A Walk in the Park

June 10th, 2013 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant

Come with us for a walk in the park…conscientious gardener

Join Dr. Sarah Reichard, UW Botanic Gardens Director, and author of The Conscientious Gardener, for a discussion of her book and a walk through Washington Park Arboretum.

Discover how routine gardening practices can harm both local and distant ecosystems and how you can manage your own garden to minimize detrimental effects on the environment. Learn how to sustainably and responsibly control pests, conserve water, and improve your soil.

Dr. Reichard has practical tips that will help you become a Conscientious Gardener!

Saturday, June 29, 9-11am

Cost: $15; $20 after June 22nd

UW Botanic Gardens
Washington Park Arboretum
Graham Visitors Center
2300 Arboretum Drive E, Seattle, 98112

Other upcoming classes:

Can you grow interesting plants in the shade?
Is there such a thing as too many plants?
What does a lavender farm look (and smell!) like?
What can you do to help your poor overgrown yard recover from an invasive takeover?
We can help!  We have the answers to all these questions and more. Stop in for one of our fascinating plant classes.

Register Online!
Or call (206) 685-8033 to register over the phone


Perennials: After the Shade

Carrie Becker showing off a private garden.

Carrie Becker showing off a private garden.

2-part class: Wednesday, June 19th, 7:00 – 8:30pm, and Saturday, June 22nd, 1:00 – 3:30pm
Cost: $50; $60 after June 16

Is your formerly sunny garden becoming shady with maturing trees and shrubs? Or do you have areas of existing shade? This class will teach you how to plant for shade and still have beautiful enduring plants from early spring through fall. Learn to love the shade!
Saturday’s class will be a field trip to a Northwest Seattle private (shady!)  garden.

UW Botanic Gardens
Center for Urban Horticulture
Douglas Classroom
3501 NE 41st St., Seattle, WA 98105


Summer Propagation

Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 7 – 8pm
Cost: Free!
( Pre-registration required.) Suggested donation ~$5 at the door.

There are a lot of good reasons to make more plants of the ones you already grow and love:  fill empty spots in your own garden, gift to friends, contribute to plant sales, maybe even just have cheap fun in your garden.  Whatever your reasons, this program will demonstrate a variety of techniques that can be used in early summer including division and cuttings as well as discuss materials and resources that will contribute to your success.  Join Master Gardener Kay Gordon as she shares experiences from her own garden.

UW Botanic Gardens
Center for Urban Horticulture
Douglas Classroom
3501 NE 41st St., Seattle, WA 98105

Lavender Farm Tour

Wednesday, July 17th from 1-2:30

Lavender in full bloom at the Woodinville Lavender farm.

Lavender in full bloom at the Woodinville Lavender farm.

Cost: $20; $25 after July 10

Master Gardener Tom Frei has been working with his wife and children to develop Woodinville Lavender since 2008. They are currently growing over 3000 plants and 25 varieties at a farm overlooking the Sammamish Valley.

Tom will discuss the history, botany, selection, care, and uses of lavender and lead us on a tour of the sustainable and organic gardens. Lavender refreshments will be provided. The 3rd week of July is the peak time for lavender blooms so don’t miss out on this wonderful opportunity!

Woodinville Lavender Farm
14223 Woodinville Redmond Rd NE
Redmond WA 98052


Backyard Restoration

Let's get rid of the ivy!

Let’s get rid of the ivy!

Saturday, July 27, 2013, 9:30am – 2pm
Cost: $50; $60 after July 20

Want to stop your yard from being swallowed up by unsightly ivy? Tired of being scratched by thorny blackberries? Join this workshop to jump start your backyard restoration efforts. Learn the common invasive species in Seattle, how to remove and dispose of them, and how to keep them from coming back. We will also touch on good plants to replace invasive species and how to work safely on steep slopes.

UW Botanic Gardens
Center for Urban Horticulture
Douglas Classroom
3501 NE 41st, Seattle, WA 98195

Wetlands 201

October 4th, 2010 by Arboretum Education Supervisor, Patrick Mulligan

So I had the pleasure of leading a group of 5th graders from Emerson today on a Wetlands 201 fieldtrip. It was a first for both us, as this was one of the fieldtrips that we re-vamped over the summer, and my first time trying it out on live victims.

Over all it went really well. Great kids, gorgeous fall day, bald eagle sighting, plenty of macros in the aquatic dip…

Surprisingly, it was the first time some of them had heard the terms “producer, consumer, & decomposer”, or if they’d heard them, they’re understanding was fuzzy. It gave me something to think about on my bike ride home this afternoon.

Recently, one of my veteran garden guides asked me, “why so much emphasis on producers, consumers, & decomposers?” (the concept has been added to pretty much every program we do). My immediate response was something like, “b/c I’m an ecologist at heart, a big-picture kind of guy, and these are the essential ingredients of the big picture…that, and P,C,D’s were pounded into my head at Islandwood”.

But now I have a much better answer…

“If you look deep, deep into nature, you will understand everything.”  Einstein said that, and Einstein was a smart dude.

If we can get kids to understand the basic concept of a food web – that producers make food that consumers consume and decomposers decompose so that producers can make more food, then kids will grow up to understand how this world works, and by extension, how to best live in it.

The Industrial Revolution ushered in the era of “humans as producers”.  Since then we’ve found myriad ways to harness the energy of the sun to make stuff. The ability has become so engrained in our societies, that to stop making stuff would be to crash everything.

Consuming all this stuff we make is 2nd nature, and nobody owns this “humans as consumers” concept better than we Americans. (An old slogan keeps running through my head…”why only eat just one, we’ll make more”.)

The era we’re only just starting to enter (I hope) is the “humans as decomposers” era. Perhaps b/c we’re surrounded by it, trash is starting to look valuable. There’s big money in taking junk and re-producing it into something consumable. If the titans of industry from back in the day were better ecologists, this would have been a no brainer, and we might not have overflowing landfills and islands of garbage.

In nature, nothing is wasted. This is the simple truth that teaching kids about food webs and the relationship between producers, consumers & decomposers gets at.  And if those 5th graders took away one thing today, I hope it was that.

Who knows, maybe one of those kids will go on to invent the trash-powered DeLorean from Back to the Future, and may be he/she will remember that fieldtrip they took in 5th grade and decide to donate a bunch to the Arboretum to replace the golf carts…one can only dream.