A glimpse into the past: the early years of FlorAbundance

April 2nd, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

By John A. Wott, Directory Emeritus

The first major plant sale in Seattle (now called FlorAbundance) was sponsored by the Arboretum Foundation as a fund raiser for what was then the University of Washington Arboretum. The sales were originally held in a small building called Floral Hall, which later burned down. As the plant sale grew, it was moved to the small cluster of buildings on the northern end of the Arboretum.

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An eager crowd of shoppers line up waiting to get into the 1982 FlorAbundance sale. Photo by John A. Wott.

When the Graham Visitors Center and its larger parking lots were opened in 1986, this increased the available sale area. Eventually the sale outgrew this location as well. First, it was moved to an outdoor area on the Naval Station Puget Sound grounds where the volunteers almost froze with the cold winds. Then for several years it was held in the E-1 Parking lot on the University of Washington campus.   Although the parking lot had plenty of space, it also had hot sun, beating winds, and no shelter from heavy rains. It also had little electricity and water. After the Puget Sound Naval Station was “given” to the City of Seattle and become Warren G. Magnuson Park, Building 30 became an ideal home for many years. While that building underwent renovation during 2012 and 2013, the sale returned to the Arboretum. This year, FlorAbundance will again return to Building 30 at Magnuson Park.

For many years, the Plant Sale was managed through the Unit Council, an organized sub-group of the Arboretum Foundation. The many AF Units were represented in the Unit Council. The AF members often raised the plants which were sold, or the chair of each section (e.g. trees, perennials) secured those plants from nurseries. Today it is primarily a vendor’s sale composed of area nurseries and garden centers.

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A sale volunteer decked out in a floristic fancy hat. Photo by John A. Wott

Both pictures were taken by me on May 5, 1982 during the first sale I attended. The first shot shows the line-up of attendees at the entrance from Foster Island Drive onto Arboretum Drive. When the rope was dropped, there was a massive stampede to grab the most unusual plants. For many years, after that, it was my privilege to manage the massive line-ups for the cashiers. The second picture features Lee Clarke, a long-time volunteer (and resident poet). Many of the volunteers loved to dress up and wear fancy hats. They obviously enjoyed the customers and working for the Arboretum and its sales.

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Opening Night tickets now available

December 26th, 2013 by UWBG Communication Staff

photoThe Arboretum Foundation host’s the Opening Night Party and Auction at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show. This year the party is on Tuesday, February 4th. Guests will enjoy strolling through the fabulous display gardens with a glass a wine.  The money raised at the event supports the Washington Park Arboretum. Purchase tickets and learn more.

 

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FlorAbundance: Seattle’s best plant sale moves back to the Arboretum

April 17th, 2012 by Tech Librarian, Tracy Mehlin

photoIf you only make it to one plant sale this spring be sure not to miss FlorAbundance held on April 28th and 29 at the Washington Park Arboretum. The Arboretum Foundation, with many, many volunteers organize and host the sale that features dozens of specialty nursery vendors and expert help from the King County Master Gardeners.

Complete information on the Arboretum Foundation site.

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Flower Show Preview Party Tickets Now On Sale

January 26th, 2012 by Tech Librarian, Tracy Mehlin

preview party ticket Tickets to the annual Opening Night Party at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show (February 7) are now on sale! You can purchase tickets online, by phone at 206-325-4510, or over the counter at the Arboretum Shop. Prices start at $65 for Foundation members, as well as for members of the Seattle Audubon Society, our partners at this year’s show. Enjoy wine, food, live entertainment, silent auctions, and a first look at the fabulous displays in the Flower Show. Our 2012 preview party and display garden have an avian theme. Opening Night is presented by the Arboretum Foundation as a benefit for Washington Park Arboretum.

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Oral History of UWBG Open House Nov. 1

September 28th, 2011 by Carrie Bowman

Oral History of Washington Park Arboretum, the Arboretum Foundation and the Center for Urban Horticulture

Graham Visitor Center

In 2010, a combined effort of many donors, led by John Wott, funded an oral history project, administered by the Miller Library. Carrie Bowman is supervising the project; Shelly Leavens was hired last November and spent the past ten months conducting research and interviewing people. People with long term associations with the Washington Park Arboretum, the Arboretum Foundation, and/or the Center for Urban Horticulture were invited to participate. Carrie, with the help of many others, looked for narrators who fulfilled multiple roles within these organizations, as well as seeking narrators from outside them.

The collection of interviews is an open door to our history. The intent of this phase of the project was to collect a variety of interviews, index them so that people can determine what was discussed, and organize them so that materials relevant to each interview are gathered in one place. Research materials, field notes, indexes, and narrator data sheets are all included with the interviews. This collection will remain in the Miller Library and will be available for public use. Arboretum Bulletin article.

The public is invited to a presentation of the project on Tuesday, November 1, from 5 – 7 pm in the Miller Library. Several displays will showcase the interview collection and will remain on exhibit in the library from Oct 21 until the week of Nov 20. The displays include audio clips from the interviews, set up so that people can browse at 5-10 different “stations.” Light refreshments will be provided.

Merrill Hall photo

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Plant Sale Season Now in Full Swing

April 28th, 2011 by Tech Librarian, Tracy Mehlin

Trillium chloropetalum

  • FlorAbundance at Warren G. Magnuson Park, Building 30 Saturday, April 30, 9 am to 5 pm Sunday, May 1, 10 am to 2p m Benefits the Washington Park Arboretum
  • Master Gardener Foundation Plant Sale at the Center for Urban Horticulture, Saturday,  May 7,  8 am to 5 pm and Sunday, May 8, 10 am to 3 pm
  • Hardy Fern Foundation’s Fern Festival 2011, Center for Urban Horticulture, Friday, June 3, 1 pm to 6:30 pm and Saturday June 4, 10 am to 2 pm

For a complete list of plant sales all over the Pacific Northwest (especially Washington) check out the Miller Library’s Garden Tours & Plant Sales Calendar!

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Arboretum Foundation urges UW Interim President Wise to Maintain Washington Park Arboretum Funding

March 22nd, 2011 by Tech Librarian, Tracy Mehlin

Rhododendron hybrid by Ethan WeltyIn late February UW Interim President Phyllis Wise sent a report to the Washington State Legislature regarding potential budget cuts at UW specifically naming the Washington Park Arboretum. In response the Arboretum Foundation Board sent President Wise a letter urging her to maintain funding at current levels. Local writer Valerie Easton provides background information on this issue and contact details for state legislators. More from the Foundation.

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