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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And the Winners Are…..Biodiversity Conference Art Exhibit up through March

March 19th, 2012 by Wendy Gibble

Paintbrush and Sedge illustration by Louise Smith

The winners of the botanical art exhibit  held in conjunction with the conference Conserving Plant Biodiversity in a Changing World: A View from NW North America were announced Wednesday afternoon at the close of the conference.  The winners are:

Botanical Illustration:
1st Place: Louise Smith for Paintbrush and Sedge
2nd Place: Daphne Morris for Carex macrocephala
3rd Place: Jan Hurd for Rosa nutkana

Photograph:
1st place: Daniel Mosquin for Castilleja applegatei var. pinetorum
2nd Place: Michael Hannam for Veratrum viride
3rd Place: Morgan Turner for Blechnum spicant

The exhibit is on display in the Elisabeth C. Miller Library at the UW Botanic Gardens through March 29th.


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Cherry Tree Removal at CUH

March 14th, 2012 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

Our row of cherry trees along the driveway at CUH are scheduled to be removed this Thursday, March 15.

Though they’re starting to bloom, we have a severe infestations of blossom brown rot, a common fungal disease of cherries in the Pacific Northwest.

Fungicdal treatments are not a sustainable option. Our decision to display healthy plants available in the trade has left us with the option to choose plants that will be more adaptable to this site.

For more information, check out a post composed by Horticulture Supervisor, David Zuckerman, on the early flowering cherries along Azalea Way in Washington Park Arboretum.

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Biodiversity Conference Registration Open

January 26th, 2012 by UWBG Communication Staff

Barrett's beardtongue closeup, photo by Betty SwiftThere’s still time to register for the upcoming conference Conserving Plant Biodiversity in a Changing World: A View from NW North America to be held at UW Botanic Gardens, March 13-14. Act now so you don’t miss the chance to raise questions and find solutions to protect endangered plant communites. Program sessions include Climate Change: Observed Effects on Plants and Plant Communities and Recovery of rare species and the restoration of their habitat. Mingle with experts from around the Northwest and hear keynote speakers Dr. Peter Raven, President Emeritus of the Missouri Botanical Garden and Dr. Joshua Lawler, Associate Professor of the University of Washington.

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Are Weddings Allowed at the UW Botanic Gardens?

January 10th, 2012 by Tech Librarian, Tracy Mehlin

Answer:  Yes!  Weddings and all social events are a natural fit at the beautiful Center for Urban Horticulture (CUH) and Washington Park Arboretum (WPA).   Weddings and many other social events are booked months, even a year, in advance at both of these sites.

NHS Hall photo

Imagine your wedding reception at the beautiful and affordable UW Botanic Gardens

Our wedding packages include tables, chairs, catering kitchen, parking and staffing.  The surrounding gardens and patios further enhance your event and are included in the package.  Other social event rental packages such as memorial services, auctions and parties are available – ask our reservationists for pricing tailored to your event.

Where would a wedding or other event take place?

Answer:  We have two sites to choose from.  The CUH is a distinctive Northwest event destination with a hall, classrooms and outdoor spaces that can be configured for conferences, weddings, meetings, exhibits, auctions and more conveniently located just blocks from the University of Washington (UW) main campus and the University Village shopping center.  The Graham Visitor Center is a unique urban woodland destination with a hall, classroom, conference room and outdoor patio for weddings, meetings, parties and more located in the 230-acre WPA amongst the UW’s collection of plans from around the world.

Arboretum wedding photo

Perfect for an intimate party

To book your wedding or other social event for 2012 or beyond, please contact the Rental Team to discuss your plans, available dates and personal site visit.  Please phone 206-221-2500 or 616-3994.  We look forward to working with you to plan a truly memorable event!

Book Your Events Now for 2012 at UW Botanic Gardens!

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CUH Update – December 2011: New Garden Features & Season’s Greetings

December 21st, 2011 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

It has been an incredibly busy autumn here at CUH as we have several new projects underway. Our entire horticultural team has been involved with 2 major projects we’d like to highlight as these are pretty significant changes that might raise a few eyebrows.

Soest Garden by R. Reyes

new tree photo

Earlier this autumn, our arborist crew took down a large specimen of Parrotia persica that’s been growing in a raised planter in the Orin and Althea Soest Herbaceous Perennial Garden. You can read our notice about it from a few weeks ago.

 

 

If you’ve visited UWBG-CUH in the last two weeks or so, you probably couldn’t help but notice a small broadleaf evergreen tree standing by itself on a “pedestal” with soil excavated from it. This is the first phase of what should be an extravagant perennial border to be design, planted and maintained by the Hardy Plant Society of Washington. HPSW and UWBG have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and we’re moving forward to assist them in preparing the site. The first step was to remove as much of the existing soil as possible to help eradicate the horrendous horsetail that has inhabited the bed after years of mediocre maintenance as this section of CUH has always been a low priority, yet it’s really our front door. We are ecstatic to have a group that can take this on (and also take over the Blooms of Bressingham evaluation program and its maintenance.

It will be awhile before both these projects really come into their own, but because we are the CENTER for urban horticulture, we will aim to provide our visitors with ongoing interest, color and at this time of year, festive decor such as our lovely Christmas tree donated by City People’s Garden Store and decorated by one of our many generous supporters, Charlotte Behnke and our containers in the Seattle Garden Clubs’s Fragrance Garden where members flanked containers with scented pansies and primoses accented with bright gold sweet flag grass.

On behalf of the UWBG staff, we want to wish you Season’s Greetings and a very Happy Holidays and may the upcoming year bring with it much joy, good health and, hopefully, more frequent visits to our gardens!

Cheers,

Riz

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November 2011 Plant Profile: Acer griseum

November 13th, 2011 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

Fall color this autumn has been truly exceptional and this wonderful maple is no exception. Though more well known for it’s papery bark, Acer griseum is one of the most beloved landscape trees here in the Pacific Northwest. You see it more frequently these days as street trees and main specimen subjects in small urban gardens because of it’s slow-moderate growth rate.


Here it is just a few months ago. What makes this maple so distinct and easy identifiable is the bark, of course, but the foliage isn’t palmately dissected like the Japanese maples, but instead it’s a compound leaf with several leaflets.

Acer griseum fall color
Come fall, the foliage takes on a spectacular orange/red color that’s more pronounced when planted in full sun, but since this adaptable plant also thrives in part sun, the fall color is more yellow.

My friend Sean Barton with one of the largest specimens of Acer griseum I've ever seen at Bodnant Gardens in Wales, UK during a visit earlier this spring.

Common Name: Paperbark Maple
Family: Sapindaceae
Location: North of Merrill and NHS Hall
Origin: SW China
Height and spread: 18-20ft. high and 15-18ft. wide. Older specimens will ultimately reach 40-50ft.
Bloom Time: Early June
Bloom Type/Color/Fruit: Almost inconspicuous flowers appear in spring followed by dull green samaras appear in mid-summer.

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CUH Update: The Autumn Approach

October 4th, 2011 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

After a nonexistent summer, we’re now charging forward and anticipating the return of rain and cooler temperatures, the shorter days, and all the fall tasks that seem to just ramp up without warning.

Autumn can be a mesmerizing time of year as many plants, particularly in the Soest Perennial Display Garden, have reached their full potential in growth and in many cases, abundant bloom. There’s indication of fall color all around (check out this month’s Plant Profile selection) and the last thrust of blooms being encouraged from slightly tender plants such as the dahlias, salvias, and agapanthus make for a tremendous show. The ornamenntal grasses are beginning to turn color as well as infloresences beginning to show creating a wonderfully diverse and complimentary foil to the landscape.

Our Plant Pick for the month of October: Vitis coignetiae the Crimson Glory Vine.

Fall is also the time to get one last mow of the lawn and then fertilize it. A major tree removal is on the task list this fall/winter (read about it here).We’ve also got a few planting areas that need to be prepared and hopefully installed this autumn and spring. It will be a very busy fall. We just pray that the weather cooperates when we have these large tasks to take on.

Cheers,

Riz

Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue' with Dahlia 'Bishop of York' with giant feather grass (Stipa gigantea) in the background.


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