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UW Botanic Gardens Newsletter, Vol 7 Issue 8, August 2012
The Arboretum Foundation, Seattle Parks and Recreation, and the UW Botanic Gardens are launching a new volunteer initiative to help maintain Azalea Way, an historic component of Washington Park Arboretum's original Olmsted design. Flanked by a spectacular array of azaleas, rhododendrons, and other flowering shrubs and trees, Azalea Way runs for about two thirds of a mile from the Graham Visitors Center to the Japanese Garden and is one of the Arboretum’s most popular and enduring attractions.
The new Azalea Way Garden Stewards program is modeled on the Pacific Connections Gardens Stewards. The Azalea Way Garden Stewards will provide volunteer support to salaried Arboretum staff in caring for Azalea Way. The work will consist primarily of weeding, mulching, edging with hand tools and planting native ground covers. Stewards will receive special training from Arboretum staff and benefit from enrichment activities such as lectures and tours. The inaugural work party happened on August 7, but you can join the next work parties on Tuesday, September 4 and Saturday, September 29.
The UW School of Environmental and Forest Sciences Has a New Director
The UW School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, of which UW Botanic Gardens is part, has a new director. Thomas H. DeLuca, a soils and ecosystem scientist who studies natural resources sustainability, starts September 1 according to a UW press release. Responsibilities in his current position at Bangor University, Wales, includes serving as academic advocate for the Treborth Botanic Garden, a teaching garden that is open to the public.
Enter the Arboretum Digital Photo Contest For Kids!
Hey, kids, get out your digital cameras! If you are between 4 and 16, visit
A Glimpse Into the Past
August 2012 Plant Profile: Magnolia grandiflora (dwarf cultivars)
(by Soest Gardener Riz Reyes) The bold presence of the Evergreen Southern Magnolia is truly a sight to behold in late summer as its creamy white blossoms unfurl, emitting a sweet and pleasantly pungent aroma that fills the warm air. One of the problems, however, is its eventual size. Most of the readily available cultivars will easily get too large for a small urban garden, but there are a handful of selections that stay at a reasonable height, yet still provide the exquisite deep green glossy foliage, russet brown undersides and, of course, the ethereal summer blooms.
The flower photographed here is one we have at CUH called ‘Baby Doll’. Unfortunately, it’s not readily available in the trade, but it possesses a wonderful mounded compact habit for a small tree. It stands about 10 feet tall and about 15 feet wide in canopy.
More commonly available in the trade is ‘Little Gem’, a handsome but sometimes overused selection. This still gets to be quite large when fully mature at 20-25 feet high, but this is much smaller than the standard selections. A little newer on the market are the promising ‘Teddy Bear’ and ‘Baby Grand’. Wonderful russet undersides are very prominent in ‘Teddy Bear’, as if the densely leaved selection is calling to be embraced. It has rounder foliage and a tidy and fairly uniform habit. The newest selection is dubbed ‘Baby Grand’ which has proven to be a performer under less than ideal conditions. It has a wonderful short stature that makes it great for large container work and it seems to be a great bloomer even on a young, establishing plant.
Magnolia grandiflora could almost be a staple in almost every landscape/garden. The plant looks wonderful year 'round, adds a nice tropical feel to the Pacific Northwest landscapes and its fabulous flowers in August are an absolute treat!
The Miller Library is Implementing A New Integrated Library System
It looks like the days of stamping a lending card to check out a book are drawing to a close at the Miller Library. They are working to put a new Integrated Library System (ILS) in place. This will allow them to automate their circulation system. Library patrons will be able to access the catalog online to see if a book has been checked out, and if it is, when it’s due back. You’ll also be able to go online to place holds on a book or renew library materials. The system will also generate automatic reminders when a book is due. The library staff will be busy adding barcodes to materials over the summer and they hope to have the new ILS in place later this year.
You can sign up now for the next Park in the Dark on Saturday, August 25 at 8pm. Night time is special at the Arboretum – the people and cars are gone, and the nocturnal animals move about. These night hikes are a chance for children and families to explore their senses, search for crepuscular and nocturnal movements in the forest and learn about night-related animal adaptations. The UWBG website has more information.
A seven-part evening class on Botanical Drawing starts on September 18. Learn the basics of classical botanical watercolor painting, which will include techniques in measurement, drawing, and understanding how light reveals form, along with practice in color mixing. You can find out more and register online.
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