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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Summer Classes at the Botanic Gardens

June 6th, 2014 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant

Summer is the perfect time to learn about plants. Once you are finished with your class, you can actually put your new knowledge to work, whether its learning about unusual hydrangeas to add to your landscape, maintaining your trees or shrubs, or just getting outside to enjoy a farm tour!

Register Online!

Take a look at some of our upcoming classes:

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Enjoying the wonderful scent of lavender on last years tour!

Woodinville Lavender Tour

What could be better than smelling the scent of a bouquet of lavender? Smelling 3 acres! Join Tom Frei, Master Gardener, on his lavender farm and learn a little about the uses, the care and types of lavender. There will even be lavender teas and cookies as we listen to Tom, then a tour of the 25 varieties of lavender grown there.

Here’s what people had to say about last years tour:

“I really enjoyed this session. It was gorgeous, relaxed, useful, the snacks were tasty and the store was full of things I wanted.”

“I had a thoroughly enjoyable experience just learning more about lavender. Loved discovering this new gem and will definitely be back to visit the farm in the future!”

More information…

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One of the many lovely hydrangeas from the Washington Park Arboretum

 

 

Curator Talks: Hydrangea Family

Go behind the scenes and learn about the interesting and unusual members of the Hydrangea family. Curator Ray Larsen will discuss the rare, the weird, and his favorite members of the Hydrangea family. Take notes on the handy map that will be provided, and find them on your next trip to the Arboretum!

More information…

 

 

 

Hedges are often pruned in the summer

Hedges are often pruned in the summer

 

Pruning Shrubs and Trees: The Summer Advantage

Is your garden looking overgrown? Are you unsure of how to manage it? Summer may be the best time to prune it! Learn what can and can’t be achieved through pruning in the summer with certified arborist Chris Pfeiffer. This is a 2 part class that includes a lecture and a trip to a homeowner’s residence where we will have a practical demonstration! Let us know if your garden may be a potential candidate for the field demonstration section of the class.

More information…

 

 

 

compost

The “black gold” of the gardening community.

The Hows, Whys and Uses of Kitchen & Garden Composting

Take a quick tour into the world of compost! Join Master Gardener and compost enthusiast Fred Wemer for a look into the hows, whys and what you can do with compost made from your kitchen or garden in this FREE class.

More information…

 

 

 

 

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Part of the New Zealand Garden

Wednesday Walk with John Wott: Touring the Pacific Connections Garden

 

Wouldn’t it be great if you could travel through Cascadia, Australia, China, Chile and New Zealand all in one day? In the Washington Park Arboretum’s Pacific Connections Garden, you can! In this garden, you will find amazing plants from five countries connected by the Pacific Ocean. In addition to the beautiful entry gardens, you can venture more deeply into the plantings of Cascadia and New Zealand, and learn about the ongoing progress and future plans for the newest and largest project in the Arboretum this century.

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The strange-looking Monkey Puzzle Tree

Join John Wott, Professor Emeritus and former Arboretum Director, for a new series of walking tours at the UW Botanic Gardens’ Washington Park Arboretum. Dr. Wott will discuss the history of the Arboretum, overall design, and changes over time. Throughout the year, each walk will feature plants that offer us seasonal highlights. These walks take routes that are well-suited for visitors with limited mobility.

More information…

Class dates, locations and pricing can also be found our class catalog as well as additional classes.

You can always call 206-685-8033 or email urbhort@uw.edu with questions; we are happy to answer them!

Register online!

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June 2014 Plant Profile: Philadelphus lewisii

June 3rd, 2014 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

Philadelphus lewisii portrait 1The beginning of June boasts boisterous and abundant blooms and this native shrub is no exception. Starting in late May, an otherwise nondescript shrub begins to draw attention as masses of single white flowers suddenly begin to pop open creating a blizzard of deliciously scented clusters that cover a straggly shrub from top to bottom.

 

P. lewisii growing in the upland forest restoration site out in UBNA.

P. lewisii growing in the upland forest restoration site out in UBNA.

Found in open forests in low-mid elevations, Philadelphus lewisii is highly adaptable to the garden where it becomes a large shrub and requires only well-drained soil, moderate moisture, and full sun to part shade. It seems to tolerate competition from other plants very well, but requires some pruning to keep its size in check and to remove dead or non-productive  wood.

A established specimen in full bloom along the entrance into UBNA

A established specimen in full bloom along the entrance into UBNA

Philadelphus lewisii portrait 2

 

Common Name:  Lewis’s Mock Orange
Location: Union Bay Natural Area
Origin: Pacific NW Native
Height and Spread: 6-7′ tall and about 5-7′ wide
Bloom/Fruit Time: Late May – Early July

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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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Stormwater Garden gets new plants

May 23rd, 2014 by Heidi Unruh, UWBG Communications Volunteer

McVay_Stairs_DesignPacific Coast Hybrid Irises, Yucca Filamentosa, and many varieties of Hebe are just a few of the plants you’ll see in the newly planted beds around the Stormwater Garden. The garden is irrigated from an underground cistern fed by roof runoff as well as from filtering and stormwater collection pools at the bottom of the garden.

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The garden is located just off the McVay courtyard at the Center for Urban Horticulture and features a solar fountain. Come check it out!

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Gabion walls allow water to drain while retaining the slope soil. Pacific coast hybrid irises are charming perennials that flower in May.


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$1 Seed Packets at the Miller Library

May 23rd, 2014 by Heidi Unruh, UWBG Communications Volunteer

photo(1) Did you know that the Miller Library has  fresh seed packets collected from Hardy Plant Society of Washington member gardens? And that they are only $1 per packet? And that proceeds benefit the Miller Library? Come get them before they are gone!

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

May 18th, 2014 by UWBG Horticulturist
Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (May 12 – May 25, 2014)

Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (May 12 – May 25, 2014)

“That’s Ancient History”

1)   Cedrus libani      (Cedar of Lebanon)

  • The Cedar of Lebanon has been prized for its high quality timber, oils and resins for thousands of years.
  • It was used by the Phoenicians and Egyptians and was mentioned in the Epic of Gilgamesh.
  • Because of its significance, the word “cedar” is mentioned 75 times in the Bible, and played a pivotal role in the cementing of the Phoenician-Hebrew relationship.

2)   Helleborus niger      (Black Hellebore, Christmas Rose)

  • Helleborus niger is commonly called the Christmas rose due to an old legend that it sprouted in the snow from the tears of a young girl who had no gift to give the Christ child in Bethlehem.
  • During the Siege of Kirrha in 585 B.C., Hellebore was reportedly used by the Greek besiegers to poison the city’s water supply. The defenders were subsequently so weakened by diarrhea that they were unable to defend the city from assault.

3)   Laurus nobilis      (Bay Laurel, Sweet Bay)

  • Bay Laurel was used to fashion the laurel wreath of ancient Greece, a symbol of highest status. A wreath of bay laurels was given as the prize at the Pythian Games because the games were in honor of Apollo, and the Laurel was one of his symbols.
  • In the Bible, the Laurel is often an emblem of prosperity and fame. In Christian tradition, it symbolizes the resurrection of Christ.

4)   Rhododendron ponticum

  • Xenophon described the odd behavior of Greek soldiers after having consumed honey in a village surrounded by Rhododendron ponticum during the March of the Ten Thousand in 401 B.C.
  • Pompey’s soldiers reportedly suffered lethal casualties following the consumption of honey made from rhododendron deliberately left behind by Pontic forces in 67 B.C. during the Third Mithridatic War. Later, it was recognized that honey resulting from these plants has a slightly hallucinogenic and laxative effect.

5)   Taxus baccata      (English or European Yew)

  • One of the world’s oldest surviving wooden artifacts is a Clactonian yew spear head, found in 1911 in Essex, U.K. It is estimated to be about 450,000 years old.
  • A passage by Caesar narrates that Catuvolcus, chief of the Eburones poisoned himself with yew rather than submit to Rome (Gallic Wars 6:31).
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A Treasure Trove of Trilliums!

May 9th, 2014 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant

Enjoying our snacks and tea while learning about trilliums

Our latest offsite tour to the Cottage Lake Gardens was a resounding success! The treats and tea were delicious, (and the trillium-themed china was exquisite), the presentation was informative and entertaining, and rain held off until the very end of the tour!

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Trillium cuneatum

 

 

We toured the woodland garden of Susie Egan, owner of Cottage Lake Gardens and self-described “Trillium Lady”. Her lovely gardens had not only all 46 species of Trillium but also a wonderful assortment of other spring ephemerals and other shade loving plants. Her passion for all things Trillium was evident as she showed us around her well-marked and -tended garden, answered any and all questions, and  even struck a few bargains at the end of the tour.

Ladyslipper Orchid

Ladyslipper Orchid

 

 

 

Everyone left feeling happy, full, and best of all, going home with a few trilliums or other rare plants of their own. Susie was a gracious host, and if you ever get a chance to visit her garden or bed and breakfast, you will not be disappointed!

 

 

 

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Everyone had a good time!


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