Header photo by: David Rosen, SlickPix Photography
At the annual Northwest Flower & Garden Festival
Washington State Convention Center
Each year the Arboretum Foundation, with support from its City and University partners at the Arboretum, presents a horticultural display at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival. We use the display to showcase the Arboretum’s prized plant collections and gardens, as well as features like the park’s diverse wildlife and sustainable practices.
Gateway to a Greener Earth (2020)
At the 2020 Garden Festival (February 26 to March 1), the Arboretum honored the 50th anniversary of Earth Day (April 2020) with a globe-shaped garden representing the diversity of plants from around the world found in our 230 acres. A mix of native and non-native trees formed the backdrop to the display, while species rhododendrons and other understory plants made up the foreground. A curving, stone pathway bisected the display, connecting an arbor-like wattle “gateway” near the front of the garden to a wooden bench at the back.
Specimen trees and shrubs highlighted the important contributions to conservation made by the Arboretum and other botanic gardens. These included: the stately dawn redwood, nearly extinct in its homeland of China, but now preserved in public gardens worldwide; the wonderfully symmetrical monkey puzzle tree, endangered in its native Chile and Argentina, but a cultivation success story in the Arboretum and Seattle at large; and the mysterious, beautifully flowered Franklin tree, extinct in its eastern U.S. range, but providing four-season interest in multiple garden sites all over the world.
Photo by: David Rosen, SlickPix Photography
Our display focused on how the Arboretum—through its collection of 40,000 plants from six continents—allows visitors to both experience the diversity of life first-hand and understand how gardens (public and private) can be sanctuaries for its preservation. Gardens can protect sensitive, threatened, and endangered species through “ex-situ” (or “off-site”) conservation, acting as genetic repositories for plants in trouble in their homelands.
The plant collection at Washington Park Arboretum contains hundreds of specimens of conservation concern. It’s a “gene bank” for potential future restoration/reintroduction efforts and also a vibrant, living classroom for engaging and educating the public on the topic of conservation.
More photos: See more pics of the garden on our Facebook page.
2020 Festival Awards: “Gateway to a Greener Earth” was awarded a Gold Medal by the Festival judges, plus it won the awards for Best Use of Horticulture and Best Use of Color.
Photo by: David Rosen, SlickPix Photography
For the 11th year in a row, renowned local plantsman Bob Lilly and award-winning designer Phil Wood created our display garden, in collaboration with Seattle architect Roger Williams.
Design committee (in addition to the designers): Barbara BonJour, Alyssa Henry, Joanna Long, Jane Stonecipher. A special thanks to board member Mike Riley, for his regular support in procuring plants and building our Garden.
Set construction was done by L.W. Sundstrom, Inc.
Past Arboretum Displays
2019 Display Garden
Our 2019 Display Garden “Under the Mediterranean Sun” featured a white and blue villa and geometric plaza, with a tiled pathway leading to a cooling fountain; around the plaza were specimen plants featured in warm mediterannean climates, like boxwood and lavendar shrubs, and olive and citrus trees.
2018 Display Garden
Our “Arboretum Carnavale: Wonders of the Winter Garden” paid homage to the Washington Park Arboretum’s iconic Witt Winter Garden. It featured an abundance of plants that peak in interest at a time of year when most gardens are dormant or subdued. These include plants bloom in winter, boast colorful winter foliage or bark, produce winter fragarance, or offer unique textures for winter interest.
Oct 14, 2020
With elegant forms, delicate leaves, and captivating colors in spring, summer, and fall, Japanese maples can be living works of art. However, how do one choose from among the more than 1,000 recognized varieties that might show up in our local nurseries? In the latest...
Oct 13, 2020
The Arboretum is a treasured place of sanctuary and respite, even more so during such stressful times. While the Graham Visitors Center is currently closed and our normal volunteer programs and events are suspended, the Arboretum grounds remain open to the public. To...
Sep 15, 2020
In July and August, with funding from the Arboretum Foundation, UW Botanic Gardens horticulture staff worked on a project to restore the lower stream channel connecting the two ponds in the Woodland Garden. The channel dates back to the original Olmsted Brothers...