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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Glimpse into the past - What a difference a day makes!

Aerial view of University of Washington Campus, 1940

There is a song which I used to sing all the time, “What a Difference a Day Makes”! Every day, the news is filled with stories about new plans to increase density and building heights in the city of Seattle, and especially in the University District. The University of Washington has just released a new Campus Master Plan which also increases building density and height. 

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Participate in a Seattle Parks Study

Seattle Parks and Recreation is undertaking a project to learn of ways to improve the specialty gardens in the Park system, including the Washington Park Arboretum. The project is funded by the Specialty Gardens division of the Seattle Parks Department and is being conducted by HR2 Research and Analytics. HR2 Research and Analytics are conducting focus groups, with a $25 compensation (participants must confirm attendance with Haley Brown at hbrown@hr2researchandanalytics.com or 425-777-6718 -to receive compensation and ensure seating). 

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March 2017 Plant Profile: Corokia cotoneaster

Corokia cotoneaster may not be the first plant that you notice in the landscape, but it might be the plant keeps your attention the longest. This plant’s divaricate branching (having branches of wide angles) and its tiny dark evergreen leaves give it a sparse and angular look which is not a common sight among the green gardens in the Pacific Northwest. 

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Glimpse into the past - Tree Care Then and Now

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). 

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Progress on the new Arboretum Loop Trail

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. 

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Helping Gardens Grow: How volunteers nurture new plants to support the Arboretum Foundation

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. 

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