The Washington Park Arboretum has long been known as a “tree place.” In fact, two sister volunteers from Mercer Island (Lee Clark and Marion “Nukie” Fellows) were instrumental in getting bumper stickers printed in the 1990s which said “Tree Cheers for the Arboretum”. The Arboretum, as with every park in Seattle, has a matrix of native plants composed of the four primary Pacific Northwest forest trees: Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), Western red cedar (Thuja plicata), Western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla), and Big-leaf maple (Acer macrophyllum).Read more
1) Corylopsis glabrescens Winter Hazel
This native of Korea and Japan teases us with flower buds that seem to be just on the edge of opening – for weeks!
The Joseph Witt Winter Garden contains multiple species of Corylopsis so that people may compare and appreciate the subtle differences in form and flower color the genus Corylopsis offers.
2) Pieris japonica Lily of the Valley Shrub
The spring flowers and often the new growth of Pieris can be quite showy, but the buds themselves decorate our gardens throughout the winter months.Read more
The Witt Winter Garden was originally designed and planted in 1949. In the late 1980s the garden was named after Joseph A. Witt, an Arboretum curator who had a special interest in winter ornamental plants. Here is a small sampling of plants to be enjoyed now in the Winter Garden.
Download a map and plant list at:
1) Chimonanthus praecox (Wintersweet)
The 15’ tall arching stems host beautiful and aromatic creamy, yellowish flowers.Read more
Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena’ has long been one of the most popular of the hybrid witch hazels. Flowers appear as a bright copper-orange from a distance. Closer inspection reveals a bicolored flower, being reddish at the base but changing to more of an orange yellow at the tip. Although it has relatively little scent compared to the intoxicatingly fragrant Hamamelis mollis, it is prized for its flower color.Read more
New Zealand has a large number of shrubs with small tough leaves and wiry interlacing branches – divaricates. Some even have brown or grey new growth, giving a dead-like appearance. It is suggested that this may be a defensive mechanism to deter browsing moa (extinct flightless birds).
1) Coprosma propinqua (Mingimingi)
A visiting New Zealand scholar once described Coprosma as “a genus without morals that hybridizes incessantly” as she was politely telling us she didn’t think we were actually growing true Coprosma propinqua.Read more
If you’ve recently visited the Washington Park Arboretum, you may have noticed the new Arboretum Loop Trail is taking shape. Crews have continued to make progress through a very wet fall and cold winter, and they hope to open the first section in mid-February.
Part of the Arboretum’s long-term Master Plan, the project creates 1.2 miles of new trail, completing a 2.5 mile loop.
If you’ve ever wandered the Washington Park Arboretum delighting in the year-round plant displays and wishing you could take a piece of the experience home, then be sure to explore the Pat Calvert Greenhouse on your next visit.
The greenhouse—and the volunteer effort behind it—were established by its namesake in 1959. Pat Calvert was inspired to create a space for Arboretum Foundation members to practice propagation, and she worked with the Foundation to secure funds to build the structure and start the program.
All non-profit organizations live and breathe with volunteers. The University of Washington Botanic Gardens counts on hundreds of volunteers and has prospered with their help for over 75 years. The major support group for the Washington Park Arboretum is the Arboretum Foundation, and the Northwest Horticultural Society supports many aspects of the Center for Urban Horticulture and the Elisabeth C. Miller Library.Read more
Washington Rare Plant Care and Conservation (Rare Care) at the University of Washington Botanic Gardens is accepting applications for two internship positions available for the spring and summer of 2017. Interns will work on a broad array of plant conservation science projects on public lands in Washington and gain familiarity with the tools used to manage sensitive plant species.
Rare Care is dedicated to conserving Washington’s native rare plants through methods including ex situ conservation, reintroduction, research, rare plant monitoring, and education.We build partnerships with public agencies and non-governmental organizations to manage and conserve rare native plant species.
The following conifers are among the cold-hardiest on earth!
1) Abies balsamea (Balsam Fir)
USDA Hardiness Zone 3: -40° to -30°F.
North American fir with range distribution as far north as Labrador, Canada.
Balsam fir is the most cold-hardy and aromatic of all firs.
2) Juniperus communis (Common Juniper)
USDA Hardiness Zone 2: -50° to -40°F.
The most widespread tree or shrub in the world!