August 20th, 2013 by Tech Librarian, Tracy Mehlin
Georeferenced Database Project Update
After a year of surveying Washington Park Arboretum grid points and digitizing paper maps we have made substantial progress on our georeferenced database project. The first few hundred points were relatively easy to survey. Now remain the most difficult points to find or see with a clear line of sight from a control point. Ground nesting bees and wasps also make getting close to a point challenging to say the least.
We need volunteers! Contact Tracy Mehlin.
UW Botanic Gardens Director, Sarah Reichard, talks with UWTV about her vision for an interactive Arboretum map in this video.
How would you use an interactive map in the Arboretum? What do you want to know about the collections? Leave a comment to let us know.
Click to see photo close-ups
Staff surveyor Ryan Garrison standing by the total station with the data collector in hand.
An overview of the entire Arboretum with red dots representing surveyed points. Green squares have been digitized from paper maps.
A close up of Azalea Way in ArcMap showing roads, paths, beds, water and most important, our plants.
A screenshot of ArcMap with a query showing maples with red dots.
A query showing plants that were donated to the Arboretum by plantsman Dan Hinkley.
Project accomplishments by the numbers
- Migrated 20,000 records from the Otis Douglas Hyde Herbarium database into the BG-Base database
- 25% of Herbarium database records post migration validated against physical specimens
- 85% of grid points surveyed
- 40% of paper grid maps digitized in ArcMap (geodatabase)
- 6006 out of 18,094 plant specimens have been entered into the geodatabase
Historic Records to be made accessible
The Arboretum Foundation has agreed to give $15,000 to digitize historic paper records from the Curation office. These historic records provide critical clues about the identification and origin of trees and woody plants in the collection. By digitizing the records staff can access the old handwritten note cards and ledgers from their desk and once integration is complete the records will be accessible to everyone. UW Libraries staff will digitize the records and record basic information about each file.
An accession card from 1948.
This project is funded by a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services.
August 16th, 2013 by Heidi Unruh, UWBG Communications Volunteer
Join us for the FREE 19th annual Miller Memorial Lecture, featuring Tony Avent, renowned plantsman and horticulturist. Mr. Avent will speak on So Many Plants, So Little Time: Little Known Perennial Favorites to Delight & Excite!
Tony Avent is the owner of Plant Delights Nursery and the Juniper Level Botanic Garden in Raleigh, North Carolina. Mr. Avent is a well-traveled botanical explorer, author, plant breeder and an exceptional plantsman. His travels have included Mexico, China, Korean, Argentina, Taiwan, and Vietnam to name a few along with extensive exploration of the rich floral communities of the southeastern United States.
- Thursday, September 19, 2013
- 7:00 pm (d0ors open at 6:15), followed by free reception with refreshments
- Meany Hall on the UW campus
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org for a free e-ticket!
August 13th, 2013 by UWBG Arborist, Chris Watson
Black Pine (Pinus nigra)
Washington is known as the “Evergreen State” thanks to our vast conifer forests. However, large conifers often get overlooked when selecting trees for urban areas. Conifers such as pine, spruce or fir provide many year round benefits to the urban home or garden.
The evergreen canopy offers cover for birds and other wildlife. When planted strategically, conifers can reduce energy costs by shading homes in the summer and blocking wind in the winter. The expansive root systems of conifers can help to stabilize slopes and reduce erosion. The canopy of evergreen needles can filter air pollutants and reduce stormwater runoff. Also, because of their unique form, large conifers will store more carbon and create more oxygen over a smaller area than trees with broad canopies. Because conifers maximize these benefits all year, these large trees can be an excellent and sustainable choice if your site has the appropriate space. In addition to these ecosystem services, conifers often become beloved neighborhood icons as they mature.
If you have room in your yard for planting a large conifer and live in Seattle, there are free trees available through Seattle reLeaf’s Trees for Neighborhoods Program. Learn more and apply for your tree here: http://www.seattle.gov/trees/treesforneighborhoods.htm.
Oriental Spruce (Picea orientalis)
August 5th, 2013 by UWBG Communication Staff
By John A. Wott, Director Emeritus
Photo by Brian O. Mulligan circa 1949 of living and dead whitebark pines on pass leading to Ingalls Lake.
This picture is one of 30 mounted black-and-white photographs showing native (NW) coniferous trees (and a few junipers also). Brian O. Mulligan, then Director, Washington Park Arboretum, prepared these as an exhibit for the Royal Horticultural Society’s Conifer Conference, London, England, October 5 – 9, 1970. The photos were taken from 1949-1969 by Brian on his hiking trips, with wife Margaret, to various Western States from California to Wyoming. This specific picture is labeled “Living and dead Whitebark pines on pass leading to Ingalls Lake”.
Brian personally mounted and prepared the photographs and took the display to London. Brian was an active member of the Conifer Societies during his lifetime, and those groups often visited the Arboretum. In 1986, the bulk of the pictures were hung in the Dean’s (Director’s) Conference Room in Anderson Hall where they proudly reside today. They were specifically directed to the attention of Dale W. Cole, associate dean, College of Forest Resources, and the new exhibit was supervised by Steve Archie, College Administrator. Margaret can be seen in many of the photographs.
August 2nd, 2013 by Pat Chinn-Sloan
Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (7/29/13 – 8/12/13)
“Can You Smell That Smell?”
1) Clerodendrum trichotomum
- Repugnant, peanut-butter odor when leaves are bruised!
- Cats are attracted to the smell.
- See our suckering forest of young trees along the path leading down to the WPA horticultural crew barn.
2) Prostanthera cuneata (Alpine Mint-Bush)
- This low-growing shrub is from Australia and is in the Mint family.
- When leaves are crushed, they emit a strong fragrance that some liken to eucalyptol and smelly socks.
- Located in the Australian exhibit of the Pacific Connections Garden.
3) Ribes malvaceum var. viridifolium ‘Ortega Beauty’ (Chapparal Current)
- Native to the coastal mountains of southern California.
- Malodorous skunky scent when leaves are rubbed like many plants in a chapparal community.
- Located in the Cascadian entry exhibit of the Pacific Connections Garden.
4) Umbellularia californica (Headache Tree)
- Large broadleaf evergreen tree.
- Most odoriferous tree in our plant collections by far.
- Take a deep whiff of the crushed leaves and you’ll know right away why it’s called the headache tree!
5) Vitex agnus-castus (Monk’s Pepper)
- Peppery-smelling leaves some folks compare to Cannabis.
- An ornamental summer-flowering shrub with many medicinal qualities.
- Located along Azalea Way at the SE entrance to the Woodland Garden.
July 31st, 2013 by Tech Librarian, Tracy Mehlin
An artisan tile is like a colorful hybrid of sculpture and painting. The Artisan Tile NW group will have handmade tiles on exhibit in the Elisabeth C. Miller Library from September 4 to October 28th 2013. There will be a free public reception on Friday, Sep. 13th from 5 to 7pm. All the tiles will be for sale with a portion of proceeds benefiting the Library.
A sample of tile styles that will be on exhibit Sep. 4 – Oct. 28, 2013 in the Miller Library.
Click for full size postcard
July 31st, 2013 by Catherine Nelson, Adult Tours Program Assistant
In the midst of our dry NW summer, while many plants look worse for wear, our native evergreen Salal shrubs, Gaultheria shallon, are shiny and healthy. Salal flowers in the spring with pinkish-white bell-shaped flowers in groups of 5-15 on racemes; very similar to the Pieris japonica flower. Both plants are in the Ericacea family. The Salal shrub can grown to 16′ tall and forms a dense mass that creates habitat and food for local birds and animals. It is a coniferous forest understory plant that is widespread in lower, coastal elevations.
Salal is used world-wide in floral arrangements for its long lasting fresh evergreen foliage and is harvested locally in a multimillion dollar industry. However, the harvesting of the foliage in the wild is protected by the US Forest Service by issuance of permits – this is to save our native plant from over harvesting and ensure its continuance in the wild.
The name Salal is derived from the Chinook language. The small sweet blue colored berries, which are ripe right now, were harvested and eaten by the local Salish peoples; consumed as a fresh fruit in summer, used to sweeten fish roes and soups, and mixed with fish oil and dried in cakes for winter consumption (an early version of fruit leather).
Salal is one of the NW native plants that will be featured in August’s Free Weekend Walks at the Washington Park Arboretum.
July 18th, 2013 by Pat Chinn-Sloan
Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (July 15-31, 2013)
1) Quercus x bushii ‘Seattle Trident’
(Seattle Trident Hybrid Red Oak)
- Cultivar of a Black Oak and Blackjack Oak hybrid.
- Developed in Sir Hillier Gardens and Arboretum in England from scion wood collected at Washington Park Arboretum.
- Located in the Oak Collection, northwest of Azalea Way service road intersection.
2) Quercus dentata (Daimyo Oak)
- Asian native (China, Korea, Japan, Mongolia)
- Develops an unusually large leaf; occasionally used as a vegetable in native range.
- Located in the Oak Collection on hillside near Foster Island Road.
3) Quercus macrocarpa (Bur Oak)
- Native to Eastern and Midwestern U.S.
- Develops a distinct broad canopy as tree matures.
- Located in the Oak Collection along ridge west of Azalea Way.
4) Quercus muhlenbergii (Chinquapin Oak)
- Broad, native range spanning from New England to northeast Mexico.
- Large, slow growing tree with chestnut-like foliage.
- Located in the Oak Collection along ridge west of Azalea Way, north of the Bur Oak.
5) Quercus pontica (Armenian Oak)
- Native to the Caucasus Mountain region of Eastern Europe.
- Shrubby oak: leaves on new wood remain evergreen, yet older wood becomes deciduous.
- Located in the Oak Collection near entrance to the Graham Visitor’s Center.
July 16th, 2013 by UWBG Communication Staff
Pacific Connections Garden Stewards made history on June 20th when they planted the New Zealand High Country plants into the new Bollard Garden in the new forest. They planted several species well over 20 years old. These include Nothofagus solanderi, Griselinia littoralis, Phyllocladus alpinus, Phormium colensoi, and Dodonaea viscosa. In addition to the Bollard Garden (aka The New Zealand High Country Display), the garden will include the Hebe Meadow, the Griselinia Bush, the Mountain Tussock, Snow Tussock, the Silver Beech Forest, the Phormium Fen and the Mountain Beech Zone. It’s looking like the New Zealand Garden is on track to open by September 15, 2013. Here are some pictures that Pacific Connections Steward Rhonda Bush took during the planting project.
Along Azalea Way with Dennie Fee
Neil Bonham moving Phormium
July 11th, 2013 by UWBG Communication Staff
by Dr. John A. Wott, Director Emeritus
The invitation sent in 1984 to the opening celebration for the Center for Urban Horticulture.
The opening of the Center for Urban Horticulture was an event that captured international attention. The words on the official opening invitation stated,
“This is the first department of its kind in the country. Pioneering research on plants used in cities benefits urban landscapes everywhere. The department’s teaching and public service programs are valuable resources for the Northwest. The Center’s fifty-two acre campus is being built entirely by private donations.”
Shown in the photograph are several parts of the official invitation for its formal opening on September 27, 1984. Note that it was hand-written by Mrs. Pendleton (Elisabeth Carey) Miller, who was the prime organizer of the event. Also noteworthy are the guests who were listed on the invitation. They are Governor John Spellman, renowned plantsman Peter Coats, UW President William Gerberding, Provost George Beckman, Retired UW President Charles Odegaard; Director Harold Tukey; and Noted Arboretum Director Richard Howard. This was one of the first grand parties which Betty Miller and her friends held as the new Center for Urban Horticulture developed.
The Miller Library is one of the finest in the USA, and at one time the public outreach program (on all sites) had the second largest number of public contacts in the UW system (besides UW football). It continues to employ exceptional faculty and staff. It also continues to produce graduate students of the highest caliber and alumni are now listed in the “Who’s Who of Horticulture”. Over the years, CUH and the Washington Park Arboretum have become recognized throughout the horticultural world, and the system was copied across the USA as well as internationally. After 30-plus years, it still proudly carries on its mission.