Meet our Summer Education Staff

July 2nd, 2014 by Sarah Heller, Community Programs Coordinator & Fiddleheads Forest School Director

Summer camps have exploded in growth this year and so has our staff to teach and lead Discussing the importance of earthworms and what they do.campers through the wonders of the Washington Park Arboretum and Center for Urban Horticulture (CUH). Camps are based at the Arboretum, and during some weeks we’ll take field trips to CUH and the Union Bay Natural Area. These Summer Garden Guides come from around the country and bring a diverse array of experiences to their teaching and play this summer in our environmental education day camps.

 

 

Hannah Earhart

HannahEHannah has a B.S. in Art Education from Penn State University and recently wrapped up her M.Ed. from The University of Washington. Through work as a preschool Montessori teacher, she intensified her love of questioning and meaning making and enjoys facilitating those experiences in others. When not teaching she enjoys finger painting and petting dogs.

 

 

 

Angela Feng

AngelaFMy name is Angela Feng, and I am going into my fourth year at the University of Washington. I am an Environmental Studies major and a Spanish minor, and hope to pursue a career in environmental education once I graduate. I have always been passionate about the environment, and I discovered how rewarding it can be to transfer that passion to others by getting people excited about nature. I try to spend as much time as I can outdoors, whether it’s working on my p-patch, traversing the myriad of parks around Seattle on my bike, or taking nature walks! I am also fond of musical instruments, fun facts, and bread (I really like bread).

 

Dave Gifford

DaveGOriginally from Pennsylvania, Dave has been teaching in garden and environmental education in the Pacific Northwest over the last six years. Last year he served as an instructor for school overnight and summer programs at Islandwood on Bainbridge Island. He most recently taught with Islandwood’s Seattle-based Homewaters program and SPU’s Salmon in the Schools program. Dave enjoys art-making, music, gardening, and anything outdoors.

 

 

 

Kelsey Hutchison

KelseyHKelsey grew up in the mountains of Colorado, where she grew up with a love of the outdoors. After graduating from the University of Kansas with a degree in environmental studies, she spent a few years working at outdoor environmental education centers throughout the U.S. It was this work that led her to Seattle, where she has worked with children as a nanny. She has also spent time traveling and volunteering abroad. Some of her other interests include: hiking, camping, gardening, dancing, music, travel, hula hooping and crafting.

 

 

Katherine Straus

KatherineSOriginally from Massachusetts, Katherine has spent time in Rhode Island, New York, and Lake Tahoe (on both the Nevada and California sides) before moving to Seattle two years ago to start her Masters in Education at the UW. It was her stint working as a naturalist and outdoor educator in Lake Tahoe where she first found her passion for outdoor education and she has been pursuing it ever since. She loves being in Washington where she gets to enjoy the best of both worlds: mountains AND ocean, and is looking forward to lots of camping, hiking and swimming this summer.

 

 

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A glimpse into the past – Joe Witt in the “pit house”

July 1st, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

By John A. Wott, Director Emeritus

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Joseph A. Witt inspecting seed flats and cuttings in the “pit houses” of the University of Washington Greenhouses at Washington Park Arboretum. April 1976,

This photograph taken in April 1976, shows Joseph A. Witt inspecting seed flats and cuttings in the “pit houses” of the University of Washington Greenhouses at Washington Park Arboretum. Joe, as he preferred to be called, was a prominent staff member of the Arboretum for more than 30 yrs. Officially the Curator, he was also appointed as a Professor of Urban Horticulture at the University of Washington’s Center for Urban Horticulture, when it officially opened in 1980.

Joe was a “people person” and was instrumental in assisting the Arboretum Foundation in starting many programs, including encouraging volunteers, “fun days” in weeding, and other educational events. As curator, he was in charge of bringing many new plants into the collection and for the leadership of the UW grounds crew. He was an expert on the horticultural and native flora of the Pacific Northwest. He was renowned and sought-after for his teaching of plant materials, both to UW students and to thousands of horticulturists who came to the Arboretum during his tenure. He also experimented with plant breeding and many of his unnamed rhododendron hybrids still “lurk” within the Arboretum collections. He named many plants and the famed Acer tegmentosum ‘Joe Witt’, a highly striped form of the Manchurian Stripebark Maple, is now  found in increasing numbers on Seattle streets.

His widow, Jean, still active in her mid-90’s, was a keen iris breeder and together they were well known and respected in the native and hardy plant societies of the world. I personally remember several memorable field study trips to the Cascades and east side of Washington in the early 1980’s, whereby Joe spoke about the plants and Jean spoke about the geology. As Joe approached retirement age, he was stricken with cancer and died in May 1984, a great loss to the Northwest horticultural community. However, his legacy lives on.

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Joe and Jean Witt, Arboretum Foundation Annual Dinner, June 1972


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July 2014 Plant Profile: Hydrangea integrifolia

July 1st, 2014 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes
Photo courtesy of Richie Steffen/Great Plant Picks

Photo courtesy of Richie Steffen/Great Plant Picks

An evergreen hydrangea?!!  You betcha!

There are very few evergreen vines for gardeners in the Pacific Northwest, but this gorgeous gem from Asia is  becoming more readily available and it’s simply one of the coolest flowers you’ll ever get to witness opening.

From plump, peony-like buds, they begin to slowly crack open, a froth of fertile flowers begin to form and over the course of a few days, a flat umbel “lacecap” begins to form. People will begin to believe that it’s actually a hydrangea!

Hydrangea integrifolia is quite slow to establish (and re-establish, as we’ve learned after moving it to its new location at CUH three years ago) and may not even flower for the first few years of its life. Once it does, it puts on quite a show each summer. Dark green, glossy foliage remains year round. It’s a clinging plant that forms aerial roots on its stems. The aerial roots attach to a rough surface such as the bark of a tree or rough stucco wall; they don’t form tendrils or long whip-like shoots that wrap around supports so you have to carefully train them until they take hold. You could also let it sprawl on the ground as a ground-cover plant in a woodland garden.

They grow best in a protected spot in the garden such as a shady north-facing wall (such as our specimen here at the Center for Urban Horticulture), but they’re also quite at home tumbling over a stone wall in full sun with regular irrigation during the summer months.

Common Name:  Evergreen Climbing Hydrangea
Location: Center for Urban Horticulture – Miller Library North Foundation Bed
Origin: Taiwan/Philippines
Height and Spread: Can get 40′ tall and about 20′ wide
Bloom Time: Late June – July

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

June 29th, 2014 by UWBG Horticulturist
Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (June 23 - July 6, 2014)

Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (June 23 – July 6, 2014)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1)   Erhetia dicksonii

Close up photo of Ehretia dicksonii  inflorescence

Close up photo of Ehretia dicksonii inflorescence

  • Ornamental tree from Asia with corky bark and fragrant white terminal cymes.
  • Located along path heading up to Rhododendron Glen from Azalea Way, grid 15-1E.
  • Go to link below for thorough description and uses.
    http://www.arthurleej.com/p-o-m-July07.html

2)   Holodiscus discolor      (Ocean Spray)

  • My favorite summer flowering Pacific Northwest native deciduous shrub.
  • In full flowering, cascading glory now throughout our native matrix.

3)   Hypericum henryi ssp. uraloides

  • The really big Azalea Way flower show may be over, but now it’s Hypericum time.
  • This shrubby St. John’s wort is a huge attractant of many kinds of bees.
  • Located in east-side bed J, midway down Azalea Way, grid 20-1W.

4)   Illicium henryi      (Henry Anise Tree)

Close up photo of Toona sinensis leaves and inflorescence

Close up photo of Toona sinensis leaves and inflorescence

  • A handsome evergreen woodland shrub or small tree from China.
  • Waxy, bright rose-colored flowers. Leaves and star-shaped fruit give off a scent of anise when crushed.
  • Located along forested Ridge Trail within the Asiatic Maple section, grid 25-1E.

5)   Toona sinensis      (Chinese Cedar)

  • You can Toona piano, but you can’t Toona fish . . . or in this case, happyfacea tree.
  • Deciduous tree from eastern and southeastern Asia with pinnately compound leaves and white flowering panicles in summer.
  • Located in north Pinetum, grids 44 and 45-6W. For cultural, medicinal and commercial (timber) importance, go to link  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toona_sinensis.
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iSchool Capstone: Improving the visitor experience with an app

June 20th, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

By Sarai Dominguez

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Information School graduate students, Anna Sgarlato, Sarai Dominguez and Loryn Lestz, presenting their Capstone poster 6/5/2014.

It has been a great pleasure to work in partnership with the University of Washington Botanic Gardens and Information School to design the future Arboretum mobile app. My team and I had a blast!

After four quarters of information science courses, we were all eager to practice our learning’s in a real-world scenario. Throughout our first meetings with UWBG staff, we learned about the exciting digitization projects at hand. However, we still realized the information need of Arboretum visitors who wanted map and plant information while wandering the park, and not just at home on a desktop computer. We started our project with a research phase (which allowed us to meet and interview volunteers and staff throughout the organization), sketched our ideas, built an interactive prototype and tested our design with Arboretum enthusiasts; it was a hit!

My favorite part of the project was meeting volunteers and staff and noticing how invested in the Arboretum this group is. They truly believe in the Arboretum as a place for retreat, exploration, learning and building valuable friendships. These principles were the inspiration for our mobile app design and we hope that current and future park visitors will experience this in the information tool we have placed in their hands.

Thank you, UWBG, for an incredible capstone experience!

Interactive map of the Arboretum (optimized for desktop computers)

Sketching out the app user experience.

Sketching out the app user experience.

A design comp of the app home screen

A design comp of the app home screen


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iSchool Capstone: Designing an app for Arboretum visitors

June 19th, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

By Loryn Lestz

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Information School graduate students, Anna Sgarlato, Sarai Dominguez and Loryn Lestz, presenting their Capstone poster 6/5/2014.

Working with the staff and volunteers of the University of Washington Botanic Gardens to design a mobile app for Arboretum visitors has been a wonderful way to bring my graduate school experience to a close. Everyone my team came in contact with during the design process was not only enthusiastic and supportive of our project but also eager to contribute ideas and provide feedback on the app itself. A number of the usability tests we conducted to confirm our design choices were done with volunteers and the passion they expressed for the Arboretum in my interactions with them was truly inspiring. It was truly encouraging to hear them talk about the ways in which they felt the app would be able to help them and the visitors they interact with to enjoy the Arboretum even more than they already do.

Perhaps the most rewarding part of this project for me as a designer was getting to negotiate a balance between enriching Arboretum visitors’ experience with new technologies and keeping that experience focused on the natural beauty of the Arboretum. As someone who loves coming to the Arboretum and forgetting that I am in the middle of the city for a few hours, I knew this was something we would need to be mindful of as we worked. My team and I were successful at keeping this among our top priorities throughout the design process, and couldn’t be happier with the resulting design. I am looking forward to seeing the app move into the development phase and can’t wait to see (and use!) the final product.

Interactive Map of the Arboretum (optimized for desktop computers)

Sketching out the app user experience.

Sketching out the app user experience.

A design comp of the app home screen

A design comp of the app home screen.


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June Color Appears at the Washington Park Arboretum

June 15th, 2014 by UWBG Horticulturist

Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (June 9 - 22, 2014)

1)  Hydrangea macrophylla   ‘Madame Emile Mouillere’

  • A blizzard white beauty all summer, long considered the best white mop head.
  • A charming companion to evergreen shrubs.
  • A beautiful 70-year old specimen graces the Hydrangea Collection along the Arboretum Drive.

2)  Leucothoe davisiae      (Sierra Laurel)

  • Native to the mountains of northern California and southern Oregon.
  • One of 4,000 species in the Ericaceae family.
  • A 20-year old specimen can be found in the Rhododendron Glen.

3)  Rosa moschata ‘Plena’      (Double Musk Rose)

  • Cultivated in European and American gardens for centuries.
  • Grown for its strong, clove musk fragrance and abundant alabaster white flowers.
  • A 65-year old specimen is flourishing by the entrance to the horticulture headquarters.

4)  Stewartia pseudocamellia var. koreana      (Korean Stewartia)

  • Native to Japan and Korea, this tree has garnered the Royal Horticulture Society’s Award of Garden Merit.
  • The flowers are white with orange anthers, shaped like those of the related camellia.
  • A graceful 64-year old specimen is growing beautifully at the south end of Arboretum Drive.

5)  Philadelphus lewisii      (Lewis’ Mock Orange)

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Buzza-Ruzza, Buzza-Ruzza: A Visit from The Bee Lady

June 9th, 2014 by Sarah Heller, Community Programs Coordinator & Fiddleheads Forest School Director

FFS6Most have us have been stung by a wasp or bee at some point in our lives, and many of us have an innate fear of flying insects with stingers. Personally, I was stung almost every year of my life between about the ages of 5 and 18. It never swayed me from spending all my free time outside, but I did cower at the familiar buzzing sound of nearby wasps.

At Fiddleheads Forest School we are lucky enough to be a short walking distance from an apiary located in the UW Botanic Gardens’ pollination garden. We inquired with the Puget Sound Beekeepers Association (PSBA), who manages and maintains the apiary, if they’d be able to come teach us about the bees. On May 29th & 30th Elaina Jorgensen from the PSBA taught both Fiddleheads Forest School classes all about bees. She affectionately became known as “The Bee Lady” and her enthusiasm was contagious. As we settled down on the grass in front of the garden Elaina put her hand in her shirt pocket and said, “Can you guess what I have in here?” as she slowly pulled out a small jar with a queen bee inside! She showed the bee around and told us that this bee was just a few hours old, it had just been born. Then she reached into her other pocket and pulled out another queen bee and this one was only a few minutes old!FFS1

When we asked what their favorite part of the bee lesson was, the kids responded with:

–          Holding the boy bee (drone bee)

–          Seeing the queen bees

–          Watching baby bees hatch in the observation hive

–          Learning about bee predators

 

 

My favorite part of the experience? Seeing all the kids dress up as little beekeepers:FFS3FFS4

These lessons immediately inspired dramatic play involving all the kids and the teachers too. As we were walking away from the pollination garden to the nearby vegetable garden to wait for parents, kids were choosing their roles in the hive. Once we got to the vegetable garden some kids curled up as larva bees, other kidsFFS2 took on the role of nurse bees to care for the larva and another set of kids took off as worker bees to collect pollen and nectar for the hive. The queen bees established themselves in different areas (for different hives) and the nurse bees brought them food too. This imaginative hive scene has returned day after day back at the Forest Grove. Now, larva bees change and grow into nurse bees, the nurse bees change into worker bees and so on. Comb structures have been built for the baby bees to be in and also to make honey in.

The kids asked Elania if bees have any predators because we’ve been experiencing a lot of predator/prey relationships with our owl family feeding their 4(!) new babies and observing our praying FFS5mantises hunt (all for a future blog post). The Bee Lady told us about bears, wasps, and birds. Guess what stuck with the kids? BEARS! So now some kids choose to be bears that raid the hives of honey every once in a while. The kid-bees know that bees only sting once and then they die so they do a lot of buzzing and chasing of the bear, but very little stinging. This is an aspect of the bee-play that feels heavily informed by the bee lesson because pre-bee lesson all the kids could talk about was how bees sting.

One of the big take-a-ways for all of us is that the girl bees (nurses, workers, and queen bees) are the ones with stingers. The daddy bees (drones) do not have stingers. During the lesson we got to hold a daddy bee and for those of us with some bee-fear this was quite exhilarating! The kids have been teaching everyone they can what they learned, but this key fact – that there are bees without stingers – is most often shared.

The UW Botanic Gardens’ Pollination Garden is located at the Washington Park Arboretum just behind the greenhouses south of the Graham Visitor Center. The hives are maintained and managed by the Puget Sound Beekeepers Association. We’re lucky to have such hard working pollinators on site and an incredibly valuable educational resource.

FFS8Puget Sound Beekeepers Association (PSBA) was founded in 1948 and exists to promote common interest and general welfare of beekeeping, to protect honey bees, to educate beekeepers, encourage good bee management practices, and to encourage good relations between beekeepers and the public. If you’re interested in learning more about what they’re all about check out their website.

Thank you Elaina (aka The Bee Lady) for taking the time to teach us all about BEES!

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A glimpse into the past – a view of MOHAI before SR 520

June 3rd, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

By John A. Wott, Director Emeritus

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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.

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May Color Appears at the Washington Park Arboretum
(Part III)

May 29th, 2014 by UWBG Horticulturist
Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (May 27 - June 8, 2014)

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”.
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