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Chase the Winter Blues Away! - FREE -

11- 1pm   By the time February rolls around you are so ready to shake off those winter blahs!

Come with me, a WSU Master Gardener and Master Herbalist intern for a FREE short walk from the Graham Visitors Center via the Hillside Trail, the Joseph A. Witt Winter Garden features a central lawn encircled by tall cedars and firs and a tremendous assortment of smaller trees, shrubs and perennials.

The trails are well maintained and the distance is not too far from the parking lot. There are many trails if one want's to make a go at it! We will begin at 11am SHARP! and finish around 1pm. Feel free to stay longer if you wish :)

This garden is a real treat from late November through the end of March, when much of the rest of the park is quiet and subdued.

What makes a plant suitable for a "winter garden”? Splashes of color are welcome. You can't miss the bright yellow blossoms of Mahonia 'Arthur Menzies' and Chinese witchhazel (Hamamelis mollis) or the bright pink blooms of Cyclamen coum. Shrubby dogwoods show off red and yellow bark, while small orange-red fruit covers the winterberry (Ilex verticillata ‘Afterglow’).

Some plants, such as sweet box (Sarcococca) and fragrant daphne (Daphe odora 'Aureo-marginata'), are selected for fragrance. Many plants such as hellebores (Helleborus), dogwoods (Cornus) and the silk tassel (Garrya x issaquahensis) feature elegant, delicate and interesting blooms. Attractive foliage is a plus, whether it is evergreen like the rhododendron’s, spotted like the pulmonaria’s, or subject to change. The William Penn barberry’s (Berberis x gladwynensis 'William Penn') dark leaves turn bronze-red in winter.

The garden also showcases plants with striking forms. Among the most unusually shaped is Harry Lauder's Walking Stick (Corylus avellana 'Contorta'). Its branches and twigs curl and twist above low-growing herbes and heathers, a pairing which gives the bed rich visual texture.

Originally designed and planted in 1949, the Winter Garden has long been a favorite of Arboretum visitors. In the late 1980s, it became known officially as the Joseph A. Witt Winter Garden when Arboretum Foundation volunteers renovated and improved the garden.

In 2010, work is being done to renew UW Landscape Architecture professor Iain Robertson’s 1987 design intent. Removal of an elm that was negatively impacting nearby plantings has reclaimed more than 5,000 square feet of bed space. The redesign incorporates Manchurian snakebark maple (Acer tegmentosum ‘Joe Witt’), winter-flowering rhododendrons and additional winter-interest shrubs and plants.

Go up to 'more files' for maps of the gardens, and such! Or go here to the UW website: http://depts.washingt... Directions to get there are on their website too!


WSU Master Gardener
Master Herbalist Intern

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  • A former member
    A former member

    Thanks for helping us chase the winter blues away!

    February 20, 2011

  • A former member
    A former member

    I would love to come but I was just informed of a meeting I have to go toon Sat, Sorry

    February 14, 2011

  • WoMN

    Keri, I will not be able to participate in the carpool as I will be coming from Kirkland and then to the UW...and then I will be heading twards the Sunshine Grove in Edgwood. Perhaps others can? Emailing them directly works best. Enjoy the day! ~WoMN

    January 14, 2011

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