’

September 8th, 2015 by UWBG Communication Staff

By Ray Larson, Curator

maple photoIn honor of the annual Elisabeth Miller Memorial Lecture on September 10 in Meany Hall, this month’s plant profile features one of her favorite trees, and perhaps the plant most associated with her:  Acer japonicum ‘Aconitifolium.’

At the UW Botanic Gardens, we have a grove of 6 planted in the Dorothy McVay Courtyard.  These trees were included at Mrs. Miller’s suggestion when Iain Robertson developed the garden design for the courtyard in the mid-1980s.  Betty Miller’s famous garden just north of Seattle includes over two dozen of the trees, which are among the very best small trees for texture and outstanding fall color.

They begin coloring in late July and slowly build to a crescendo of fiery reds ranging from flame orange to deep maroon.  They are among the most reliable trees for fall color in the Pacific Northwest, and generally at their peak in mid-October.
maple photo

As an added benefit they have small but showy flowers, which appear in early spring right before the leaves unfurl.  The shape of the leaves gives the tree its common name, and the scientific name refers to their resemblance to monkshood foliage (Aconitum).   They grow well in part shade to sun, with longest and best fall color appearing in more sun.  One of the best small trees for urban gardens, either singly or in a grove.  This is the most commonly grown Acer japonicum, but the UW Botanic Gardens has several other varieties, including impressive specimens of A. japonicum ‘O-isami’ and A. japonicum ‘Takinogawa’ in the Woodland Garden.  Acer japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’ received an Award of Garden Merit (AGM) from the Royal Horticultural Society in 1984.  It is reputedly hardier than other forms of Acer japonicum, and is rated down to USDA Zone 5.

maple leaf photoCommon name:  Fernleaf fullmoon maple
Family:   Sapindaceae
Location:  McVay Courtyard at the Center for Urban Horticulture
Origin:  The species is native to mountain forests of Japan, Manchuria and Korea.  According to Arthur Lee Jacobson’s North American Landscape Trees, this form was introduced to cultivation around 1888 by Parsons Nursery in Flushing, NY.
Height and spread:  Generally 12-18’ high and as wide
Bloom time:  Late March-early April
Bloom color:  dark red, and showy for a maple

McVay maples photo

Art Exhibit: Now You See It! The Slime Mold Revelation

September 4th, 2015 by UWBG Communication Staff

Tuesday, September 15 – Friday, October 30
Slime mold artwork by Angela Mele

What do evolution and the Emperor of Japan have to do with art about slime molds? Now You See It! The Slime Mold Revelation reveals the stories behind four centuries of artistic devotion to these otherworldly organisms. Just what are slime molds? Worldwide, one-celled bacteria-munching travelers of the earth beneath your feet. Shimmering rainbow-colored spore-filled protists on your rosebush. Tiny dwellers of the arctic, the rainforest, and the desert. Now You See It! is a colorful foray into a little-known world: a visual and scientific delight for all ages. Come confused, leave stupefied. Curator Angela Mele is a scientific illustrator finishing the illustrations for a field guide to cosmopolitan slime molds. She recently received a Master’s of Museum Studies from the University of Washington.

The artist invites you to a reception at the Miller Library on Friday, September 18 from 5:00 to 7:00pm.

2015 Miller Memorial Lecture features Helen Dillon

August 19th, 2015 by UWBG Communication Staff

photo of Helen DillonThe Pendleton & Elisabeth C. Miller Charitable Foundation
Presents the 21st Annual ELISABETH C. MILLER MEMORIAL LECTURE

The Evolution of an Irish Garden featuring Helen Dillon

Thursday, September 10th
The Lecture is FREE!

To receive a ticket, please email info@millergarden.org

The lecture is in Meany Hall on the UW Seattle campus. Doors open at 6:15pm with the lecture beginning at 7:00pm. A free reception with refreshments will be held at the conclusion of the program.

As a lasting gift to the horticultural community, the Pendleton and Elisabeth Carey Miller Charitable Foundation, the Elisabeth Carey Miller Botanical Garden, the Elisabeth C. Miller Library, the Northwest Horticultural Society and Great Plant Picks sponsor this free annual memorial lecture to remember the legacy of Betty Miller.

Art Exhibit: Lake, Lattice, Stone: Requiem for a Garden by Lollie Groth July 23 – September 3

July 17th, 2015 by UWBG Communication Staff

Lake, Lattice, Stone: Requiem for a Garden seeks to celebrate the artist’s mother’s northwest garden as well as the neighborhood of Union Bay and the marsh she grew up on, and walked past on her way to classes at the UW in the early nineteen forties. Through image and text, through monotype and artifact, journal entries and poems, a celebration of a garden’s life takes form. Lollie (Lali) Groth is a printmaker and mixed media artist who has shown extensively in Hawaii. In 2009 she received the John Young Award for Excellence in Monotype from Honolulu Printmakers. Currently, she lives on Vashon Island and works out of the studio at Quartermaster Press.

Please join us for the artist’s reception on Thursday July 23rd from 5:00 to 7:00pm in the Miller Library.

UW Botanic Gardens Ranked as a Top 50 University Garden

June 30th, 2015 by UWBG Communication Staff
Picture courtesy Stephanie Colony

Washington Park Arboretum. Picture courtesy Stephanie Colony

The University of Washington Botanic Garden was ranked as one of the top University gardens, tied with three other gardens by Best Colleges Online. Gardens were scored on a number of criteria, including number of plant species, and presence of a horticultural library, education and conservation programs. With the Washington Park Arboretum enormous woody plant collection and the Center for Urban Horticulture’s numerous opportunities for formal and informal education it is no surprise that we ranked in the top of the list of 50 reviewed gardens.

What to Read this Summer? We Have Suggestions!

June 3rd, 2015 by UWBG Communication Staff
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A few thought provoking books on display in the Miller Library.

This summer, check out a good book

We hope summer brings you sun, fresh air, and time to read. On display this month in the northwest corner you’ll find a few off-the-beaten-path selections to engage your intellect this summer. With topics ranging from poetry to environmental policy and history to biography, there’s something for every reader. See recommended titles in the Garden of Ideas list of books available to borrow from the Miller Library.

[Originally appeared in Leaflet for Scholars e-newsletter.]

Glimpse into the past – Mrs. Sawyer’s Bench

May 7th, 2015 by UWBG Communication Staff

By John A. Wott, Director Emeritus

Today’s visitors to the Washington Park Arboretum walk past historical artifacts not knowing why they might be there.  One of those is the Memorial Fountain dedicated to the late Mrs. W.W. Sawyer, along Arboretum Drive E. opposite Rhododendron Glen.

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Finished fountain, bench and plantings. Photo by J. A. Wit

An article written by J. A. Witt, in the Arboretum Foundation Bulletin Summer (24:3, pg. 62) chronicles its dedication on Monday, February 21, 1961.  Mr. Sawyer and members of the Maude Sawyer Unit (No. 19), who made a handsome donation for its construction, were present.

“This charming and practical memorial….was designed by Dr. Donald J. Foote, a former member of the University of Washington’s Architect’s staff.  It was constructed by personnel from the mason’s shop of the UW Physical Plant Department, using granite blocks for the wall as well as the fountain basin.”  The site also originally had special collection plants of Berberis aquifolium ‘Compacta’ and Sarcococca hookeriana var. digyna, surrounded by three camellia.

A series of pictures shows the site before, during its construction, and today. Like most artifacts in the WPA, they are in a state of decline. Twenty years ago, the running water fountain was changed to a hand-manipulated one. Later, the water was entirely stopped. The granite portion is still proudly standing and is easily seen.   Budget cutbacks in both state and city budgets do not provide funds to maintain these historical landmarks which are usually removed when they fall into total disrepair.

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View on March, 11, 1958. Photo by J.A. Witt

 

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Construction September 30, 1960. Photo by J. A. Witt

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Construction September 30, 1960. Photo by J. A. Witt

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Construction October 3, 1960. Photo by J. A. Witt

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Mrs. Sawyer’s memorial bench today, May 6, 2015. Photo by J. A. Wott

Comprehensive Audit of Hyde Herbarium Now Complete

May 5th, 2015 by UWBG Communication Staff

By Eve Rickenbaker, Otis Douglas Hyde Herbarium manager and School of Environmental and Forest Sciences graduate student

The herbarium specimen of Pseudotsuga menziesii,  beloved Douglas fir of the Pacific Northwest, is just one of 22,500 specimens in our Otis Douglas Hyde Herbarium collection at the University of Washington Botanic Gardens.  During the last two and half years, a group of dedicated volunteers logged close to 1,200 hours in the herbarium completing an audit of the entire collection.

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Ross Bayton in the Hyde Herbarium with a Douglas fir specimen

Ross Bayton, our 2014 UW Botanic Gardens’ Volunteer of the Year, led the audit by generously giving 680 hours of his time.  With Ross’s botanical knowledge and expertise, he checked each of the 22,500 specimens for accuracy while adding information from each specimen into our database and organizing the collection to match current classification. Ross came to the herbarium during the fall of 2012 from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, where he earned a PhD in plant taxonomy.  In addition to Ross’s work, twenty-three students and community volunteers* committed over 500 hours working on the audit from October 2012 until now, April 2015.

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Eve Rickenbaker, Herbarium Manager, would like to thank Ross and each of the 23 herbarium volunteers who completed this project.

The pressed plant specimens of the Otis Douglas Hyde Herbarium reflect the research of faculty, staff and students at the UW Botanic Gardens.  The Herbarium includes specimens from the Washington Park Arboretum, horticulturally significant plants, and the Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board collection.  We offer free plant identification services and many volunteer opportunities.  Come see us in the Herbarium at the UW Botanic Gardens Center for Urban Horticulture to see specimens such as the Douglas fir and other interesting pressed plants.

*Herbarium audit volunteers:

Larisa Campos
Kathryn Christensen
Loretta Fisher
Cole Gross
Kezhu Guo
Janice Jap
Mary Lee
Aileen Liu
Austin Lucas
Susan McDougall
Margaret McGrew
Sasha McGuire
Patricia Nevin
Loni Jean Rodrigo
Heidi Sandhorst
Paul Schloemer
Lisa Schomaker
Sarah Verlinde
Alex Von Bredow
Gabe Wisswaesser
Emily Wittenhagen
Jenny Yang
Boyang Zhao

Weeding Strategies from a Professional

May 4th, 2015 by UWBG Communication Staff
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Photo by vilseskogen

April showers bring May weeds? Shotweed, dandelion, buttercup, morning glory and SO MANY MORE weeds thrive in our mild maritime climate. Many home gardeners feel overwhelmed by unwanted plants crowding out desirable flowers or vegetables.  How do professional gardeners manage weeds? Kathleen DeMaria, Botanic Gardens  Horticulturist, shares her favorite tool and the strategy she uses in the New Zealand forest at the Washington Park Arboretum.

“If I could only have one gardening tool for the rest of my life it would be a digging fork with a ‘D’ handle. Not a curved fork like a pitchfork, but a smaller fork with four flat, thick, stainless steel tines. I prefer the D handle over the T handle because I feel I get more leverage with it and feels right with my wrist. I use it to loosen soil around an area before I weed or to turn over soil and break up heavy clumps. It is also great for getting to the base of a dandelion without snapping it or cutting it.”

“As far as philosophy and  technique, I like to use my fork to loosen an entire area and then use my hori hori to help me pull the weeds without leaving the roots in the soil. I tend to work on clearing one area at a time and then mulch the area right after I weed it to give me some extra time before the weeds come back. In spring I’m less systematic and go into triage mode and seek and destroy anything that is close to seeding or fully engulfing another plant.”