June 3rd, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff
By John A. Wott, Director Emeritus
In the Montlake Section in the Washington Park Arboretum looking NE down the site of the canal fill, with the Museum of History and Industry in the background.
This photo of the Montlake Section in the Washington Park Arboretum was taken September 10, 1953. The label states that you are “looking NE down the site of the canal fill, with the Museum of History and Industry in the background.” It is suspected that the small trees on the right are Japanese Cherry trees, which were later moved into the Quad on the University of Washington campus. A few of the conifers on the left side of MOHAI are probably in the wedge of UW property still evident as you currently exit the SR 520 ramp. When SR 520 was built in the early 1960’s, this entire area was destroyed in order to make the approach to the ramps and the new floating bridge. In the very near future, the newest SR 520 bridge and interchanges will take away the remaining area plus MOHAI itself.
May 29th, 2014 by UWBG Horticulturist
Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (May 27 – June 8, 2014)
1) Crataegus crus-galli Cockspur Hawthorn
- Native to eastern North America, this small deciduous tree has a pleasant habit and is now showing off its small white flowers, but don’t get too close! The rigid thorns can be up to three inches long.
- Hawthorns are classified within the plant family Rosaceae, and are allied to Cotoneaster, Mespilus, and Pyracantha.
- This specimen is located on the east side of Lake Washington Boulevard, just north of the Boyer Parking Lot.
2) Deutzia x hybrida ‘Magicien’
- Named after Johann van der Deutz, a friend of Thunberg in 18th century Amsterdam, Deutzia contains some of the most beautiful shrubs currently in flower. It is a member of the family Hydrangeaceae.
- This specimen is located near the east side of our field nursery, along the Broadmoor fence.
3) Kalmia latifolia Mountain Laurel
- Native to eastern North America, Kalmias are a small group of shrubs within the family Ericaceae. They were named by Linnaeus in honor of Peter Kalm, one of his pupils. The Arnold Arboretum near Boston boasts a great hedge of K. latifolia that are over 200 yards long.
- These cuttings were taken from specimens on Arboretum Drive near the Woodland Garden.
4) Ostrya carpinifolia European Hop Hornbeam
- A member of the family Betulaceae, the genus Ostrya contains about ten closely related species native to various parts of the northern hemisphere. O. carpinifolia is native to southern Europe. Female catkins develop into hop-like fruits in the summer.
- This specimen is located within our Hornbeam Collection near the terminus of Foster Island Road.
5) Viburnum dilatatum Linden Viburnum
- An upright, deciduous shrub native to Japan and China, V. dilatatum is displaying its small flowers borne in domed, terminal corymbs, similar to those of ‘lacecap’ hydrangeas.
- This cutting was taken from a specimen within our Viburnum Collection, just west of the “True Ashes”.
May 23rd, 2014 by Heidi Unruh, UWBG Communications Volunteer
Did you know that the Miller Library has fresh seed packets collected from Hardy Plant Society of Washington member gardens? And that they are only $1 per packet? And that proceeds benefit the Miller Library? Come get them before they are gone!
May 18th, 2014 by UWBG Horticulturist
Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (May 12 – May 25, 2014)
“That’s Ancient History”
1) Cedrus libani (Cedar of Lebanon)
- The Cedar of Lebanon has been prized for its high quality timber, oils and resins for thousands of years.
- It was used by the Phoenicians and Egyptians and was mentioned in the Epic of Gilgamesh.
- Because of its significance, the word “cedar” is mentioned 75 times in the Bible, and played a pivotal role in the cementing of the Phoenician-Hebrew relationship.
2) Helleborus niger (Black Hellebore, Christmas Rose)
- Helleborus niger is commonly called the Christmas rose due to an old legend that it sprouted in the snow from the tears of a young girl who had no gift to give the Christ child in Bethlehem.
- During the Siege of Kirrha in 585 B.C., Hellebore was reportedly used by the Greek besiegers to poison the city’s water supply. The defenders were subsequently so weakened by diarrhea that they were unable to defend the city from assault.
3) Laurus nobilis (Bay Laurel, Sweet Bay)
- Bay Laurel was used to fashion the laurel wreath of ancient Greece, a symbol of highest status. A wreath of bay laurels was given as the prize at the Pythian Games because the games were in honor of Apollo, and the Laurel was one of his symbols.
- In the Bible, the Laurel is often an emblem of prosperity and fame. In Christian tradition, it symbolizes the resurrection of Christ.
4) Rhododendron ponticum
- Xenophon described the odd behavior of Greek soldiers after having consumed honey in a village surrounded by Rhododendron ponticum during the March of the Ten Thousand in 401 B.C.
- Pompey’s soldiers reportedly suffered lethal casualties following the consumption of honey made from rhododendron deliberately left behind by Pontic forces in 67 B.C. during the Third Mithridatic War. Later, it was recognized that honey resulting from these plants has a slightly hallucinogenic and laxative effect.
5) Taxus baccata (English or European Yew)
- One of the world’s oldest surviving wooden artifacts is a Clactonian yew spear head, found in 1911 in Essex, U.K. It is estimated to be about 450,000 years old.
- A passage by Caesar narrates that Catuvolcus, chief of the Eburones poisoned himself with yew rather than submit to Rome (Gallic Wars 6:31).
May 9th, 2014 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant
Enjoying our snacks and tea while learning about trilliums
Our latest offsite tour to the Cottage Lake Gardens was a resounding success! The treats and tea were delicious, (and the trillium-themed china was exquisite), the presentation was informative and entertaining, and rain held off until the very end of the tour!
We toured the woodland garden of Susie Egan, owner of Cottage Lake Gardens and self-described “Trillium Lady”. Her lovely gardens had not only all 46 species of Trillium but also a wonderful assortment of other spring ephemerals and other shade loving plants. Her passion for all things Trillium was evident as she showed us around her well-marked and -tended garden, answered any and all questions, and even struck a few bargains at the end of the tour.
Everyone left feeling happy, full, and best of all, going home with a few trilliums or other rare plants of their own. Susie was a gracious host, and if you ever get a chance to visit her garden or bed and breakfast, you will not be disappointed!
Everyone had a good time!
May 6th, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff
By John A. Wott, Director Emeritus
This photograph, taken on April 4, 1950, is located somewhere to the left of the location of the Lookout Shelter. It points southwest. Originally, the hillside held a large collection of Ceanothus, but they were killed during severe winters and never replaced. If one looks closely you can see “tracks” on Azalea Way, the outline of Arboretum Creek, and East Lake Washington Boulevard. It appears there is one house on the lower level of Interlaken Boulevard East, and of course, many homes on the slopes of Capitol Hill are easily seen.
Looking southwest to Lake Washington Blvd and Capitol Hill from Ceanothus area by the Lookout Shelter
The kiosk at the intersection of East Lake Washington Boulevard and Interlaken Boulevard East is visible. Note how open the area is with small collection plantings and few towering native trees. This was taken before the construction of the Japanese Garden.
May 4th, 2014 by Catherine Nelson, Adult Tours Program Assistant
Paulownia tomentosa, Common name Empress Tree
Right now this tree’s large purple panicled flowers, which look similar to foxglove flowers, are blooming and the scent is wonderful. There are several in the UWBG collection, most located at the North end of the park where the wetlands trail begins.
It is a very fast growing tree that can reach 80 ft. in height, and is prized for its large heart-shaped fuzzy leaves. The large size of young growth can be enhanced if the tree is pollarded yearly; the pruning encourages growth of leaves up to 16” across.
It is classified as an invasive plant in the Southern United States, where it sends out invasive roots and can take over the area it is planted in. The Paulownia here in the Pacific Northwest do not behave invasively, probably due to our cooler climate.
The name Paulownia is in honor of the Grand Duchess Anna Pavlovna of Russia, with tomentosa being derived from the Latin meaning ‘covered in hairs’.
Paulownia is cultivated as an ornamental tree in parks and gardens. It has earned the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.
In its native China, an old custom is to plant an Empress Tree when a baby girl is born. The fast-growing tree matures when she does. When she is eligible for marriage the tree is cut down and carved into wooden articles for her dowry. Carving the wood of Paulownia is an art form in Japan and China. In legend, it is said that the phoenix will only land on the Empress Tree and only when a good ruler is in power. Several Asian string instruments are made from P. tomentosa, including the Japanese koto and Korean gayageum zithers.
May 3rd, 2014 by UWBG Horticulturist
Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (April 28 – May 11, 2014)
1) Rhododendron spp. Azalea
- Azaleas are in the genus Rhododendron, with evergreen azaleas in the subgenus Tsutsusi and deciduous azaleas in the subgenus Pentanthera.
- The Olmstead Brothers originally planned for 11,000 azaleas to be planted along Azalea Way. More than 3,100 have been planted and over 2,000 remain.
- Azalea Way contains 21 species of azalea and more than 200 hybrids.
2) Tsuga heterophylla Western Hemlock
- Our native western hemlocks are currently laden with new female cones which are deep purple when immature.
- Currently, a scientific experiment is being conducted as a collaboration between the Washington Park Arboretum and the University of Massachusetts, using the collection of T. heterophylla and T. canadensis.
- We are studying the predator/prey relationships among the hemlock Wooly Adelgid, eastern and western hemlocks, and the predator species that prey on the Adelgid.
3) Syringa oblata var. dilatata, S. patula Lilac
Close-up photo of newly-forming female cone on Larix decidua
- Our Lilac Collection contains more than 14 species along with several more hybrids.
- Our primary lilac display is on Azalea Way, just south of the Woodland Garden.
4) Larix decidua, L. kaempferi Larch
- Now is a great time to admire many conifers for their display of young and old cones on the same branch.
5) Rhododendron ‘El Camino’ Halfdan Lem hybrid
- Our Puget Sound Rhododendron hybrid bed is located on Azalea Way south of our Lilac Collection.
- This bed contains plants from local hybridizers dating back to the early 1940s.
April 24th, 2014 by UWBG Horticulturist
Earth Day 2014
On Saturday, April 12th, over 220 people joined together at Washington Park Arboretum to celebrate Earth Day with SCA! The day began with Seattle mayor Ed Murray, SCA founder Liz Putnam, current SCA student Diana Furukawa, and others celebrating the day and imploring volunteers to consider the effects of climate change and to take action in their communities. SCA youth lead eight volunteer groups around the park. Together volunteers accomplished the following:
- 14,044 sq ft invasive plants removed
- 40 cubic yds mulch spread
- 205ft trail maintained (graveled)
- 94 plants potted
Check out amazing photos from the day here!
Check out the project map:
Text and photos contributed by SCA
April 21st, 2014 by Jessica Farmer, Continuing Education Coordinator
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
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 email@example.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.