Glimpse into the past – Arboretum Club House

June 23rd, 2016 by Jessica Farmer, Adult Education Supervisor

by John A. Wott, Director Emeritus

Arboretum Club House, March 27, 1959

Arboretum Club House, March 27, 1959

In the early days of the Washington Park Arboretum, the Arboretum Club House and Floral Hall exhibit space was the venue for many flower shows, exhibits and functions.  It was the only facility where public functions could be held in the Arboretum.

 

Conifer Exhibit in the Floral Hall exhibit space, November 21, 1955

Conifer Exhibit in the Floral Hall exhibit space, November 21, 1955

On April 7, 1968, a fire was discovered at 7:00 a.m. in the Club House.  Vernon E. Kousky, a UW student walking through the Arboretum, reported it to Pablo Abellera, who lived in the foreman’s house (which currently houses the education offices).  They called the Safety Division on campus, which notified the Seattle Fire Department who had extinguished the fire by 7:50 a.m.

The entire south half of the building was gutted and the rest was badly scorched and charred.   It was not worth trying to repair the remainder.  Scorched books belonging to the Seattle Garden Club were removed by Mrs. Rex Palmer.  Crockery and cutlery belonging to the Arboretum Foundation were salvaged from the cupboards.

Fire debris, April 8, 1968

Fire debris, April 8, 1968

The UW Physical Plant removed the remainder of the building the following week.  The cause of the fire was apparently an electric motor used to drive a pump for the sewage system located under the SE corner of the building, where the fire apparently started.

Brick from the Club House fireplace, one day after the fire

Brick from the Club House fireplace, one day after the fire

The Summer 1970 issue of the Arboretum Bulletin contained a lengthy description of a plan to replace the Floral Hall complex, approved by the UW Board of Regents.  It would be a multi-use building complex providing office space, floral exhibit space, laboratories, an auditorium, a library, an herbarium, a visitor center, greenhouses and other supporting facilities.  The projected cost was $1,200,000.  Obviously this became mired in the politics of the day and never moved forward.   The current Graham Visitor’s Center was finally constructed in 1985, after approval in the earlier Jones and Jones Arboretum Plan.

Conceptual image of the proposed Floral Hall complex, 1970

Conceptual image of the proposed Floral Hall complex, 1970

 

 

 

The Wonderful World of Monocots

June 7th, 2016 by UWBG Horticulturist

Monocotyledons, commonly referred to as monocots, are flowering plants whose seeds typically contain only one embryonic leaf, or cotyledon.  A quarter of the world’s known plants are monocots. They are the most economically important group of plants to humans today in agriculture, horticulture, forestry and fiber industries.  Here are a few samples of monocots in our plant collections.

Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum or Center for Urban Horticulture (June 1 - 12, 2016)

Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum or Center for Urban Horticulture (June 1 – 12, 2016)

1)  Allium schubertii                                                                            (Ornamental Tumbleweed Onion)

  • Dried seed heads look like starry tumbleweeds or shooting star fireworks
  • Located in the Soest Herbaceous Display Garden, bed 6 at the Center for Urban Horticulture

2)  Austroderia richardii syn Cortedaria r.                     (Toetoe Grass, Plumed Tussock Grass)

  • Ornamental grass native to New Zealand
  • This “pampas” grass seems to be behaving itself in the Pacific Northwest, unlike others that do seed around and could be considered invasive.

3)  Phormium colensoi                (Mountain Flax, Wharariki)

  • One of two species in the genus Phormium; both are endemic to New Zealand.
  • Fiber from its broad, sword-like leaves, can be made into Maori baskets.

4)  Phyllostachys nigra                 (Black Bamboo)

  • Native to China, but widely cultivated elsewhere
  • Known for its ornamental beauty and prized for decorative woodworking
Close-up photo of fruit from a Chinese Windmill Palm tree

Close-up photo of fruit from a Chinese Windmill Palm

5)  Trachycarpus fortunei                (Chinese Windmill Palm)

  • Only palm that is reliably hardy to the Puget Sound area
  • Dioecious, with male and female flowers produced on separate trees
  • Sample of mature fruit cluster and frond

To locate specimens of these plants, please visit our interactive map:
http://depts.washington.edu/uwbg/gardens/map.html.

Meet our Summer Camp Staff!

June 6th, 2016 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant

StephanieAragonStephanie Aragon, Preschool Garden Guide

Stephanie is an Environmental Educator, born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. Her background is in Anthropology and Environmental Studies, looking at how humans and the environment interact. When Stephanie is not leading summer camp, she presents engaging programs and experiences at the Woodland Park Zoo, focusing on environmental education and inspiring conservation action. During the school year she explores the natural world with students as a teacher at the Fiddleheads Forest School. Her interests spotlight education and community involvement, used as pillars to support healthy people, environments, and communities. She loves fresh berries, and the thrill that you feel when you positively identify something new for the first time. Stephanie approaches environmental education with a sense of wonder and excitement; she can’t wait to join you on adventures that foster our fundamental appreciation for the natural world.


 

RobynBoothby

 

Robyn Boothby, Garden Guide

Robyn has taught Environmental Education at IslandWood, an outdoor education center on Bainbridge Island, as well as Science at a high school in Texas. She is currently teaching at The Perkins School in North Seattle. She has a Masters of Education through the University of Washington and a BS in Engineering. When she is not teaching, Robyn enjoys reading until she is forced to go to bed, smelling flowers, lifting weights, and dancing around her room.

 

 


DaveGifford

 

 

Dave Gifford, Summer Camp Coordinator

Dave is thrilled to be returning for his third summer at the Arboretum. Dave has taught at a number of environmental education and school programs throughout Seattle including Islandwood and most recently Bryant Elementary. He holds a Master’s in Science Education from UW and a Fine Arts degree from Syracuse University. Dave loves hiking, mushroom-hunting, birding, and all the natural wonders of the Northwest.

 

 


Katy Jach, Garden GuideKatyJach

Katy has worked at both the Yakima and Seattle Arboretums and is very excited to be returning for her second summer here in Seattle!  She grew up east of the Cascades in Yakima, Washington. She enjoys hiking, rafting, swimming, and just about any activity where she can be outside! She will be graduating from the University of Washington this coming Fall with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and a minor in Education. She was a Peer Teaching Assistant for a Natural History course within the Program on the Environment during the Spring and plans to become a teacher after she graduates.

 


 

MorganLawlessMorgan Lawless, Garden Guide

Born and raised in Syracuse, Morgan went to the University of New England in Southern Maine and stayed in New England several years after graduation. She has worked outdoor education through a program called Nature’s Classroom. Teaching outside is the reason she decided to go to Islandwood and get her Master’s in Education. She is excited about working at the Arboretum this summer! Morgan really enjoys spending time outside near any body of water.  She loves looking for creatures that live in the water. She also likes hiking and reading.

 


CaseyOKeefeCasey O’Keefe, Garden Guide

Casey is a Senior at University of Washington and studies ecology, evolution, and conservation biology. During the school year she is a garden guide for Saplings field trip programs, and this is her second year of summer camps at the arboretum. She previously taught summer camps at Pacific Science Center. Casey has experience volunteering with Mountains to Sound Greenway and does undergraduate research at a UW paleobiology lab. She is so excited to share her appreciation of nature and wildlife during camps this summer!

 


 

LiseRamaleyLise Ramaley, Preschool Garden Guide & Aftercare

Although she is a true Seattle native who adores the rain and never turns down a mountainous hike, Lise currently goes to St. Olaf College in Minnesota. Going into her junior year, Lise is studying Sociology, Anthropology, and Environmental Studies. She began doing trail work five years ago with the Student Conservation Association, which led her to a love for the outdoors and environmentalism, as well as an interest in understanding the ways in which we interact with nature. When she’s not exploring outside, Lise spends her time playing ultimate frisbee and jazz bass (not at the same time). She cannot wait to explore the Arboretum this summer and spread her excitement for the wonders of nature!


AnyaRifkinAnya Rifkin, Preschool Garden Guide

Anya has lived in Seattle for two years and couldn’t be happier calling the Pacific Northwest home. Having a passion to teach children, Anya received a degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in Environmental Studies from the University of Vermont. During the school year, Anya is a teacher at Open Window School in Bellevue. Outside of teaching, you can find her hiking, kayaking, or doing puzzles.

 

 


SarahRogersSarah Rogers, Preschool Garden Guide & Aftercare

Born and raised in Ballard, Sarah grew up playing at Seattle’s local parks and beaches. She studied geology at Northern Arizona University, where she also fell in love with birding and natural history. She did a Student Conservation Association internship in interpretation at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park during the summer of 2014, leading Junior Ranger and Ranger Cub programs, which changed her trajectory to environmental education. That fall she began working as an interpreter at the Pacific Science Center, and the following summer did another SCA internship in Coldfoot, AK, at the Arctic Interagency Visitor Center. She now works as an educator at the Pacific Science Center’s outreach education program, Science On Wheels, and as a naturalist for the University of Washington Botanic Gardens. In her free time she enjoys climbing, doodling, and exploring the beautiful world we live in.


 

 

 

 

Glimpse into the past – Changes in the Landscape

June 1st, 2016 by Jessica Farmer, Adult Education Supervisor

by John A. Wott, Director Emeritus

Currently there are many physical changes occurring in the north end of the Washington Park Arboretum, due to the construction of new SR-520 bridge. Local residents often remark that these changes will “disfigure” the natural landscape which has always been there. The truth is, this area has been greatly changed and altered over the past one hundred years, ever since the level of Lake Washington was lowered.  In fact, there is little left of its “original” shape. It has been dredged, moved, filled, planted and re-planted.

Many of the boggy areas in Washington Park, even starting from Madison Street north, have been filled with debris and served as neighborhood dumping sites. The areas north of Foster Island Drive/Lake Washington Blvd. E. were all fill sites. Now as the ramps come down and new changes occur, it will change once again.

The following photos show some of the changes in the 1940’s.

Photo looks north over the former city dump off of E Miller Street, across Union Bay, toward Laurelhurst, soil being added and plowed in.  March 1947.

Photo looks north over the former city dump off of E. Miller Street, across Union Bay, toward Laurelhurst, soil being added and plowed in.  March 1947.

Photo shows area being covered with soil.   November 1947.

Photo shows area being covered with soil.   November 1947.

Photo across fill…present location of ramps….looking west toward Simon poplars (Populus simonii ‘Pendula’).  November 1947.

Photo across fill…present location of ramps….looking west toward Simon poplars (Populus simonii ‘Pendula’).  November 1947.

Photo after seeding.   November 1947.

Photo after seeding.   November 1947.

Photo looking toward lagoon area where many lindens are planted.   November 1947.

Photo looking toward lagoon area where many lindens are planted.   November 1947.

Photo with more plantings. January 1, 1949.

Photo with more plantings. January 1, 1949.

 

Faculty Spotlight: Tom Hinckley

May 25th, 2016 by Donna McBain Evans

Tom Hinckley

Tom Hinckley no doubt kept his much younger graduate students challenged to  keep up as he climbed to over 7000′ on Snowshoe Mountain in the North Cascades. It was there he chose to conduct research on the effects of environmental stress on three species of native trees.

Hinckley needed that energy as he served both as Director for the UW Botanic Gardens’ Center for Urban Horticulture (1998-2004),  and as researcher, teacher and mentor at the UW School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, where he is now emeritus professor.

“I first came to Seattle in March 1964 to ski in the Cascades, and I must have gotten hooked,” he says, “because I returned two years later to attend graduate school.”

Hinckley received a B.A. in Biology from Carleton College in Minnesota (1966) and his PhD in Forest Ecophysiology from the UW in 1971.  Despite his science focus, he reports that his favorite course in college was actually American History because “it was taught extraordinarily well.”

After time spent teaching in Missouri, Hinckley returned to the University of Washington in January 1980 to join the faculty.  Many of his colleagues, with whom he co-taught and worked on joint research projects, were the initial faculty cohort at UW-Botanic Gardens (James Clark, Barb Smit-Spinks, Deane Wang, Kern Ewing).

With Kern Ewing and others he was involved in launching the Restoration Ecology Network (UW-REN).  UW-REN is now a regional center for the study of ecological restoration and conservation, creating new undergraduate research and curricula, much of it taking place at the Center for Urban Horticulture.

“Now that I am retired, I am a regular visitor to the Soest Garden– my favorite place to walk and take in nature the the Center,” he says, “and I am also active in helping find financial resources to maintain and grow the garden.”

Hinckley is still an avid skier, hiker and photographer.  And when asked about his favorite plant, he had a clear preference:

Abies amabilis,” he clamoured.  This tree, also called Pacific silver fir or “lovely” fir because of the softly silver undersides on the needles and gorgeous purple-hued cones that stand upright on the branches. Hinckley loves the looks of this tree, its mountain habitat and, “the fact that it got me my first job teaching at the University of Missouri.”

 

Spring Pushes Forth at the Washington Park Arboretum

May 23rd, 2016 by UWBG Horticulturist
Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (May 16 - 30, 2016)

Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum
(May 16 – 30, 2016)

1)   Ostrya carpinifolia                Hop Hornbeam

  • This small-to-medium-sized tree (40-50’) is native to southern Europe and southwestern Asia.
  • The common name refers to the fruit which resembles the fruit of Humulus (Hops).
  • Ostrya is from Greek, meaning “bone-like” in reference to the trees dense hard wood.
  • Located north of East Foster Island Road, east of the Broadmoor entrance.

2)  Picea mariana ‘Doumetii’                Doumet Black Spruce

  • This selection of Picea mariana is a popular slow-growing shrub with blue green needles and a dense conical growth habit.
  • Located along Arboretum Drive on the north end of the Magnolia Collection.

3)  Pinus x schwerinii                Schwerin’s Pine

  • Schwerin’s Pine is an interspecies cross between Himalayan White Pine (Pinus wallichiana) and Weymouth Pine (Pinus strobus). It was found by Earl Schwerin in his park in Wilmersdorf (near Berlin, Germany) in 1905.
  • Our fine specimen is located north of the Crabapple Meadow near the service road.

4)  Pterocarya macroptera                Large–Winged Wingnut

  • Native to northern China, the Wingnut is a fast-growing, medium height tree to 50-70 feet tall and 40 feet wide.
  • This tree boasts ornamental spikes of fruit with broad wings in long pendulous spikes.
  • This tree can be seen in fruit east of Arboretum Drive and south of the Crabapple Meadow. Look for the long bright green chains before you reach the service road.

5)  Tillia cordata ‘Bicentennial’                Bicentennial Littleleaf Linden

  • This selection of the popular street tree is known for a dense and conical form.
  • Its moderate size makes Tillia cordata useful in areas where space is limited.
  • Littleleaf Linden is known for its sweetly-scented spring flowers. Tillia fruit are held below a stiff bract similar to that on a maple seed which acts like a “helicopter” as it falls.
  • A fine specimen can be seen at the intersection of Arboretum Drive and East Foster Island Road.

May Colors Appear Just in Time for Mother’s Day!

May 7th, 2016 by UWBG Horticulturist
Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (May 2 - 15, 2016)

Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum
(May 2 – 15, 2016)

Happy Mother’s Day!

1)  Philadelphus coronarius

  • Native to southeastern Europe and Asia Minor, this shrub is located within the Sorbus Collection. It is perhaps the best-known species of mock orange in gardens because of its sweet smell. The fragrance of its flowers is pleasing out-of-doors, but may become too strong if the plants are numerous or near sitting room windows.
  • Philadelphus is a member of the plant family, Hydrangeaceae.

2)  Rhododendron   ‘Favor Major’

  • Located just west of parking lot #5, this hybrid is showing its yellowish-orange flowers.

3)  Rhododendron   ‘Ruby Hart’

  • Located within the Hybrid Bed, this shrub certainly has been given an appropriate cultivar name.

4)  Robinia x holdtii

  • A member of the plant family, Leguminosae, the genus Robinia contains about
    20 deciduous trees and shrubs confined to North America. The name Robinia
    commemorates Jean Robin, herbalist to Henry IV of France.
  • Specimen is located in the Legumes.

5)  Styrax obassia

  • A broadly columnar deciduous tree bearing elliptic dark green leaves and bell-
    shaped white flowers, S. obassia is native to northern China, Korea, and Japan.
  • This specimen is located along the upper trail near Rhododendron Glen.

Staff Spotlight: Jessica Anderson

May 6th, 2016 by Donna McBain Evans

Jessica_AndersonJessica Anderson is a librarian at the Elisabeth C. Miller Library at the University of Washington Botanic Gardens.  Most days you will see Jessica at the Reference desk, doing research or providing answers to gardening questions.

Jessica moved to Seattle from the Southwest to attend the University of Washington, earning her Masters in Library and Information Science in 2010.  As an undergraduate, Jessica began working at the Natural Sciences Library inside of the Suzzallo-Allen Library on the main campus.  Once graduated, she began volunteering at the Miller Library.

“I became fascinated by all the books on horticulture,” she notes,  “and checked out dozens of books on growing edible plants.  Then I began experimenting at home.”

Jessica is now a full-fledged urban farmer and maintains an edible garden of fruits and vegetables, complete with chickens in her small backyard.

At her work in the Miller library, Jessica performs varied tasks including managing the print and electronic serials collection (subscriptions, renewals, receipt records, claiming, and archiving), supervising volunteers, and tracking purchase orders and library supplies.  Her favorite part of her job is learning new things from the research questions she is asked via the Plant Answer Line Service.

“I feel so lucky to work at a place where I spend my time with patrons answering questions about plants,” she glows.

She also feels fortunate to work next to the Union Bay Natural Area loop trail, where she often walks and, when it is clear, looks out toward the mountains across Lake Washington.

When the weather is not so nice and she is not working, Jessica joins a meet-up group to play board games.  And her favorite plant?  The Saucer Magnolia tree (Magnolia x soulangeana), with its large fragrant blossoms in spring.saucer-magnolia

“Especially after a long winter, it is a welcome sight to see a magnolia in full bloom!”

Volunteer Spotlight: Heidi Lennstrom

April 29th, 2016 by Donna McBain Evans

Heidi_Tree cholla Santa Fe 2015Heidi volunteers at the Hyde Herbarium, working with pressed plants and the plant database.  She holds a PhD in archaeology, specializing in paleoethnobotany–the study of plant remains from archaeological digs.  She spent many years at the Bishop Museum in Hawaii, where she was also a science educator and creator of an ethnobotany garden and webpage. 

“I love to organize things,” says Lennstrom, “so working with the seven cabinets of duplicate specimens at the Herbarium is perfect for me!”

Heidi carefully identifies which of the specimens are duplicates, confirms they have been entered into the Botanic Garden website and  then determines which ones are kept and which ones need to be shared with other herbaria.

Although originally from Seattle, Heidi lived in Minneapolis and later, Honolulu for many years.  She returned to Seattle in 2007 to be closer to family.  She loves to travel with family, work with digital photography and cook.

When in college, Heidi always favored the classes where she got to be outdoors–archaeology field studies, geology of the Pacific Northwest and plant identification.  Now that she is working in an Herbarium she admits that she doesn’t get outside into the Botanic Gardens nearly often enough.

Heidi loves the conifers of the Arboretum but it is perhaps the simple lily that is her favorite plant.  “Its so elegant!”

Earth Day Celebrates Nursery Expansion

April 26th, 2016 by Donna McBain Evans

 

Hoophouse

A pair of dedicated and highly organized graduate students succeeded in obtaining a grant to significantly expand the Society for Ecological Restoration-UW’s (SER-UW) native plant nursery at the UW Botanic Gardens.  The SER-UW nursery provides low cost plants to the Arboretum, UW planting projects and many restoration efforts on campus initiated by SER-UW.

Anna Carragee, a graduate student in Environmental Horticulture (at the UW School of Environmental and Forest Sciences) and her classmate Kelly Broadlick have been managing the nursery during their graduate tenure, which will end in June.  The two realized that there was a compelling need to significantly expand the plant inventory to serve all these purposes.  So the students appealed to the Campus Sustainability Fund for a grant to build a new hoop-style greenhouse, fund manager positions, and buy plant production materials.

The students were awarded the $54,000 grant last June and have recently completed the structure thanks to over 50 volunteers and 400 hours of labor over winter quarter.

The UW Construction Management department oversaw the construction of the new hoop house, which provides a new “home base” for the nursery that will lead to cost savings as well as space for 60% more plants.

“The unique shape of this hoop house will ensure that if we do get significant snowfall in winter, the hoop house will not collapse under the weight,” says Carragee, “a problem with a previous hoop house, which actually collapsed.”

The nursery is an important source of plant material for the two primary restoration projects of SER-UW – Whitman walk on the main campus and Kincade Ravine near the Burke Gilman trail.

The nursery grows plants from seed, from cuttings and from salvage—“saving” plants from development sites across King County that will be destroyed once construction begins.

The nursery is the home for these plants, as well as those started in Native Plant Production plant classes at the UW.

“The nursery collaborates with the other UW classes to ensure the plant starts thrive until ready to be used.  We teach nursery skills here, horticulture skills and ensure that the plants that are harbored here promote genetic diversity at their eventual planting sites,” notes Carragee.IMG_4321

Carragee and Broadlick were careful with the funds they were granted and through a generous use of volunteers they were able to realize a cost savings.  This allowed them to construct a lovely potting bench of rough-hewn wood, which will keep the new plants organized.
“But we want the new bench and workspace to be beautiful as well,” says Carragee.  “So we devised a contest for a mural to be created on top of the bench!”

UW art students will vie for the $200 prize and rights to decorate the new potting bench with art, which will then be covered by an epoxy glaze to preserve both the art and the wood table from the elements.

The nursery is a great example of how so many University departments can work together to achieve a common purpose-horticulture, restoration scientists, native plant students, art students as well as the numerous UW facilities that will utilize the plants.

Seems only fitting that on Earth Day, we celebrated the completion of the hoop house with a grand party.

IMG_4320