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Vandals Destroy Valuable Trees in Pacific Connections Garden

A photo of the new Gateway to Chile garden from June 2011.

Last Wednesday night, vandals caused significant damage to some highly valued plants in the Gateway to Chile section of Pacific Connections, using a hatchet or machete. They destroyed three Chilean wine palms, two monkey puzzle trees, and three Gunnera tinctoria. The total estimate of the damage is around $43,000. This is the second time plants in the Gateway to Chile display have been targeted. A year ago, members of a local university fraternity house damaged plants from the garden in order to harvest decorations for their “jungle party.” So far, it’s unclear who caused last week’s damage. Seattle Parks and Recreation, the Arboretum Foundation, and the UW Botanic Gardens ask anyone with information about the crime to contact the Seattle Police Department’s East Burglary Unit at 206-684-4300.

This weekend’s act of vandalism was widely reported in the local media. The KOMO News Network’s coverage includes a video with footage of some of the damage and an interview with UW Botanic Gardens Manager of Horticulture David Zuckerman.