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.

DIY Wetlands In a Bottle

July 8th, 2016 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant

BottleWetlandJoelBidnickWetlands rely on the right balance of invertebrates, plants, water, and nutrients to stay healthy. In this class you will learn about plants and animals living in our nearby wetlands, and you will build your very own mini-ecosystem for your living room or office. Learn to care for your bottle so that it thrives month after month. Watch your community of plants, zooplankton, and detritovores evolve everyday. Bring your own bottle, and we’ll supply the rest of the materials.

What: Make your own wetlands in a bottle class

When:  Tuesday, August 9, 2016, 7 – 8:30pm

WhereCenter for Urban Horticulture, Douglas Classroom (3501 NE 41st St
Seattle, WA 98105)

Cost: $30

How: Register Online, or by phone (206-685-8033)

Photo by instructor Joel Bidnick

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.

July 2016 Plant Profile: Phormium cookianum

July 1st, 2016 by Kathleen DeMaria, Arboretum Gardener

Phormium cookianum at the Washington Park ArboretumThis smaller, lesser known relative of Phormium tenax is one of only two species found in the genus Phormium, and is credited as the parent that gives the graceful arching form to many hybrids. The plant is a native of New Zealand, where it is widely grown for its valuable fiber; hence the name, Phormium, which is Greek for basket. Māori used the leaves of both species for weaving baskets, mats, ropes, clothing, fishing nets and head-bands. Using a sharp mussel, leaves were cut and the fleshy green substance was stripped off down to the fiber. After the fiber (called Muka) was exposed, several more processes of washing, bleaching, dying and drying would yield fibers of various strengths and softness.

The handmade flax cording and rope had such great tensile strength that they were used to bind together hollowed-out logs to create ocean-worthy canoes. It was also used to make rigging, sails, roofs for housing, and frayed ends of leaves were fashioned into torches for use at night. Roots yielded materials to make medicine, and nectar and pollen were obtained from the flowers to make face paint.

Phormium cookianum at the Washington Park Arboretum

Combining function and form, P. cookianum boasts yellowish-orange flowers on towering spikes that, unlike the vertical flower spikes of P. tenax, angle out from the plant’s crown. The seed pods resemble long black bean pods, and can weigh the inflorescence back nearly to the ground. This Phormium can grow in sun or partial shade and will tolerate fairly dry conditions but prefers moderate water.

This summer is the first year our Phormium cookianum is blooming here in our nascent New Zealand garden, and the show is not to be missed. In the United States we mostly use Phormium as a strong architectural element in the garden and a fantastic hummingbird attractor, but in New Zealand this monocot’s connection to the history of a nation cannot be unwoven.

Botanic Name: Phormium cookianum (syn. Phormium colensoi)
Family: Asphodelaceae
Common Name: New Zealand Flax, Wharariki in Māori
Location: New Zealand Garden in the Pacific Connections, Washington Park Arboretum
Origin: Endemic to New Zealand
Height and Spread: 4-5 feet tall. Mature clumps can be 8-10 feet wide with leaves 2-3 inches wide.
Bloom Time: June/July in Seattle, November in New Zealand

Phormium cookianum at the Washington Park Arboretum

New digital collection created to complement UW Botanic Gardens Oral History

June 27th, 2016 by Tech Librarian, Tracy Mehlin

graham visitor center at washingto park arboretumPatrons listening to the oral history narrators reminiscing about the Washington Park Arboretum might wonder what the heck they are talking about. Why was there a debate about the purpose of the Arboretum?

In an effort to give listeners historic context the Miller Library invited UW Information School grad student Katie Mayer to create a digital collection drawn from the Library’s archives. Last spring quarter, Katie  listened to a sample of the recordings, selected themes, and explored the archives of the Miller Library, UW Special Collections and the Miller Botanical Garden. In order to keep the project manageable, but also expandable, Katie developed criteria for which documents should be digitized. Finally, she selected the most useful reports, minutes, articles and correspondence, scanned the items and assigned metadata. Metadata (such as dates and descriptions) will help people decide which items they might want to read.

Now the Oral History Complementary Documents allow patrons to listen to narrations and then read the reports to learn the points of view of various decision makers and interested neighbors. Other documents give insight into the influential plantswoman Elisabeth Miller’s passion for public horticulture and her deep interest in plants.


report snippet

A UW report from 1972 proposing a shift toward a traditional botanic garden management system and away from a park model.

 

plant list

A snippet of a plant list Betty Miller drafted to be considered for landscaping the McVay Courtyard from 1985

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

 

 

 

Tour a Lavender Farm

June 7th, 2016 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant

Lavender2_woodinvillelavenderJoin Master Gardener Tom Frei for a talk and tour at the Woodinville Lavender Farm. Summer is the best time to view (and take in the scent) of lavender blooms!

Tom has been working with his wife and children to develop Woodinville Lavender since 2008. They are currently growing over 3000 plants and 25 varieties. Tom will discuss the history, botany, selection, care, and uses of lavender and lead us on a tour of the gardens. Lavender refreshments will be provided!

Afterwards, feel free to enjoy the gardens on your own, and don’t forget to stop in the shop where you can find all things lavender related!

What: Talk and Tour of Woodinville Lavender

When: Thursday, June 30, 1-2:30pm

Where: Woodinville Lavender, 14223 Woodinville Redmond Rd NW, Redmond, WA (about a 30 minute drive from Seattle)

Cost: $25/person

Register:  Online or by phone (206-685-8033)

Photos Courtesy of Woodinville Lavender

lavender_woodinvillelavender

Tom, harvesting a bunch of lavender

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:
http://depts.washington.edu/uwbg/gardens/map.html.

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.


 

RobynBoothby

 

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.

 

 


DaveGifford

 

 

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.


 

 

 

 

Plants, Predators, and Food Webs

June 3rd, 2016 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant
lupinbee-644879_960_720pd

How could this pollinator be affected by a predator consuming a herbivore?

What is a food web and and how does each part interact? Ecological relationships between plants and animals can be complex. Plants produce food for many animals, forming the basis for food chains and shaping a community. Herbivores consume plants and have evolved special adaptations for digesting them. Herbivores can influence plants directly, through consumption, but plants can also experience ‘indirect effects’ through predators who control the herbivores. For example, wolf re-introduction in Yellowstone has increased willow tree growth by controlling the elk that eat them. Plant pollinators can also be affected by predators, indirectly benefiting plant reproduction and survival.  We will explore how plants can be affected by predators of herbivores in the food chain and explore trophic cascades.

Cost: Free! Optional $5 donation at the door supports our education programs
Please RSVP online, by phone (206-685-8033) or email (urbhort@uw.edu)

Instructor Leeanna Pletcher is an Assistant in the Saplings Education Program at University of Washington Botanical Gardens where she teaches elementary school groups about forests, wetlands, and ecology through hands-on activities, games and observation. She has taught biology as an Adjunct Instructor at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. Her research interest is Ecology.

How do wolves, willow and elk interact?

How do wolves, willow and elk interact?