Autumn in the Arboretum

The Arboretum is one of the best places in Seattle to enjoy fall color and beautiful foliage. We have more deciduous tree species than any other setting in the northwest…all framed by the majestic conifers that characterize our region of the country.

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Aug 31, 2017 / Plant Profiles / David Zuckerman

September 2017 Plant Profile – Clethra fargesii

When it comes to outstanding summer flowering shrubs for PNW gardens, one should not overlook the genus Clethra. Clethra is a genus of about 75 species, mostly native to south and east Asia and the Americas.  It is one of two genera in the Clethraceae, which is closely related to the Ericaceae (Heather family).  They prefer lime-free soil and produce white, fragrant flowers in long racemes or panicles in July or August. 

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Aug 30, 2017 / History, Washington Park Arboretum, News / John A. Wott, Director Emeritus UW Botanic Gardens

Glimpse into the past – Duck Bay and Shoreline Restoration

Establishing new shoreline

The water level in Lake Washington dropped an average of nine feet in 1916, when the complete set of canals and locks for increased shipping were completed. Much more land around the edges of Union Bay was then exposed, all of it soft and boggy. The City of Seattle had long used the low spots in various parks as dump sites, which is why artifacts are often found in low areas throughout Washington Park Arboretum. 

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Summer Fruit from the Washington Park Arboretum

Close-up photo of the various Magnolia fruit

1)   Corylus colurna                     Turkish Hazel

This native of SE Europe produces edible nuts inside intricately beaked husks.
This Corylus and other Birch Family members can be found near the terminus of Foster Island Road.

2)   Dipteronia sinensis

Dipteronia is a member of the soapberry family, Sapindaceae, which also includes Acer or maples, another winged-fruited genus.
As fall approaches, the fruit of Dipteronia will continue to ripen to a reddish-brown color. 

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Summer Interests from the Washington Park Arboretum

Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (July 31, 2017 - August 14, 2017)

1)   Abies concolor                     White Fir

This tall conifer, native to the mountains of western North America, adds an interesting silvery blue backdrop to our Legume collection.
The young trees are valuable in the Christmas tree trade for their ornamental look.
The specimens in grid 16-6E were planted in 1938.

2)   Acer davidii                     David’s Maple

This tree is named in honor of French priest and naturalist Armand David, who first described the species while on mission in central China. 

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August 2017 Plant Profile: Oxydendrum arboreum

Oxydendrum arboreum is a beautiful summer flowering tree with dramatic fall foliage.

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Aug 1, 2017 / Education, Miller Library / Laura Blumhagen

Miller Library supports summer School Age Programs with curated book selections

Summer books

Early in June I received an exciting message from the Arboretum’s School Age Programs Coordinator, Cait McHugh. Cait had a request: she’d like to send us the weekly themes for UW Botanic Gardens summer programs for pre-kindergarten, grades 1-3, and grades 4-6 and have librarians select and send a weekly care package of books to enrich their curriculum. Instructors would borrow the books about a week before the start of a new themed program, giving them time for lesson planning. 

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Our Heralded Hydrangeas

Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum, (July 17 - 31, 2017)

1)   Hydrangea aspera subsp. robusta

This 10-foot shrub with large fuzzy leaves produces flat, light blue flowers to 12” across on petioles which may reach 14” or more!
Native to the region between the Himalayas, across southern China, to Taiwan.
This 1941 specimen is located in the Camellias, next to Franklin tree along Arboretum Drive.

2)   Hydrangea heteromalla                               Wooly Hydrangea

A tree-like hydrangea native to China and the Himalayas. 

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Selected Cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum

Selected cuttings from the Washington Park Arboretum (July 5 - 18, 2017)

1)   Hydrangea heteromalla
Wooly Hydrangea

Native to China and the Himalayas.
An arborescent shrub growing to an average 10 to 15 feet.
Located in the Pacific Connections China Entry Garden, south of the shelter.

2)   Itea ilicifolia               Holly-leaved Sweet Spire

Native to western China.
Evergreen shrub, growing up to 16 feet tall and 10 feet wide.
Bears fragrant racemes of greenish-white flowers in late summer and fall. 

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July Plant Profile: Hydrangea integrifolia

Originally posted July 1, 2014
An evergreen hydrangea?!!  You betcha!
There are very few evergreen vines for gardeners in the Pacific Northwest, but this gorgeous gem from Asia is  becoming more readily available and it’s simply one of the coolest flowers you’ll ever get to witness opening.
From plump, peony-like buds, they begin to slowly crack open, a froth of fertile flowers begin to form and over the course of a few days, a flat umbel “lacecap” begins to form. 

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