CUH Update September 2010

September 14th, 2010 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

I can’t believe summer is almost officially over. What a seesaw of a season we had! Cooler than normal average temperatures, a few heat waves; nothing really stuck around long enough, and bloom time on some of the plants his year was really all over the place!

Oh well, it has been a busy and hectic summer that seemed to almost get away from us from time to time, but the plants can always be expected to put on a show for all to see and we take great pride in showcasing some of the best for the Pacific Northwest.

Several changes loom ahead as we painfully absorb the severe budget cuts we’re being forced to take. It’s been a challenging at times to stay motivated and just carry on as usual; however, the wonderful people I work with and our frequent visitors are always there to remind me of just how fortunate we are to just have jobs during these tough times and how great it is to work for a botanic garden. At times, I have to just tell myself, “Do it for the plants!”

Our wave of volunteers has subsided a bit as the upcoming school year approaches, but a handful have expressed an interest in continuing and we couldn’t be more pleased with the efforts they’ve provided these past few months.

New interpretive signage has finally been created and installed in the Soest Garden! After endless revisions, tweaks and printing snafus, they are mounted and ready for your viewing and learning pleasure! These signs are sort of a test run to see how well they hold up and how well they communicate the information we hope to provide about the plantings here. So, if you have any questions and/or comments, we would like to hear from you!

Each sign describes a bed\’s exposure, soil type, and amount of supplemental irrigation it receives along with just a few selections of plants suited to each condition.

Early September is peak time for cherry picking at CUH! Cornelian cherries, that is! Cornus mas, to be exact is an attractive small landscape tree and our grove along Mary Gates Drive draws many people who often climb the trees, break branches and stomp on the groundcovers, while we appreciate people picking and using the fruit, we politely ask that they refrain from climbing the trees or the fence and from ripping off branches. I feel like it’s the one thing we truly do (outside, that is) that allows us to provide the community with something besides gardening information, a venue for events, or just pretty gardens to look at and admire. I would love to see us hold a fall festival where we would invite them to take part and perhaps have them share the wonderful things they do with the tart fruits they so covet!

September is definitely the time to soak in the last rays of summer and see the gardens in their full splendor. I will try and take some more photographs and post them on Facebook, so if you haven’t joined the craze of social networking, it’s time to check it out! Or, just come and see us in the gardens!

facebook.com/UWBotanicGardens

Cheers,

Riz
Soest Gardener

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CUH Update March 2010: “Wow! Things are early!”

March 5th, 2010 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

“It’s crazy!”, a visitor commented as I carefully weeded around emerging tulips and blooming lungworts busting out blooms and color we didn’t come to expect until later this month. It kind of has been crazy, but I told her to just enjoy and soak it all in.

I’m a bit irritated that I’m in the office writing this update when it’s bright and remarkably warm outside. haha. But it’s important that I get the word out to encourage EVERYONE to visit the Center for Urban Horticulture this month. So many of our winter blooming treasures are still present while a surge of spring bloomers are coming up WEEKS ahead of their usual bloom times.

The Magnolias (M. ‘Leonard Messel’) are in full peak bloom as are the daffodils in the Soest Garden. Our plant pick-of-the-month is a gorgeous kaufmanniana species tulip called ‘Ancilla’, also in the Soest (Bed 6). Of course, we have to keep in eye out for those plants just coming up that present themselves as a buffet to pesky snails and slugs that can dessimate a stand of plants. We use the safe and environmentally friendly slug bait called “Sluggo” to keep them at bay.

The Fragrance Garden is getting a bit of a makeover as we play “musical plants” and redesign the beds for a more cohesive appearance and to ensure that plants are appropriately placed for best growth. Come see the changes and watch this garden continue to evolve as you savor the wonderful aromas this landscape exudes. Right now, the daphnes take center stage and the vanilla/white chocolate scent of Azara microphylla is absolutely mouth-watering as it drifts in the warm spring air.

We have a new large specimen that has just recently been installed in the west entry of CUH. A mature Carpenteria californica was transplanted from the Aboretum and founds its new home here at CUH. It is somewhat gangly in appearance, but we hope it establishes well for us to prune it later on so it can continue to thrive. Carpenteria californica is a native of California, obviously, and it is an evergreen shrub with clouds of single white flowers that almost resemble species roses that bloom in early summer. It also has exquisite exfoliating bark and it is quite drought tolerant once established.

Our famous grove of Cornelian cherries (Cornus mas) is in full, bright-yellow bloom and seems to slow traffic along NE 41st. Street! Soon these will leaf out and charge the whole character of the landscape!

Please drop by soon as the spring show is well underway. I’d hate for you all to miss it!

Riz

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