May 5th, 2013 by Pat Chinn-Sloan
1) Acer circinatum (Vine maple)
- Taken for granted around here, this time of year our vine maple is most eye-catching in flower.
- Located throughout our native matrix as a deciduous forest understory tree.
- Vine maple is native to the North American west coast from British Columbia to California.
2) Acer cissifolium (Vine-leaf maple)
- Despite their similar common names, vine maple and vine-leaf maple could hardly be more different. The Acer cissifolium leaf is compound, composed of three leaflets; Acer circinatum has almost round leaves. The flowers of Acer cissifolium have four petals (unusual for a maple) and are arranged in racemes while those of Acer circinatum are five-petaled and in panicles.
- Acer cissifolium is native to Japan. In the Arboretum, it is located in Rhododendron Glen (12-3E) and in the Asiatic Maples (27-B).
3) Broussonetia kazinoki
- The inner bark is prized in Japan for making high-quality paper.
- A related species Broussonetia paperifera (paper mulberry) is used for paper from Myanmar to Japan and in Polynesia for the paper-like “tapa cloth”.
- The fruit begin to develop before the flowers produce pollen.
- Our Broussonetia is north of the Winter Garden in 35-3E and 36-2E.
4) Rhododendron augustinii
- Provides the mauve backdrop for the beds along Azalea Way and in Rhododendron Glen.
- One of many plants discovered by and named for Augustine Henry in western China.
5) Viburnum macrocephalum
- A China native introduced by Robert Fortune in 1844.
- Located in the Pacific Connections China Entry Garden.
April 17th, 2013 by Pat Chinn-Sloan
“Now it will Spring forth!”
1) Acer macrophyllum (Bigleaf maple)
- Taken for granted around here, this time of year our Bigleaf maple is most eye-catching in flower.
- It’s the subtle texture of its expanding leaf that drew my attention.
- Located throughout our native matrix as the dominant deciduous forest tree.
2) Aesculus wangii
- A horse chestnut classified as vulnerable in its native habitat of Vietnam.
- Notice the flattened bract-like stipule of the newly-expanding leaves.
- Our young, marginally-hardy specimen is located in Loderi Valley.
Close-up view of Kalopanax septemlobus (Prickly castor-oil tree)
3) Kalopanax septemlobus (Prickly castor-oil tree)
- Deciduous tree from northeast Asia known for its “tropical” appearance in full-leaf.
- I was impressed by the size of the bud bracts and pure white indumetum of the expanding leaves.
- This specimen is located along the eastern side of Arboretum Creek, south of Boyer Ave. East
4) Picea meyeri (Meyer’s spruce)
- Spruce tree native to China, similar in appearance to Colorado Blue spruce.
- Quite striking, springing forth new needles in combination with red male and female cones.
- Located in the Pinetum, just west of path and south of Stone Bridge.
Close-up view of the poplar, Populus sp
5) Populus sp
- The detail and color contrast in the expanding leaf is awesome!
- This poplar is unidentified in our collections, but worthy of attention.
- Located in the Poplar Collection, south Azalea Way.
April 6th, 2013 by Pat Chinn-Sloan
1) Azara dentata
- Native to temperate and subtropical Chile.
- Bears gold spring time flowers.
- Located in the Pacific Connections Chilean Entry Garden.
2) Liriodendron chinense
- A smaller Chinese version of the North American native tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera).
- Known for its unique leaf shape and tulip-shaped flower.
- Located in the Magnolia Collection.
3) Rehderodendron macrocarpum
- A small deciduous tree native to China.
- Bears white spring flowers and kiwi-shaped fruits in the fall.
- Several specimens located along Arboretum Drive and Azalea Way.
4) Viburnum carlesii
- Native to Korea and Japan.
- Bears clusters of 2-3″ fragrant white flowers.
- Located in the Viburnum Collection.
5) Viburnum bitchiuense
- Native to Korea and Japan.
- Very similar to V. carlesii, possibly more heat tolerant.
- Located in the Viburnum Collection.
March 24th, 2013 by Pat Chinn-Sloan
Pacific Connections Garden
1) Corokia x virgata ‘Sunsplash’
- An odd shrub from New Zealand with variegated foliage and wiry, twisty branches.
- This carefree evergreen tolerates some dry and looks great in containers.
- Specimens can be found in the New Zealand Entry Garden.
2) Grevillea victoriae
- Fine-textured foliage, long thin flower clusters and drought tolerance make these evergreen shrubs very popular.
- Also known as Royal Grevillea, it is endemic to parts of Victoria in Australia.
- Several varieties of Grevillea can be found in the Australian Entry Garden.
3) Gaultheria mucronata ‘Rubra’
- A hardy evergreen shrub with pinkish-white bell-shaped flowers followed by beautiful red berries late summer through winter.
- Often referred to as “female prickly heath”, it needs a male plant to ensure fruiting.
- Beautiful masses of G. mucronata can be found in the Chilean Gateway Garden.
4) Phyllostachys dulcis
- Sweet shoot bamboo is considered one of the best edible bamboos.
- Large drooping leaves, thick culms and a white ring at the node make this a very beautiful bamboo.
- A lovely drift graces the Chinese Entry Garden.
5) Ribes sanguineum cv.
- Flowering current is native to western coastal North America.
- It and its varieties and cultivars are valued for their brightly-colored spring flowers and bird and habitat support.
- Enjoy the incredible display of Ribes currently blooming in the Cascadian Entry Garden.
March 10th, 2013 by Pat Chinn-Sloan
1) Camellia japonica ‘High Hat’
- One of our earlier-flowering Japanese camellias.
- This specimen can be found along the west side of Arboretum Drive near the construction zone detour.
2) Pieris japonica ‘Valentine’s Day’
- Showing its large panicles of pink flowers.
- Can be found on Azalea Way just south of the Lilacs.
3) Rhododendron floribundum
- Native to the Szechwan Province of China.
- Specimen currently resides along the Upper Trail near the Rhododendron seedling area.
4) Salix irrorata
- Upright shrub with slender purple shoots and gray catkins borne before the leaves.
- Can be found in the Witt Winter Garden.
5) Stachyurus himalaicus
- Native to western China and Taiwan.
- Spreading, deciduous shrub with arching shoots and bell-shaped flowers borne in racemes in late winter.
- Can be found on the west side of Arboretum Drive across from the double lot.
February 11th, 2013 by Pat Chinn-Sloan
Witt Winter Garden
1) Chimonanthus praecox Wintersweet
- Wintersweet is in the allspice family of Calycanthaceae.
- The sulfur-yellow flowers are intensely fragrant and are born on bare stems.
- This winter garden favorite is native to China.
2) Ganya x issaquahensis Hybrid Silktassel
- This natural hybrid, between G. elliptica and G. fremontii, is native to the western U.S.
- The showy male catkins will soon produce large amounts of yellow pollen.
3) Hamamelis x intennedia ‘Pallida’ Hybrid Witch Hazel
- This cultivar produces large, pale-yellow flowers on a horizontal growing form.
- H. x intermedia is a hybrid between H. japonica and H. mollis, both native to Asia.
4) Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Winter Beauty’ Hybrid Witch Hazel
- This cultivar, though of the same parents as ‘Pallida’, has orange flowers on a taller,
more rounded form.
5) Salix irrorata Bluestem Willow
- The shoots of this upright shrub are purple with a distinct white bloom in the winter.
- The catkins are grey when they emerge, turning red and then quickly to yellow.
January 28th, 2013 by Pat Chinn-Sloan
“Scratch and Sniff”
1) Abies amabilis (Pacific Silver Fir)
- Pacific Northwestern native growing up to 250 feet tall in the wild, but is often short-lived in gardens.
- Its crushed needles smell like orange peel.
- The easiest of the Arboretum specimens to find is on the Upper Trail below the Peony bed.
2) Cupressus goveniana var. pygmaea (Mendocino Cypress)
- The “pygmy” stature occurs in this tree’s native habitat: infertile ancient sand dunes above the Pacific Ocean near Mendocino. In normal soil, it can exceed 100 feet.
- The crushed needles smell like lemon peel.
- It is located on Arboretum Drive near the south end.
3) Laureliopsis philippiana
- Native to Chile and Argentina.
- Crushed leaves smell like orange.
- It is located in the Pacific Connections Entry Garden and on Arboretum Drive in grid 9-4E.
4) Morella pensylvanica (Bayberry)
- Formerly Myrica, native to the east coast of North America from Canada to Florida.
- The fragrant, waxy berries were made into candles.
- Located in 43-B in the Arboretum’s Oak Collection.
5) Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas Fir)
- For Northwesterners, this is the essential smell of Christmas in the winter and the forest in summer. It is native to the North American west coast and self-sows freely in the Arboretum.
January 14th, 2013 by Pat Chinn-Sloan
“Judge a Plant by Its Cover”: Twigs and Bark
Photo of Acer buergerianum (Trident Maple) trunk (#1)
1) Acer buergerianum (Trident Maple) – photo of trunk (to the right)
- Move over Stewartia pseudocamellia, at least for the time being.
- Exceptional mottled flakey, lighter gray-brown bark on this young Asian maple.
- Makes a good street tree in Seattle, tolerant of a wide-range of stress factors.
2) Acer caesium ssp. giraldii
- Maple featuring young branches covered with a whitish bloom (DO NOT TOUCH)
- Native to the Himalaya region of China (Shaanxi and Yunnan provinces)
- Specimen located along Arboretum Drive in the Peonies
Photo of Betula albo-sinensis var. septentrionalis (Chinese Red Birch) trunk (#3)
3) Betula albo-sinensis var. septentrionalis (Chinese Red Birch) – photo of trunk (to the right)
- “The bark is singularly lovely, being a rich orange-red or orange-brown and peels off in sheets, each no thicker than fine tissue paper, and each successive layer is clothed with a white glaucous bloom.” – E.H. Wilson, Aristocrats of the Trees
- Please resist the temptation to tear, pull, rub… the bark. It is disrespectful, potentially harmful to the tree, and a crime to deface public property.
- Grove located in the Witt Winter Garden.
Samples of #2, #4, and #5
4) Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’
- A multi-colored thicket-forming dogwood.
- Brightens up ones’ spirits on any dark and gloomy winter Seattle day.
- Located in the twig bed of the Witt Winter Garden.
5) Prunus maackii (Manchurian or Goldbark Cherry)
- Not as common as the Birchbark Cherry, but has brighter honey-brown bark.
- Located on the north toe of Yew hill, grid 30-3W.
December 14th, 2012 by Pat Chinn-Sloan
Seize the Bay!
1) Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis)
- From the Mediterranean region
- A plant of great cultural significance (culinary uses, literary references, etc.)
- Marginally hardy in the Washington Park Arboretum, located in the Mediterranean Bed (grid 21-3E)
2) California Bay Laurel (Umbellularia californica)
- Native to the Pacific Coast, Oregon through California
- Crushed leaves have intense odor
- Re-seeds freely in the Washington Park Arboretum
- Located near the Mediterranean Bed (grid 20-3E)
3) Redbay (Persea borbonia)
- A relative of the avocado, native to southeastern U.S.
- Used as an emetic (vomit inducer) by indigenous people
- Located in the the Camellia Collection near the Reebs memorial bench (grid 11-4E)
4) Rosebay (Rhododendron maximum)
- Native to eastern U.S.
- Used in the early days of Rhododendron hybridizing to develop hardy hybrids
- Growing steadily in the Rhododendron Seedling Bed (grid 22-1E)
5) Sweet Bay (Magnolia virginiana)
- Eastern U.S. native
- Typically evergreen in Seattle, but can be deciduous, semi-deciduous, or evergreen depending on climate
- Located in the Magnolia Collection (grid 28-3E)
December 5th, 2012 by Pat Chinn-Sloan
1) Abies alba ‘Hybrid’ (Silver Fir)
- Silver Fir is the species first used as a Christmas tree.
- A resinous essential oil can be extracted. The pine-scented oil has soothing qualities and is used in perfumes and bath products.
- This magnificent specimen can be found on Arboretum Drive.
2) Cornus sericea ‘Cardinal’ (Red Osier Dogwood)
- Bright red twigs provide winter interest in the garden and a beautiful accent to holiday decorations.
- There are many benefits to Red Osier Dogwood, including overall hardiness and wildlife habitat.
- Native to the Pacific Northwest, this cultivar can be found in the Pacific Connections Entry Garden.
3) Ilex opaca ‘Emily’ (Emily American Holly)
- Holly is a popular winter, Christmas and holiday season decoration.
- In English poetry, holly is inseparably connected with merry-making.
- American Holly is the perfect substitute for English Holly because it is not invasive.
- Several cultivars of Ilex opaca can be found in the island beds of the Pacific Connections Garden.
4) Picea brachytyla (Sargent Spruce)
- Many species of spruce are used as Christmas trees.
- Spruce are important economically for timber, resin and Christmas tree production.
- The Sargent Spruce is native to China and is threatened by habitat loss.
5) Thuja plicata (Western Red Cedar)
- The flattened sprays of dark green foliage droop gracefully and are prefect for holiday wreaths and swags.
- Strongly aromatic, the scent of crushed Western Red Cedar is reminiscent of pineapple.
- A strong player in our native matrix, beautiful Thuja plicata can be found throughout the entire Arboretum.