Get Outside this Year!

May 30th, 2013 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant

Looking to spend more time outside, but don’t know exactly what to do?

Come and learn at our upcoming classes, “Sharing Nature with Your Children”, and “Grow Your Own Organic Food”.

  Sharing Nature with Your Children



Kids enjoying a day at Mt. Rainier! Photo Credit Julie Luthy

Kids enjoying a day at Mt. Rainier! Photo Credit Julie Luthy

Do your kids complain about being bored all summer? Do they sit in front of the TV and watch shows and play video games all day? Do you wish that they would get out and explore the world, like you did as a kid?

Join naturalist Julie Luthy for a morning filled with fun activities and nature tidbits that will amaze you and your children.  A classroom introduction will be followed by a session of putting the ideas into action outside in the Arboretum, so dress for the weather and get ready for some innovative outdoor exploration.

If you’ve ever had difficulty getting your kids to hike, play or explore outside; don’t miss this!

Time: Saturday, June 8, from 9-11am
Graham Visitors Center at the Washington Park Arboretum
2300 Arboretum Drive E, Seattle, 98112

Cost: $35; $40 after June 2

Register Online
Or call (206)685-8033 to register over the phone!



 Grow Your Own Organic Food

Peas ready to go up the trellis.

Peas ready to go up the trellis.

 There is nothing better than a homegrown tomato, ripe, red and warm from the sun, sliced with some olive oil and salt on a bed of your own lettuce, in colors that you would never find at the grocery store! Does this sound delicious to you? You can make it all happen with the right knowledge.

Not only is homegrown food fresher, but you know exactly where it came from, and how it was grown. It’s cheaper than buying produce at the market too!

Take this class to learn the tricks of the trade, including using recycled materials, container and limited space gardening techniques, and urban pest control. You’ll be enjoying your harvest in no time!

Time: Saturday, June 8, from 1-3pm
Douglas Classroom at the Center for Urban Horticulture
3501 NE 41st St., Seattle, 98195

Cost: $25; $30 after June 2

Register Online
Or call (206)685-8033 to register over the phone!

Can't get much fresher than this!

Can’t get much fresher than this!

Take a class this spring!

January 31st, 2013 by Jessica Farmer, Adult Education Supervisor

The UW Botanic Gardens offers a variety of education programs for everyone, drawing on research and technical expertise from the UW and beyond to include lectures, courses, demonstrations, symposia, and tours. New classes are listed frequently. Please check out our full schedule.


Pollination with Orchard Mason Bees
Instructor: Missy Anderson, aka Queen Bee, King County Master Gardener
Tuesday, February 19, 7-8:30pm
Fee: $10

Growing Up WILD
Instructor: Julie Luthy, Naturalist and Environmental Educator
Saturday, March 2, 9am-12pm
Fee: $60

Perennials: Simple Division
Instructor: Carrie Becker, co-author of Perennials: The Gardener’s Reference
Wednesday, March 13, 7-9pm and Saturday, March 16, 1-4pm
Fee: $50

Introduction to Conifer Identification
Instructor: Patrick Mulligan, Education Supervisor at the Washington Park Arboretum
Saturday, March 23, 10am-12pm
Fee: $45

Woody Landscape Plants of Seattle
Instructor: Katie Murphy, former Collections Manager of the Otis Douglas Hyde Herbarium
8-part series, March 27 – May 1
Fee: $180

Designing and Creating a Wildlife Habitat Garden
Instructor: Emily Bishton, Landscape Designer and Director of Magnuson Nature Programs
3-part series, April 4 – 11
Fee: $85

Creating a Child-Friendly Garden
Instructor: Emily Bishton, Landscape Designer and Director of Magnuson Nature Programs
3-part series, April 18 – 25
Fee: $85

What the Cluck?!

December 11th, 2012 by Jessica Farmer, Adult Education Supervisor

Making Sense of Keeping Chickens in the Home Garden
Wednesday, January 30, 2013, 7-9pm 
Instructor: Jessica Bloom, NW EcoLogical Landscapes

Free Range Chicken Gardens by Jessica Bloom

Photo courtesy of Jessica Bloom

If you have ever thought about keeping chickens or you have chickens but are baffled by common problems, this class is for you. Jessica Bloom, award-winning garden designer and author of Free Range Chicken Gardens, will teach
you how to integrate chickens into your life and backyard. Believe it or not, chickens can be trained like other pets!

Learn how to share your garden with your feathered egg-producing friends, how to design habitat, and about the
“Top 10” must-have plants that you and your chicken will love. Chicken raising myth-busters and breeds will also be covered.

NHS Hall, Center for Urban Horticulture, 3501 NE 41st St, Seattle, WA 98105
Early registration $35; $40 after January 23
Register online, or call 206.685.8033

Copies of Free Range Chicken Gardens will be available for purchase from the instructor at the class. See Bloom’s website for more ideas!

Master Pruner Series

November 2nd, 2012 by Tech Librarian, Tracy Mehlin

Master Pruner Series with Plant Amnesty

This series is designed for those who work in maintenance of residential and public landscapes.   Each lecture will provide information on techniques for quality pruning with better long term results and customer satisfaction.  Common plant types and landscape situations, as well as specialized pruning for roses, fruit trees, and vines will be covered. Print flyer.

Full class list and descriptions

Online registration

All classes held at the Center for Urban Horticulture, 3501 NE 41st Street, Seattle.


Each 2-hour lecture

$30 General
$23 PlantAmnesty Member

All 12 lectures

$300 General
$234 PlantAmnesty Member

Learn Autumn Perennial Care from Riz Reyes

October 11th, 2012 by UWBG Communication Staff

Autumn in the Soest Perennial Garden

When – Saturday, November 3, 2012, 10am – 12pm – Cancelled
Where – Center for Urban Horticulture, 3501 NE 41st Street, Seattle, WA
Cost – $25; $30 after October 28th, registration required.

Join the Soest Garden gardener Riz Reyes for this hands-on workshop on fall perennial garden care. Walk the extensively planted beds and learn about which plants to cut back now, and which ones to leave until spring. Learn how to divide and transplant specific types of plants, and some tricks and techniques for maintenance practices that create visual appeal for the dormant season. Riz will also share his favorite “tried and true” selections for fall interest.

Participants should bring their own hand-pruners, gloves, and hori-hori soil knife, and dress for the weather.

Take a Halloween walk in a cemetery

September 29th, 2012 by Tech Librarian, Tracy Mehlin

Ghosts and Goblins in a cemetery for Hallowe’en?

lichen on a tombstone photo by

Why not consider lichens as an alternative?  Lichens are friendly and interesting organisms that love to grow on headstones and old trees.  Cemeteries can take on new meaning as a fun place to observe a symbiotic organism made up of a fungus and algae.  You will also learn about common lichens found in an urban environment and take home a user-friendly chart that lists lichens found in your neighborhood.

Always wondered about what lichens are and why they are found on your trees and Rhododendrons?  Lichens are harmless to your plants and add aesthetic value to trees and shrubs.  We can actually use them as indicators of air pollution!  Join Dr. Katherine Glew and the Center for Urban Horticulture on Saturday, October 27 to get a head start on learning lichens from your local cemetery.  You can enjoy Hallowe’en looking for lichens rather that scary witches and pumpkin heads.

Cost: $25; $30 after October 24.


Cuba Tour Planned for Feb. 2013

September 7th, 2012 by Tech Librarian, Tracy Mehlin

In early 2012, UWBG led its first trip to Cuba. Director Sarah Reichard, the leader, blogged about the fascinating and sometimes perplexing world they encountered.
Cuba by Barbara Wright - iSustain We hope to do a similar trip in 2013, although it pending the renewal of our license to travel to Cuba. Because the license has expired, we cannot take deposits at this time, but if you are interested in being notified when the license is approved, please contact Sarah at The complete itinerary is available for review.


Mil Cumbres photo

Our guide leans against the very rare Microcycas calocoma

Amazing Photos from Art in the Park Kids

July 31st, 2012 by Lisa Sanphillippo

We haven’t even begun our Digital Photo Contest (starts TOMORROW! August 1st), but thought we would share some of the photographs taken by the Art in the Park Campers here at the Arboretum.

These 4th – 6th graders are studying photography, art in nature – sculpting with natural objects, music, painting and using food to make art. Yesterday they took photos and learned a bit about Ansel Adams and today they learned a bit about Andy Goldsworthy and making art using natual objects.

We are so lucky to have these budding artists on our grounds. Here are some of their photos.

If you are between 4 and 16 – or know someone who is – don’t forget about our Digital Photo Contest starting tomorrow. For more information visit our calendar pages.

Park in the Dark

June 26th, 2012 by Lisa Sanphillippo

Boy was I worried about the weather on Saturday June 23rd. It was awful – cold, rainy and windy. Would anyone come out for the scheduled Park in the Dark at Washington Park Arboretum? I was just about to give up hope, when suddenly and miraculously, the skies cleared just in time for the night hike we had planned!

About 20 people (kids and adults) joined me for a delightful walk learning about nocturnal animals and how they use their senses to get around in the night.

Early on in the walk, we talked a little about the possibility of seeing barred owls (Strix varia). The Horticultural Staff and Garden Guides had been seeing the adults and their young for a couple of weeks. I played the Park in the Dark guests the barred owl “Who Cooks for You” call and the ascending high pitched sound the youngsters make when begging for food on my iPad. That way we could listen for their call and let our ears lead the way.

Lucky for us, we didn’t even have to use our ears, because as we were walking down Azalea Way, a very kind man said that the owls were out and about in the big leaf maple tree (Acer macrophyllum) just before the Winter Garden. Our large group quickly, and not so quietly, hustled to the spot.

Eureka! Three juvies were very low in three different trees begging for food. Their beg sounds a lot like they are whining, “Pleeeeaaaase!” We were all mesmerized. We probably stood and watched them for about 15 minutes.

Photo by Stephanie Colony

We decided to move on to another activity and give the owls some space. We played a fun game called Bat and Moth in the Winter Garden and walked to one of my favorite spots in the Arboretum, Loderi Valley. The King George Rhododendrons (Rhododendron ‘Loderi King George’) look like upside down people; heads under the ground and limbs above reaching outward and upward.

On the ground we found leaf skeletons from the many varieties of magnolias that surround Loderi Valley. Among the leaf litter, one little girl found an Almond Scented Millipede (Harpaphe haydeniana).

Photo by Franco Folini

These garden friendly critters release hydrogen cyanide when threatened. It smells like almonds, but tastes really bad to birds. Almond scented millipedes are excellent at breaking down the leaf litter and freeing up nutrients for other organisms.

On our way back to the Graham Visitors Center we stopped by the big leaf maple to see if the owls were still there. They were! Still making their whiney “feed me” call.

It was a great night and I hope the rest of our Park in the Dark night hikes are filled with as many surprises as Saturday’s.

Park in the Dark
July 14 8-9:30pm
August 25 8-9:30pm
September 15 7-8:30pm
October 13 7-8:30pm
$8.00 per person
Register online here

Lisa Sanphillippo is a Program Assistant and Garden Guide for Education and Outreach at UW Botanic Gardens.

Summer Kayak Tours at the Arboretum

June 8th, 2012 by Arboretum Education Supervisor, Patrick Mulligan

Paddling through the cattail marsh last summer.


Discover Hidden Water-ways on a Guided Kayak Tour of the Washington Park Arboretum.

The UWBG is unique among other botanic gardens in the country in that our “grounds” include quite a bit of water. Owing to our location around Lake Washington, our approximately 300 acres include the longest stretch of freshwater marsh in Washington State. There is no better way to enjoy this wetland ecosystem than by kayak.

The Agua Verde Paddle Club in partnership with the UWBG is pleased to offer guided kayak tours of our Foster Island Wetlands to the public for the third consecutive summer. Tours are approximately 90 minutes in length and push off from “Duck Bay” at the north end of the Washington Park Arboretum.

During the tour you will learn a little about the history of the area and have a chance to meet some of our plant and animal residents.  All proceeds will go from Agua Verde Paddle Club to the UWBG for the Agua Verde Scholarship fund. This fund will help provide educational opportunities to students and schools with limited resources.

No experience necessary. Double kayaks, safety equipment and a brief training session will be provided by Agua Verde Paddle Club. Youth & children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by their parent/guardian.

Tour Dates & Times:

Wednesday, Aug. 29th: 11am & 3pm

 Thursday, Aug. 30th: 11am & 3pm

Wednesday, Sept. 5th: 11am & 3pm

Thursday, Sept. 6th: 11am & 3pm

Friday, Sept. 7th: 7am (“early birders”), 11am & 3pm

Cost & Registration:

Space is limited to 12 participants per tour, so pre-registration is required. Cost: $30/person; ($5 discount for early registration before August 1st)

Register online