For 13 years, the Director’s Holiday Open House was a tradition for all University of Washington Botanic Gardens staff (from the Center for Urban Horticulture and Washington Park Arboretum), Arboretum staff from the City of Seattle, all volunteers, Arboretum Foundation board members, and other friends and dignitaries. It began when John A. Wott moved to the Washington Park Arboretum in 1993 to become the first on-site director in many years.Read more
Since the late 1930s, the Puget Sound region has been regarded by some as the best rhododendron growing region in the U.S.A., with documentation for over 2000 hybrid rhododendrons. Washington Park Arboretum has always been a leader in showcasing rhododendrons, including species and hybrids. The hybridization of rhododendrons was one of the legacies of both the former curator, Joe Witt, and the former director Brian O.Read more
Except for their bright red fruits and similar common names, the Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo) and the strawberry (Fragaria spp.) have nothing in common. This tree is valued as an ornamental broadleaf evergreen for gardens and it has a long history of appreciation in Western cultures.
The species name ‘unedo’ is attributed to Pliny the Elder who said of the fruit “Unum Tantum Edo” (Latin) meaning “I eat only one”.
Betula Nigra, known as the river birch, has beautiful shaggy bark and is resistant to the bronze birch borerRead more
1) Araucaria araucana Monkey Puzzle
Native to Chile and Argentina in the south central Andes mountains.
This long-lived tree is frequently described as a living fossil.
Large cones yield many edible nuts, similar to a pine nut.
2) Berberis gagnepainii Gagnepain’s Barberry
This evergreen shrub is native to China in the Sichuan and Yunnan Provinces.
Shrub is protected by many slender three-spined thorns.
1) Sorbus alnifolia (Korean Mountain Ash)
Native to central China, Korea and Japan this medium-sized tree boasts showy 2-3 inch umbrella-shaped clusters of 5-petal white flowers in late spring.
As summer yields to autumn, clusters of purple-red to orange-red ½ inch showy fruits appear and persist into winter.
2) Gaultheria mucronata (Prickly Heath)
Formerly known as Pernettya, this southern Chilean native spends the fall awash with showy globose berries in shades from deep plum to pink to white.Read more
Few small ornamental trees offer so many attractive qualities in the landscape as the paperbark maple (Acer griseum). With its bright green leaves, coppery peeling bark, and vibrant fall color, this tree is highlighted in gardens across the country, and is specifically recognized as a Great Plant Pick for our region. At the University of Washington Botanic Gardens, we have six individual trees in our collections – one at the Center for Urban Horticulture and five at the Washington Park Arboretum.Read more
Kyra Kaiser always dreaded public speaking growing up. So you might not expect that she would end up as one of UW Botanic Gardens’ most enthusiastic tour guides at the Washington Park Arboretum, leading groups of visitors into the secret places of that 230 acre forested gem inside the City of Seattle.
Kaiser, a second year student at UW who intends to major in plant biology, leads free weekend walks at the Arboretum, a tour program with a broad focus that changes monthly according to the season and route taken.
A tribute to our late Director, Dr. Sarah Reichard. May she forever garden in peace amongst a grove of Stewartia, her favorite tree.
[Editor’s Note: If you have time to experience their true beauty, it is highly recommended you visit our Stewartia Collection. The smart phone version of our interactive map can be used to pin-point specific locations and information for mature specimens of the species listed below.
“I was amazed to learn that the Ginkgo biloba tree, which is thousands of years old but extinct in the wild, was saved by Buddhist monks who planted this tree in their monasteries so the species would live on!”
“We thought we would only hear the Latin names of a multitude of obscure plants,” she said, “but instead we heard amazing stories of survival and cooperation in nature.”
These were just two of the observations made by freshman and sophomore students who took one of the free guided tours at the Washington Park Arboretum.