UW Botanic Gardens Summer Camps

March 17th, 2015 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant

It’s that time of year again when we pull out our calendars and begin to think about summer plans. Consider signing your child up to play and learn outside all summer! We are offering ten weeks of outdoor, nature-based summer camps at the Washington Park Arboretum. New themes have been added like Bird is the Word! and Bug Safari, and kept some of our favorites like Tadpoles and Whirligigs and Northwest Naturalists.

Weeks available as of 3/17/2015

Week 1st-3rd available 4th-6th available
June 22 1 1
June 29 1 6
July 6 Full 4
July 13 Full 4
July 20 Full 5
July 27 Full 4
August 3 Full 9
August 10 Full 9
August 17 Full Full
August 24 Full Full

Interested in working at our summer camp? We have multiple opportunities available!

IMG_2343 - Copy

Summer Garden Guide

Preschool Camp Assistant & After-Camp Specialist

Preschool Camp Garden Guide




DIY Landscape Design

March 4th, 2015 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant

Nancy_Tom_02It is that time of the year again! There are a few days here and there where it’s getting warmer, even some clear days. The plants are getting ready, and so are you. Big plans for the garden this year, right?!

Get those plans started and solidified with our Landscape Design class. This 6-part weekend program is for those gardeners who want to design a fabulous garden, but don’t want to pay the big bucks to hire a professional. Learn from environmental horticulturist Nancy Tom to develop a site analysis, measure, site a house on a plan, draw to scale, design workable hardscaping, consider color and texture, choose plants that are suitable for your soil, microclimate and home, lighting, drainage, trellises and arbors, and vegetable gardens.

You will come home with a planting plan that is custom-fit to your yard, needs, and personal preference. Need a patio for entertaining? No problem! Want to create a bird and wildlife paradise? Sure thing! Looking for low-maintenance native garden? Let’s get started! Call to register (206-685-8033) or go online!





WHEN Saturdays, March 14-25 (no class 3/28), 2015, 9:30am – 12pmNiehl_PlantingPlan

WHERE UW Botanic Gardens – Center for Urban Horticulture, Douglas Classroom, 3501 NE 41st St, Seattle, WA 98105

COST $185; $200 after March 7

WHAT 6-part hands-on landscape design series. Each class will include both lecture and time to work. First class is lecture only; we will discuss supplies at this class.

WHO Nancy Tom is a licensed, bonded and insured Environmental Horticulturist and a Master’s degree in art history. She has been designing landscapes in the greater Seattle area since 2000. She currently designs under the name of PlantPicks; see her website for projects and planting ideas, plantpicks.com.

HOW Register online, or call 206-685-8033



All photos courtesy Nancy Tom and plantpicks.com.


2015 Spring Park in the Dark Dates

February 26th, 2015 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant

Night time is special at the Arboretum – the people and cars are gone, and the nocturnal animals move about. Night hikes are a chance for us to explore our senses, search for crepuscular and nocturnal movements in the forest and learn about night-related animal adaptations. Programs are designed for families with children aged 5-12 though all ages are welcome! We will meet at the Graham Visitors Center (2300 Arboretum Dr E)
Hikes are always from 7:30-9pm on the Saturday nights listed below:

2015 Spring DatesNight Hike Image

  • April 11th
  • May 9th
  • June 13th

Cost is $8 per person
Register online or call 206-685-8033

Pre-registration is required. This allows our instructor to properly plan and prepare for each class so that you and your family can get the most out of it. Drop-ins are not accepted.

Winter with the Family Nature Class

January 27th, 2015 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant

Investigating a spider sighting




The winter session of Fiddleheads Family Nature Class is in full swing this month, despite the weather. Preschoolers aged 2-5 are learning how winter is special, what a skeleton is, what a fossil is and how they form, and even delving into a little chemistry! Every week is a different theme with fun new activities to get you and your little one interested in science, nature, and the world around us.




Taking a closer look at a slug

Taking a closer look at a slug



Classes are Tuesday-Thursday mornings from 10am-12pm with a special Wednesday afternoon session from 1:30-3:30pm for preschoolers ages 4-5.

More information on price, time, discounts, location, and topics.

Call 206-685-8033 or email uwbgeduc@uw.edu for more information.



What lives in a pond?

What lives in a pond?



Upcoming topics:
I Can Be a Scientist! – February 3-5

Trees Grow Up, Too – February 10-12

How Animals Move – February 24-26

Spying With Our Eyes – March 3-5

Sounds of the Forest – March 10-12

Fun In the Mud – March 17-19

Snails, Slugs, and Slimy Things – March 24-26















A New Season of Classes!

November 18th, 2014 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant

Our new Winter schedule is up! Check out our course catalog for classes January through March. Whether you are a novice gardener, or an experienced horticulturist, you are sure to find something to pique your interest! In addition, we are also offering gift certificates for the holiday season. Perfect for that hard-to-buy-for gardener! Buy online, or call 206-685-8033.

And for our Professionals:


All these and more can be found in the new class catalog. If you are interested, you can register online, or call (206) 685-8033 to sign up .


Don’t Let Winter Keep You Down: Indoor Classes at UW Botanic Gardens

October 31st, 2014 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant

Just because it is raining outside doesn’t mean you have to stop your plant passions. There are plenty of indoor botanical activities at the UW Botanic Gardens to keep your horticultural spirits high until spring!

Did you know that you can enjoy flowers all year round? Bulbs make it easy. Learn from Master Gardner Joan Helbacka about spring bloomers like tulips and daffodils, summertime lilies and iris, fall beauties including autumn crocus and cyclamen and even how to force bulbs to bloom for the winter months in this FREE class. Never have a flowerless day again!

More information…



Back by popular demand, Plant Pressing allows you to create your very own botanical specimen to frame and hang in your office, livingroom, where ever! Taught by Herbarium Manager Eve Rickenbaker, the class includes a tour of the Hyde Herbarium, and allows you to create up to 5 pressed flower cards – perfect for holiday greetings or thank yous. Mounted specimens and cards look like a million bucks, and would retail for over $100!

More information…





Interested in reducing the waste your household puts out? And interested in making some delicious, nutritious compost for your plants? Try this introductory FREE class on vermicomposting! All you need is a bin, worms, and food scraps. Let Crescent Calimpong lead you through the rewarding world of composting with worms. Whether you have a small apartment, or a house with extensive gardens, you can fit vermicomposting in to your life and routine.
More information…


holiday_TablescapeAnd finally, imagine you are hosting the holiday dinner this year! What will your table look like? Will it impress the in-laws and cousins? Well it certainly will if you take this class! Barbara Selemon will show you how to create a wonderful centerpiece using organic, sustainable and even edible plants to wow your guests. Materials will be provided to make your own tablescape to bring home. Make it as simple or elaborate as you want!
More information… 


And in case this wasn’t enough fun stuff to do this winter, our January-March classes are open for registration!

You can register online, or call 206-685-8033.

Up By Roots: Healthy Soils and Trees in the Built Environment

September 30th, 2014 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant

Up by RootsUW Botanic Gardens: Up by Roots - Healthy Soils and Trees in the Built Environment is a one-day workshop on October 15 that highlights the principles of soil science and their use in facilitating the growth of healthy trees and developing water efficient landscapes. Healthy soils absorb and hold water and nutrients needed to grow long-lived trees. These same soils retain runoff and preserve water at the site, reducing the need for irrigation and limiting potential impacts on nearby water sources.

This is a hands-on workshop that includes lectures and field work intended to introduce the underlying scientific principles guiding tree biology and soil-water relations. It is only through a healthy respect of these guiding principles, that one can effectively design, install, and manage soils and trees in the urban landscape.

James Urban, FASLA, ISA is a landscape architect with over 30 years of experience in the field of urban development. This workshop combines Jim Urban’s extensive experience with contributions from local experts to address regulations and conditions specific to our area.

Presentations will be relevant to urban foresters, landscape professionals, consulting arborists, tree care professionals, urban planners, landscape designers, sustainability professionals, landscape architects, municipal managers, land managers, and planners.

LA CES PDH, CPH, ecoPRO, ASCA, APLD, PLANET, ISA credits available.

WHEN: October 15th, 8:15am-4:30pm
WHERE: UW Botanic Gardens – Center for Urban Horticulture, NHS Hall


Resources for Workshop Attendees


Session 1: Soil Science

Session 2: Tree Biology and Urban Soils

Session 3: Field walk – Soil Assessment

Session 4: Practical Soil Applications

Additional Resources


September Kayak Tours at the Arboretum

August 26th, 2014 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant

Join us for this end of summer tradition at the Washington Park Arboretum as we tour our wetlands by kayaks generously loaned to us by Agua Verde Paddle Club. All proceeds go towards our Saplings Scholarship Fund that enables underprivileged students to take part in our hands-on, science-based school field trip programs.

Learn about the wetland ecosystem, including a little bit of history and little bit of ecology!  It’s great exercise and also simply beautiful.

No experience necessary; kayaks are doubles; max tour size is 12. Spaces are filling fast, so register today!
Cost is $35 per person.
Register by emailing tours@aguaverde.com


  • Thursday, September 4th                    3pm and 5:30pm
  • Friday, September 5th                           3pm and 5:30pm
  • Saturday, September 6th                     10:30am, 1pm, and 3:30pm
  • Sunday, September 7th                         10:30am, 1pm, and 3:30pm
Photo Credit: Ethan Welty

Photo Credit: Ethan Welty

Explore! Art, Bugs, Mosses and Sustainable Landscapes!

August 5th, 2014 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant

2014Catalog_Summer_Fall_Cover_smallGrab a copy of our new Summer/Fall catalogand try your hand at botanical art, discover the microscopic worlds of insect and moss identification, or learn how to turn your backyard into an sustainable, eco-friendly paradise!

Landscape for Life: Sustainable Home Gardening

Are you a homeowner who wants to create and maintain your own healthy, sustainable landscape? Through instructor-led presentations, class discussions, and activities, this 4 part class will deepen your understanding of how to get the most out of water in your garden, build healthy soils with minimal outside inputs, use native and climate-adapted plants for the Pacific Northwest, and find the most environmentally-friendly landscape materials. Students will analyze their own home landscape focusing on soils, water, plants, and use of materials.

Four Thursday evenings, starting September 25, 6-8:30pm
More information…

Register online or call 206-685-8033



Botanical Watercolor or Botanical Art Weekend Workshop


Botanical Watercolor:  7 Tuesdays – starting September 23, 7 – 9:30pm
Learn how to create stunning watercolor portraits of your favorite flowers or trees with this class taught by long-time instructor Kathleen McKeehen. Topics covered include drawing, measurement, color mixing, controlled washes and dry-brush techniques.  Whether you are just starting out, or have taken some classes before, all skill levels are welcome.

More information…

Register online or call 206-685-8033








Botanical Art Weekend Workshop: Saturday and Sunday October 4-5, 9am – 5pm
Learn the basics for creating botanical illustrations from professional botanist, illustrator, and teacher, Dr. Linda Ann Vorobik. Through lecture, demonstration and hands-on work, this class provides instruction in pencil drafting, pen & ink, and watercolor. All skill levels welcome.

More information…

Register online or call 206-685-8033



bugBugs: Bad, Beneficial, and Beautiful

Have you ever wondered about the 900,000 species of insects that roam the earth? Discover a few of them in this 4-part course on Thursday evenings. Learn about ID, life cycles, and how to live with the beneficial and bothersome insects that you may come across in your daily life. This class won’t be just lectures, though; we will have hands on periods, with practical demonstrations, specimens to examine, and reference resources. Don’t miss this fascinating class taught by Evan Sugden, entomologist, teacher, and illustrator!

Thursday, October 30, 7 – 9pm
More information…

Register online or call 206-685-8033


Introduction to Mosses

mossesWhile strolling in the woods, or walking around town, are you intrigued by the tiny green plants along the way? Do you wonder exactly what they are? Here is an opportunity to take a closer look at one group of small plants, the mosses.  This workshop, designed for beginners, will help you understand the basics of moss structure and biology, as well as the characteristics useful for identification. In the morning we will work in the class room for about 3 hours. After lunch we’ll take a walk in the Arboretum, and then finish up in the classroom.

Saturday, October 25, 9am – 3:30pm
More information…

Register online or call 206-685-8033

Want to see what else we have going on this season? Check out our full catalog!

Summer Classes at the Botanic Gardens

June 6th, 2014 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant

Summer is the perfect time to learn about plants. Once you are finished with your class, you can actually put your new knowledge to work, whether its learning about unusual hydrangeas to add to your landscape, maintaining your trees or shrubs, or just getting outside to enjoy a farm tour!

Register Online!

Take a look at some of our upcoming classes:


Enjoying the wonderful scent of lavender on last years tour!

Woodinville Lavender Tour

What could be better than smelling the scent of a bouquet of lavender? Smelling 3 acres! Join Tom Frei, Master Gardener, on his lavender farm and learn a little about the uses, the care and types of lavender. There will even be lavender teas and cookies as we listen to Tom, then a tour of the 25 varieties of lavender grown there.

Here’s what people had to say about last years tour:

“I really enjoyed this session. It was gorgeous, relaxed, useful, the snacks were tasty and the store was full of things I wanted.”

“I had a thoroughly enjoyable experience just learning more about lavender. Loved discovering this new gem and will definitely be back to visit the farm in the future!”

More information…


One of the many lovely hydrangeas from the Washington Park Arboretum



Curator Talks: Hydrangea Family

Go behind the scenes and learn about the interesting and unusual members of the Hydrangea family. Curator Ray Larsen will discuss the rare, the weird, and his favorite members of the Hydrangea family. Take notes on the handy map that will be provided, and find them on your next trip to the Arboretum!

More information…




Hedges are often pruned in the summer

Hedges are often pruned in the summer


Pruning Shrubs and Trees: The Summer Advantage

Is your garden looking overgrown? Are you unsure of how to manage it? Summer may be the best time to prune it! Learn what can and can’t be achieved through pruning in the summer with certified arborist Chris Pfeiffer. This is a 2 part class that includes a lecture and a trip to a homeowner’s residence where we will have a practical demonstration! Let us know if your garden may be a potential candidate for the field demonstration section of the class.

More information…





The “black gold” of the gardening community.

The Hows, Whys and Uses of Kitchen & Garden Composting

Take a quick tour into the world of compost! Join Master Gardener and compost enthusiast Fred Wemer for a look into the hows, whys and what you can do with compost made from your kitchen or garden in this FREE class.

More information…






Part of the New Zealand Garden

Wednesday Walk with John Wott: Touring the Pacific Connections Garden


Wouldn’t it be great if you could travel through Cascadia, Australia, China, Chile and New Zealand all in one day? In the Washington Park Arboretum’s Pacific Connections Garden, you can! In this garden, you will find amazing plants from five countries connected by the Pacific Ocean. In addition to the beautiful entry gardens, you can venture more deeply into the plantings of Cascadia and New Zealand, and learn about the ongoing progress and future plans for the newest and largest project in the Arboretum this century.


The strange-looking Monkey Puzzle Tree

Join John Wott, Professor Emeritus and former Arboretum Director, for a new series of walking tours at the UW Botanic Gardens’ Washington Park Arboretum. Dr. Wott will discuss the history of the Arboretum, overall design, and changes over time. Throughout the year, each walk will feature plants that offer us seasonal highlights. These walks take routes that are well-suited for visitors with limited mobility.

More information…

Class dates, locations and pricing can also be found our class catalog as well as additional classes.

You can always call 206-685-8033 or email urbhort@uw.edu with questions; we are happy to answer them!

Register online!