The University of Washington Botanic Garden was ranked as one of the top University gardens, tied with three other gardens by Best Colleges Online. Gardens were scored on a number of criteria, including number of plant species, and presence of a horticultural library, education and conservation programs. With the Washington Park Arboretum enormous woody plant collection and the Center for Urban Horticulture’s numerous opportunities for formal and informal education it is no surprise that we ranked in the top of the list of 50 reviewed gardens.
Night time is special at the Arboretum – the people and cars are gone, and the nocturnal animals move about. Night hikes are a chance for us to explore our senses, search for crepuscular and nocturnal movements in the forest and learn about night-related animal adaptations. Programs are designed for families with children aged 5-12 though all ages are welcome! We will meet at the Graham Visitors Center (2300 Arboretum Dr E)
2015 Summer Dates
- Saturday, July 11, 8:30-10:00pm
- Saturday, July 25, 8:00-9:30pm – CANCELED
- Saturday, August 8, 8:00-9:30pm
- Saturday, August 22, 7:30-9:00pm
Cost is $8 per person
Register online or call 206-685-8033
Pre-registration is required. This allows our instructor to properly plan and prepare for each class so that you and your family can get the most out of it. Drop-ins are not accepted.
The US Forest Service recognized Washington Rare Plant Care and Conservation – including hundreds of trained volunteers from all parts of the state who, in the past 14 years, have participated in the rare plant monitoring citizen science project – by awarding Rare Care its Regional Volunteer Award for Citizen Stewardship & Partnerships.
When Lauri Malmquist, district botanist with the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, nominated Rare Care, she wrote, “As staffing and funding to the Botany/Ecology Program on the Okanogan-Wenatchee NF continue to decline, [Rare Care’s] rare plant monitoring program has played a vital role in continuing the monitoring necessary to provide critically needed information on the status of Washington State’s rare plant species. . . . Many rare plant populations have not been visited in a decade or more due to diminishing Federal funding and capacity. The scarcity of updated information on these plants puts them at risk of extirpation as a result of development, invasive species competition and other threats. All USFS Forests in Washington State have benefitted from this volunteer effort. . .”
Toward the end of each year, Rare Care consults with federal, state and other public land managers across the state to develop a list of the most urgent monitoring priorities for the coming year. Then each volunteer chooses an assignment and sets off at the proper season in search of one of Washington’s 3,500 rare plant populations. Finally, Rare Care compiles their data, maps and sketches and distributes them to the appropriate land managers and the Washington Natural Heritage Program (WNHP). Land managers use the data in making land use decisions. The WNHP maintains the state’s rare plant database and determines the status of each species.
This year, Rare Care volunteers are searching in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest for the threatened Thompson’s clover (Trifolium thompsonii) and the sensitive obscure paintbrush (Castilleja cryptantha), longsepal globemallow (Iliamna longisepala) and Seely’s silene (Silene seelyi), among other species. To prepare for their field visits, they pore over previous reports, maps and other documentation. But there’s a catch. The documentation comes in many degrees of specificity! Plus, things change over the years. Roads are decommissioned. Trails are rerouted. Invasive species crowd out native species. Native vegetation grows into tangles of underbrush. Logging operations and fires change the face of the landscape.
Last year in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, with only vague location information to go on and crossing snowfields and camping along the way, three volunteers relocated a two-square-meter population of glaucous gentian (Gentiana glauca) that hadn’t been documented since 1966. Two years ago, two volunteers traipsed through underbrush in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest to find a single Wenatchee larkspur (Delphinium viridescens) remaining at a site that had grown into a young forest since the population was previously observed.
Rare Care is delighted to receive this US Forest Service Award in recognition of these dedicated volunteers and their substantial achievements.
1) Cornus controversa Giant Dogwood
- A rounded deciduous tree bearing spreading, tiered branches and alternate, elliptic leaves, C. controversa can potentially reach 40 feet in height. White flowers are borne in large, flattened cymes in early summer. Following the flowers, masses of deep red fruit develop, changing to blue-black.
- Native to China, the Himalayas and Japan, C. controversa is less cold tolerant than our native dogwoods. This specimen is located along Azalea Way near the Hybrid Bed.
2) Kalmia latifolila Mountain Laurel
- A dense, bushy shrub with glossy, dark green leaves and large corymbs of cup-shaped flowers, Kalmia latifolia is native to North America. Thought by many to be our country’s most beautiful flowering shrub, it is the state flower of both Connecticut and Pennsylvania.
- This specimen is located along the lower trail, near Rhododendron Glen.
3) Quercus robur ‘Concordia’ Golden English Oak
- A standout specimen amongst the late spring flush of green, Q. robur ‘Concordia’ offers us bright yellow young foliage which will eventually turn color in the fall.
- It is located on the east side of Azalea Way near the Woodland Garden.
4) Pterocarya stenoptera Chinese Wingnut
- A large spreading tree with long pinnate leaves and winged green fruit produced in pendent spikes up to 12 inches in length. Wingnuts are a member of the plant family Juglandaceae.
- This specimen is located at the south end of the nut flats, just west of Azalea Way.
5) Staphylea pinnata Bladdernut
- A deciduous shrub up to 15 feet high, S. pinnata is known for its curious bladder-like fruits in late spring and early summer. This specimen is located amongst the True Ashes, west of Azalea Way.
An Osprey nesting pole was installed yesterday in Union Bay Natural Area (UBNA). Located near Carp pond in the SE corner of UBNA loop trail. UW Athletic Dept funded the project when it was realized Osprey were being attracted to nesting in ball fields’ lighting across the way. Hopefully now, people will be safe from falling branches and Osprey will have more appropriate digs to settle into.
Jim Kaiser, consulting wildlife biologist and owner of Osprey Solutions, was hired to do the install. Jim has installed over 300 Osprey nesting poles in the PNW. He is one of the most knowledgeable biologists on Osprey and has quite a fascinating and experienced repertoire in creating new homes for them.
For more information on Osprey and their nests, please visit:
Once again our Summer Camps have grown. Now spanning 10-weeks, we will host hundreds of budding scientists and naturalists at the Washington Park Arboretum and the Center for Urban Horticulture. Our amazing staff comes from all over North America and possesses tremendous experience and knowledge.
Michelle grew up in Springfield, IL and earned her bachelor’s degree in wildlife ecology from Michigan Technological University in Houghton, MI. For the last two years, she has lived in St. Petersburg, FL and recently relocated to Seattle. While in Florida, she worked as a substitute teacher and taught robotics classes for the Sylvan Learning Center. Her two summers in Florida were spent working as a summer camp instructor for Mote Marine Laboratory and the Florida Aquarium. She has worked for seven seasons at various Boy Scout and YMCA camps throughout the US and Canada. Michelle loves the outdoors and enjoys hiking, backpacking and camping.
A lifelong resident of the Pacific Northwest, Bailey loves nothing more than learning in the outdoors with students of all ages! She graduated from the University of Washington in 2011 with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology: Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation and has since earned graduate certificates in Museum Studies and Education for the Environment and Community. Bailey has enjoyed conducting Biological research in South Africa, the San Juan Islands, and in laboratories at the UW, but she has found that working with kids is what she enjoys best. Since the 9th grade she has been combining her love of science with her passion for education and conservation by working and volunteering with the Seattle Aquarium, Pacific Science Center, Woodland Park Zoo, and IslandWood. Bailey is currently coaching gymnastics and pursuing a Master’s in Education from the University of Washington and she is thrilled to spend her summer exploring the gorgeous Arboretum with Seattle’s youth. Bailey loves reading, dancing, teaching, eating tacos and grilled cheese sandwiches, and meeting invertebrates.
Katy grew up on the east side of the mountains in Yakima, Washington. She enjoys hiking, rafting, swimming, and just about any activity where she can be outside! In addition to exploring nature, Katy also loves to explore other parts of the world. In fact, she has lived in two South American countries; both Ecuador and Argentina. Katy is a current junior studying Spanish and Education at the University of Washington. Last summer, she worked as an assistant instructor at the Yakima Arboretum and is very excited to continue to do similar work here in Seattle!
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.
Casey studies Biology at University of Washington and has been involved with science education since she was in high school. For the past two years she has taught summer camps at Pacific Science Center. Casey has experience volunteering with Mountains to Sound Greenway and works on undergraduate research at UW. She is excited to share her love of nature and wildlife during her first summer at the Arboretum!
Morgan Wright, Preschool Garden Guide
Morgan was born in British Columbia and lived at WindSong Cohousing until moving to Seattle in 2000. She graduated last year from the Community, Environment, and Planning program at the University of Washington. Since then, Morgan has traveled to Israel, ridden her bicycle from Seattle to Yellowstone, interned for YES! Magazine, and continued the work she loves best: teaching and caring for children of all ages. She is passionate about community, education, and ecology. In her free time, Morgan loves to bike, cook, make art, and spend time with her family and friends in Seattle.
Dave Gifford, Camp Coordinator
Originally from Philadelphia, Dave has been exploring and teaching in the Pacific Northwest for over seven years in a number of different programs. Recently he taught at the University Child Development School and at environmental education programs in the Seattle area including Islandwood on Bainbridge Island. Last Summer Dave was a Garden Guide at the Arboretum and is excited to return as the Camp Coordinator. Dave loves hiking the Cascades and exploring the beaches of the Sound. He also enjoys working on community projects and volunteering
This small tree, commonly grown for its stunning reddish-brown bark, offers exceptional features throughout the year. Stewartia monadelpha, otherwise known as tall stewartia or orangebark stewartia, is just getting ready to come into bloom this month. Its white camellia-like flowers burst forth in early summer, followed by interesting brown seed pods and rich russet fall color. This species is planted in UW Botanic Gardens’ collections at both the Washington Park Arboretum and Center for Urban Horticulture.
Stewartia monadelpha is a member of the Camellia family. The small, white cup-shaped flowers last up to four weeks and have petals with smooth edges. This tree is best grown in partial shade but can handle full sun in the Pacific Northwest. It makes an excellent specimen tree for the home landscape.
Common Name: Tall Stewartia or Orangebark Stewartia
Location: Washington Park Arboretum: Camellia collection, Winter Garden; Center for Urban Horticulture: Event Lawn
Height and Spread: 20-25’ tall, 15-25’ wide
Bloom Time: June
By John A. Wott, Director Emeritus
This month’s Glimpse is about the ‘Legend of the Flamingos and the Silver Egg’ featured at the recent celebration honoring Dr. Harold B. Tukey, Jr., and the founding of the Center for Urban Horticulture. Dr. Tukey arrived in Seattle in May 1980 and one year later, several new faculty and staff were added.
During that time period, the American public had been ‘poking fun’ at the profusion of inexpensive (rather cheap) plastic ornaments which had been flooding our marketplaces. The urban landscape took on a new look with its plastic balls, animals, statues, pet rocks, etc. It was inevitable that a symbol from that urban environment should be chosen for the fledgling CUH.
The two first graduate students in the program, Sharon Buck and Cindy Maitland, decided that a pair of pink flamingos should be part of the CUH display and proudly presented them to Dr. Tukey on May 31, 1981, as members of the CUH Alumni Association. The faculty and staff were excited and decided to hold a naming contest, voting by secret ballot, with the names of ‘Xylem’ and ‘Phloem’ chosen. The following holiday season, and in subsequent seasons, the proud ‘parents’ were joined by a large silver egg in a CUH courtyard display.
The presentation of a pair of flamingos occurred for each new faculty and staff member hired, often appearing spontaneously on their front lawn or porch. I was given a pair which I proudly named ‘Burt’ and ‘Ethel’, who proudly presided on my deck overlooking Lake Union. Flamingos often appeared in many ways during the next few years around CUH. In 1994, six appeared on my new home lawn, causing the neighbors to wonder about their new neighbor.
Today, flamingos come in many assorted colors and themes, including Husky mascot colors. While reminiscing with Dr. Tukey at the Celebration, he remarked how much we were all full of the new doctrine for urban horticulture in the 1980’s, but the addition of the plastic flamingos brought us back to our relevancy to the urban environment. Recently two of my new neighbors have been officially “Flocked” through a legitimate business. While ‘Xylem’ and ‘Phloem’ have long disintegrated, their prototypes live on.
Our new summer catalog is out, and we have a lot to offer in the next few months! Introducing Yoga in the Arboretum, Botanical Sketching in Ink and Watercolor, new Monday Night Lite free classes, a series on sustainable home gardening, and of course plenty of ProHort classes for our professionals and advanced gardeners.
Here is a taste of what’s coming this summer:
6 class series (the first 2 dates are free!)
Saturdays, July 11 and 18, August 8-29th from 9:30-11am
Join yoga teacher Aliette Frank in the Arboretum for some fun exploration of yoga in outdoor environments. Using elements of breath (pranayama), posture (asana), and focused gaze (drishti), we tune into nature and ground into our environment. Class is great for beginners through advanced practitioners.
4 Monday Mornings, 10am-12pm, August 10-24
Capture the essence of flowers and foliage in this 4-part class with simple, quick techniques and portable materials! While using the beautiful perennial beds and borders at the Center for Urban Horticulture as a backdrop, you will be guided in an intuitive approach to sketching with pen, layering watercolor washes, and gathering tips that can be applied to everyday sketching.
Monday Night Lites
These free monthly talks coincide with Monday late-open hours at the Miller Library and the Hyde Herbarium, as well as the clinic offered by King County Master Gardeners. Classes are always from 6:30-7:30pm and feature a variety of topics accessible to all audiences.
- Planting for Pollinators ( July 6)
- UW Farm Tour and Talk (August 3)
- Culinary Herbs (September 14)
Sustainable Home Gardening Practices
Learn to keep your yard looking spiffy the right way.
- Building Healthy Soil (June 27)
- Water-wise Gardening (July 15)
- Natural Pest and Disease Control for Edibles (August 1)
Don’t forget our professional series (ProHort) for landscape professionals and advanced home gardeners. Professional Credits available. Topics this summer include:
- Building Support for the Urban Forest Using a Social Marketing Approach (June 18)
- Tour the Traps: WSDA Pest Detection in Action (June 30, July 14, August 4)
- Arboretum Plant Study: Seasonal Plant ID and Culture (July 23)
- Summer Pruning of Trees and Shrubs (July 30)
- The Importance of Soil Microbes in Maintaining Plant Health (August 20)
- Cabling, Bracing, and Staking Trees (September 17)
This summer, check out a good book
We hope summer brings you sun, fresh air, and time to read. On display this month in the northwest corner you’ll find a few off-the-beaten-path selections to engage your intellect this summer. With topics ranging from poetry to environmental policy and history to biography, there’s something for every reader. See recommended titles in the Garden of Ideas list of books available to borrow from the Miller Library.
[Originally appeared in Leaflet for Scholars e-newsletter.]