Thank You NAIOP! New Video Shows Hardworking Volunteers

November 9th, 2012 by Tech Librarian, Tracy Mehlin

Members of the Commercial Real Estate Development Association joined forces at their 2012 Community Enhancement Day to spiff up the Center for Urban Horticulture. Projects included invasive plant removal, small construction projects, painting, planting and much more.

Hoop-houses were rebuilt, Stairs from the McVey Courtyard to the Event Lawn were built, and the weed-prone gravel paths were replaced with stamped concrete in the Soest garden (photo right).

UWBG director, professor Sarah Reichard, remarked: “Of special interest to the faculty and students: the wet beds are rebuilt and look gorgeous. Get that wetland research going now!”

CUH is sparkling now thanks to our NAIOP friends, community members and the  UWBG Horticulture staff.

Watch the action:

Video posted with permission.

 

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November 2012 Plant Profile: Miscanthus sinensis ‘Little Kitten’

November 6th, 2012 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

Ornamental grasses begin to put on a show in autumn as striking blades of silvery light greens transition to deep yellows and tans adding structure and textures during a time of year  perennial beds are cut back and put to rest. The genus Miscanthus is a staple of ornamental grasses.  Native to Japan and China, they are tough and easy to care for.

Once established, they are drought tolerant, easily maintained, and typically possess year round interest. Some selections, however, have had a reputation for being too large of an ornamental grass for small urban gardens. They may be overly vigorous, and in some occasions, relentlessly self seeding. There’s a remarkable array to choose from, but there was a cultivar two years ago that caught my eye and has continually impressed me.

‘Little Kitten’ has been a pleasant and manageable ornamental grass that stays tidy and it has a soft, demure elegance to it when used singly as a specimen and it adds a wonderful foil to bold foliage late in the season in containers massed as a small group.

 

Common Name: Dwarf Maiden Hair Grass

Location: Soest Garden Bed 4 (Rear)

Origin: Garden Origin

Exposure: Full Sun/Part Shade

Height and spread: 3-4ft. tall x 3ft. wide

Bloom Time: mid-late Autumn

 

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Seasonal Horticulture Update: “The Summer of Our Content”

November 3rd, 2012 by UWBG Horticulturist

Hydrangea by Harpa KarinUWBG Horticulture and Plant Records staff had a very busy, productive and satisfying summer. A cold wet June and early July pushed extraordinary plant growth, and, oh my, the WEEDS…Then, just as quickly as we could say, “No summer in Seattle”, the heavens went dry and lo and behold, we experienced an historic dry spell extending our summer to October 12. See King 5 news story starring, horticulturist and new plant care team member, Neal Bonham.

http://www.king5.com/news/local/If-today-stays-rain-free-driest-August-on-record-168165016.html

In hindsite, this weather pattern was just what the plant doctors ordered. A prosperous longer than usual planting window followed by a longer than usual dry period enabled us to plant into late June and then complete several landscaping projects into October.

For example, the contractor hired for constructing our 2.5 acre New Zealand eco-geographic display in the Pacific Connections Garden lucked out big time grading the steep, fortunately dry glacial-till slopes with heavy equipment. On a smaller scale, we were able to sneak a new berm in the hollies, which will eventually accommodate new specimens in the American clade. If you visit, check out the new interpretive signage.

It was all about NAIOP’s 22nd annual community enhancement project on the other side of the water at CUH. Early on in the planning stages, our associate director, Fred Hoyt, kept saying this event could be a game-changer for us. As time wore on and the project scope was scaled-back, it began to seem his prognostication would not come to pass. Now, after all is mostly said and done, if not a game-changer, it was most certainly HUGE for much needed improvements and indeed a springboard for potential future projects on our CUH campus, gardens and UBNA that will be appreciated by all for years to come.

I’m particularly excited about the huge effort that went into upgrading our plant production and corps yard area behind DRC. It’s amazing what laying down new gravel and paint can do for a tired looking nursery and storage space. And, just in the nick of time, we will now be able to overwinter lots of plants in a completely restored hoop-house.

Time now to blow the horn, as I would be remiss as a supervisor by not extending praise to my hard-working dedicated staff. Everyone contributed greatly to the enormous summer’s contents worth of planning, preparing, implementing and, of course, maintaining the grounds, gardens and plant records, including all the volunteer programs we’re involved with, throughout our botanic gardens. Here are a few of our summer accomplishments, not previously mentioned, and in no particular order:

  • A newly installed Winter Garden drainage system in the recently renovated SE quadrant. This was a joint operation between UWBG and City Parks crews. Implemented due to waterlogged soils not foreseen in the original bed renovation. May all our efforts pay off for healthy Winter Garden displays in the future!
  • A complete unabridged inventory and review of our plant collections within the Japanese Garden. Believe it or not, this is the first inventory taken since the UW gave up managment of the Japanese Garden to Seattle City Parks and Rec in 1981!
  • The Soest lawn has been renovated. Long overdue. You shoulda seen the thatch pile!
  • The incredible planning and installation for the “Music of Trees”!  Last weekend before UWBG arborist, Chris Watson, and the artist, Abby Aresty, begin the tedious task of dismantling the complex engineered designs.
  • Forest ridge middle-trail restoration in WPA. An Eagle Scout project and another joint operation between UWBG and City Parks staff.
  • Brubaker Quaking Aspen Grove maintenance project. Ask arborist assistant, Darrin Hedberg, where to find it.
  • Another successful and fun “Day of Caring”! Joint operations between all three arboretum partners: AF, UWBG and City Parks.
  • Completion of our 4th year of our 5 year DOE Garden Loosestrife grant. Although we are making headway, there are big challenges that lay ahead for this noxious weed.

And now that it is indeed officially fall and a surprising colorful one at that, it’s onward marching soldiers to another ambitious fall/winter planting season…Coming attractions include continuing McVay courtyard renovation and a Capstone REN project in the hollies to name a few.

Happy Holidays blog readers! Stay warm and cozy and renew your gardening senses by visiting UWBG!

 

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Wedding & Event Planning Tour: Fun Starts at CUH

November 2nd, 2012 by Tech Librarian, Tracy Mehlin

Join us Sunday, November 11, 2012 from 11am-5pm for the first annual Northlake Wedding & Events Tour!
Whether you are planning an upcoming wedding, holiday party or celebration, you do not want to miss this fun day of touring the venues in the Fremont, Wallingford, University and Eastlake Neighborhoods.

Where will you hold your next event? Take the Northlake Wedding and Event Tour to find the perfect venue. Photo by Lauren Kahan.

This will be a fantastic opportunity for you to learn about the diverse event services each local venue and featured vendor has to offer. Sit back and relax as our provided transportation sweeps you from venue to venue.
Start planning your own event as you are inspired by the decor and fabulous themes produced by our featured event planners at each location.

Please visit www.northlakewedding.com, to purchase tickets – only $15 for one ticket and $25 for two, $20 per ticket if you buy at the door.

Registration starts at 10am at the Center for Urban Horticulture in Merrill Commons. Come early because the first 50 people registered will receive free swag bags! 3501 NE 41st Street, Seattle, 98105.

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September 2012 Plant Profile: Hesperantha (Schizostylis) coccinea

September 5th, 2012 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

This delightful, but seldom grown corm from South Africa is looking the best its ever looked in the Soest Garden here at the Center for Urban Horticulture.  It has been in bloom since early July and there are more buds to come as this particular species is known for its late summer/autumn flowering, which is always quite valuable in the landscape as fall rolls around.

It’s still commonly known as Schizostylis in the trade (Pronounced “Skizo-sty-lis” OR “shizaw-stalis”), but Hesperantha is the correct name. It’s in the Iris family and related to the similar looking Gladiolus, Crocosmia, and Freesia. This particular selection is a lovely one called ‘Torero’, which was developed in Oregon.

 

It prefers moist, but well draining garden soil and full sun. It is absolutely spectacular amongst ornamental grasses and a mature clump can remain in bloom from late summer and sometimes sporadically into the winter depending on how severe our cold weather is here in the Pacific Northwest.

Common Name: Cape Lily, Crimson Flag
Location: Soest Garden Bed 6
Origin: Dwarf selections are of garden origin.
Height and spread: 1.5-2ft. tall and about 3ft. wide on mature clumps.
Bloom Time: Late Summer into Autumn and sometimes into Winter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Save the date: CUH work party on 9/15

August 13th, 2012 by Heidi Unruh, UWBG Communications Volunteer

UWBG invites our friends and neighbors to join NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, to a work party to spiff up the Center for Urban Horticulture. Projects include invasive plant removal, small construction projects, painting, planting and much more. The transformation starts at 6:30 am on Saturday, September 15.

IT’S EASY AS PIE TO VOLUNTEER FOR NAIOP 2012 Community Enhancement Project/SEPT 15/CUH:

  • Register w/ NAIOP anytime from 6:30am or sleep in and join us later in the day
  • Registration located north side of NHS Hall
  • You or your group will be assigned to one of the 17 work projects throughout CUH grounds and gardens, including UBNA!
  • Grab a T-shirt and gloves!
  • Public transportation, carpooling, biking… all recommended, as parking may be difficult, especially if you’re not an early bird.
  • Community Service Hours honored!
  • Breakfast treats and BBQ lunch provided!

Come one, come all and help your CUH take on a fresh new look!  Projects include:

  • New Stairway from central courtyard to events lawn!!
  • New landscape along 41st St planting strip!!
  • New gravel along entire length of UBNA loop trail
  • New pavers to replace gravel paths in Soest Garden
  • 2 newly refurbished hoop houses
  • Newly painted sheds
  • Invasive weed removal
  • Mulching and weeding in Goodfellow Grove
  • And MORE!!!!
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Save the Date: 2nd Annual Vendor Showcase

May 29th, 2012 by Heidi Unruh, UWBG Communications Volunteer

Looking for a beautiful place to plan an event? Our lawns, outdoor patios, large hall and classrooms are available for events such as  business meetings, conferences, graduations, weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, auctions, memorial services and parties. Join us for our 2nd annual Vendor Showcase, where nearly 50 caterers, rental companies, photographers, entertainers, florists and many other vendors will be on hand to showcase their specialties.

 

 

Event Details:

When:  Thursday, July 26, 2012 from 3 – 7 pm.

Where:   Center for Urban Horticulture, 3501 NE 41st St. (directions).

RSVP:  Friday, July 13. Please call 206-221-2500 or email uwbgfac@uw.edu with your name and # attending.

Price: Free

Questions:  Contact Lauren S. Fortune, UWBG Facilities & Rental Program,  206-685-1706, laurenf@u.washington.edu

See many more photos of last year’s Vendors Showcase at photographer Lauren Kahan’s website.

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CUH Update – SPRING 2012

May 25th, 2012 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

Finding the time to do a regular update has been a challenge as this time of year demands so much of our time as the gardens take on a life of their own! With only two gardeners (one half-time and one 3/4 time) overseeing the grounds, we must scramble to get on top of things and sometimes it doesn’t always happen. The gardens, somehow, find a way to look fabulous and put on a show like no other.

MvVay Courtyard revovation:
We have just completed the first phase of a redesign and renovation of the McVay Courtyard here at the Center of Urban Horticulture. In the next couple of months, we will slowly transition into a new look thanks to UW Professor in Landscape Architecture, Ian Robertson. His aim is to integrate more architectural plants and add much needed color and vibrancy to the space.

CUH McVay Renovation
In this brand new makeover of this bed, we’ve relocated the existing ferns to make room for striking Manzanitas
(Arctostaphylos cvs.), azaleas, and an assortment of various bulbs including Nerine, Amaryllis, and Lilies.

 

Seattle Garden Club’s Scented Garden:
After 5 years since its installation, the Fragrance Garden is another one that has has taken on a life of its own as the beds are just about full and plants have really had a chance to get established.

Now it’s just a matter of editing and ensuring that there’s color (and fragrance, of course) all throughout the year.

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Fragrant azaleas perfume the air even on drizzly days.
(Rhododendron occidentalis)
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Newly installed trellis for a profusion of fragrant sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus)

A grand entrance in progress:

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Visitors might be wondering what’s happening up front; it’s getting kind of weedy and the horsetails are back in full force. It’s just one of the challenges we have in maintaining the grounds with just 2 part time gardeners, but we’ve been recruiting volunteers and partnering with the Hardy Plant Society of Washington
who have something spectacular in store as they are gathering troops to take on this challenge and transform this site into a most spectacular perennial border! There’s so much to do and they could really use a few hands during their work parties. If you’re interested in volunteering and being a part of what’s expected to be a traffic-stopper, check out the link to their site.

 

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It’s time to assemble our seasonal containers; both indoors and out! We’ve been trying to keep our small foyer in the Douglas Conservatory actually look like a conservatory with random tropical plants we’ve nursed back to health and put on display here. These have also been the source of plant material for ESRM 411 (Plant Propagation).

 

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The cutting lab is always a fun activity and I had an opportunity to help out this quarter! They take a wide assortment of cuttings utilizing various techniques and treatments. If they are successful, they’re able to take their new starts home and just marvel at the fact that they started a new plant from just a single section of stem and brought it back to life!

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In Remembrance.

   It’s been about 5 years since I started working in the Soest
Perennial Display Garden and in that time, I’ve had the pleasure of
meeting and interacting with the Soest family. This February, we were
saddened by the passing of Orin Soest. Alongside his wife, Ally, it was
always a treat to see them visit and walk them through the splendid
garden that bears their name. Even in his fragile state just a few years
ago, Orin still insisted on seeing the beds and always marvelled at
just how much it has grown and evolved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll always admire him as a kind and generous man who wasn’t afraid to smell the flowers. In fact, one of this favorites was a highly scented English Rose called ‘Gertrude Jekyll’, which should be in bloom in a few weeks in June and into July. Please come by CUH and the SoestGarden and help me remember Orin by sampling the scent of this exceptional rose and admiring a garden that will continue to live on in his honor. His presence, both in and out of the garden setting, will truly be missed.

 

 

Riz

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UWBG Student Works Poster Exhibit May 11 – 31

May 4th, 2012 by Caitlin Guthrie

Come learn about many of the fascinating graduate student research topics at the annual UWBG Student Poster Exhibit.

Nisqually Delta dike footprint tidal freshwater swamp revegetation. Photo by Caitlin Guthrie.

Join us at the Elisabeth C. Miller Library (at the Center for Urban Horticulture) for the opening reception on Friday, May 11th, 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm.  Light refreshments will be served.  All are welcome to come meet the researchers and browse the posters.

Student posters will remain on display in the Library from May 11th to May 30th.

Poster topics include:

  • Elwha Dam Removal Revegetation: Lake Aldwell Seeding Trials
  • Tidal Freshwater Forested Wetlands: Assessing Restoration Effectiveness After Tidal Dike Removal
  • Project E-PIG: Studying the Ecology of Pollinators in Gardens at Multiple Scales
  • Alternate hosts of threatened Castilleja levisecta (golden paintbrush): Improving PNW prairie restoration.
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April 2012 Plant Profile: Ribes sanguineum

April 3rd, 2012 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

Spring is definitely in the air when the clouds of pink burst forth into bloom and our native red-flowering currants put on a show. Though most forms aren’t truly red, their flower power is outstanding and its been a native that seems to have adapted well in our harsh urban environment. There’s a lovely white form that’s also floating around at this time of year drawing Oohs and Aahs from those who encounter it.
The flowers give a light pungent scent and hummingbirds absolutely go crazy for them.

A close up of the exquisite flowers of red-flowering currant

Common Name: Red-Flowering Currant
Location: CUH-Douglas Parking Lot
Origin: Western Coastal North America
Height and spread: 7-10ft high and wide.
Bloom Time: Early Spring

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