February 7th, 2013 by Heidi Unruh, UWBG Communications Volunteer
Photo Credit: Ethan Welty
Say goodbye to the “ramps to nowhere.” As part of the new 520 bridge construction project, the ramps will be coming down. As announced in a recent press conference, WSDOT will pay Seattle Parks and Recreation $7.8 million for mitigation projects in the Arboretum. These projects include the design and construction of a 1-mile multi-use trail, as well as improvements to Azalea Way Pond, parts of Arboretum Creek, and Foster Island. Learn more about this groundbreaking agreement at the Arboretum Foundation cite and read the full press release here (PDF).
In the Media:
Arboretum Says Goodbye Highway Ramps, Hello Bike Trail
Arboretum Gets $7.7 Million for New Trail, Improvements
520 “Ramps to Nowhere” To Be Demolished
Arboretum Trades Empty Ramps for New Trails
520 Ramps to Come Down
January 28th, 2013 by UWBG Communication Staff
Receive a 10% Room Discount*
Hold your event at the Graham Visitor Center between January and June 2013.
Please call 206-221-2500 now to reserve your next event and mention this promotion to receive 10% off your room fee.
*This promotional discount applies to one meeting or social event per customer.
Perfect for an intimate party
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 16th, 2013 by Lisa Sanphillippo
UWBG School Programs serve over 6,000 kids a year and we could not possibly do it without the help of our volunteers. We are hiring volunteer Garden Guides now and have two dates to get folks started on their journey to engage kids in the great outdoors.
Saturday February 9th from 11:00 – 3:00 pm and
Saturday February 16th from 11:00 – 3:00 pm
Guides need only attend one training, but are welcome to both. Both trainings will cover an introduction to the University of Washington Botanic Gardens as well as round table and in the field discussions about class management, interpretation techniques and age appropriate teaching.
February 9th we will focus on our Plants 101 and 201 programs and February 16th we’ll focus on Wetlands 101 and 201. New guides will learn what the big ideas of each program are, how the student’s age affects the level and amount of information given and how to use the props and activities in the field.
If you would like to fill nature with children and teach them about plant science, ecology and more, contact Lisa Sanphillippo at 206-543-8801 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
We value our volunteers for their time, experience and dedication! We hold enrichments, training and other educational opportunities regularly. Call or email now to become a treasured part of our team.
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.
January 4th, 2013 by Catherine Nelson, Adult Tours Program Assistant
Japanese Umbrella Pine
The Washington Park Arboretum’s free Weekend Walk Program resumes in the new year. These 90 minute guided tours are free and open to the public every Sunday at 1:00 pm. No cost, no registration – just meet up at the Graham Visitors Center.
January’s tour is Ancient Trees; our guides will show and discuss tree species which have been around for millennia – such as the Japanese Umbrella Pine (see photo).
In February our walks will highlight the Witt Winter Garden in all its blossoming glory.
The March tour is Our Favorite Plants, during which your guide will share plants and garden areas that they enjoy the most.
For further information or questions you can email me at email@example.com. More Arboretum tour options.
December 18th, 2012 by Community Programs Coordinator
Written by Mackenzie Urquhart, UW Service Learning Student
I had so much fun participating in the Fiddleheads Program these past couple of months. Through out the sessions we play games, explore, do arts and crafts, and teach the kids about their surroundings. What is special about this program is the kids get to interact with the nature they are learning about directly instead of reading it from a textbook or in a classroom.
On our first walk through the Arboretum we taught the kids about fall and how the environment changes during that time period. We explored how the leaves change colors and how the leaves eventually fall off the trees. The kids were able to see the changes happening with their own eyes. Through out the walk we gave them each a brown bag and they were to fill it with the leaves that fell off the trees. At the end of the walk we reminded them why they fell off the trees and had them each do a leaf rubbing so they could take it home and have it be a reminder of what happens during fall. All through out the walk the kids were asking questions, interacting with nature, feeling the leaves, and touching the trees.
One of my favorite games we played with the kids was called the color game. Sarah and I each gave the kids a paint swatch and they were to find a plant, animal or anything in nature that was the same color. This was a unique and fun way to get the kids to explore nature. The kids were running all around and would show us what they found that matched their paint swatch. If they didn’t know what the species or plant was we would tell them and have them share it with the other kids so they could all learn about each others.
Another game the kids loved was called the matching game. Sarah and I laid out a bunch of leaves two of each kind and had the kids play a matching game and at the end we would have them guess what the name of the leaf was. Then we would circle as a group and talk about each leaf and point out what the tree looked like that the leaf came from. In that kind of setting the kids are able to learn about the environment in a fun and stress free environment. They retain the information better and see how humans and other species directly impact the environment. Each session has an overall theme so the kids are constantly learning about different issues and topics related to nature.
Check out the Fiddlehead Forest School website for more information and to register for classes.
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.