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

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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!

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

A glimpse into the past – new buildings for visitors and crew

August 4th, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff
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Looking east, new sewer lines were installed behind the old apartment (aka barn).

By John A. Wott, Director Emeritus

The first buildings to be added to the grounds of the Washington Park Arboretum were begun in 1985, as defined in the Jones and Jones Master Plan Update for the Washington Park Arboretum. It took almost ten years for the building plans to be finalized and the funds to be raised. The public building was named the Donald B. Graham Visitors Center, and it housed offices, meeting spaces, public information space and a gift shop.

The Arboretum Foundation conducted the fund raising campaign, with the City of Seattle Parks Department supervising the project.

The original Works Progress Administration-constructed office/crew building was razed. A near-by large barn/apartment building was converted into the current crew headquarters and shop, with the upstairs apartment eventually being converted to office space. A new machine storage shed was added and the terrain of the land greatly changed.

The photographs taken March/April 1985 show sewer work and the building foundation and beginning walls of the storage shed. The new facilities were dedicated in 1986.

 

 

 

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Looking north to the new shed under construction and re-purposed apartment (aka barn).

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Walls for the new storage shed being poured.

July Color Appears at the Washington Park Arboretum (Part II)

August 4th, 2014 by UWBG Arborist, Chris Watson
Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (July 21 - August 8, 2014)

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

1)   Houpu Magnolia    (Magnolia officinalis var. biloba)

  • Unique bi-lobed leaf 8-12″ in length
  • 4-8″ seed pods on display in late summer
  • Located in grid 27-1W in the Rhododendron hybrid bed

2)   Sargent Magnolia    (Magnolia sargentiana var. robusta)

  • Bears large pink flowers in spring
  • Large, pinkish-red fruit appear in late summer and fall
  • Located in grid 13-7E in Rhododendron Glen

3)   Rehder Tree    (Rehderodendron macrocarpum)

  • White flowers appear in spring
  • 3-4″ seed pods weigh down branches in late summer
  • Located in grid 13-6E and elsewhere throughout the Washington Park Arboretum

4)   Himalayan Stachyurus    (Stachyurus himilaicus)

  • Deciduous or semi-evergreen shrub to height of 10’
  • Displays clusters of flowers in early spring
  • Located in grid 25-1W

5)   Yunnan Stachyurus    (Stachyurus yunnanensis)

  • Small evergreen shrub to height of 6’
  • Chains of white flowers appear in spring
  • Located in grid 25-1W

A Local Beauty

July 27th, 2014 by Catherine Nelson, Adult Tours Program Assistant

tplicatabranchesThis photo is of a native Thuja Plicata (common name; Western Red Cedar) and shows the great J-arm branches that these trees feature. Although the Puget Mill Company logged most trees on the site by 1900, this particular Thuja was perhaps overlooked by the loggers and is therefore one of the oldest and largest specimens in the arboretum. It is located between the Witt Winter Garden and Azalea Way.
This tree species was valued by the local Salish tribes who called it the “tree of life” as it provided them with bark for clothing, dried leaves for a medicinal tea, and planks for longhouses among many other uses.
Our August Free Weekend Walk’s topic is Native Plants & People; a knowledgeable guide will talk about this tree and various other native plants and their ethnobotanical uses.

Summer Camp in Full Swing!

July 22nd, 2014 by Arboretum Education Supervisor, Patrick Mulligan

UW Botanic Gardens Summer Camps are in full swing at the Arboretum as we begin Week 4: “Tadpoles & Whirligigs”. Last week’s “Don’t Bug Out” camp was a big hit with our 6 – 12 year old audience, and to go along with the theme, we gave our 48 campers a survey about insects. Surprisingly, though most kids thought that if insects were human-sized, ants would most likely take over the world, “flying” was the more desired insect super power with “ant strength” barely registering. See below for all the results, and follow this link if you’d like to take the survey yourself! https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/M6P29LK

 

kids_Bug_Survey_Page_1 kids_Bug_Survey_Page_2

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July Color Appears at the Washington Park Arboretum

July 12th, 2014 by UWBG Horticulturist
Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (July 7 - 20, 2014)

Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (July 7 – 20, 2014)

“Sporting Wood”

1)    White Ash    (Fraxinus americana)

  • Tough, plentiful, and easily bent into curves, Ash is used in tennis racquets, billiard cues, skis, and baseball bats.
  • White Ash is native to eastern and central North America.
  • This cutting is from the cultivar ‘Rose Hill’, located in grid 47-3E near the Lagoons.

2)   Common Box    (Buxus sempervirens)

  • Used for crocquet balls because of its hardness.
  • Native to Europe, northern Africa and western Asia.
  • The cultivar here is ‘Argentea’ from grid 5-B in our Boxwood Collection.

3)   American Hop Hornbeam    (Ostrya virginiana)

  • The first ice hockey sticks were made from the dense wood of this small tree in the mid-19th century until the 1930s by the Mi’kmaq people of Nova Scotia.
  • Ostrya virginiana is native to eastern North America.
  • The Arboretum has two trees in grids 19-3W and 24-4W.
Close-up photo of Persimmon flowers

Close-up photo of Persimmon flowers

4)   Persimmon    (Diospyros virginiana)

  • The “woods” of golf (drivers, not Tiger’s) were typically made from this American member of the ebony family from which it inherits its extreme density.
  • Persimmon is most common in the southeastern United States.
  • In the Arboretum, they are in grids 12-1W and 12-2W, north of the Boyer Street parking lot.

5)   Sugar Maple    (Acer saccharum)

  • Commonly called “rock” maple by those who value its hardness and smooth grain.
  • This native of eastern North America provides wood for bowling alleys, bowling pins, basketball courts, and baseball bats.
  • The Arboretum has several cultivars in various locations.

Sources:

A glimpse into the past – Joe Witt in the “pit house”

July 1st, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

By John A. Wott, Director Emeritus

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Joseph A. Witt inspecting seed flats and cuttings in the “pit houses” of the University of Washington Greenhouses at Washington Park Arboretum. April 1976,

This photograph taken in April 1976, shows Joseph A. Witt inspecting seed flats and cuttings in the “pit houses” of the University of Washington Greenhouses at Washington Park Arboretum. Joe, as he preferred to be called, was a prominent staff member of the Arboretum for more than 30 yrs. Officially the Curator, he was also appointed as a Professor of Urban Horticulture at the University of Washington’s Center for Urban Horticulture, when it officially opened in 1980.

Joe was a “people person” and was instrumental in assisting the Arboretum Foundation in starting many programs, including encouraging volunteers, “fun days” in weeding, and other educational events. As curator, he was in charge of bringing many new plants into the collection and for the leadership of the UW grounds crew. He was an expert on the horticultural and native flora of the Pacific Northwest. He was renowned and sought-after for his teaching of plant materials, both to UW students and to thousands of horticulturists who came to the Arboretum during his tenure. He also experimented with plant breeding and many of his unnamed rhododendron hybrids still “lurk” within the Arboretum collections. He named many plants and the famed Acer tegmentosum ‘Joe Witt’, a highly striped form of the Manchurian Stripebark Maple, is now  found in increasing numbers on Seattle streets.

His widow, Jean, still active in her mid-90’s, was a keen iris breeder and together they were well known and respected in the native and hardy plant societies of the world. I personally remember several memorable field study trips to the Cascades and east side of Washington in the early 1980’s, whereby Joe spoke about the plants and Jean spoke about the geology. As Joe approached retirement age, he was stricken with cancer and died in May 1984, a great loss to the Northwest horticultural community. However, his legacy lives on.

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Joe and Jean Witt, Arboretum Foundation Annual Dinner, June 1972

June Color Appears at the Washington Park Arboretum (Part II)

June 29th, 2014 by UWBG Horticulturist
Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (June 23 - July 6, 2014)

Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (June 23 – July 6, 2014)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1)   Erhetia dicksonii

Close up photo of Ehretia dicksonii  inflorescence

Close up photo of Ehretia dicksonii inflorescence

  • Ornamental tree from Asia with corky bark and fragrant white terminal cymes.
  • Located along path heading up to Rhododendron Glen from Azalea Way, grid 15-1E.
  • Go to link below for thorough description and uses.
    http://www.arthurleej.com/p-o-m-July07.html

2)   Holodiscus discolor      (Ocean Spray)

  • My favorite summer flowering Pacific Northwest native deciduous shrub.
  • In full flowering, cascading glory now throughout our native matrix.

3)   Hypericum henryi ssp. uraloides

  • The really big Azalea Way flower show may be over, but now it’s Hypericum time.
  • This shrubby St. John’s wort is a huge attractant of many kinds of bees.
  • Located in east-side bed J, midway down Azalea Way, grid 20-1W.

4)   Illicium henryi      (Henry Anise Tree)

Close up photo of Toona sinensis leaves and inflorescence

Close up photo of Toona sinensis leaves and inflorescence

  • A handsome evergreen woodland shrub or small tree from China.
  • Waxy, bright rose-colored flowers. Leaves and star-shaped fruit give off a scent of anise when crushed.
  • Located along forested Ridge Trail within the Asiatic Maple section, grid 25-1E.

5)   Toona sinensis      (Chinese Cedar)

  • You can Toona piano, but you can’t Toona fish . . . or in this case, happyfacea tree.
  • Deciduous tree from eastern and southeastern Asia with pinnately compound leaves and white flowering panicles in summer.
  • Located in north Pinetum, grids 44 and 45-6W. For cultural, medicinal and commercial (timber) importance, go to link  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toona_sinensis.

iSchool Capstone: Improving the visitor experience with an app

June 20th, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

By Sarai Dominguez

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Information School graduate students, Anna Sgarlato, Sarai Dominguez and Loryn Lestz, presenting their Capstone poster 6/5/2014.

It has been a great pleasure to work in partnership with the University of Washington Botanic Gardens and Information School to design the future Arboretum mobile app. My team and I had a blast!

After four quarters of information science courses, we were all eager to practice our learning’s in a real-world scenario. Throughout our first meetings with UWBG staff, we learned about the exciting digitization projects at hand. However, we still realized the information need of Arboretum visitors who wanted map and plant information while wandering the park, and not just at home on a desktop computer. We started our project with a research phase (which allowed us to meet and interview volunteers and staff throughout the organization), sketched our ideas, built an interactive prototype and tested our design with Arboretum enthusiasts; it was a hit!

My favorite part of the project was meeting volunteers and staff and noticing how invested in the Arboretum this group is. They truly believe in the Arboretum as a place for retreat, exploration, learning and building valuable friendships. These principles were the inspiration for our mobile app design and we hope that current and future park visitors will experience this in the information tool we have placed in their hands.

Thank you, UWBG, for an incredible capstone experience!

Interactive map of the Arboretum (optimized for desktop computers)

Sketching out the app user experience.

Sketching out the app user experience.

A design comp of the app home screen

A design comp of the app home screen