June Color Appears at the Washington Park Arboretum

1)  Cornus controversa           Giant Dogwood A rounded deciduous tree bearing spreading, tiered branches and alternate, elliptic leaves, C. controversa can potentially reach 40 feet in height.  White flowers are borne in large, flattened cymes in early summer.  Following the flowers, masses of deep red fruit develop, changing to blue-black. Native to China, the Himalayas and Japan, C. controversa is less cold tolerant than our native dogwoods.  

Read more »

May Color Appears at the Washington Park Arboretum

1)  Cytisus x praecox ’Luteus’           Warminster Broom This broom is a hybrid of C. multiflorus and C. purgans and is located on Arboretum Drive in the Legume Collection. Many of the brooms are blooming now or soon to bloom, including the pineapple broom, Argyrocytisus battandieri, whose fragrance earned it its common name. 2)  Erica arborea var. alpina           Tree Heath While non-alpine tree heath can reach heights in excess of 20 feet, the alpine variety is the “short” one, reaching only 10 to 15 feet. 

Read more »

The Boys and Girls and Their Boats

Opening Day crew races through the Montlake Cut, and the 1936 USA Olympic gold in rowing may never have happened without these following trees: 1)  Thuja plicata        Western Red Cedar UW’s world-renowned boat maker, George Pocock followed the lead of Native Americans and used this Pacific Northwest giant for the hulls of his Pocock Classics. The skin is made from a single plank of 3/32″ thick cedar and offers a combination of stiffness and springiness that eliminates the need for the extra weight of a hull. 

Read more »

April Color Appears at the Washington Park Arboretum

1)  Acer cissifolium        Vine-leaf Maple A three-leaf maple native to Japan. The extraordinary racemes of tiny flowers give the tree a cloud-like appearance. Located in the Asiatic Maple Collection. 2)  Acer rubrum        Red Maple This popular street tree is native to eastern North America. On this sample the petals have fallen, leaving the elongating peduncles and their tiny, immature samaras. Located in grid 3-5E on Arboretum Drive. 

Read more »

Core Collection Highlight: Viburnum

Our Viburnum Collection is recognized as one of the top three national collections. Our taxonomic display currently is home to over 100 different kinds and 330 living specimens. [Description references: “Viburnums — Shrubs for Every Season” by Michael Dirr.] Here are a few samples of this diverse and ornamental shrub. 1)  Viburnum carlesii var. bitchiuense        Bitchu Viburnum Wonderfully fragrant flowers in early spring. 

Read more »

March Color Appears at the Washington Park Arboretum, Part II

1)  Acer tegmentosum  ‘Joe Witt’        Stripebark Maple A small- to medium-size tree with distinct striped patterns along the bark and branches Named for a former Washington Park Arboretum curator Located in the Joe Witt Winter Garden 2)  Berberis x media  ‘Arthur Menzies’        Hybrid Mahonia Multi-stemmed shrub with prominent winter flowers Loved by hummingbirds as a source of winter nectar Located in the Joe Witt Winter Garden 3)  Ceanothus  ‘Puget Blue’        California Lilac A fast growing, medium-sized shrub Known for small dark, evergreen leaves and purplish-blue late spring flower Located along the fence in the Graham Visitors Center’s parking lot 4)  Magnolia x kewensis  ‘Wada’s Memory’        Hybrid Magnolia Selected from a group of seedlings from nurseryman, Koichiro Wada Known for large and abundant spring flowers Two specimens flank Arboretum Drive near the Hydrangea Collection 5)  Nothofagus antarctica  ‘Puget Pillar’        Southern Beech A medium-sized deciduous tree native to Argentina and Chile Known for a somewhat fastigiate growth habit Located along the shore near Duck Bay 

Read more »

Early Spring Has Begun!

1)  Acer triflorum        Three Flower Maple A small, slow-growing deciduous tree 20’ to 45’ where it is native in Manchuria and Korea.  An excellent landscape tree boasting light grey vertically-furrowed bark and vivid red and orange fall color.  The name refers to its flowers, which are borne in clusters of three. Discovered by noted plant explorer, Ernest H. Wilson in 1917. 

Read more »

February Color Appears at the Washington Park Arboretum

1)  Camellia japonica      ‘Nina Avery’ Due to this year’s mild winter thus far, many plants here have begun flowering much earlier than normal, and Camellias are certainly no exception. Many specimens can be seen in bloom along Arboretum Drive near Rhododendron Glen. 2)  Camellia x williamsii      ‘Mary Christian’ Soon after C. saluenensis began to flower it was crossed with C. japonica, notably by J. 

Read more »

February Color Appears at the Washington Park Arboretum

Donald Culross Peattie in the Washington Park Arboretum Staff horticulturist, Ryan Garrison recently listened to an audio version of Donald Culross Peattie’s book, “A Natural History of North American Trees.” He very much enjoyed its mix of science and literary art, and would like to share a few gems about trees in the collection with you. 1)  Carya ovata – Shellbark or Scalybark Hickory “To everyone with a feeling for things American, and for American history, the Shagbark seems like a symbol of the pioneer age, with its hard sinewy limbs and rude, shaggy coat, like the pioneer himself in fringed deerskin hunting shirt. 

Read more »

January Color Appears at the Washington Park Arboretum (Part II)

Witt Winter Garden 1)  Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’         Bloodtwig Dogwood Young stems of this cultivar are orange-yellow with the sunny side turning carmine red. Stem color of species is gray to purple, while the color of C.s. ‘Midwinter Fire’ is yellow-green in summer changing to winter colors rapidly at leaf drop in fall. 2)  Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Pallida’             Witch Hazel This hybrid of H. 

Read more »