April 17th, 2013 by Pat Chinn-Sloan
“Now it will Spring forth!”
1) Acer macrophyllum (Bigleaf maple)
- Taken for granted around here, this time of year our Bigleaf maple is most eye-catching in flower.
- It’s the subtle texture of its expanding leaf that drew my attention.
- Located throughout our native matrix as the dominant deciduous forest tree.
2) Aesculus wangii
- A horse chestnut classified as vulnerable in its native habitat of Vietnam.
- Notice the flattened bract-like stipule of the newly-expanding leaves.
- Our young, marginally-hardy specimen is located in Loderi Valley.
Close-up view of Kalopanax septemlobus (Prickly castor-oil tree)
3) Kalopanax septemlobus (Prickly castor-oil tree)
- Deciduous tree from northeast Asia known for its “tropical” appearance in full-leaf.
- I was impressed by the size of the bud bracts and pure white indumetum of the expanding leaves.
- This specimen is located along the eastern side of Arboretum Creek, south of Boyer Ave. East
4) Picea meyeri (Meyer’s spruce)
- Spruce tree native to China, similar in appearance to Colorado Blue spruce.
- Quite striking, springing forth new needles in combination with red male and female cones.
- Located in the Pinetum, just west of path and south of Stone Bridge.
Close-up view of the poplar, Populus sp
5) Populus sp
- The detail and color contrast in the expanding leaf is awesome!
- This poplar is unidentified in our collections, but worthy of attention.
- Located in the Poplar Collection, south Azalea Way.
April 6th, 2013 by Pat Chinn-Sloan
1) Azara dentata
- Native to temperate and subtropical Chile.
- Bears gold spring time flowers.
- Located in the Pacific Connections Chilean Entry Garden.
2) Liriodendron chinense
- A smaller Chinese version of the North American native tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera).
- Known for its unique leaf shape and tulip-shaped flower.
- Located in the Magnolia Collection.
3) Rehderodendron macrocarpum
- A small deciduous tree native to China.
- Bears white spring flowers and kiwi-shaped fruits in the fall.
- Several specimens located along Arboretum Drive and Azalea Way.
4) Viburnum carlesii
- Native to Korea and Japan.
- Bears clusters of 2-3″ fragrant white flowers.
- Located in the Viburnum Collection.
5) Viburnum bitchiuense
- Native to Korea and Japan.
- Very similar to V. carlesii, possibly more heat tolerant.
- Located in the Viburnum Collection.
March 24th, 2013 by Pat Chinn-Sloan
Pacific Connections Garden
1) Corokia x virgata ‘Sunsplash’
- An odd shrub from New Zealand with variegated foliage and wiry, twisty branches.
- This carefree evergreen tolerates some dry and looks great in containers.
- Specimens can be found in the New Zealand Entry Garden.
2) Grevillea victoriae
- Fine-textured foliage, long thin flower clusters and drought tolerance make these evergreen shrubs very popular.
- Also known as Royal Grevillea, it is endemic to parts of Victoria in Australia.
- Several varieties of Grevillea can be found in the Australian Entry Garden.
3) Gaultheria mucronata ‘Rubra’
- A hardy evergreen shrub with pinkish-white bell-shaped flowers followed by beautiful red berries late summer through winter.
- Often referred to as “female prickly heath”, it needs a male plant to ensure fruiting.
- Beautiful masses of G. mucronata can be found in the Chilean Gateway Garden.
4) Phyllostachys dulcis
- Sweet shoot bamboo is considered one of the best edible bamboos.
- Large drooping leaves, thick culms and a white ring at the node make this a very beautiful bamboo.
- A lovely drift graces the Chinese Entry Garden.
5) Ribes sanguineum cv.
- Flowering current is native to western coastal North America.
- It and its varieties and cultivars are valued for their brightly-colored spring flowers and bird and habitat support.
- Enjoy the incredible display of Ribes currently blooming in the Cascadian Entry Garden.
March 10th, 2013 by Pat Chinn-Sloan
1) Camellia japonica ‘High Hat’
- One of our earlier-flowering Japanese camellias.
- This specimen can be found along the west side of Arboretum Drive near the construction zone detour.
2) Pieris japonica ‘Valentine’s Day’
- Showing its large panicles of pink flowers.
- Can be found on Azalea Way just south of the Lilacs.
3) Rhododendron floribundum
- Native to the Szechwan Province of China.
- Specimen currently resides along the Upper Trail near the Rhododendron seedling area.
4) Salix irrorata
- Upright shrub with slender purple shoots and gray catkins borne before the leaves.
- Can be found in the Witt Winter Garden.
5) Stachyurus himalaicus
- Native to western China and Taiwan.
- Spreading, deciduous shrub with arching shoots and bell-shaped flowers borne in racemes in late winter.
- Can be found on the west side of Arboretum Drive across from the double lot.
February 11th, 2013 by Pat Chinn-Sloan
Witt Winter Garden
1) Chimonanthus praecox Wintersweet
- Wintersweet is in the allspice family of Calycanthaceae.
- The sulfur-yellow flowers are intensely fragrant and are born on bare stems.
- This winter garden favorite is native to China.
2) Ganya x issaquahensis Hybrid Silktassel
- This natural hybrid, between G. elliptica and G. fremontii, is native to the western U.S.
- The showy male catkins will soon produce large amounts of yellow pollen.
3) Hamamelis x intennedia ‘Pallida’ Hybrid Witch Hazel
- This cultivar produces large, pale-yellow flowers on a horizontal growing form.
- H. x intermedia is a hybrid between H. japonica and H. mollis, both native to Asia.
4) Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Winter Beauty’ Hybrid Witch Hazel
- This cultivar, though of the same parents as ‘Pallida’, has orange flowers on a taller,
more rounded form.
5) Salix irrorata Bluestem Willow
- The shoots of this upright shrub are purple with a distinct white bloom in the winter.
- The catkins are grey when they emerge, turning red and then quickly to yellow.
January 28th, 2013 by Pat Chinn-Sloan
“Scratch and Sniff”
1) Abies amabilis (Pacific Silver Fir)
- Pacific Northwestern native growing up to 250 feet tall in the wild, but is often short-lived in gardens.
- Its crushed needles smell like orange peel.
- The easiest of the Arboretum specimens to find is on the Upper Trail below the Peony bed.
2) Cupressus goveniana var. pygmaea (Mendocino Cypress)
- The “pygmy” stature occurs in this tree’s native habitat: infertile ancient sand dunes above the Pacific Ocean near Mendocino. In normal soil, it can exceed 100 feet.
- The crushed needles smell like lemon peel.
- It is located on Arboretum Drive near the south end.
3) Laureliopsis philippiana
- Native to Chile and Argentina.
- Crushed leaves smell like orange.
- It is located in the Pacific Connections Entry Garden and on Arboretum Drive in grid 9-4E.
4) Morella pensylvanica (Bayberry)
- Formerly Myrica, native to the east coast of North America from Canada to Florida.
- The fragrant, waxy berries were made into candles.
- Located in 43-B in the Arboretum’s Oak Collection.
5) Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas Fir)
- For Northwesterners, this is the essential smell of Christmas in the winter and the forest in summer. It is native to the North American west coast and self-sows freely in the Arboretum.
January 14th, 2013 by Pat Chinn-Sloan
“Judge a Plant by Its Cover”: Twigs and Bark
Photo of Acer buergerianum (Trident Maple) trunk (#1)
1) Acer buergerianum (Trident Maple) – photo of trunk (to the right)
- Move over Stewartia pseudocamellia, at least for the time being.
- Exceptional mottled flakey, lighter gray-brown bark on this young Asian maple.
- Makes a good street tree in Seattle, tolerant of a wide-range of stress factors.
2) Acer caesium ssp. giraldii
- Maple featuring young branches covered with a whitish bloom (DO NOT TOUCH)
- Native to the Himalaya region of China (Shaanxi and Yunnan provinces)
- Specimen located along Arboretum Drive in the Peonies
Photo of Betula albo-sinensis var. septentrionalis (Chinese Red Birch) trunk (#3)
3) Betula albo-sinensis var. septentrionalis (Chinese Red Birch) – photo of trunk (to the right)
- “The bark is singularly lovely, being a rich orange-red or orange-brown and peels off in sheets, each no thicker than fine tissue paper, and each successive layer is clothed with a white glaucous bloom.” – E.H. Wilson, Aristocrats of the Trees
- Please resist the temptation to tear, pull, rub… the bark. It is disrespectful, potentially harmful to the tree, and a crime to deface public property.
- Grove located in the Witt Winter Garden.
Samples of #2, #4, and #5
4) Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’
- A multi-colored thicket-forming dogwood.
- Brightens up ones’ spirits on any dark and gloomy winter Seattle day.
- Located in the twig bed of the Witt Winter Garden.
5) Prunus maackii (Manchurian or Goldbark Cherry)
- Not as common as the Birchbark Cherry, but has brighter honey-brown bark.
- Located on the north toe of Yew hill, grid 30-3W.
December 14th, 2012 by Pat Chinn-Sloan
Seize the Bay!
1) Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis)
- From the Mediterranean region
- A plant of great cultural significance (culinary uses, literary references, etc.)
- Marginally hardy in the Washington Park Arboretum, located in the Mediterranean Bed (grid 21-3E)
2) California Bay Laurel (Umbellularia californica)
- Native to the Pacific Coast, Oregon through California
- Crushed leaves have intense odor
- Re-seeds freely in the Washington Park Arboretum
- Located near the Mediterranean Bed (grid 20-3E)
3) Redbay (Persea borbonia)
- A relative of the avocado, native to southeastern U.S.
- Used as an emetic (vomit inducer) by indigenous people
- Located in the the Camellia Collection near the Reebs memorial bench (grid 11-4E)
4) Rosebay (Rhododendron maximum)
- Native to eastern U.S.
- Used in the early days of Rhododendron hybridizing to develop hardy hybrids
- Growing steadily in the Rhododendron Seedling Bed (grid 22-1E)
5) Sweet Bay (Magnolia virginiana)
- Eastern U.S. native
- Typically evergreen in Seattle, but can be deciduous, semi-deciduous, or evergreen depending on climate
- Located in the Magnolia Collection (grid 28-3E)
December 5th, 2012 by Pat Chinn-Sloan
1) Abies alba ‘Hybrid’ (Silver Fir)
- Silver Fir is the species first used as a Christmas tree.
- A resinous essential oil can be extracted. The pine-scented oil has soothing qualities and is used in perfumes and bath products.
- This magnificent specimen can be found on Arboretum Drive.
2) Cornus sericea ‘Cardinal’ (Red Osier Dogwood)
- Bright red twigs provide winter interest in the garden and a beautiful accent to holiday decorations.
- There are many benefits to Red Osier Dogwood, including overall hardiness and wildlife habitat.
- Native to the Pacific Northwest, this cultivar can be found in the Pacific Connections Entry Garden.
3) Ilex opaca ‘Emily’ (Emily American Holly)
- Holly is a popular winter, Christmas and holiday season decoration.
- In English poetry, holly is inseparably connected with merry-making.
- American Holly is the perfect substitute for English Holly because it is not invasive.
- Several cultivars of Ilex opaca can be found in the island beds of the Pacific Connections Garden.
4) Picea brachytyla (Sargent Spruce)
- Many species of spruce are used as Christmas trees.
- Spruce are important economically for timber, resin and Christmas tree production.
- The Sargent Spruce is native to China and is threatened by habitat loss.
5) Thuja plicata (Western Red Cedar)
- The flattened sprays of dark green foliage droop gracefully and are prefect for holiday wreaths and swags.
- Strongly aromatic, the scent of crushed Western Red Cedar is reminiscent of pineapple.
- A strong player in our native matrix, beautiful Thuja plicata can be found throughout the entire Arboretum.
November 16th, 2012 by Pat Chinn-Sloan
1) Callicarpa sp. Beautyberry
- When the late autumn landscape seems to offer little in the way of vibrant color, the upright shrub, Callicarpa shows us that it has some local Husky pride. Grown mainly for their clusters of small, bead-like fruit, the Callicarpa species are ideal for a colorful shrub border.
- Native primarily to China, Japan, and Korea, Callicarpa is a member of the plant family, Verbenaceae.
- This specimen can be found in our field nursery near Arboretum Drive.
2) Decaisnea insignis Dead Man’s Fingers
- An interesting deciduous shrub within the family Lardizabalaceae, Decaisnea certainly gets noticed when it bears its dullish blue fruit.
- Native to Western China.
- This specimen can be seen from Arboretum Drive, just west of the Peonies Collection.
3) Euonymus myrianthus
- The fruits of this upright shrub are yellow, but their full beauty is only attained when they ripen and split, exposing the seeds which become orange-scarlet in December.
- Known commonly as Spindle trees, Euonymus are members of the family, Celastraceae.
- Native to Western China.
4) Pieris japonica ‘Crispa’
- Evergreen shrub native to the Himalayas, East Asia, North America and the West Indies.
- Can be found in the Rhododendron Glen.
5) Zanthoxylum piperitum Japan Pepper
- Spiny, tree-like shrub with spherical red fruit.
- Located in the Rutaceae Collection, near the current pedestrian detour trail.