My First Free Weekend Walk

July 31st, 2015 by Jessica Farmer, Adult Education Supervisor

This is the first in a series of blog posts we will be sharing from our summer communications volunteer, Saffrom Hepta-Gaub. Saffron is a sophomore at the Bush School in Seattle, Washington, and we are delighted to share her perspectives on UW Botanic Gardens’ spaces and programs. 

July 19th, 2015

Hydrangeas

On this lazy, hot, summer day, I embarked on my first event with the UW Botanic Gardens: the Free Weekend Walk. The great things about the tour are that it’s free, every Sunday, and open to all ages. The walking was brisk, and despite the heat, our guide Catherine kept us entertained. The theme of this day was Hydrangeas and Other Summer Bloomers. Themes like this switch every month to best fit the season.

Because I can’t drive, I was dropped off at the Graham Visitors Center, just before one o’clock. After inquiring at the desk, I waited until our guide came right on time, starting us out with a few introductory facts. I learned that the park was 230 acres, the majority of the land being owned by the city with the collections belonging to the Botanic Gardens. We were a group of twelve, including me, horticulturalists  and tourists alike. To begin, we circled around the parking lot, stopping by the greenhouse to see the large-leafed “dinosaur food” bog plant native to South America, with long, almost Pinecone-esque petalless  flowers. Behind the greenhouse was a gorgeous pomegranate tree, which, with the warm season we’ve been having, bore fruit.

After we looked at the various trees in the bright sun, we circled back around to the main path, which thankfully had patches of shade. It was 90 degrees out, mind you, and I had stupidly forgotten a water bottle. Our guide was good at keeping our minds off the heat, though my thirst for water preoccupied a third of my thoughts. The rest of my mind filtered through facts and phrases for this post, while another small section wanted to be binge watching my favorite show, though I shouldn’t mention that here, have to be professional. 😉

The tour, after all, was focused on the blooming hydrangeas, and the first one we accounted on the path was drooping from the drought. In fact, many of the plants we passed had brown, forgotten leaves. Facts from my 9th grade biology class kept popping up, an unplanned refresher in photosynthesis and the food web. The dead leaves on the underside of the trees were the plants’ way of conserving energy and water; leaves with less light had more energy going into growth than coming out of photosynthesis. We also spotted snag trees, dead plants that had become homes for insects, decomposers who feed off the bark. The insects attract hungry birds and bats, and soon you have full ecosystems on one dead tree.

Back to the hydrangeas: interesting tidbit, there are three kinds of hydrangeas: lace top, mop top, and the cone-shaped paniculatas. The flowerettes around the base of the lace top, when lifted up, are a signal to the bees that pollination should occur, and drop once there is nectar. Nature is amazing!

Next in our walk up the shadow scattered hill were the magnolias. Yet another thing that I learned was that because magnolias, evolutionarily, predate bees; the flowers are shaped and hang in a way so that they can be pollinated by ants and beetles. The magnolias have a nice citrus smell, and because of the unusual heat, many of the trees we passed were on there second bloom of the season, which our guide had never seen before. The magnolias also provided a much needed shade. Another tree we saw was the sassafras tree, the origin of root beer. The cool thing about the sassafras  tree was that was only one of two trees with the three kinds of leaf shapes: mitten, flame, and ghost. Seeing all the differently shaped leaves on this tree and the other species we passed was strange and interesting.

Magnolia

Finally, we got to the large collection of hydrangeas. There were many beautiful bushes, colored blue and white. Catherine informed us that these hydrangeas did in fact change color based on the PH of the soil. We also spotted a hydrangea that grew vine-like on a tree, but in a safe way. By now, it was time to turn back, and we headed on a gravel path through the forest, where it was shady and cool. The final fascinating fact I learned was that many of the magnolias and other “tropical” plants that thrive in the southeast United States are related to the plants of Asia, an offshoot from back when the land was all one continent.

All in all it was a great way to spend my afternoon. Our guide Catherine made it entertaining, educational, and we got in some exercise! All three e’s! The Botanic Gardens have my interest, and I am sure they will have yours if you take the chance to visit. The Arboretum is beautiful, the paths are easy to use, and with these guided tours, navigating and fact-learning is easier. I’d highly recommend it. :)

 

Glimpse into the past – Dreams of an Arboretum at the University of Washington

July 15th, 2015 by Jessica Farmer, Adult Education Supervisor

By John A. Wott, Director Emeritus

Recently, I was browsing The Long Road Traveled by Henry Schmitz, from 1973, in preparation for a presentation about the Washington Park Arboretum.  I believe it is important to review how the leadership of the University of Washington was the catalyst to create the Arboretum. Almost all of this “glimpse” is the writing of Dr. Schmitz, but in a very condensed form.

The University of Washington seems to have wanted an arboretum from very early in its history. Shortly after his election in 1891 as a member of the State legislature, Edmond S. Meany became chairman of the legislative committee concerned with the acquisition of a new campus for the University. There are indications that he promoted the project in part by claims that it would provide an arboretum for the State as well as a campus for the University. If this is true, it was undoubtedly a method to elicit support from the lumber industry, which was not entirely without influence at that time in the state legislature. The late Herbert Condon used to relate a delightful story about a member of the legislature whom Mr. Meany was attempting to interest in the selection of the Union Bay area for the new campus-arboretum. The legislator listened to the arguments and then said, “Meany, I will help you get the area, but tell me-what in hell is an arboretum?”

Professor Edmond S. Meany

Professor Edmond S. Meany

It seems clear that for some years after the University moved to the new (and present) location selected by Dr. Meany’s committee, the development of an arboretum on the campus remained an important aim. The text calls attention to gifts of trees from the Seattle City Parks Department for planting on the new grounds.  On Arbor Day 1898, the Parks Department had presented the University with fifty assorted oaks and honey locusts. Later, Parks contributed an additional 2200 fine trees embracing almost thirty species new to the grounds, as well as a donation of a thousand perennials. These donations, along with a collection of five hundred more perennials from other sources gave impetus to a plan for the beautification of the campus.  These donations were said to “represent 42 natural orders and 179 species.”

A seed and plant exchange with eastern collectors was established by Dr. Meany to secure for the campus “as many rare and desirable species as possible.” Contributions of seeds were received from California, the Canadian Department of Agriculture, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Dr. Meany’s home garden was used entirely for growing seedlings of tree seeds received through the seed exchange. Since the city water mains had not yet been extended to his home, it was necessary for him to carry water in pails to the nursery beds. He was especially proud of the relations he had established with Kew Gardens and was greatly concerned that the seedlings survive.

College of Forestry Dean, Hugo Winkenwerder

College of Forestry Dean, Hugo Winkenwerder

Sadly, when the campus was cleared for the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition, many of the trees planted in the early days by Professor Meany and others were destroyed. Nevertheless, the idea of an arboretum on the campus did not completely die. A few years later, Hugo Winkenwerder, Dean of the College of Forestry, with the enthusiastic support of Professor Meany, proposed to President Franklin Kane that the entire area below the railroad tracks be set aside for arboretum purposes. This proposal was approved by the President and the area was designated “Arboretum” on maps of the campus of that period.Progress was slow, and as the years went by, pressures developed on the campus for the construction of a golf course in the arboretum area. It was argued by the proponents of the golf course that the area could serve both purposes – the fairways and greens would occupy only part of the space and the remaining area could still serve as an arboretum. However, the golf course eventually took possession of the entire area and in late 1923 Dean Winkenwerder gloomily said that he “lost all hope of ever developing an arboretum on the University campus.”

Henry Suzzallo, UW President 1915-1926

UW President Henry Suzzallo

Although he recognized that an arboretum on campus was impractical because of the ever-changing patterns of land use by a growing university, Dean Winkenwerder did not for a moment give up the idea of developing an arboretum somewhere, and he conferred with President Henry Suzzallo to explore other possibilities. Even though it was President Suzzallo who had transformed the last campus arboretum into a golf course, he had a clear concept of the importance of a highly developed botanical garden and arboretum as a resource to the natural science departments of the University and to the people of Seattle and the State. He believed that the Arboretum should be developed jointly by the University and the City of Seattle.

Shortly after his conference with Dean Winkenwerder, Dr. Suzzallo addressed the Seattle Rotary Club to enlist the support of this important group of business and professional leaders for an arboretum in the Washington Park area. He said in part: “to the Board of Park Commissioners, that Board seems to have prepared Resolution No. 40 setting aside the entire area of Washington Park for a botanical garden and arboretum and giving the University of Washington certain privileges” (6th Day of February 1924).

Want to read the rest of the story? The Road Less Traveled is available for borrowing at the Elisabeth C. Miller Library.

###

Plant Profile: Stewartia monadelpha

June 5th, 2015 by Jessica Farmer, Adult Education Supervisor

This small tree, commonly grown for its stunning reddish-brown bark, offers exceptional features throughout the year. Stewartia monadelpha, otherwise known as tall stewartia or orangebark stewartia, is just getting ready to come into bloom this month. Its white camellia-like flowers burst forth in early summer, followed by interesting brown seed pods and rich russet fall color. This species is planted in UW Botanic Gardens’ collections at both the Washington Park Arboretum and Center for Urban Horticulture.

Stewartia monadelpha is a member of the Camellia family. The small, white cup-shaped flowers last up to four weeks and have petals with smooth edges. This tree is best grown in partial shade but can handle full sun in the Pacific Northwest. It makes an excellent specimen tree for the home landscape.

Common Name: Tall Stewartia or Orangebark Stewartia
Location: Washington Park Arboretum: Camellia collection, Winter Garden; Center for Urban Horticulture: Event Lawn
Origin: Japan
Height and Spread: 20-25’ tall, 15-25’ wide
Bloom Time: June

Summer blooms of Stewartia monadelpha

Summer blooms of Stewartia monadelpha

Exfoliating bark of Stewartia monadelpha

Exfoliating bark of Stewartia monadelpha

Stewartia monadelpha fall color

Stewartia monadelpha fall color

Stewartia monadelpha in winter

Stewartia monadelpha in winter

Glimpse into the past – the Legend of the Flamingos and the Silver Egg

June 4th, 2015 by Jessica Farmer, Adult Education Supervisor

By John A. Wott, Director Emeritus

This month’s Glimpse is about the ‘Legend of the Flamingos and the Silver Egg’ featured at the recent celebration honoring Dr. Harold B. Tukey, Jr., and the founding of the Center for Urban Horticulture.  Dr. Tukey arrived in Seattle in May 1980 and one year later, several new faculty and staff were added.

During that time period, the American public had been ‘poking fun’ at the profusion of inexpensive (rather cheap) plastic ornaments which had been flooding our marketplaces.   The urban landscape took on a new look with its plastic balls, animals, statues, pet rocks, etc.  It was inevitable that a symbol from that urban environment should be chosen for the fledgling CUH.

The original Xylem and Phloem in the Center for Urban Horticulture courtyard, 1986

The original Xylem and Phloem in the Center for Urban Horticulture courtyard, 1986

The two first graduate students in the program, Sharon Buck and Cindy Maitland, decided that a pair of pink flamingos should be part of the CUH display and proudly presented them to Dr. Tukey on May 31, 1981, as members of the CUH Alumni Association.  The faculty and staff were excited and decided to hold a naming contest, voting by secret ballot, with the names of ‘Xylem’ and ‘Phloem’ chosen.  The following holiday season, and in subsequent seasons, the proud ‘parents’ were joined by a large silver egg in a CUH courtyard display.

The presentation of a pair of flamingos occurred for each new faculty and staff member hired, often appearing spontaneously on their front lawn or porch.   I was given a pair which I proudly named ‘Burt’ and ‘Ethel’, who proudly presided on my deck overlooking Lake Union.  Flamingos often appeared in many ways during the next few years around CUH.  In 1994, six appeared on my new home lawn, causing the neighbors to wonder about their new neighbor.

Today, flamingos come in many assorted colors and themes, including Husky mascot colors.   While reminiscing with Dr. Tukey at the Celebration, he remarked how much we were all full of the new doctrine for urban horticulture in the 1980’s, but the addition of the plastic flamingos brought us back to our relevancy to the urban environment.   Recently two of my new neighbors have been officially “Flocked” through a legitimate business.  While ‘Xylem’ and ‘Phloem’ have long disintegrated, their prototypes live on.

Modern garden flamingos, on display at a celebration of Dr. Tukey's founding of the Center for Urban Horticulture, April 2015

Modern garden flamingos, on display at a celebration of Dr. Tukey and the founding of the Center for Urban Horticulture, April 2015

More festive flamingos from the April celebration

More festive flamingos from the April celebration

New Workshop: Learn to Inspire Action that Supports Urban Forests

April 24th, 2015 by Jessica Farmer, Adult Education Supervisor

 Building Support for Urban Forests
Using a Social Marketing Approach

Thursday, June 18, 8:30am – 4:30pm

Fall Color
UW Botanic Gardens Center for Urban Horticulture
3501 NE 41st St., Seattle, WA 98105
Registration fee: $125, lunch included
Contact: urbhort@uw.edu, 206.685.8033

Register online!

 

Communicating the value of healthy urban forests, inspiring desired actions, and securing adequate support can be very challenging in today’s atmosphere of limited budgets and competing priorities.

This workshop is designed to empower urban forest managers and advocates with effective marketing tools that will influence target audience behaviors and inspire actions to protect the environment.

Participants will use a 10-step strategic planning model to:

  • Select target audiences
  • Prioritize desired behaviors
  • Identify audience barriers, benefits and motivators
  • Develop a strategic marketing mix that produces desired outcomesNancy-Lee

Nancy Lee, president of Social Marketing Services Inc., an adjunct faculty at the UW Evans School of Public Affairs, and co-author of Social Marketing: Changing Behaviors for Good, will lead this full-day intensive workshop. Lee has been a consultant for more than 150 nonprofit and public sector agencies and has participated in the development of more than 200 social marketing campaign strategies.

 

What is Social Marketing?

Social marketing seeks to develop and integrate marketing concepts with other approaches to influence behaviors that benefit individuals and communities for the greater social good. It seeks to integrate research, best practice, theory, audience and partnership insight, to inform the delivery of competition sensitive and segmented social change programs that are effective, efficient, equitable and sustainable.

Sponsers:

forterra_logo

 

Plant a Neighborhood Landmark—Apply for a Street Tree!

August 22nd, 2014 by Jessica Farmer, Adult Education Supervisor

From our friends at Seattle reLeaf:

Does this hot, sunny weather have you wishing your street had more tree canopy? The City of Seattle’s Trees for Neighborhoods program helps Seattle residents plant trees around their homes. Since 2009, residents have planted over 4,000 trees in yards and along streets through the program. Through Trees for Neighborhoods, participants receive up to four free trees, assistance applying for street tree planting permits, and training on tree planting and care.

 

Plant a future neighborhood landmark—apply for a white oak, silver linden, tulip tree, or black tupelo for your planting strip! Imagine the awe-inspiring beauty a street tree could someday provide your neighborhood. All of these trees require at least a 7 or 8 foot planting strip with no overhead power lines. Ready for a tree? Don’t delay—the application for street trees closes Wednesday, August 27th! Yard tree applications will be accepted until October.

 

To apply for a street tree visit www.seattle.gov/trees. If you have questions, email TreesforNeighborhoods@seattle.gov or call (206) 684-3979.

Tulip Tree Flower

Tulip Tree Flower

Black Tupelo Leaf

Black Tupelo Leaf

White Oak

White Oak

Linden Flowers

Linden Flowers

Trees of Life Art Exhibit and Opening Reception

April 21st, 2014 by Jessica Farmer, Adult Education Supervisor

Trees of Life:  14 artists honor the beauty and mystery of Emerald City’s trees as a Seattle Tree Ambassador graduate hosts local art show reception

Opening reception:

Byori Hwang

Byori Hwang

Friday, April 25
5 – 7 pm
University Friends Meeting Social Hall Art Gallery
4001 9th Ave NE, Seattle
Free; light finger food provided
For more information, contact Clarena at clarena.snyder@gmail.com or 206-632-9839

Exhibit runs through the end of June; hours are Mon – Fri, 9:30 am – 1 pm; Sat and Sun 10 am – 1 pm or by appointment.

This exhibit, curated by a Tree Ambassador, showcases the artwork of trees by Pacific NW artists as a way to inspire and help Seattle’s residents reconnect with nature, specifically the beauty, wisdom, and mystery of trees. The Tree of Life, an ancient and powerful symbol, is deeply embedded in the human psyche. It represents and evokes life, even before science proved its role in providing oxygen and transmuting carbon dioxide.

The 15 Pacific NW artists represent the UW School of Art, the University of Puget Sound School of Art, Sierra Club members, and local community artists from young children to the professional award-winning artist are represented. They have used different media and approaches to expressing the beauty of trees.

Read the full news release and the Trees of Life Curator Statement.

 

Amanda Sweet

Amanda Sweet

 

Molly Hashimoto

Molly Hashimoto

 

Get Water Smart with Seattle Tilth and Jessi Bloom

April 4th, 2014 by Jessica Farmer, Adult Education Supervisor

WaterSmartPoster

 

Grow great plants, conserve water, protect our watershed!

Want to learn how to manage stormwater runoff while transforming your yard into a beautiful water smart landscape? Join Seattle Tilth and local landscape designer Jessi Bloom for a free educational workshop, and learn how to plan and construct rain gardens, plant buffers, pervious pavements, green roofs and organic gardens. Plant your rain garden and eat it too!

The University of Washington Botanic Gardens is partnering with Seattle Tilth to kick off the first two workshops in this series. Join us on April 21, 6:30-8:30pm at the Center for Urban Horticulture (Douglas Classroom), or on May 6, 6:30-8:30pm at the Washington Park Arboretum (Graham Visitors Center).

The workshops are free, but pre-registration is requested. Learn more and register.

Questions? Contact Maren Neldam at marenneldam@seattletilth.org or (206) 633-0451 ext. 109.

Resources for Seminar Attendees

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

Slope Stability and Vegetative Soil Stabilization in the Puget Sound Region
Hosted by the University of Washington Botanic Gardens

This list includes electronic copies of all paper handouts as well as additional resources provided by seminar speakers.

Thursday, December 5, 2013
8:15 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
University of Washington Botanic Gardens
Center for Urban Horticulture
3501 NE 41st St, Seattle, WA 98105

Live staking training with the Green Seattle Partnership, West Seattle – Saturday, February 8, 2014, 1pm – 3pm

SEMINAR RESOURCES

Geology & Hydrology Review of the Puget Lowland, an overview of Puget Sound geology, stratigraphy, soil strength, slope failure modes, and significant landslide examples in the Puget Lowland
Bill Laprade, Senior Vice President, Shannon & Wilson, Inc.

Vegetation, Erosion & Slope Stability: Role & Benefits of Native Vegetation in the Puget Lowland Ecozone
Elliott Menashe, Greenbelt Consulting

Critical Areas and Shoreline Regulations Related to Geologically Hazardous Areas, Steep Slopes
Joe Burcar, Senior Shoreline Planner, Washington Department of Ecology

Permit Requirements for Landslide-Prone Areas in the City of Seattle
Rob McIntosh and Seth Amrhein, Seattle Dept. of Planning and Development

Conifer Care Guidelines When Working on Slopes
Nicholas Dankers, ISA Certified Arborist and Qualified Tree Risk Assessor

Geosynthetics and Slope Stability: a review of materials, performance and techniques for erosion control and reinforcement
Dr. Stan Boyle, Vice President, Shannon & Wilson, Inc.

Bio-Structural Engineering for Erosion Control & Slope Stabilization
Elliott Menashe, Greenbelt Consulting

 

Slope Stability and Vegetative Soil Stabilization in the Puget Sound Region

November 15th, 2013 by Jessica Farmer, Adult Education Supervisor

The topography of the Puget Sound region presents construction and management challenges with hills, ravines, coastal bluffs and shorelines that can be subject to erosion and landslides in our rainy winter weather. This issue creates safety concerns, transit and travel nightmares, permitting complexity, and questions about how to best design and construct in steep landscapes.

Land managers, planners, engineers, landscape architects and others need to know the most current information about how water and geology interact, why the land moves, and what can be done to reduce erosion and promote stability. This intermediate-level symposium offers an in-depth look at the hydrology and geology of our region, and the tools and techniques available to allow for successful slope stabilization.

Eroded slope in Washington state.=

Photo courtesy of Washington State Department of Transportation

Thursday, December 5, 2013
8:15 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
University of Washington Botanic Gardens
Center for Urban Horticulture
3501 NE 41st St, Seattle, WA 98105

Cost:
$125 per person. Lunch is included.
($150 after November 21)

Contact:
urbhort@uw.edu or 206-685-8033.

Register:
https://www.cfr.washington.edu/uwbg/

Who should attend: Professionals working with shoreline property, ravines, and other topographically-challenged sites in the fields of engineering, planning, landscape design and construction, horticulture, landscape architecture, ecological restoration, consulting, arboriculture, and other land-management specialties.

Speakers include:

  • Bill Laprade, Senior Vice President at Shannon & Wilson, Inc. on Geology & Hydrology of Puget Sound.
  • Elliott Menashe, Natural resource manager & consultant, Greenbelt Consulting, on Vegetation, Erosion, and Slope Stability: role and benefits of vegetation; and Bio-Structural Engineering for Erosion Control and Slope Stabilization.
  • Dr. Stan Boyle, Vice President at Shannon & Wilson, Inc., on Geosynthetics for Erosion Control and Reinforcement.
  • Rob McIntosh and Seth Amrhein, City of Seattle Department of Planning and Development, on permitting and regulations on steep slopes.
  • Joe Burcar, Senior Shoreline Planner, Washington Department of Ecology, on critical areas and shoreline regulations related to Geologically Hazardous Areas, steep slopes.
  • Nicholas Dankers, ISA Certified Arborist and Qualified Tree Risk Assessor, on Conifer Care Guidelines related to trees on slopes.

Professional CEU’s have been approved for CPH, PLANET, and ASCA. APLD and ISA credits are being pursued. View the seminar webpage for updates.

 

Draft Seminar Schedule_Updated_11_26