WPA Fall Guide Training

September 26th, 2011 by Arboretum Education Supervisor, Patrick Mulligan

Lisa & leaves

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each fall, the Washington Park Arboretum Education and Outreach Program provides training for new and veteran guides who lead school field trips and/or Weekend Walks. This fall, guides learned firsthand about current plant-related research at the University of Washington. Hyde Herbarium Collections Manager and School of Forest Resources (SFR) graduate student Katie Murphy spoke about fall plant physiology and offered pointers for leading groups in the field. SFR graduate student Shawn Behling, whose research focuses on plant morphology, gave an inspiring walk and talk on forest ecology. Shawn has a keen eye for seeing how a plant’s architecture reflects its environmental conditions (and vice versa) and we enjoyed watching her “geek out” at the myriad tree/plant forms contained within the Arboretum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joyce LeCompte-Mastenbrook, doctoral candidate from the Department of Anthropology, and active volunteer at the Bernie Whitebear Ethnobotanical Garden at Discovery Park’s Daybreak Star Center, joined us last Tuesday and facilitated a lively discussion on Coast Salish culture to prepare guides to lead our very popular “Native Plants & People” fieldtrip. One of the new tid-bits I gleaned from Joyce was how important a role “networking” plays in Coast Salish culture. This networking was crucial in establishing good relationships among various groups that, among other things, enabled trade between upland and lowland villages. We wrapped up training on Thursday with a review of our “Wetlands 101 & 201” fieldtrips followed by a ducks-eye view of our Foster Island Wetland, courtesy of Agua Verde Paddle Club. The highlight of the paddle was watching a Great Blue Heron ingest a fish that looked way too big for its mouth/throat. You can check out some low-quality video footage here:  http://youtu.be/Ms54ZQ0T9Z4
If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer guide, it’s not too late! Email:  lsanphil@uw.edu for more information.

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A successful season of restoration in UBNA!

May 29th, 2011 by Jake Milofsky - UBNA RA

This spring quarter wrapped up a wonderful season of restoration events in the Union Bay Natural Area, with fantastic progress being made on several projects.  Tallying 177 individual visits in the spring quarter, students and community members collectively donated over 400 hours of their time to the restoration efforts being made in UBNA!

The northern end of Yesler Swamp saw a major improvement with the removal of a large monoculture of Himalayan blackberry.  UW students and the UWBG partnered with the Friends of Yesler Swamp to complete this work and install a suite of native plants including Indian plum, red-flowering currant, snowberry, Douglas hawthorne, ocean spray and live willow stakes.  Maintenance will continue in the coming months as volunteers return to weed this area and support the growth of these newly installed plants.

 

A community volunteer helps remove bindweed from live willow stakes in Yesler Swamp

A large amount of effort was put forth this season in the newly established woodland at the western end of Wahkiakum Lane as well.  What had seemed like an impenetrable sea of Himalayan blackberry during the winter quarter was tamed by the efforts of many students in UW’s Environmental Science course.  As they supplemented their course work with these service learning opportunities in ecological restoration, they also saw many native species appear from below the blackberry as they cut, pulled, and dug it out of the ground.

 

A big thanks goes out to everyone who participated in this year’s efforts!

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CUH Update – February 2011: Show Time

February 22nd, 2011 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

Apologies for the delay in getting an update posted. We’ve had several little projects we’re trying to complete and we are getting numerous volunteer applications, which we have been going through and contacting interested individuals who are interested in helping us out in grounds.

Late winter brings with it a lot of planting and transplanting projects and our major one so far this year has been the relocation of an established specimen of Edgeworthia crysantha from the McVay courtyard to a new location just north of the Miller Library.

Transplanted Edgeworthia in a bed just North of the Merrill Hall

Like its close relative, Daphne, Edgeworthia resents being moved around and the fact that it’s also recovering from the hard freeze of last November with just a few buds remaining to open, we did our best to get the largest rootball possible and replanted it immediately into its new location. Cross your fingers!

With more severe winter cold predicted to come our way again, we are keeping our eye out on a few plants that could suffer. Obviously, Edgeworthia is on that list along with the two large Osmanthus we have in the Fragrance Garden. Our poor Daphne bholua doesn’t deserve another hit; this poor plant hasn’t flowered for us in three winters.


Then there are the Azara microphylla, which are just starting to flower that could be hit with cold and the remaining buds zapped and our massive Cordyline australis on the south side of Issacson Hall is already a sorry looking site. So, basically, anything spectacularly fragrant is being monitored.  Hehe

Our first accessioned plant for 2011 has been planted here at CUH in a large Chinese container donated by a special donor that once held a beautiful cascading Japanese maple, but when it became too troublesome to keep up the watering and the foliage would crisp up in the summer sun, we had to replace it.

Detail of the fierce branches of Citrus ‘Flying Dragon’

The maple has moved into a new home in the Woodland Garden over at Washington Park Arboretum and, for awhile, the pot was empty until it was decided that we would seek out a specimen of Poncirus (Citrus) trifoliata ‘Flying Dragon’, a hardy citrus, to fill that void. Bloom River Nursery down in Oregon was able to provide us with a standardized specimen that’s been trained for ten years. It now graces the pot with its exquisite and somewhat sinister looking branches. It is highly unusual and will definitely be a conversation piece. Now we have to determine an under-planting so it doesn’t look so bare below.

Spring is definitely in the air when the sun decides to show itself and bulbs begin to bulge out of the ground and bloom their little heads of. Our annual show of yellow, cheerful, daffodils are just days away.

But for a real show, the 2011 Northwest Flower and Garden Show is finally here and UWBG has a most unusual booth this year thanks to our friends at Agua Verde Café and Paddle Club.

Rey Lopez generously donated a kayak for our display with one end cut off so it would stand and then it was planted up to make it look as if it had traveled to both sides of UWBG. Native flora and accessioned plants represented the Arboretum while more natives , including red-twig dogwoods and cattails complete with a “blue-tube” represent Foster Island and UBNA, while more exotic garden plants represented CUH.

Planted kayak that’s been through Lake Washington having collected materials from UWBG along the way

February is flying by so quickly with many activities taking place. The next few weeks should be spectacular (barring any serious cold snaps that will do certain plans in).

Cheers,

R

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Many Hands Makes Light Work in the Union Bay Natural Area

September 22nd, 2010 by Tech Librarian, Tracy Mehlin

Between August 2009 and August 2010 the Union Bay Natural Area chalked up 2,050 volunteer service and educational tour hours from student organizations, University of Washington dorm residents, local community groups, the UBNA service corps, and University of Washington courses.  There are numerous opportunities to get involved with the UBNA this academic year through the courses offered as a part of the Restoration Ecology Network, the Society for Ecological Restoration student guild.


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Holly Garden Project Notice and News

August 26th, 2010 by UWBG Horticulturist

Eurasian berms are located at far right - in pink

 

September through October is our window of opportunity before fall rains begin to commence development and improvement work in the Holly collection.  Scope of work during this period will focus primarily on construction  of  the southernmost Eurasian clade berm located at the north end (near Boyer Ave). See photo of Iain Robertson’s conceptual Holly collection plan – Eurasian clade berms are pink. 

  • In-house tree removals  – 4 small undesirable Bigleaf maples and 4 maple stump sprouts
  • Contract tree removals  – 6 cottonwoods and 1 Western red cedar
  • Also, removal of 4 collection hollies in very poor condition in existing Eurasian berms

During this project work, area will be cordoned off to public and if needed, pedestrian detours will be established. 

Project info will be posted at work site and at the Graham Visitors Center. 

Beginning in late October 2010, regional Qwest corp, will begin a new partnership with UW Botanic Gardens and Seattle City Parks and Recreation. Under the guidance and training of UWBG horticulture staff, Qwest  volunteers, known as Pioneers, will ultimately “adopt” the Holly garden for a year in all facets of horticulture care and maintenance. Initial tasks will focus on: 

  • Finishing southernmost Eurasian clade berm construction if weather permits - grubbing, grading, soil work
  • Modification of northernmost Eurasian clade berm – adding more soil to raise profile and improve drainage
  • Plant and care of several new holly collections, mostly Eurasian clade members
  • General maintenance (weeding, mulching and edging) of the entire Holly garden, including native restoration sites

We look forward to our new partnership with Qwest Pioneers and a marked improvement of our Holly garden.A project sign will be installed on-site in the next few weeks by Seattle City Parks and Recreation.

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CUH Update August 2010

August 5th, 2010 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

It’s finally beginning to feel like summer; fairly consistent warm temperatures, scrambling to get containers adequately watered, and gravitation towards shade when working outdoors!

The past few weeks have been so busy and incredibly productive as we’ve been fortunate to have an arsenal of interns, work study students, and volunteers help us out in grounds several times a week this summer. While it takes a bit of patience and organization, the added number of bodies out there doing SOMETHING has helped to keep things under control. While skills are still developing, their efforts have made quite a difference and it seems like they’re savoring the experience.

Soest Garden Bed 4

Lots of summer pruning is well under way to keep our trees, shrubs, and vines growing here relatively healthy and happy. By pruning in the summer, we can work on shaping and training certain species, controlling unruly growth such as water sprouts, suckers, and aggressive vines that have over-”climbed”.

Our evaluations of BLOOMS OF BRESSINGHAM perennials are underway here at CUH and we’re beginning to see glimpses of potential bright stars for the garden. After our first round of evaluations of the new plants we’ve received the last two years, many are looking quite promising while others just bit the dust and would caution gardeners about using them. I hope we can develop a website where we can post our findings and we’re also hoping to have a separate evaluation sheet for visitors to the gardens to GIVE US FEEDBACK about the plants! Please stay tuned!

We’ve also just received a generous donation of perennial plants from Skagit Gardens. Each year, they send us new varieties to feature in our gardens so people can see them and look them up when they visit local nurseries. We’ve received some lovely Sedums, a salvia, and some wonderful tickseeds aka Coreopsis like this smashing one called, ‘Cosmic Eye’ bred by a colleague of mine, Darrell Probst.

Coreopsis 'Cosmic Eye'

We’re also quite active on our Facebook Page so to get the latest tidbits about news, events, and quirky happenings, do “like” us, ok!! haha

R

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Work party to clean up Union Bay and Arboretum

April 30th, 2010 by Tech Librarian, Tracy Mehlin

The Student Chapter of the American Fisheries Society plans a lake cleanup on May 15th in Union Bay and the Arboretum.

The UW Chapter of American Fisheries Society is partnering with Puget Soundkeeper Alliance in the Lake Union Sweep on Saturday, May 15th.  This is the 8th year of the Lake Union Sweep, and the goal is to extend this stewardship to the Arboretum and Union Bay.

The cleanup is happening on Saturday, May 15th from 8:30 am to noon.  Canoes from the Waterfront Activities Center and kayaks from Agua Verde will be available for volunteers.  The student chapter will organize boats, people, supplies, teams/sites, and trash removal.

All volunteer slots are filled, but for more information contact Lauren Kuehne at lkuehne@u.washington.edu

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