Where in the Arboretum? New interactive map answers that question.

August 5th, 2014 by Tech Librarian, Tracy Mehlin
map screenshot

A screen shot of the interactive map with pop-up detail for the tree Toona

A visitor to the Washington Park Arboretum recently wondered if the “tuna” tree grew among its world class collection of woody plants. She asked a staff member who figured out she meant Toona sinensis, a hardy member of the mahogany family with bright pink new growth. “Yes, we have three specimens.” replied Laura Blumhagen, working at the reference desk in the Miller Library. “Where?” asked the visitor. Laura searched the brand-new interactive map, located the Toona trees and directed the visitor to the northwest corner of the Arboretum where Lake Washington curves around near the off ramp from State Route 520.

The online, interactive map identifies landmarks, trails, gardens and most importantly every woody plant growing in the Arboretum. It can be browsed or searched. Users can turn layers on and off, measure distances, draw a custom route and print out a custom map. Zooming into the map reveals thousands of green circles that represent trees and shrubs. Click on a circle to learn the plant’s name and other data related to that individual specimen.
UW Botanic Gardens Director, Professor Sarah Reichard, envisioned a system where public visitors could gain a deeper appreciation of the value of the collections and the story behind each tree, as well as improve management efficiency. “The integration of the existing database and new map has exceeded my expectations” said Dr. Reichard.

In August 2012 the University of Washington Botanic Gardens received a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to survey the Arboretum and digitize paper inventory maps. That groundwork enabled the development of a geo-referenced database and a publicly accessible, interactive map. Prior to this project, the paper inventory maps were arduous to update, impossible to search and inaccessible to the public and most staff. Surveying the Arboretum with modern equipment and digitizing inventory maps increased the accuracy of plant location data and decreased the effort to locate plants. Staff management of the collection has improved because time spent searching for plants can now be used caring for them. Docents save time creating seasonal tours by searching the map for trees of interest. The map integrates not just location information, but data about the plant’s name, origin, native range, health condition and the id number for the pressed plant specimen in the Hyde Herbarium.

Articles and posts about the mapping project

Arboretum Bulletin article about the history of mapping at the Arboretum and how the interactive map was created.
IMLS grant funds geo-referenced, integrated database
In the Arboretum with the total station and other milestones
How would you use an interactive map in the Arboretum?
About the map and credits

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A glimpse into the past – new buildings for visitors and crew

August 4th, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff
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Looking east, new sewer lines were installed behind the old apartment (aka barn).

By John A. Wott, Director Emeritus

The first buildings to be added to the grounds of the Washington Park Arboretum were begun in 1985, as defined in the Jones and Jones Master Plan Update for the Washington Park Arboretum. It took almost ten years for the building plans to be finalized and the funds to be raised. The public building was named the Donald B. Graham Visitors Center, and it housed offices, meeting spaces, public information space and a gift shop.

The Arboretum Foundation conducted the fund raising campaign, with the City of Seattle Parks Department supervising the project.

The original Works Progress Administration-constructed office/crew building was razed. A near-by large barn/apartment building was converted into the current crew headquarters and shop, with the upstairs apartment eventually being converted to office space. A new machine storage shed was added and the terrain of the land greatly changed.

The photographs taken March/April 1985 show sewer work and the building foundation and beginning walls of the storage shed. The new facilities were dedicated in 1986.

 

 

 

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Looking north to the new shed under construction and re-purposed apartment (aka barn).

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Walls for the new storage shed being poured.


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August 2014 Plant Profile: Aeonium arboreum var. atropurpureum

August 4th, 2014 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

Aeonium 1Succulent plants continue to be very popular amongst gardeners everywhere because of their unusual and architectural forms and thriving with very minimal watering. The Aeoniums are one of the most iconic of all succulents. Unfortunately, they are not hardy in the Pacific Northwest, but they are excellent container specimens that are actually pretty easy to overwinter if cared for properly indoors.

The key to success with any succulent is bright light, very well-drained soil and limited watering during the growing season. They respond to being fertilized on a regular basis during active growth (for us it’s June-September) and then as cold temperatures approach, they are dug up before the first frost and potted up and kept indoors where it can stay cool, but not freezing. Some growers overwinter them “bareroot” and will mist them occasionally so they don’t dry out. The more light you can give them during this pseudo-dormant period the better.

Aeonium 2

Family: CRASSULACEAE
Genus: Aeonium
species: arboreum var. atropurpureum
Common Name:  Tree Aeonium, Irish Rose, Houseleek
Location: Containers in Soest Garden
Origin: Straight species from Canary Islands, but this selection may be of garden origin.
Height and Spread: 1.5ft wide to 2ft. tall (potentially much larger in milder climates)
Bloom Time: N/A for Pacific NW outdoors (but may flower later winter/early spring if greenhouse-grown)

 

 

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

August 4th, 2014 by UWBG Arborist, Chris Watson
Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (July 21 - August 8, 2014)

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

1)   Houpu Magnolia    (Magnolia officinalis var. biloba)

  • Unique bi-lobed leaf 8-12″ in length
  • 4-8″ seed pods on display in late summer
  • Located in grid 27-1W in the Rhododendron hybrid bed

2)   Sargent Magnolia    (Magnolia sargentiana var. robusta)

  • Bears large pink flowers in spring
  • Large, pinkish-red fruit appear in late summer and fall
  • Located in grid 13-7E in Rhododendron Glen

3)   Rehder Tree    (Rehderodendron macrocarpum)

  • White flowers appear in spring
  • 3-4″ seed pods weigh down branches in late summer
  • Located in grid 13-6E and elsewhere throughout the Washington Park Arboretum

4)   Himalayan Stachyurus    (Stachyurus himilaicus)

  • Deciduous or semi-evergreen shrub to height of 10’
  • Displays clusters of flowers in early spring
  • Located in grid 25-1W

5)   Yunnan Stachyurus    (Stachyurus yunnanensis)

  • Small evergreen shrub to height of 6’
  • Chains of white flowers appear in spring
  • Located in grid 25-1W
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Orchids and Monkeys and Quetzals – OH MY!

July 28th, 2014 by Sarah Reichard

An Upcoming UW Botanic Gardens Adventure in Costa Rica

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Adventure awaits in Costa Rica with UW Botanic Gardens. Photo by Joanna Livingstone

One of the best things I did for myself during my graduate school days – no actually, in my whole life – was to take a two month tropical ecology class in Costa Rica from the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS). Besides being in an incredibly beautiful place, I found myself in experiences that challenged me. Because I am a serious plant geek, I have always chosen projects relating to plants, but OTS would have none of that – we were assigned to work with various biologists and did projects relating to their specialties. Therefore, I spend a very memorable night trapping bats with a noted expert from the Smithsonian Museum, with a dawn serenade from howler monkeys all around us. I also worked on leaf cutter ants and poison dart frogs – and plants.

It was such a wonderful experience, that I felt no need to return to Costa Rica – until now. Holbrook Travel has organized a great trip that has many of the experiences I had with OTS, but a little safer. For instance, Holbrook can arrange for us to float in a raft on the Rio Sarapiqui. This river flows through the OTS La Selva station. Our field work was usually done in the morning and we would often run up the river a ways and then jump in the water fully clothed and float back to the field station to cool off before lunch. Between rocks and caimans we were probably flirting with more danger than we should, but we were in our 20s and had that live-forever mentality. I also spent a memorable evening with others in the class on Volcan Arenal, an active volcano, that resulted in our wandering in the dark as the volcano erupted, trying to find the bus that was coming to pick us up. Holbrook has placed us in the lovely Arenal Lodge, where we will be able to view the volcano and engage in a number of civilized activities.

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Photo by Dain Van Schoyck

We will also be visiting the high elevation Monteverde Reserve, where I am determined to see the Resplendent Quetzal! Despite many attempts to see this bird in Costa Rica and Guatemala, all involving me getting up in the wee hours of the morning, I have never seen it. In Guatemala I went to the place listed in all the guidebooks as the place you were guaranteed to see one. I heard them calling all around me (lovely call, by the way) but never saw one. To add further insult to injury, the woman who owned the property showed me a time-stamped photo taken the previous afternoon of three of these gorgeous birds sitting on a wire by her house! This time I will see one – I just KNOW it!

So come with me to Costa Rica! I can’t promise caimans and bats (and apparently not a Resplendent Quetzal), but I can promise fun and new experiences. We will very likely see all sorts of critters and certainly some amazing tropical rain forest plants. Oh and here is a tip – when we go out for a night walk to see nocturnal animals, bring a flashlight, but not a head lamp –a 6 inch moth banging into your head repeatedly is very distracting!

Download the itinerary for January 04, 2015 – January 13, 2015. Space is limited so register today!

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A Local Beauty

July 27th, 2014 by Catherine Nelson, Adult Tours Program Assistant

tplicatabranchesThis photo is of a native Thuja Plicata (common name; Western Red Cedar) and shows the great J-arm branches that these trees feature. Although the Puget Mill Company logged most trees on the site by 1900, this particular Thuja was perhaps overlooked by the loggers and is therefore one of the oldest and largest specimens in the arboretum. It is located between the Witt Winter Garden and Azalea Way.
This tree species was valued by the local Salish tribes who called it the “tree of life” as it provided them with bark for clothing, dried leaves for a medicinal tea, and planks for longhouses among many other uses.
Our August Free Weekend Walk’s topic is Native Plants & People; a knowledgeable guide will talk about this tree and various other native plants and their ethnobotanical uses.

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Summer Camp in Full Swing!

July 22nd, 2014 by Arboretum Education Supervisor, Patrick Mulligan

UW Botanic Gardens Summer Camps are in full swing at the Arboretum as we begin Week 4: “Tadpoles & Whirligigs”. Last week’s “Don’t Bug Out” camp was a big hit with our 6 – 12 year old audience, and to go along with the theme, we gave our 48 campers a survey about insects. Surprisingly, though most kids thought that if insects were human-sized, ants would most likely take over the world, “flying” was the more desired insect super power with “ant strength” barely registering. See below for all the results, and follow this link if you’d like to take the survey yourself! https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/M6P29LK

 

kids_Bug_Survey_Page_1 kids_Bug_Survey_Page_2

kids_Bug_Survey_Page_3

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Art Exhibit: Oil Paintings by Kathleen Wolfe opens August 5

July 22nd, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

Wolfe paintingSeattle Parks and the Northwest
Artist Kathleen Wolfe celebrates her love of nature with oil paintings on canvas featuring poppies, water lilies and landscape with majestic trees. Her paintings will be on display in the Miller Library from August 5th to September 16th.

Meet the artist at a free reception at the Elisabeth C. Miller Library on Wednesday, August 13th from 5:00 to 7:00pm. 3501 NE 41st Street, Seattle.

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July Color Appears at the Washington Park Arboretum

July 12th, 2014 by UWBG Horticulturist
Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (July 7 - 20, 2014)

Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (July 7 – 20, 2014)

“Sporting Wood”

1)    White Ash    (Fraxinus americana)

  • Tough, plentiful, and easily bent into curves, Ash is used in tennis racquets, billiard cues, skis, and baseball bats.
  • White Ash is native to eastern and central North America.
  • This cutting is from the cultivar ‘Rose Hill’, located in grid 47-3E near the Lagoons.

2)   Common Box    (Buxus sempervirens)

  • Used for crocquet balls because of its hardness.
  • Native to Europe, northern Africa and western Asia.
  • The cultivar here is ‘Argentea’ from grid 5-B in our Boxwood Collection.

3)   American Hop Hornbeam    (Ostrya virginiana)

  • The first ice hockey sticks were made from the dense wood of this small tree in the mid-19th century until the 1930s by the Mi’kmaq people of Nova Scotia.
  • Ostrya virginiana is native to eastern North America.
  • The Arboretum has two trees in grids 19-3W and 24-4W.
Close-up photo of Persimmon flowers

Close-up photo of Persimmon flowers

4)   Persimmon    (Diospyros virginiana)

  • The “woods” of golf (drivers, not Tiger’s) were typically made from this American member of the ebony family from which it inherits its extreme density.
  • Persimmon is most common in the southeastern United States.
  • In the Arboretum, they are in grids 12-1W and 12-2W, north of the Boyer Street parking lot.

5)   Sugar Maple    (Acer saccharum)

  • Commonly called “rock” maple by those who value its hardness and smooth grain.
  • This native of eastern North America provides wood for bowling alleys, bowling pins, basketball courts, and baseball bats.
  • The Arboretum has several cultivars in various locations.

Sources:

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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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