Summer Camp Staff Nominated for Governor's Award

Yes II 2018 Group shot at the Washington Park Arboretum

Our Pre-K summer camp staff has been nominated for the Governor’s Youth Employer Award in recognition of their work this year with students from YES II. Youth Employment Solutions (YES) is sponsored by the Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) and the Washington State School for the Blind to focus on career preparation. YES II is a six week program that provides valuable work and learning experience to high school students. 

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Purple Dots: A Dive into the Washington Park Arboretum's Interactive Map

a screenshot of the stylized map, showing many green dots and a few purple dots.

If you’ve spent any time looking through our interactive map of the Washington Park Arboretum, you’ve probably noticed those purple plant dots. While most of the dots denoting different plants in the collection are bright Kelly green, some of them are a festive light purple color. But why? I stumbled on this question while trying to identify a tree that I had taken a picture of when I was wandering through the arboretum a couple weeks ago. 

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Two New Ways to Experience the Arboretum

We are excited to introduce two new ways of experiencing the Arboretum. For a more active person, we are offering Arboretum Running Tours. We’ll combine exercise, education, and entertainment on a fun running tour through the Arboretum, one of Seattle’s Olmsted Parks and home to the University of Washington Botanic Gardens’ world-class plant collections. You’ll learn about the history and design of the park, a few choice plants, and traditional or modern uses of various plants along the route. 

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January 2018 Plant Profile: Salix fargesii

Salix fargesii buds

Species: Salix fargesii Family: Salicaceae Common Name: Chinese willow, Farges willow Award of Garden Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society: 2012 This very attractive willow was “discovered” by Isaac Henry Burkill in 1899 and introduced to the west from central China in 1910 by E.H. Wilson. In 1908 Wilson collected his specimens in the woodlands near Fang Hsien at an altitude of 6000 feet. 

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December Plant Profile: Liquidambar styraciflua

Common Name: Sweetgum  Family: Altingiaceae Locations: there are 12 of these trees in our collection: for specific locations check our Living Collections database We also have some of the Asian species; Liquidambar acalycina, Liquidambar formosana and Liquidambar orientalis Origin: Eastern, southeast and lower central United States, Mexico and Central America. Height and Spread: to150 feet in the wild and 60-80 feet in cultivation After our last couple weeks of wind storms most of the leaves have been blown from the trees. 

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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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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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Glimpse into the past - an old pond and a new garden in the works

When visiting the Washington Park Arboretum on a regular basis, it is usually not evident that changes occur in both the plants themselves as well as the land forms.  However it is easy to see when you compare the photographs over a period of years.  This is particularly true when there is water movement involved. This summer, there will be a new garden constructed near the large southern-most pond along Azalea Way.   

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June "Plant" Profile: Discovering Slime Molds

Fuligo septica by Flickr user Scot Nelson

This month, instead of profiling a plant, we’ll be profiling a completely different kind of organism… slime molds! In the fall of 2015, the Elisabeth C. Miller Library at the Center for Urban Horticulture held an art exhibit about slime molds: Now You See It, the Slime Mold Revelation! I had never head of these organisms and was intrigued by the art display and the amazing enlarged photographs of their fruiting bodies. 

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