Landscapes on the Edge

September 22nd, 2016 by Jessica Farmer, Adult Education Supervisor

UW Botanic Gardens’ conferences, seminars, and symposia offer academics, scientists and practitioners opportunities to learn about the latest research and expertise in plant-related fields and create a forum for collaboration among professionals working in urban forestry, restoration and sustainable landscape management. Read on to learn about our exciting 2016 fall seminar. We hope you can join us!

Introduction to Landscapes on the Edge

Design and Implementation of Landscape and Restoration Projects
on Puget Sound Shorelines and Urban Ravines

snowberry-planted-on-slope
Co-hosted by Greenbelt Consulting and University of Washington Botanic Gardens

UW Botanic Gardens & Greenbelt Consulting

November 15 & 16, 2016, 9am – 4pm
Center for Urban Horticulture
3501 NE 41st St., Seattle, WA 98105

Cost:
Full registration – $230
One-day – $150

Register Here

* Special discount pricing for full-time students and conservation corps members. See registration site for details.

This program is designed to educate landscape professionals about the vulnerable nature of marine shorelines and provide guidance and instruction on how to better initiate, design, and implement successful landscape and restoration projects on upland buffers, shorelines, steep slopes, and beaches.

Expanding your skill set in this area will allow you to:

  • Meet the growing demand for this type of service
  • Implement successful projects, creating happy customers and positive word-of-mouth
  • Increase your company’s market share
  • Avoid regulatory problems, fines, and lawsuits
  • Improve public trust in the landscape industry to meet these environmental needs

The public is being educated about the need for better management of shorelines and steep slopes, resulting in rising public demand for professional services. This is an optimal time to train landscape professionals in the specifics of designing, planning, and installing projects on marine shorelines and other sensitive areas.

Speakers include:

  • Elliott Menashe, Greenbelt Consulting
  • John Bethel, Geomorphologist, King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks
  • Kollin Higgins,  Senior Ecologist in the Science and Technical Support Section of King County Water and Land Resources Division
  • Erica Guttman, Washington State University Extension and Native Plant Salvage Foundation
  • Sasha Shaw, King County Noxious Weed Control Program
  • Marianne Edain and Steve Erickson, Frosty Hollow Ecological Restoration
  • Stephanie Williams, L.G., Geologist, Shannon & Wilson, Inc.
  • Karin Srelioff, MLA, Environmental Specialist | GSI Designer, Mason Conservation District
  • and more to come!

Landscapes on the Edge Program Flyer

Full program schedule coming soon.

Biology in the Wild

September 9th, 2016 by Donna McBain Evans

Ginkgoleaves

 

I was amazed to learn that the Ginkgo biloba tree, which is thousands of years old but extinct in the wild, was saved by Buddhist monks who planted this tree in their monasteries so the species would live on!”

“We thought we would only hear the Latin names of a multitude of obscure plants,” she said, “but instead we heard amazing stories of survival and cooperation in nature.”

 

 

H.M Jackson High School teacher Stacey Hall

H.M Jackson High School teacher Stacey Hall

 

These were just two of the observations made by freshman and sophomore students who took one of the free guided tours at the Washington Park Arboretum.  The students were encouraged to take these tours with the promise of extra credit to boost their grades in the Biology class taught by Stacey Hall, their science teacher at H.M. Jackson High School in Mill Creek.

“I think it is so important to get kids out of the classroom to see how nature works,” says Hall of his Arboretum incentive program.  “When the learning is outside and hands on, it just sticks better.”

Hall offers the extra credit when the students participate in the guided Arboretum tour and then write up what they learned and present it to the class.

“You would be amazed at how many “aha” moments the students have had taking these tours,” adds Hall,  “the guides have a great way of connecting to people and the kids always come back with insights and connections to the learning we do in the classroom, whether it is plant diversity, ecology, genetics or evolution.”

 

 

UW Botanic Gardens offers free public tours at the Arboretum every Sunday at 1pm, as well as private tours which explore the various gardens and plants in our collections. There are also specialty tours such as the family program “Park in the Dark,” Twilight Tram tours for adults, tours of other area gardens like the Woodinville Lavender Farm, and tours highlighting those species that shine in summer or in winter.

Catherine Nelson leading a tram tour in the Arboretum.

Catherine Nelson leading a tram tour in the Arboretum.

“Six knowledgeable guides volunteer their time to lead tours,” says Tour Program Assistant Catherine Nelson.  “The tours take place primarily in the Arboretum, but also in the Union Bay Natural Area and the Center for Urban Horticulture.”

“Our plant collections are constantly evolving,” says Nelson with evident pride, “and feature diverse plants from around the world.”

There are miles of fantastic trails to be found throughout the UW Botanic Gardens—a boardwalk through Yesler Swamp, the Pacific Connections Garden at the Arboretum and a stunning fragrance garden at the Center for Urban Horticulture; there is also great bird watching in Union Bay Natural Area.

“We even have the UW Farm which gives students and visitors a place to learn about sustainable urban agriculture, and provides food for dining halls at the UW,” Nelson adds.

Clearly, the many trails found at the UW Botanic Gardens provide an amazing urban escape in the heart of Seattle.

One of the Arboretum guides, Kyra Kaiser, a freshman at the University of Washington’s School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, has made special connections with the high school students in Stacey Hall’s biology class.

“The main goal of my tours is to encourage people to appreciate the natural world around them,” she says, “and I encourage young people to keep pursuing opportunities and new experiences because they might be surprised about what they like and what they learn about themselves.”

Good advice for about any age one might say.

 

Glimpse into the past – Honoring a Legend and Looking to the Future

July 26th, 2016 by Jessica Farmer, Adult Education Supervisor

by John A. Wott, Director Emeritus

Dr. Kruckeberg at Snoqualmie

Dr. Kruckeberg at Snoqualmie

For every creature – plants, animals, or people – there is a season. They are germinated/born, develop from juveniles into adults, usually produce progeny, grow into old age, and then succumb. In the plant kingdom, there are various ways in which plants reproduce, both sexually and asexually. In humans, we pass along our genetics, our ideas, and plans to successive generations.

In every field or endeavor of learning, certain people seem to become more prominent and eventually become legendary icons. The older generation passes and a new one rises. I was reminded this week of the changes that are occurring in the Northwest horticulture scene.

On May 25, 2016, Dr. Arthur R. Kruckeberg, one of the most prolific botanical scholars, died at the wonderful age of 96. Author of many prestigious publications, including several books, Dr. Kruckeberg guided hundreds of students of all ages on field trips, answered multitudes of questions, and lectured thousands of students on the flora of the Northwest. Legendary for his stature as well as his professorial appearance with his ever-ready pipe, he easily commanded your attention.

Along with his wife Mareen Shultz Kruckeberg, they turned their 4-acre Shoreline home and garden into a mecca which is today known as the Kruckeberg Botanic Garden and MsK Nursery. Dr. Kruckeberg was involved in the early master planning for the Center for Urban Horticulture in the 1970-80’s and forever kept a keen interest in its future.

Personally I remember the legendary noontime musical productions which he and several others provided by playing classical tunes on their woodwinds, while sitting in the Douglas Conservatory Foray. I also remember walking around the Kruckeberg Garden with him in his later years, ever more slowly as the years moved along. His keen interest in plants and sharing knowledge was retained to the very end.

Arthur and his pipe

Arthur and his pipe

However, the new generation is already evolving. This week’s issue of The American Gardener contained a significant article entitled “Riz Reyes: Rising Star,” written by Marty Wingate. Both Riz and Marty are successful UW horticulture graduates, and I am proud to have mentored both of them.

Riz Reyes picking the right color

Riz Reyes picking the right color

A native of the Philippines, Riz immigrated to the USA with his family in 1989. He always loved plants and eventually obtained his degree in environmental horticulture and urban forestry. Upon graduation, he become the head gardener for the Orin and Althea Soest Herbaceous Display Garden at the Center for Urban Horticulture for eight years. During this time, he was also my personal gardener where he introduced many new plants into my garden, most of which still flourish there.

Riz is also owner of RHR Horticulture, a business which specializes in all kinds of design, and landscaping. He has written for many publications, given many lectures and loves to design floral arrangements for special events. He won the Founders Cup for a magnificent garden at the Northwest Garden and Flower Show. His current monthly blogs are legendary.

Almost two years ago, he was tapped to be the head gardener for the new McMenamins Anderson School in Bothell from its early development onward. Today it is fast becoming a horticulture show garden in the Northwest, visited daily by hundreds of visitors.

And so it is….generations come and generations go…but oh the excitement as we reap the history past but look forward to the future ahead!

 

Riz and the late Orin Soest

Riz and the late Orin Soest

Volunteer Spotlight: Carolyn Scott

July 22nd, 2016 by Donna McBain Evans

At the University of Washington Botanic Gardens, we rely on volunteers–over 500 of them– to keep daily operations afloat.Carolyn_Scott

Volunteer Carolyn Scott works in the administrative heart of the Gardens, helping Manager of Administrative Services Carrie Cone with record-keeping, mailing, filing and data entry.

Born in 1921, Carolyn came to Seattle from Virginia in her early 30s with husband David who accepted a faculty position with the (then) College of Forestry at the UW.

Scott received a B.A. degree, Phi Beta Kappa, from the, now co-ed,  Randolph-Macon Women’s College in 1942.  “My wonderful Latin professor inspired me to choose Latin as a major,” she notes, “but I also loved languages, learning French and Spanish.”

Married during World War II,  Scott was a translator for US Postal Censorship and afterward worked for five years in the Yale University library. After raising four children she worked at Bush School, the University Book Store, and Seattle Children’s Hospital until retirement in 1988.

“I love classical music, ballet, art and theater,”  she says, and “until recent years I loved gardening and travel.

Scott now spends much time volunteering. “The Botanic Gardens are such a friendly  place to volunteer,” she says, “and I especially love walking through the gardens and watching the seasonal changes.”   In particular Scott enjoys the sights and scents of blooming plants.

 

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

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.

Faculty Spotlight: Tom Hinckley

May 25th, 2016 by Donna McBain Evans

Tom Hinckley

Tom Hinckley no doubt kept his much younger graduate students challenged to  keep up as he climbed to over 7000′ on Snowshoe Mountain in the North Cascades. It was there he chose to conduct research on the effects of environmental stress on three species of native trees.

Hinckley needed that energy as he served both as Director for the UW Botanic Gardens’ Center for Urban Horticulture (1998-2004),  and as researcher, teacher and mentor at the UW School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, where he is now emeritus professor.

“I first came to Seattle in March 1964 to ski in the Cascades, and I must have gotten hooked,” he says, “because I returned two years later to attend graduate school.”

Hinckley received a B.A. in Biology from Carleton College in Minnesota (1966) and his PhD in Forest Ecophysiology from the UW in 1971.  Despite his science focus, he reports that his favorite course in college was actually American History because “it was taught extraordinarily well.”

After time spent teaching in Missouri, Hinckley returned to the University of Washington in January 1980 to join the faculty.  Many of his colleagues, with whom he co-taught and worked on joint research projects, were the initial faculty cohort at UW-Botanic Gardens (James Clark, Barb Smit-Spinks, Deane Wang, Kern Ewing).

With Kern Ewing and others he was involved in launching the Restoration Ecology Network (UW-REN).  UW-REN is now a regional center for the study of ecological restoration and conservation, creating new undergraduate research and curricula, much of it taking place at the Center for Urban Horticulture.

“Now that I am retired, I am a regular visitor to the Soest Garden– my favorite place to walk and take in nature the the Center,” he says, “and I am also active in helping find financial resources to maintain and grow the garden.”

Hinckley is still an avid skier, hiker and photographer.  And when asked about his favorite plant, he had a clear preference:

Abies amabilis,” he clamoured.  This tree, also called Pacific silver fir or “lovely” fir because of the softly silver undersides on the needles and gorgeous purple-hued cones that stand upright on the branches. Hinckley loves the looks of this tree, its mountain habitat and, “the fact that it got me my first job teaching at the University of Missouri.”

 

Staff Spotlight: Jessica Anderson

May 6th, 2016 by Donna McBain Evans

Jessica_AndersonJessica Anderson is a librarian at the Elisabeth C. Miller Library at the University of Washington Botanic Gardens.  Most days you will see Jessica at the Reference desk, doing research or providing answers to gardening questions.

Jessica moved to Seattle from the Southwest to attend the University of Washington, earning her Masters in Library and Information Science in 2010.  As an undergraduate, Jessica began working at the Natural Sciences Library inside of the Suzzallo-Allen Library on the main campus.  Once graduated, she began volunteering at the Miller Library.

“I became fascinated by all the books on horticulture,” she notes,  “and checked out dozens of books on growing edible plants.  Then I began experimenting at home.”

Jessica is now a full-fledged urban farmer and maintains an edible garden of fruits and vegetables, complete with chickens in her small backyard.

At her work in the Miller library, Jessica performs varied tasks including managing the print and electronic serials collection (subscriptions, renewals, receipt records, claiming, and archiving), supervising volunteers, and tracking purchase orders and library supplies.  Her favorite part of her job is learning new things from the research questions she is asked via the Plant Answer Line Service.

“I feel so lucky to work at a place where I spend my time with patrons answering questions about plants,” she glows.

She also feels fortunate to work next to the Union Bay Natural Area loop trail, where she often walks and, when it is clear, looks out toward the mountains across Lake Washington.

When the weather is not so nice and she is not working, Jessica joins a meet-up group to play board games.  And her favorite plant?  The Saucer Magnolia tree (Magnolia x soulangeana), with its large fragrant blossoms in spring.saucer-magnolia

“Especially after a long winter, it is a welcome sight to see a magnolia in full bloom!”

Volunteer Spotlight: Heidi Lennstrom

April 29th, 2016 by Donna McBain Evans

Heidi_Tree cholla Santa Fe 2015Heidi volunteers at the Hyde Herbarium, working with pressed plants and the plant database.  She holds a PhD in archaeology, specializing in paleoethnobotany–the study of plant remains from archaeological digs.  She spent many years at the Bishop Museum in Hawaii, where she was also a science educator and creator of an ethnobotany garden and webpage. 

“I love to organize things,” says Lennstrom, “so working with the seven cabinets of duplicate specimens at the Herbarium is perfect for me!”

Heidi carefully identifies which of the specimens are duplicates, confirms they have been entered into the Botanic Garden website and  then determines which ones are kept and which ones need to be shared with other herbaria.

Although originally from Seattle, Heidi lived in Minneapolis and later, Honolulu for many years.  She returned to Seattle in 2007 to be closer to family.  She loves to travel with family, work with digital photography and cook.

When in college, Heidi always favored the classes where she got to be outdoors–archaeology field studies, geology of the Pacific Northwest and plant identification.  Now that she is working in an Herbarium she admits that she doesn’t get outside into the Botanic Gardens nearly often enough.

Heidi loves the conifers of the Arboretum but it is perhaps the simple lily that is her favorite plant.  “Its so elegant!”

Student Spotlight: Emma Relei

April 15th, 2016 by Donna McBain Evans

emmareleiIn Emma Relei’s extensive list of “favorite” plants, one of them is the simple crocus, meaningful for her because of its prominence in a much-loved children’s tale, The Runaway Bunny;  another is Ponderosa pine, because “it smells like vanilla!”

Emma’s energy and enthusiasm for all things extends in many directions, including her work with specimens at the Hyde Herbarium. There she helps sort the 23,000+ species, catalogs them on the database, mounts species for filing and makes greeting cards.

“I love how each specimen has a story and a history to unfold, and that I get to be part of it,” she proclaims.

In addition to her volunteer work, Emma is a senior at the University of Washington studying Environmental Science and Resource Management in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences.  Emma is keen on all of her plant-related classes, especially ones that bring her outside into nature.

“I was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest,” she notes, “and although I would like to travel more some day, this is a pretty great place to live and study.”

In addition to her studies, and volunteering at the Herbarium, Relei works in a local nursery, watches “tons” of gardening videos and has a small container garden in her tiny home.  She also loves trail running, hiking, camping and kayaking with friends.  She also loves to play piano and read historical fiction.

Whew!  Do you think she ever sleeps?

As for favorite places, Relei mentions of course, the Hyde Herbarium.  But she  also loves the Japanese Garden in the Arboretum as it was where she celebrated her 16th birthday, a day she holds fond memories of even today.