The University of Washington Botanic Gardens is a unit within the School of Environmental & Forest Sciences and encompasses two sites: the Washington Park Arboretum on the south side of Union Bay and the Center for Urban Horticulture on the north side. The 230-acre Arboretum includes a vibrant collection of more than 40,000 living plants from around the world with opportunities to explore woods, wetlands, and take in exceptional views. The Center for Urban Horticulture includes demonstration gardens and natural areas, and also houses the Elisabeth C. Miller Horticultural Library, Otis Douglas Hyde Herbarium, and the Washington Rare Plant Care and Conservation Program. Both sites offer excellent opportunities for exercise, exploration, and wildlife viewing.
We invite you to visit both locations where you will find many opportunities for individual enjoyment and learning, as well as guided tours, classes and other programs. Make an impact by giving a gift.
Our mission is sustaining managed to natural ecosystems and the human spirit through plant research, display, and education.
Elisabeth C. Miller Library – With over 14,000 books on gardening techniques, garden design and history, native floras from around the world, and 400 magazine titles, the Miller Library has the most extensive horticulture collection in the Pacific Northwest.
Otis Douglas Hyde Herbarium houses a collection of nearly 20,000 plant specimens that is primarily of those from the Washington Park Arboretum, including horticulturally significant plants and weeds. They collect everything in fruit and flower and then mount each specimen and store it in a controlled environment at the Center for Urban Horticulture, with the goal to preserve the specimens indefinitely.
Rare Plant Care and Conservation Program is dedicated to conserving Washington’s native rare plants through methods including ex situ conservation, rare plant monitoring, research, reintroduction, and education.
Orin and Ally Soest Herbaceous Garden was created to help local gardeners select plants appropriate to a variety of site conditions commonly found in Pacific Northwest urban gardens. This showcase garden delights visitors throughout the year with color and texture that evolves from season to season.
Union Bay Natural Area is a 74-acre public wildlife area and natural restoration laboratory where more than 30 years of restoration have turned this former landfill into a diverse system of meadows, woods, and wetlands. This area is one the best bird-watching areas in the city with over 200 species of birds calling it home throughout the year.