What to do with fallen leaves? Arborist Chris Watson considers the options

November 2nd, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff
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Beautiful fallen leaves from the Amelanchiers growing at the Center for Urban Horticulture. Photo by Larry Howard 2007

To rake or not to rake? When asked what homeowners should do with leaves falling from trees growing in city gardens, Chris Watson, the Arborist who cares for the trees at the Washington Park Arboretum definitively stated, “It depends!”

Is the best mulch for a tree its own leaves? Or does that spread disease and pests? Chris explained:

“From a nutrient cycling perspective, ideally the leaves would be left in place where they fall.  Much like a forest, this would reduce the need for additional inputs, such as fertilizer. However, the urban situation is quite different from a forest.  We have introduced plants, soils, pests and diseases, as well as the desire for aesthetically pleasing landscapes.  Leaves blow in the wind and have the potential to clog drains.  Also, the first best management practice for most foliar diseases is to remove all leaves when they fall to reduce inoculum.

“When leaf removal is necessary, I recommend composting leaf material if possible.  The compost can then be used to amend soils around landscape plants.  If leaves are diseased, they should be composted in a way that increases the temperature to sterilize pathogens.  This is difficult to do for the typical homeowner, so it may be best to place leaves in the yard waste bin where they will be processed in a suitable manner.”

Interested in graphic design? Miller Library seeks book sale poster design

October 28th, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

Calling all artists & designers

 The Miller Library needs a poster design for the 2015 10th anniversary Garden Lovers’ Book Sale.

Tulip Tree FlowerWe seek your donation of creative talents for a new design for the 11 x 17 poster and 5 x 8 postcard advertising the 2015 Garden Lovers’ Book Sale. The successful design will have a plant or garden theme and eye catching appeal. The poster must include the specific details below about the date and location, plus the UW Botanic Garden logo. We will accept submissions through December 29th. Send a message to Tracy at tmehlin@uw.edu for more information. The creator of the selected design will receive two tickets to the book sale preview party.

 


 

GARDEN LOVERS’ BOOK SALE APRIL 3 & 4, 2015
Elisabeth C. Miller Library

CENTER FOR URBAN HORTICULTURE 3501 NE 41ST STREET, SEATTLE

ART EXHIBIT AND SALE PACIFIC NORTHWEST BOTANICAL ARTISTS Continues through May xx

WINE AND CHEESE PREVIEW PARTY AND BOOK SALE FRIDAY, APRIL 3rd FROM 5:00 – 8:00 PM ADVANCE TICKETS: $20

BOOK SALE SATURDAY, APRIL 5TH FROM 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM FREE ADMISSION!

For more information visit www.millerlibrary.org
To purchase party tickets call the library at 206-543-0415

Art exhibit: native plants by Linda Stewart Henley

October 27th, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

Linda Stewart Henley: OregonGrapeWatercolors by Linda Stewart Henley will be on exhibit in the Miller Library from November 4th through December 2nd. The paintings of Washington natives, done mostly on location, are accompanied by field notes. The exhibit shows the plants in representational, but not scientifically botanical, style. The poster Washington Shrubby Plants is featured as part of the exhibition.

Meet the artist at a free reception at the Library on Friday, November 14th from 5:00 to 7:00 pm.

Annual United Way “Day of Caring” made a huge impact at the Washington Park Arboretum

September 30th, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff
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United Way Day of Caring volunteers. Photo courtesy of the Arboretum Foundation.

Over 100 volunteers teamed up on September 19th on six projects that included spreading 218 yards of mulch, salvaging 150 sword ferns and grubbing out truckloads of invasive blackberry. Thank you to every one involved in the Day of Caring!

2014 United Way Day of Caring Debrief
Sept 19, 2014 9a-1p

Participating partners:

Arboretum Foundation – volunteer recruitment and organizer

UW Botanic Gardens – project management (5 projects), equipment and supplies

Seattle Parks and Recreation (1 project), equipment and supplies

 

UWBG Projects Details:

    • Pacific Connections Garden-New Zealand Forest
      • Led by Kathleen DeMaria and Annie Bilotta
      • 80 yards of mulch spread. 30% of NZ forest
      • Participating corporation – Blucora. Approx 25 volunteers
photo

Volunteers make short work of a mountain of mulch in the Native Knoll.

  • Fern Salvage in Arboretum Loop Trail footprint S. end slope beyond Chilean Gateway
    • Led by Chris Watson and Preston Pew
    • 150 sword ferns dug up and transported to old lath house bed behind greenhouse
    • Participating corporation – Amazon. Approx 20 vols
    • Volunteerss win the “the most challenging” project award due to steep slope and hard ground
  • Native Knoll
    • Led by Roy Farrow and Neal Bonham
    • 60 yards of mulch moved and spread; 15 sword ferns planted
    • Participating corp – Nordstrom. Approx 20 vols. Plus 5 from Native Plant Study Group (Arboretum Foundation volunteers – led by Rita Cloney)
  • Hollies
    • Led by Ryan Garrison and Darrin Hedberg
    • 75 yards of mulch moved and spread covering the 3 Eurasian clade berms ; other 4 berms weeded
    • Participating corp – Virginia Mason. Approx 25 volunteers. And, 1 vol from CenturyLink Pioneers
      photo

      The Hollies collection looking a little scrappy before the volunteers arrived.

      photo

      The Hollies collections after the volunteers swarmed the area with barrow loads of mulch.

  • PCG-Chilean Gateway and Siskiyou Slope
    • Led by Kyle Henegar and Rhonda Bush (AF – Steward Coordinator)
    • 3 yards of mulch spread in Chilean Gateway; 3 yards of blackberry removed in Siskiyou Slope
    • Participating corp – Urban Renaissance Group. Approx 25 volunteers. Plus 8 Pacific Connections Garden Stewards
  • City Parks Project – west end of waterfront trail (former MOHAI side)
    • Led by Paul Smith and Giles Moorish
    • Moved and spread mulch
    • Participating corps N/A # of volunteers N/A

A glimpse into the past – Lookout rockery renovations

September 30th, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

By John A. Wott, Director Emeritus

One of the most interesting rockeries in the Washington Park Arboretum is located just below and north of the now restored Lookout.  It is an impressive wall of granite stones which gives great strength to the area on the southern edge of the large pond near the southern boundaries of Azalea Way. The original work was done by the Works Progress Administration laborers who defined many features within the Arboretum.

It would appear that it was neglected for much of its early life, and these photographs document its state in 1967. Taken by Brian O. Mulligan, then Director, the photos show the over-growth of grasses and other trashy plants. They were taken on July 2, 1967, and marked as the “north bank of Lookout, before reconstruction”.

lookout photo

For the next nearly 50 years, this has been a formidable rockery, with several prominent rhododendrons and other plants clinging to it. With the renovation of the Lookout, the plants at the top ridge have been removed, so again one can see north to the University District. The rockery is very steep and rugged for visitors to climb, even though many brave “souls” do.

Currently the UWBG staff is working on a renovation plan and they have been clearing much of the overgrown vegetation. Several new rhododendrons have been planted in honor of Professor Ben Hall and his wife Margaret, for his life-time research on rhododendrons.  So as you walk around this beautiful “bowl” at the south end of Azalea Way, watch for the rockery to again be a prominent feature in this section of the Arboretum.

3 reasons to buy plants for a good cause

September 11th, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

Why should you buy plants in autumn?

  1. trees, shrubs and perennials planted in warm fall soil get eight months of consistent moisture to become established before summer drought hits.
  2. Growers often discount plants in fall so that they don’t have to overwinter so much inventory.
  3. Serious plantaholics need a content flow of novel plants to keep their gardens interesting.

How to support worthy causes? Buy plants at charitable plants sales such as the Northwest Horticultural Society’s sale on September 12 & 13 or the Arboretum Foundation sale on September 27.

Not in Seattle? There are charitable plant sales all over the Pacific Northwest. Do your part, go out and BUY MORE PLANTS!

FallAbundance-logo-orange1

Construction starting on “West Approach” to SR 520 Bridge will impact access to Arboretum

September 11th, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

Heads up for drivers and neighbors: full highway closure this weekend, with overnight work

SR 520 will be closed this weekend between Montlake Boulevard and 92nd Avenue Northeast to allow for critical construction activities. The highway will close at 11 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14 and reopen by 5 a.m. Monday, Nov. 17. Crews will take advantage of the closure to continue demolishing the section of the “Ramps to Nowhere” that passes over SR 520 near the Washington Park Arboretum. Crews will also continue building the temporary work bridge that will serve as a platform for constructing the new West Approach Bridge North (WABN). The direct-access ramps for carpools and buses to and from 108th Avenue Northeast will be closed at the same time. Crews working on the SR 520 Eastside Transit and HOV Project will install drainage systems along the ramps

November 7, 2014 Update from WSDOT

Lane closures on Montlake Bridge this Sunday morning

WSDOT is reducing the Montlake Bridge to one lane in each direction this Sunday morning, Nov. 9. During the lane closures, crews will perform routine repair work to the bridge deck. Drivers should expect delays in the area between 6:30 and 11:30 a.m.

In the Seattle area, drivers can get real-time traffic information on their phone with the WSDOT traffic app, tracking the WSDOT traffic Twitter feed, and get advanced information from the What’s Happening Now page.
Reminder: Full closure of SR 520 coming Nov. 14 to 17

SR 520 will be closed in both directions next weekend, Nov. 14 to 17, between Montlake Boulevard and 92nd Avenue Northeast. The closure will begin at 11 p.m. Friday and end at 5 a.m. Monday.

During the closure, crews will continue demolishing the section of the “Ramps to Nowhere” that passes above SR 520 near Washington Park Arboretum. Crews will also continue building the temporary work bridge that will stage the construction of the new West Approach Bridge North.
We’re bridging the gap on Lake Washington

As busy as our construction schedule is, we like to appreciate the informal milestones we reach along the way. We had such a moment at the end of October during assembly of the new floating bridge on Lake Washington.

The “floating” in the new floating bridge is supplied by 77 concrete pontoons. The backbone of the bridge consists of 21 “longitudinal” pontoons, each 360 feet long and 11,000 tons, plus one “cross” pontoon at either end. They’re aligned end-to-end and anchored to the lakebed. As of this month, more than half of these massive pontoons (12 of 23) are now in their permanent positions. So by this measure, we’re halfway across the lake!

If you want to get technical, one pontoon is anchored on the west side and the other 11 are connected together on the east side. And the new 520 bridge is longer than the section supported by pontoons. But we’re proud of how far we’ve come on building the world’s longest floating bridge, and we’re excited to share this progress with you.

 

YDrequfkThe Washington State Department of Transportation has announced the start of the next phase of the SR 520 Bridge replacement project. The West Approach Bridge North Project (WABN) will begin this month with the installation of construction fencing and preparation of staging areas. Construction will impact Lake Washington Bldv at the north end of the Arboretum and nearby residential areas. Construction update with map & project overview.

 

How to keep informed about the project:

Email
Sign up for WABN construction email updates:
public.govdelivery.com/accounts/WADOT/subscriber/new
Email project staff: SR520Bridge@wsdot.wa.gov
Online
Visit the SR 520 Orange Page website: www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR520Bridge/520orangepage/
Visit the WABN project website: www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR520Bridge/WABN/
Follow us on Twitter: @WSDOT_520
Phone
Call the SR 520 24-hour construction hotline: 206-708-4657

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!

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.

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.

photo

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.