September Color Appears at the Washington Park Arboretum

September 14th, 2014 by UWBG Horticulturist


The State of the Arboretum

Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (September 8 - 21, 2014)

Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (September 8 – 21, 2014)

1)   Liriodendron tulipifera        Tulip Tree

  • The state tree of Indiana.
  • The Western Hemisphere representative of the two-species genus Liriodendron, and the tallest eastern hardwood.

2)   Pinus resinosa                 Red Pine

  • The state tree of Minnesota.
  • It is a long-lived tree, reaching a maximum age of about 500 years.
  • The wood is commercially valuable in forestry for timber and paper pulp, and the tree is also used for landscaping.

3)   Pinus strobus        Eastern White Pine

  • The state tree of Michigan.
  • Eastern white pine forests originally covered much of northeastern North America. Only one percent of the old-growth forests remain after the extensive logging operations that existed from the 18th century into the early 20th century.
  • This tree is known to the Native American Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Nation) as the “Tree of Peace”.

4)   Sequoia sempervirens        Coast Redwood

  • The state tree of California.
  • These trees are among the oldest living things on Earth.
  • Before commercial logging and clearing began by the 1850s, this massive tree occurred along much of coastal California and the southwestern corner of coastal Oregon.

5)   Tsuga hetrophylla        Western Hemlock

  • The state tree of Washington.
  • Tsuga heterophylla is an integral component of Pacific Northwest forests west of the Coast Ranges, where it is a climax species. It is also an important timber tree throughout the region, along with many of its large coniferous associates.
Share

Construction starting on “West Approach” to SR 520 Bridge will impact access to Arboretum

September 11th, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

YDrequfkThe Washington State Department of Transportation has announced the start of the next phase of the SR 520 Bridge replacement project. The West Approach Bridge North Project (WABN) will begin this month with the installation of construction fencing and preparation of staging areas. Construction will impact Lake Washington Bldv at the north end of the Arboretum and nearby residential areas. Construction update with map & project overview.

 

 

How to keep informed about the project:

Email
Sign up for WABN construction email updates:
public.govdelivery.com/accounts/WADOT/subscriber/new
Email project staff: SR520Bridge@wsdot.wa.gov
Online
Visit the SR 520 Orange Page website: www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR520Bridge/520orangepage/
Visit the WABN project website: www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR520Bridge/WABN/
Follow us on Twitter: @WSDOT_520
Phone
Call the SR 520 24-hour construction hotline: 206-708-4657

Share

A glimpse into the past – origins of the Holmdahl Rockery

September 3rd, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

By John A. Wott, Director Emeritus

One of more famous locations in the Washington Park Arboretum is known as the Holmdahl Rockery, located along Lake Washington Boulevard E., and now the location of the Gateway to Chile Forest in the Pacific Connections Gardens section.

As cited in the Washington Park Historic Review, September 2003, page 78:

Otto Holmdahl was trained as a naval architect in Sweden, but became known as one of the best garden designers in the Northwest. Holmdahl consulted unofficially on the Arboretum for several years. He was well known to Sophie Krauss, who recommended that he be included in its planning: “I am sure some plan could be worked out for using some of the most competent men, such as Mr. Holmdahl who really does the most perfect rock gardens I think can be done…” In the summer of 1934, Holmdahl prepared a preliminary plan for the (entire) Arboretum, which was presented to the Advisory Committee. This plan has since been lost.

Frederick Leissler, Seattle Dept. of Parks Landscape Architect, had proposed the rock garden be located at the southwestern intersection of the Upper Road with Lake Washington Boulevard, where a steep hillside with southwest exposure provided better conditions for alpine plants. Leissler anticipated the rock garden would encompass 10 acres, but started the WPA (Works Progress Administration) crew in early 1937 laying basalt rock on the southernmost portion, and repairing the road cut made by the original construction of the boulevard. Otto Holmdahl supervised placement of stonework for the rock garden.

photo

Planting the Holmdahl Rockery. Click to enlarge.

Note the accession numbers jotted on to the photo to document the plantings. Click to enlarge.

Note the accession numbers jotted on to the photo to document the plantings. Click to enlarge.

Verbal legends passed by successive Arboretum staff indicated that several attempts were made to “populate” the rockery, but all met with ultimate failure, either due to the steep exposed terrain but mostly due to thievery of the small specialized plants. The photographs above, titled “Penstemon Plantings, 12 – 1954”, show an unidentified worker laying out specimens. A large number of accession numbers were added onto the photographs, and assumed planted. Needless to say, the penstemons also did not survive. Note the small sign pointing out the City of Seattle “Scenic Drive” on Arboretum Drive E.

Share

Wisteria Hall: New name, same beautiful venue

August 28th, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

We have big news about the Graham Visitors Center in the Washington Park Arboretum. We bid a fond farewell to the very plain name of the Large Meeting Room and welcome Wisteria Hall to the UW Botanic Gardens family!

Wisteria Hall photo

Wisteria Hall at the Washington Park Arboretum

What bride wouldn’t want to celebrate her big day in Wisteria Hall and walk down the aisle in our garden patio?! The beautiful wisteria vines hang on all the arbors surrounding the building, so it only seemed fitting to name our event space after it. Not planning a wedding? Think of us the next time you are planning a party, meeting, memorial or any other type of social/corporate event.WH-Britt & Scott 2

Wisteria Hall can accommodate up to 90 people seated and features a catering kitchen. The outdoor patios enhance any event and increase wedding capacity to 150 people. Additional amenities when renting the venue include tables and chairs, WiFi access, a boardroom/changing room and parking. 2014 weddings are $2,250 for a 2pm – 11pm or nine hour rental. Contact our staff for more details and to book your next event, 206.221.2500.

 

wedding photo

An intimate wedding in the courtyard off of Wisteria Hall at the Washington Park Arboretum


Share

Summer curation internship: getting behind-the-scenes with plant records

August 25th, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

By Nichole Sheehan

flower photo

Photo by Nichole Sheehan

Field-testing my classwork and expanding my plant palette as a curation intern

I am wrapping up a fantastic internship experience at the University of Washington Botanic Gardens this week and I’m already scheduling myself to continue as a volunteer. My internship was a wildly fortunate opportunity since I’m not a current student of the University of Washington. Tracy Mehlin of the Elisabeth Miller Library arranged the perfect internship to combine my attention to detail from my Navy service, my research and organizational skills from my MLIS, and my recent horticultural studies at Edmonds Community College.

I had two tasks; assist in the on-going plant inventory in the Arboretum, and help clean-up data for the interactive map (see the post, “Where in the Arboretum . . .”). Keith Ferguson provided me with excellent training for both BG Base and field inventory and Ryan Garrison helped me with the basics of the Arc GIS program. I amended scientific names, solved discrepancies with accession numbers, and linked mapped plants to the BG Base plant database for the arboretum. While I couldn’t solve all the problems, I did evaluate each of the more than 16,500 mapped plants and came up with a short-list of plants that need field checks. In the last program update, my work linked 1,436 mapped plants to the database so proper information can be displayed.

I really enjoyed the behind-the-scenes aspects such as reading historical plant condition notes and evaluating plants for health and maintenance using my pests and diseases classwork. The five plant identification courses I had proved extremely helpful for inventorying, and my database work introduced me to hundreds of fantastic cultivars to consider using in the future. My experience here has really helped reinforce my coursework for ornamental landscaping and nursery and greenhouse production.

All of the staff and volunteers I met and worked with helped to make me feel comfortable and part of the team. They are truly the reason I want to stay on and continue helping with the field inventory. I’m grateful for everyone’s help and proud of my work. I strongly recommend others take advantage of this great opportunity to learn in the field and make a difference at the UW Botanic Gardens.

Share

A Day in the Life

August 20th, 2014 by Lisa Sanphillippo

imagine
you are outside. The sun is shining, illuminating the new growth on the western red cedars. It’s been a great growing season and the plants at Washington Park Arboretum are thriving. The backdrop of evergreen trees is a lovely frame to all of the native and non-native plants in the collection. Now, if they would just get here!

Akoloutheo 4-18-14 36

Photo by Lisa Sanphillippo

Just when you thought you couldn’t wait any longer, here comes the bus holding 60 scheduled school-aged children just bursting with energy and excitement to be out of school and outside on such a fine day as this. Today, you will be teaching 15 of them the Native Plants and Native People program. What is native? What is invasive? Who was born in this state? Who are the Puget Sound Salish People? The kids get engaged by the questions you ask. You are showing them their participation and input is valuable.

You will focus some of their amazing energy into a running game about what it is people need to survive. After they have run out some of their shenanigans, you might point out that most everything folks need to survive comes from plants. And with the Puget Sound Salish People, they didn’t just use any old plants; they used plants that are native – original to this place.

Photo by Jacob Smithers

It will surprise you how many of them know what a western red cedar looks like. The J-shaped branches and the flat leaves are very familiar to most of them. But, you can still teach them about western hemlock and its different length needles and puzzle-piece bark. Douglas fir might be new to them, too. Though, once the children see the deep and creviced bark and the way-up high branches, it will be hard for them to forget. Maybe you will tell them the story of the mouse looking for a safe home during a forest fire using the cones of each to differentiate and describe the three trees. You know that story will create a great memory for them about how to identify all three trees.

You will show them artifacts made by local Ethnobotanist, Heidi Bohan. They will get a chance to touch and hold a model of a cedar weaving, fishing spear or canoe bailer. Each made to demonstrate how plants can be used to create a beautiful and useful object that could help a person survive and thrive. When you ask the kids what they use in their everyday lives that is made from plants, you are impressed that the list they give you is so long.

Photo by Jacob Smithers

When you show them to salal and Oregon grape plants and tell them about how berries from each were mixed together along with huckleberry to make a delicious berry cake sort of like a fruit roll up, you can see that they are almost ready for lunch! To distract them, you get them going on the hands-on activities.

This is your favorite part, because they have to work together as a team – just as Puget Sound Salish people of the past and present – to understand how to use a fire bow and drill or to build a single wall of a plank house or to learn how to cook food below the ground. It’s a great distraction because they’ve forgotten about their hunger for a moment as they dig in to the task at hand.

Jacob Smithers

It’s nearly the end of the program, now. You gather them together and ask each person to tell you something they learned or liked from the field trip. It is thrilling how many of them remember that the western hemlock makes sunscreen, how Douglas fir has mouse butts in the cones or that homes can be made without nails.

You thank them and walk them back to the start where their bus will come for them and take them back to school. You hope they will remember today as a positive and fun day. You hope the time here will aid them in their classroom work. Most of all, you hope they will continue to love and learn about plants and one day be a person who advocates for and serves the environment.

You head back to the work room to talk with your fellow guides about the kids and their chaperones and to put away the activities and props from the program. You are tired – sheesh, kids take it out of you – but you are proud to be a part of something important and worthy.

This is the kind of day we get to have at University of Washington Botanic Gardens Washington Park Arboretum. Is it the kind of day you might like?

Our Volunteer Garden Guides bring their knowledge and skills to teach about native plants, forests, pollination, photosynthesis, wetland plants and animals, ecosystems and habitat. We provide training, curricula and enrichments so each person is confident and comfortable teaching.

Consider donating your valuable time and expertise to connecting kids to nature through field trips. We welcome you to be a part of our incredible team of staff and volunteers. We can tell you will fit right in.

  • UW Botanic Gardens Volunteer Garden Guide Training begins September 5th with a kayak tour of the Washington Park Arboretum and continues the following week.
  • For more information about becoming a volunteer and training, please contact Lisa Sanphillippo, School Programs Coordinator, at 206-543-8801 or lsanphil@uw.edu.
Share

August Color Appears at the Washington Park Arboretum

August 17th, 2014 by Kathleen DeMaria, Arboretum Gardener
Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (August 11 - 24, 2014)

Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (August 11 – 24, 2014)

1)   Poliothyrsis sinensis

  • A rare and very attractive small flowering tree of upright, open habit.
  • Originally brought from China to the Arnold Arboretum by E.H. Wilson.
  • Big 6-8” mildly fragrant, creamy flower clusters (corymbose panicles) make a significant contribution to the August-September garden.
  • Located in grid 30-3E, near the south entrance to the Woodland Garden along Arboretum Drive.

2)   Daphniphyllum macropodum

  • This dioecious plant (translation = “of two houses”) needs plants of both sexes to seed.
  • Our largest grouping sits in grid 7-2E.  This area was recently renovated for the New Zealand Garden construction, allowing more light and air to these plants.
  • Purplish-red petioles, copious berries and leaves arranged in tight spirals make this one of the most asked-about plants in the Washington Park Arboretum.

3)   Veronica salicifolia   (Hebe salicifolia)

  • Is it a Hebe? Is it a Veronica?  Just wait and it might change again!
  • Large, spear-shaped, white flowers populate this New Zealand native in late summer.
  • Salicifolia = “leaf like a Salix (willow)”, hence the common name willow-leaved hebe.

4)   Buplerum fruitcosum

  • This evergreen shrub in the carrot family has striking leathery blue-green foliage.
  • Long-lasting, umbels of greenish-yellow flowers bloom in late spring/early summer.
  • Flowers are highly attractive to a number of predatory insects that feed on aphids and other garden pests.

5)   Argyrocytisus battandieri

  • Commonly called Pineapple Broom, this pea-family plant produces yellow flowers atop blue-gray foliage.
  • Native to Morocco, this plant grows best in full sun and well-drained soil.
  • Located along the west side of Arboretum Drive in grid 16-5E.
Share

The “Lost” Enkianthus Grove in Washington Park Arboretum

August 8th, 2014 by UWBG Horticulturist

Does anyone reading this know where our arboretum’s “lost” Enkianthus grove is located? By “lost”, I mean extremely well-hidden under a dense canopy of western red cedars and other trees.

photo

Enkianthus specimens previously “lost” in the overgrowth.

Enkianthus are shade-tolerant shrubs, but NOT “black-hole” shade tolerant. Like most living plants, they do need light to grow and thrive.  It’s a bit embarrassing, but I can honestly say, during my 30 plus year tenure on the UWBG horticulture staff, I don’t recall ever working in the area for longer than maybe a day cleaning up after a storm or pruning a few of the bigger trees. And, we definitely did not pay any attention to the main attraction – a grove of over 50 Enkianthus specimens, mostly all E. campanulatus (red-vein enkianthus) and over 70 years old! Well, the answer to the question above is Rhododendron Glen, encompassing several grid maps (14-2E, 14-3E and 15-3E).

photo

Accession number 2352-37, this Enkianthus campanulatus was planted in 1937.

Now for the good news. Thanks to funding designated for Rhododendron Glen, our horticulture staff has taken on the project to restore the grove for all to be able to once again, after a very long hiatus, enjoy its natural beauty and splendor throughout the year.

The project scope includes the following to improve the health and display of the Enkianthus grove:

  • Increase light conditions through selective understory brush clearing, tree removals and pruning
  • Open view corridors and a cleared natural pathway for visitors to walk from the upper Rhododendron Glen pond area down to the lower “Lookout” pond
  • Improve health of the Enkianthus through practicing sound horticulture: mulching, watering and fertilizing the grove

For more information about the ornamental shrub, Enkianthus campanulatus, go to Wikipedia website below:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enkianthus_campanulatus

 

 

 

 

Share

Explore! Art, Bugs, Mosses and Sustainable Landscapes!

August 5th, 2014 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant

2014Catalog_Summer_Fall_Cover_smallGrab a copy of our new Summer/Fall catalogand try your hand at botanical art, discover the microscopic worlds of insect and moss identification, or learn how to turn your backyard into an sustainable, eco-friendly paradise!

Landscape for Life: Sustainable Home Gardening

Are you a homeowner who wants to create and maintain your own healthy, sustainable landscape? Through instructor-led presentations, class discussions, and activities, this 4 part class will deepen your understanding of how to get the most out of water in your garden, build healthy soils with minimal outside inputs, use native and climate-adapted plants for the Pacific Northwest, and find the most environmentally-friendly landscape materials. Students will analyze their own home landscape focusing on soils, water, plants, and use of materials.

Four Thursday evenings, starting September 25, 6-8:30pm
More information…

Register online or call 206-685-8033

 

 

Botanical Watercolor or Botanical Art Weekend Workshop

botwatercolor

Botanical Watercolor:  7 Tuesdays – starting September 23, 7 – 9:30pm
Learn how to create stunning watercolor portraits of your favorite flowers or trees with this class taught by long-time instructor Kathleen McKeehen. Topics covered include drawing, measurement, color mixing, controlled washes and dry-brush techniques.  Whether you are just starting out, or have taken some classes before, all skill levels are welcome.

More information…

Register online or call 206-685-8033

vorobikorchid

 

 

 

 

 

 

Botanical Art Weekend Workshop: Saturday and Sunday October 4-5, 9am – 5pm
Learn the basics for creating botanical illustrations from professional botanist, illustrator, and teacher, Dr. Linda Ann Vorobik. Through lecture, demonstration and hands-on work, this class provides instruction in pencil drafting, pen & ink, and watercolor. All skill levels welcome.

More information…

Register online or call 206-685-8033

 

 

bugBugs: Bad, Beneficial, and Beautiful

Have you ever wondered about the 900,000 species of insects that roam the earth? Discover a few of them in this 4-part course on Thursday evenings. Learn about ID, life cycles, and how to live with the beneficial and bothersome insects that you may come across in your daily life. This class won’t be just lectures, though; we will have hands on periods, with practical demonstrations, specimens to examine, and reference resources. Don’t miss this fascinating class taught by Evan Sugden, entomologist, teacher, and illustrator!

Thursday, October 30, 7 – 9pm
More information…

Register online or call 206-685-8033

 

Introduction to Mosses

mossesWhile strolling in the woods, or walking around town, are you intrigued by the tiny green plants along the way? Do you wonder exactly what they are? Here is an opportunity to take a closer look at one group of small plants, the mosses.  This workshop, designed for beginners, will help you understand the basics of moss structure and biology, as well as the characteristics useful for identification. In the morning we will work in the class room for about 3 hours. After lunch we’ll take a walk in the Arboretum, and then finish up in the classroom.

Saturday, October 25, 9am – 3:30pm
More information…

Register online or call 206-685-8033

Want to see what else we have going on this season? Check out our full catalog!

Share

Where in the Arboretum? New interactive map answers that question.

August 5th, 2014 by Tech Librarian, Tracy Mehlin
map screenshot

A screen shot of the interactive map with pop-up detail for the tree Toona

A visitor to the Washington Park Arboretum recently wondered if the “tuna” tree grew among its world class collection of woody plants. She asked a staff member who figured out she meant Toona sinensis, a hardy member of the mahogany family with bright pink new growth. “Yes, we have three specimens.” replied Laura Blumhagen, working at the reference desk in the Miller Library. “Where?” asked the visitor. Laura searched the brand-new interactive map, located the Toona trees and directed the visitor to the northwest corner of the Arboretum where Lake Washington curves around near the off ramp from State Route 520.

The online, interactive map identifies landmarks, trails, gardens and most importantly every woody plant growing in the Arboretum. It can be browsed or searched. Users can turn layers on and off, measure distances, draw a custom route and print out a custom map. Zooming into the map reveals thousands of green circles that represent trees and shrubs. Click on a circle to learn the plant’s name and other data related to that individual specimen.
UW Botanic Gardens Director, Professor Sarah Reichard, envisioned a system where public visitors could gain a deeper appreciation of the value of the collections and the story behind each tree, as well as improve management efficiency. “The integration of the existing database and new map has exceeded my expectations” said Dr. Reichard.

In August 2012 the University of Washington Botanic Gardens received a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to survey the Arboretum and digitize paper inventory maps. That groundwork enabled the development of a geo-referenced database and a publicly accessible, interactive map. Prior to this project, the paper inventory maps were arduous to update, impossible to search and inaccessible to the public and most staff. Surveying the Arboretum with modern equipment and digitizing inventory maps increased the accuracy of plant location data and decreased the effort to locate plants. Staff management of the collection has improved because time spent searching for plants can now be used caring for them. Docents save time creating seasonal tours by searching the map for trees of interest. The map integrates not just location information, but data about the plant’s name, origin, native range, health condition and the id number for the pressed plant specimen in the Hyde Herbarium.

Articles and posts about the mapping project

Arboretum Bulletin article about the history of mapping at the Arboretum and how the interactive map was created.
IMLS grant funds geo-referenced, integrated database
In the Arboretum with the total station and other milestones
How would you use an interactive map in the Arboretum?
About the map and credits

Share