October Color Appears at the Washington Park Arboretum

October 10th, 2014 by UWBG Horticulturist
Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (10/6/14-10/19/14)

Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (10/6/14-10/19/14)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1)   Franklinia alatamaha

Close-up photo of Franklinia flower

Close-up photo of Franklinia flower

  • Native to the Alatamaha River, Georgia, and discovered in the late 18th.
  • Genus contains just one species, and has long been extinct in the wild. Today’s plants all descend, it is believed, from those cultivated in Philadelphia under the name chosen by William Bartram in honor of Benjamin Franklin.
  • Specimen located along Arboretum Drive near the Camellias.

2)   Ilex crenata      ‘Mariesii’

Close-up photo of Rehderodendron seed pods

Close-up photo of Rehderodendron seed pods

  • A very slow-growing female holly with tiny leaves and black fruit. Collected in Japan around 1890 by Charles Maries and sent to Veitch Nursery.
  • Located within the Asian/North American clade in the Holly wedge.

3)   Rehderodendron macrocarpum

  • An upright deciduous tree with red young shoots and glossy dark green leaves.
  • Native to western China, seeds from macrocarpum were first collected in 1932 from a fruiting specimen on Mount Omei in the Szechwan Province.
  • This specimen is located in grid 36-B, northwest of the Winter Garden.

4)   Sorbus helenae

  • Very distinctive species only recently introduced to cultivation. White fruits and autumn leaf color make helenae an attractive tree this time of year.
  • Located about midway through the Mountain Ashes, west of the path.

5)   Viburnum odoratissimum

  • A vigorous, bushy evergreen shrub with glossy, dark green leaves and red fruit ripening to black.
  • Native to India, China, Burma, Philippines, and Japan.
  • Located in grid 12-8E along Arboretum Drive.
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Annual United Way “Day of Caring” made a huge impact at the Washington Park Arboretum

September 30th, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff
photo

United Way Day of Caring volunteers. Photo courtesy of the Arboretum Foundation.

Over 100 volunteers teamed up on September 19th on six projects that included spreading 218 yards of mulch, salvaging 150 sword ferns and grubbing out truckloads of invasive blackberry. Thank you to every one involved in the Day of Caring!

2014 United Way Day of Caring Debrief
Sept 19, 2014 9a-1p

Participating partners:

Arboretum Foundation – volunteer recruitment and organizer

UW Botanic Gardens – project management (5 projects), equipment and supplies

Seattle Parks and Recreation (1 project), equipment and supplies

 

UWBG Projects Details:

    • Pacific Connections Garden-New Zealand Forest
      • Led by Kathleen DeMaria and Annie Bilotta
      • 80 yards of mulch spread. 30% of NZ forest
      • Participating corporation – Blucora. Approx 25 volunteers
photo

Volunteers make short work of a mountain of mulch in the Native Knoll.

  • Fern Salvage in Arboretum Loop Trail footprint S. end slope beyond Chilean Gateway
    • Led by Chris Watson and Preston Pew
    • 150 sword ferns dug up and transported to old lath house bed behind greenhouse
    • Participating corporation – Amazon. Approx 20 vols
    • Volunteerss win the “the most challenging” project award due to steep slope and hard ground
  • Native Knoll
    • Led by Roy Farrow and Neal Bonham
    • 60 yards of mulch moved and spread; 15 sword ferns planted
    • Participating corp – Nordstrom. Approx 20 vols. Plus 5 from Native Plant Study Group (Arboretum Foundation volunteers – led by Rita Cloney)
  • Hollies
    • Led by Ryan Garrison and Darrin Hedberg
    • 75 yards of mulch moved and spread covering the 3 Eurasian clade berms ; other 4 berms weeded
    • Participating corp – Virginia Mason. Approx 25 volunteers. And, 1 vol from CenturyLink Pioneers
      photo

      The Hollies collection looking a little scrappy before the volunteers arrived.

      photo

      The Hollies collections after the volunteers swarmed the area with barrow loads of mulch.

  • PCG-Chilean Gateway and Siskiyou Slope
    • Led by Kyle Henegar and Rhonda Bush (AF – Steward Coordinator)
    • 3 yards of mulch spread in Chilean Gateway; 3 yards of blackberry removed in Siskiyou Slope
    • Participating corp – Urban Renaissance Group. Approx 25 volunteers. Plus 8 Pacific Connections Garden Stewards
  • City Parks Project – west end of waterfront trail (former MOHAI side)
    • Led by Paul Smith and Giles Moorish
    • Moved and spread mulch
    • Participating corps N/A # of volunteers N/A
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A glimpse into the past – Lookout rockery renovations

September 30th, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

By John A. Wott, Director Emeritus

One of the most interesting rockeries in the Washington Park Arboretum is located just below and north of the now restored Lookout.  It is an impressive wall of granite stones which gives great strength to the area on the southern edge of the large pond near the southern boundaries of Azalea Way. The original work was done by the Works Progress Administration laborers who defined many features within the Arboretum.

It would appear that it was neglected for much of its early life, and these photographs document its state in 1967. Taken by Brian O. Mulligan, then Director, the photos show the over-growth of grasses and other trashy plants. They were taken on July 2, 1967, and marked as the “north bank of Lookout, before reconstruction”.

lookout photo

For the next nearly 50 years, this has been a formidable rockery, with several prominent rhododendrons and other plants clinging to it. With the renovation of the Lookout, the plants at the top ridge have been removed, so again one can see north to the University District. The rockery is very steep and rugged for visitors to climb, even though many brave “souls” do.

Currently the UWBG staff is working on a renovation plan and they have been clearing much of the overgrown vegetation. Several new rhododendrons have been planted in honor of Professor Ben Hall and his wife Margaret, for his life-time research on rhododendrons.  So as you walk around this beautiful “bowl” at the south end of Azalea Way, watch for the rockery to again be a prominent feature in this section of the Arboretum.


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September Color Appears at the Washington Park Arboretum (Part II)

September 28th, 2014 by UWBG Horticulturist
Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (September 22 - October 6, 2014)

Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (September 22 – October 6, 2014)

1)    Alnus glutinosa ssp. betuloides
Birch-leaved Alder

  • Native to the mountains of eastern Turkey.
  • Listed as a threatened species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
  • Autumn brings pendulous male catkins and the mature female cones.

 

2)   Catalpa x erubescens        Indian Bean Tree

  • Uncommon tree with fetching, large, chocolate-purple young leaves that turn green.
  • Late summer brings masses of creamy white flowers flecked with yellow.
  • Hanging seed pods appear and remain long after the leaves have dropped.

3)   Pterocarya rhoifolia        Japanese Wingnut

  • The Wingnuts belong to the Walnut (Juglandaceae) family.
  • The amount of edible nut is comparable to that of the Scots Pine, i.e. not much.
  • The hanging decorative catkins give the tree a distinctive appearance in late summer.

4)   Styrax obassia        Fragrant Snowbell

  • This tree produces 6-8 inch fragrant white bell shaped flowers May to June.
  • Native to Hokkaido Island of Japan.
  • The tiny green seed pods hang like ornaments well into late summer/fall.

5)   X Sycoparrotia semidecidua        Chinese Fig Hazel

  • An inter-generic cross between two species – Parrotia persica and Sycopsis sinensis.
  • The flowers are unique, inconspicuous and easy to overlook.
  • The seed pods are beautiful ocher-colored, three dimensional stars.
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Washington Park Arboretum Soil is More Than Dirt

September 26th, 2014 by Kathleen DeMaria, Arboretum Gardener

This past April the Camellia area of the Washington Park Arboretum was paid a scientific visit by UW SEFS professor Dr. Darlene Zabowski and students from her Advanced Soil Genesis and Classification course (SEFS 513). Their goal was to learn how to excavate a soil pit and mine the walls for information about the history of the site, the current state of the soil and potential issues that may need mitigation. The site was chosen by David Zuckerman, Supervisor of Horticulture, as our Camellia collection is in need of a renovation, and he’s a strong proponent of soil analysis prior to any work being done in an area.

As with any good assessment, photos of the site were taken prior to any disturbance:

Camellias before dig

 

This site is located in the south end of the Arboretum just north of the gravel path leading to the newly refurbished lookout in the New Zealand garden. After the leaf litter and duff were cleared, the students started digging, and digging until a 3 foot deep pit was completed (notice the clear separation of ‘horizons’, or layers of soil):

Soil Pit2

In this area 3 feet was needed to ensure that the students got down to the ‘parent material’, or the underlying geological material in which soil horizons form. Soils inherit structure and minerals from their parent material through processes of physical or chemical weathering. This parent material remains the basis of the soil structure as other factors contribute to the soil’s texture (e.g. compaction, amendments, tillage).  According to Dr. Zabowski and her students, our Camellia soil has a parent material in the ‘Alderwood series’, and it shows evidence of compaction and large quantities of amended materials in the upper horizon. There was charcoal found in the middle/upper horizons indicative of a fire in the area (perhaps post-logging) or the charcoal could have come in with amendments added to the soil years ago. The parent material is glacial, composed mostly of ablation till and basal till and the years of amending and alteration can be seen even down into these lower horizons.

Soils layed out

As each horizon was unearthed, Dr. Zabowski (pictured above) had her students lay out a sample of the soil in ascending order to show and feel the difference from one layer to the next. The students were then charged with the task of coding out these samples by color using Munsell Soil Color Charts flip book. Soil color indicates the makeup of the soil within a given geographic area, which can influence the land’s fitness for usage. Samples of each horizon were also brought back to the lab and analyzed for chemical composition, bulk density, base saturation, and Cation exchange capacity (CEC). The Camellia soil was found to have a pH in the slightly acidic region (5.7-6.3), which is good for Camellias, as they like slightly acidic soil. The upper horizons of the soil were found to contain high levels of Ca, suggesting that there had been some CaCO3 added to the soil in the past (the high pH was also indicative of amending with CaCO3). The CEC of the soil was very high in the upper horizons, but this was to be expected at CEC is a measure of the soil’s fertility and nutrient retention capacity and this soil had been amended with organic matter for decades before this assessment (organic matter can have up to 3x the CEC of clay). The bulk density of the soil in the upper horizons suggests that there has been some compaction (likely due to foot traffic as there is a bench near the site) and that remediation of this density should accompany any work done in this area.

The UWBG horticulture staff welcomes and encourages university use of the arboretum for educational purposes as we curate and maintain 230 acres of urban forest as short walk from main campus. Got an idea for research in the arboretum? Contact David Zuckerman at dzman@uw.edu to get your shovels into our soil!

 


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September Color Appears at the Washington Park Arboretum

September 14th, 2014 by UWBG Horticulturist


The State of the Arboretum

Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (September 8 - 21, 2014)

Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (September 8 – 21, 2014)

1)   Liriodendron tulipifera        Tulip Tree

  • The state tree of Indiana.
  • The Western Hemisphere representative of the two-species genus Liriodendron, and the tallest eastern hardwood.

2)   Pinus resinosa                 Red Pine

  • The state tree of Minnesota.
  • It is a long-lived tree, reaching a maximum age of about 500 years.
  • The wood is commercially valuable in forestry for timber and paper pulp, and the tree is also used for landscaping.

3)   Pinus strobus        Eastern White Pine

  • The state tree of Michigan.
  • Eastern white pine forests originally covered much of northeastern North America. Only one percent of the old-growth forests remain after the extensive logging operations that existed from the 18th century into the early 20th century.
  • This tree is known to the Native American Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Nation) as the “Tree of Peace”.

4)   Sequoia sempervirens        Coast Redwood

  • The state tree of California.
  • These trees are among the oldest living things on Earth.
  • Before commercial logging and clearing began by the 1850s, this massive tree occurred along much of coastal California and the southwestern corner of coastal Oregon.

5)   Tsuga hetrophylla        Western Hemlock

  • The state tree of Washington.
  • Tsuga heterophylla is an integral component of Pacific Northwest forests west of the Coast Ranges, where it is a climax species. It is also an important timber tree throughout the region, along with many of its large coniferous associates.
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3 reasons to buy plants for a good cause

September 11th, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

Why should you buy plants in autumn?

  1. trees, shrubs and perennials planted in warm fall soil get eight months of consistent moisture to become established before summer drought hits.
  2. Growers often discount plants in fall so that they don’t have to overwinter so much inventory.
  3. Serious plantaholics need a content flow of novel plants to keep their gardens interesting.

How to support worthy causes? Buy plants at charitable plants sales such as the Northwest Horticultural Society’s sale on September 12 & 13 or the Arboretum Foundation sale on September 27.

Not in Seattle? There are charitable plant sales all over the Pacific Northwest. Do your part, go out and BUY MORE PLANTS!

FallAbundance-logo-orange1

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Construction starting on “West Approach” to SR 520 Bridge will impact access to Arboretum

September 11th, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

Heads up for drivers and neighbors: full highway closure this weekend, with overnight work

SR 520 will be closed this weekend between Montlake Boulevard and 92nd Avenue Northeast to allow for critical construction activities. The highway will close at 11 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14 and reopen by 5 a.m. Monday, Nov. 17. Crews will take advantage of the closure to continue demolishing the section of the “Ramps to Nowhere” that passes over SR 520 near the Washington Park Arboretum. Crews will also continue building the temporary work bridge that will serve as a platform for constructing the new West Approach Bridge North (WABN). The direct-access ramps for carpools and buses to and from 108th Avenue Northeast will be closed at the same time. Crews working on the SR 520 Eastside Transit and HOV Project will install drainage systems along the ramps

November 7, 2014 Update from WSDOT

Lane closures on Montlake Bridge this Sunday morning

WSDOT is reducing the Montlake Bridge to one lane in each direction this Sunday morning, Nov. 9. During the lane closures, crews will perform routine repair work to the bridge deck. Drivers should expect delays in the area between 6:30 and 11:30 a.m.

In the Seattle area, drivers can get real-time traffic information on their phone with the WSDOT traffic app, tracking the WSDOT traffic Twitter feed, and get advanced information from the What’s Happening Now page.
Reminder: Full closure of SR 520 coming Nov. 14 to 17

SR 520 will be closed in both directions next weekend, Nov. 14 to 17, between Montlake Boulevard and 92nd Avenue Northeast. The closure will begin at 11 p.m. Friday and end at 5 a.m. Monday.

During the closure, crews will continue demolishing the section of the “Ramps to Nowhere” that passes above SR 520 near Washington Park Arboretum. Crews will also continue building the temporary work bridge that will stage the construction of the new West Approach Bridge North.
We’re bridging the gap on Lake Washington

As busy as our construction schedule is, we like to appreciate the informal milestones we reach along the way. We had such a moment at the end of October during assembly of the new floating bridge on Lake Washington.

The “floating” in the new floating bridge is supplied by 77 concrete pontoons. The backbone of the bridge consists of 21 “longitudinal” pontoons, each 360 feet long and 11,000 tons, plus one “cross” pontoon at either end. They’re aligned end-to-end and anchored to the lakebed. As of this month, more than half of these massive pontoons (12 of 23) are now in their permanent positions. So by this measure, we’re halfway across the lake!

If you want to get technical, one pontoon is anchored on the west side and the other 11 are connected together on the east side. And the new 520 bridge is longer than the section supported by pontoons. But we’re proud of how far we’ve come on building the world’s longest floating bridge, and we’re excited to share this progress with you.

 

YDrequfkThe Washington State Department of Transportation has announced the start of the next phase of the SR 520 Bridge replacement project. The West Approach Bridge North Project (WABN) will begin this month with the installation of construction fencing and preparation of staging areas. Construction will impact Lake Washington Bldv at the north end of the Arboretum and nearby residential areas. Construction update with map & project overview.

 

How to keep informed about the project:

Email
Sign up for WABN construction email updates:
public.govdelivery.com/accounts/WADOT/subscriber/new
Email project staff: SR520Bridge@wsdot.wa.gov
Online
Visit the SR 520 Orange Page website: www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR520Bridge/520orangepage/
Visit the WABN project website: www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR520Bridge/WABN/
Follow us on Twitter: @WSDOT_520
Phone
Call the SR 520 24-hour construction hotline: 206-708-4657

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Grand Cajun Yesler Swamp Ribbon-Cutting Celebration!

September 9th, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

AugustThirtyFirst-47-300x200The Friends of Yesler Swamp have been working for years to turn a weed choked corner of the Center for Urban Horticulture into a safe, accessible, natural area that supports wildlife.

On Sunday, September 21, 2014, 2 – 4pm they will host a public event to celebrate recent progress building a boardwalk.

Help us celebrate completion of the first phase of boardwalk construction through Yesler Swamp.

The Cajun band Folichon will be playing. We’ll have food, beer and wine plus tours of the swamp. Everyone is invited–all ages welcome. We will have a short program to thank the many organizations and friends whose generosity has made the Yesler Swamp Trail possible. Donations will be accepted to help finish the Trail. Free!

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Art Exhibit: Botanical art & hand-painted silks by Linda Ann Vorobik

September 8th, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

Vorobik paintingPaintings of ferns, orchids, and other treasures will be on exhibit in the Miller Library from September 19 to November 3rd. Botanists, teacher and artist, Linda Ann Vorobik, paints exquisite and botanically accurate water colors of ferns and orchids that will delight you.

Meet the artist at a free reception at the Library on Friday, September 19th from 5:00 to 7:00pm.

Feel inspired? Take a workshop from Linda on October 4th & 5th.

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