Glimpse into the past – Honoring a Legend and Looking to the Future

July 26th, 2016 by Jessica Farmer, Adult Education Supervisor

by John A. Wott, Director Emeritus

Dr. Kruckeberg at Snoqualmie

Dr. Kruckeberg at Snoqualmie

For every creature – plants, animals, or people – there is a season. They are germinated/born, develop from juveniles into adults, usually produce progeny, grow into old age, and then succumb. In the plant kingdom, there are various ways in which plants reproduce, both sexually and asexually. In humans, we pass along our genetics, our ideas, and plans to successive generations.

In every field or endeavor of learning, certain people seem to become more prominent and eventually become legendary icons. The older generation passes and a new one rises. I was reminded this week of the changes that are occurring in the Northwest horticulture scene.

On May 25, 2016, Dr. Arthur R. Kruckeberg, one of the most prolific botanical scholars, died at the wonderful age of 96. Author of many prestigious publications, including several books, Dr. Kruckeberg guided hundreds of students of all ages on field trips, answered multitudes of questions, and lectured thousands of students on the flora of the Northwest. Legendary for his stature as well as his professorial appearance with his ever-ready pipe, he easily commanded your attention.

Along with his wife Mareen Shultz Kruckeberg, they turned their 4-acre Shoreline home and garden into a mecca which is today known as the Kruckeberg Botanic Garden and MsK Nursery. Dr. Kruckeberg was involved in the early master planning for the Center for Urban Horticulture in the 1970-80’s and forever kept a keen interest in its future.

Personally I remember the legendary noontime musical productions which he and several others provided by playing classical tunes on their woodwinds, while sitting in the Douglas Conservatory Foray. I also remember walking around the Kruckeberg Garden with him in his later years, ever more slowly as the years moved along. His keen interest in plants and sharing knowledge was retained to the very end.

Arthur and his pipe

Arthur and his pipe

However, the new generation is already evolving. This week’s issue of The American Gardener contained a significant article entitled “Riz Reyes: Rising Star,” written by Marty Wingate. Both Riz and Marty are successful UW horticulture graduates, and I am proud to have mentored both of them.

Riz Reyes picking the right color

Riz Reyes picking the right color

A native of the Philippines, Riz immigrated to the USA with his family in 1989. He always loved plants and eventually obtained his degree in environmental horticulture and urban forestry. Upon graduation, he become the head gardener for the Orin and Althea Soest Herbaceous Display Garden at the Center for Urban Horticulture for eight years. During this time, he was also my personal gardener where he introduced many new plants into my garden, most of which still flourish there.

Riz is also owner of RHR Horticulture, a business which specializes in all kinds of design, and landscaping. He has written for many publications, given many lectures and loves to design floral arrangements for special events. He won the Founders Cup for a magnificent garden at the Northwest Garden and Flower Show. His current monthly blogs are legendary.

Almost two years ago, he was tapped to be the head gardener for the new McMenamins Anderson School in Bothell from its early development onward. Today it is fast becoming a horticulture show garden in the Northwest, visited daily by hundreds of visitors.

And so it is….generations come and generations go…but oh the excitement as we reap the history past but look forward to the future ahead!


Riz and the late Orin Soest

Riz and the late Orin Soest

Volunteer Spotlight: Carolyn Scott

July 22nd, 2016 by Donna McBain Evans

At the University of Washington Botanic Gardens, we rely on volunteers–over 500 of them– to keep daily operations afloat.Carolyn_Scott

Volunteer Carolyn Scott works in the administrative heart of the Gardens, helping Manager of Administrative Services Carrie Cone with record-keeping, mailing, filing and data entry.

Born in 1921, Carolyn came to Seattle from Virginia in her early 30s with husband David who accepted a faculty position with the (then) College of Forestry at the UW.

Scott received a B.A. degree, Phi Beta Kappa, from the, now co-ed,  Randolph-Macon Women’s College in 1942.  “My wonderful Latin professor inspired me to choose Latin as a major,” she notes, “but I also loved languages, learning French and Spanish.”

Married during World War II,  Scott was a translator for US Postal Censorship and afterward worked for five years in the Yale University library. After raising four children she worked at Bush School, the University Book Store, and Seattle Children’s Hospital until retirement in 1988.

“I love classical music, ballet, art and theater,”  she says, and “until recent years I loved gardening and travel.

Scott now spends much time volunteering. “The Botanic Gardens are such a friendly  place to volunteer,” she says, “and I especially love walking through the gardens and watching the seasonal changes.”   In particular Scott enjoys the sights and scents of blooming plants.


Silent Invaders

July 20th, 2016 by Donna McBain Evans

Imagine you see that a campfire has ignited some of the dry leaf litter nearby and no one but you is around.  Most of us would know enough to either try to put the fire out, or quickly alert officials to get to the scene.  With such early detection and quick action, it is quite possible to avoid an out of control fire that burns thousands of acres.

This “early detection rapid response” is exactly what some scientists hope will soon be commonplace when it comes to a different form of habitat destruction– invasion of native ecosystems by non-native plants.  Invasion of natural ecosystems by non-native species may not be as quick as fire, but  the damage caused by fast-growing species can result in all the same kinds of dramatic long term changes—changes in soil chemistry, crowding out of native plants, altering natural physical characteristics such as fire and flooding regimes and introducing pathogens.

Invasive species Japanese knotweed alongside highway.

Invasive species Japanese knotweed alongside highway.

It might surprise you that invasive plants are such a big worry.  But they are a serious problem for land managers, agriculturalists and local governments, costing an estimated $120 billion annually across the country for all types of invasives. Almost half of all the threatened or endangered species in the US are in jeopardy precisely due to competition or predation by invasive species.

In Washington, the Pacific Northwest-Invasive Plant Council is taking a lead in tackling this problem.  Lizbeth Seebacher, a PhD specializing in invasive species biology, works with the WA Department of Ecology and also serves on the Board of the Pacific Northwest-Invasive Plant Council (PNW-IPC).

“A grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in 2011 and subsequent grants from the National Forest Foundation and the WA Departmentt of Agriculture, helped jumpstart a program we call EDRR, or Early Detection Rapid Response,” says Seebacher.  “These grants have allowed us to establish a citizen science program to identify, monitor and report invasive plants on an integrated GPS mapping program, a program called EDDMapS.”

Seebacher’s colleague, Julie Combs, directs the program which consists of several hundred citizen scientist volunteers who adopt an area or trail and regularly hike there to identify problems and report them.

The PNW-IPC coordinates with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Park Service, King County, the Department of Agriculture, the Noxious Weed Board and many other agencies.  The goal is to identify problem species and provide a coordinated system for identifying areas of infestation and where spread may be rapid. When citizen scientists find a new outbreak of invasives, it is quickly reported and evaluated.

“Rapid response to a new infestation can be critical, notes Seebacher, “because eradication efforts are most successful in areas under a few acres.”  After that, she says, costs can skyrocket.


UW Botanic Gardens creates home for Invasive Plant Council

For many years, the idea of tasking a specific group to take on the challenge of taming invasive plants floundered in a sea of bureaucracy and lack of funding. Fortunately, in 2006 the UW Botanic Gardens sponsored a conference on invasive plants, with now Director Dr. Sarah Reichard leading the charge.

“Because of my involvement on invasive plant species on a national level, I have been invited to speak at the annual meetings of a number of similar non-profit organizations in Florida, California, North Caroline, and other areas” recall Reichard. There was an attempt to start a council here in the mid-1990s, but despite best efforts, it went dormant in 1997. She knew how valuable they could be in partnering with federal, state, and local governments.

In 2006, Reichard was able to secure a US Forest Service grant to bring together an array of scientists from throughout the Northwest doing important work on invasive species eradication, in a conference held at the Center for Urban Horticulture in which Seebacher was hired to work. “There was great synergy at the conference,” she notes, “and the federal funding allowed us to establish a local committee affiliated with the national Association of Invasive Plant Councils.” The second afternoon was dedicated to a lively discussion of what the PNW-IPC could be.

Reichard was also responsible for getting approvals to house the local plant council at the UW Botanic Garden, where she is now Director.

“Thanks to energetic scientists like Julie (Combs) and Lizbeth (Seebacher),” says Reichard, “we have a vibrant local invasive species council, excellent collaboration with agencies and hundreds of citizen volunteers who are working to keep invasives out of our natural lands.”

Lovely Villain

Forest overgrown with English Ivy

Forest overgrown with English Ivy

Once prized for its graceful presence decorating brick edifices, English Ivy (Hedera helix) has become one of the most familiar invasive plants in our region. It is actually a European native species on the list of noxious weeds in several states, including Washington State.  The qualities that initially made English Ivy a popular ornamental are the same ones that make it invasive in the right environment—it grows rapidly, needs little light or water once established and is extremely hardy—it forms dense mats on the ground and can climb up trees and shrubs.  English ivy can choke off life in native shrubs by preventing light from reaching the shrub due to the density of ivy.  The sheer weight of the ivy can weaken the plant it has grown on and make it more susceptible to blow-down and disease.

The clusters of black berries are eaten and spread by birds which makes dispersal easy and widespread.  In Stanley Park in Vancouver B.C., for example, 700 volunteers removed more than 20,000 square meters of ivy in a recent work weekend.  Despite this comprehensive effort, scientists estimate that it will take 50 years to rid Stanley Park of this invasive pest!

An Alliance with Commercial Nurseries

GardenWiseThere are many sources responsible for introducing invasive species into natural ecosystems, says Seebacher.  Invasives can arrive as seed in agricultural products, or on shipments from overseas.  In the past, officials in the highway departments selected median strip plants for their resilience and adaptable nature, not recognizing at the time the threat it might pose to native ecosystems.

“We are trying to limit the sources of infestation,” says Seebacher, “and an important ally in this effort are local nurseries.”

“So our next big task is to create a Nursery Certification Program,” she says.  The PNW-IPC will be developing a list of species they will ask nurseries not to sell because of the high potential for that plant to become an invasive ‘villain’.  The scientists can also provide ideas for alternate species for nurseries to sell with many of the same decorative characteristics but fewer of the negative consequences for the environment.

“Most home gardeners would not want to be a part of propagating aggressive invasives into the environment,” Seebacher notes.  “This program will help everyone play a part in keeping these costly pests from spreading in our natural landscapes.”


July Color Appears at the Washington Park Arboretum

July 15th, 2016 by UWBG Horticulturist
Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (July 11 - 24, 2016)

Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum
(July 11 – 24, 2016)

1)  Colutea orientalis                Bladder Senna

  • This deciduous native of northern Iran has delicate bluish-green pinnate leaves.
  • The orange flowers are followed by surprising translucent bladder-like fruit pods.
  • You can find Colutea orientalis in the Legume Collection along Arboretum Drive.

2)  Hydrangea macrophylla  ‘Mme. Emile Mouillere’ Bigleaf Hydrangea

  • Hydrangea macrophylla is native to Japan.
  • This cultivar is an example of the Hortensia group – having mophead flowers.
  • The pure white sterile flowers will age to pink.

3)  Hydrangea serrata  ‘Bluebird’                Tea of Heaven

  • Hydrangea serrata, a.k.a. H. macrophylla subspecies serrata, is native to Korea as well as Japan.
  • This cultivar is a fine, long blooming example of the Lacecap group.
  • Many of our hydrangeas can be found in Rhododendron Glen along Arboretum Drive.

4)  Lomatia myricoides                 River Lomatia

  • Lomatia myricoides is a native of Australia, in the regions of New South Wales and Victoria.
  • The flowers are honey scented.
  • A large specimen is located along the east side of Arboretum Drive opposite our New Zealand Garden.

5)  Taiwania cryptomerioides                Coffin Tree

  • This native of southeast Asia is listed as ‘vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List overall, and ‘critically endangered’ in Vietnam.
  • The wood from this tree has been historically used for coffins.
  • Specimens can be found along Arboretum Drive, on the north side of our Giant Sequoia grove, as well as in the Pinetum.

Summer Arrives at the Washington Park Arboretum

July 3rd, 2016 by UWBG Horticulturist
Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum, June 27 - July 10, 2016

Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum,
June 27 – July 10, 2016

1)  Cunninghamia lanceolata                (Chinese Fir)

  • Bluish evergreen foliage contrasts nicely with its scaly bark.
  • This evergreen tree from China is an important timber tree in its native area.
  • In 1701, James Cunningham (one of the first European plant hunters to visit China) described and collected this tree.

2)  Hydrangea integrifolia                                                      (Evergreen Climbing Hydrangea)

  • A vigorous, evergreen vine climbing to over 40 feet, on the trunk of a mature Douglas Fir.
  • Attractive, large and round creamy buds form prior to the flower opening.
  • Native to Taiwan and the Philippines.

3)  Magnolia grandiflora                (Evergreen Magnolia)

  • The large fragrant blossoms are the highlight of this tree.
  • Native to the southern United States, this tree is popularly planted in urban environments around Puget Sound.

4)  Ostrya carpinifolia                (European Hop Hornbeam)

  • The name Ostrya is derived from the Greek word ostrua, meaning “bone-like”, and refers to the very hard wood.
  • The fruit clusters resembling hops hang from the branches and provide a nice contrast with the foliage and rough bark.
  • Native to southern Europe, Asia Minor and the Caucasus.

5)  Picea koyamae               (Koyama’s Spruce)

  • The immature purplish cones are great color against the green needles.
  • This evergreen tree, from a small mountainous region in Japan, has a threatened status as native stands have been damaged from wildfires and typhoons.
  • Botanist Mitsuo Koyama discovered a small stand of these trees in 1911.

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:

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.




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.






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.”