Washington Park Arboretum
- The Washington
Park Arboretum (WPA) is a living plant museum emphasizing
trees and shrubs, hardy in the Maritime Pacific Northwest.
Collections are selected and arranged to display their beauty
and function in urban landscapes, to demonstrate their natural
ecology and diversity, and to conserve important species and
cultivated varieties for the future. The Arboretum serves the
public, students at all levels, naturalists, gardeners, and
nursery and landscape professionals with its collections,
educational programs, interpretation, and recreational
opportunities. It is cooperatively managed by the University of
Washington, College of
Forest Resources, and the Department
of Parks and Recreation (City of Seattle), and supported by
an active support organization (The Arboretum Foundation).
- WPA is located south of the UW campus and ship canal,
containing wetlands of Union Bay, the valley bottom along
Arboretum Creek, and associated forested ridges. It borders the
Montlake, Broadmoor, Harrison Valley, Madison Park, and Central
- David J. Mabberley, Director, University
of Washington Botanic Gardens, and Professor of Horticultural Science,
206 685-2579, firstname.lastname@example.org
- 230 acres.
- Donald G. Graham Visitors Center
(offices, visitor and interpretation center,
meeting/classrooms); Maintenance Barn and yard (for both UW and
City crews); Curatorial Annex; UW Greenhouse (classroom,
demonstration space); Pat Calvert Greenhouse (propagation);
Stone Cottage (security).
- Grounds maintenance equipment, big tree equipment,
curatorial records/supplies, educational and interpretation
displays and equipment.
- Stone Cottage for Grounds security.
- UW owns and is responsible for the collections, all aspects
of their maintenance and curation, and all the associated
educational and outreach functions. The City of Seattle owns
the land and performs all the aspects associated with a park.
The Arboretum Foundation owns the furnishings in the Graham
- Major funds through the University of Washington and the
City of Seattle, with annual gifts from The Arboretum
Foundation as well as private and public donors; grants.
- Recent Usage
- Research: Studies on
selection and appropriateness of exotic trees and shrubs for
the Northwest such as flowering cherries, Japanese maples;
studies on plants from climates similar to the Northwest such
as New Zealand and Chile; evaluation of native trees and shrubs
within an urban forest and park land. Instruction:
Used by hundreds of students in urban horticulture, urban
forestry, landscape architecture, botany, and a number of
liberal arts classes. Extensive continuing education and public
outreach classes, tours, demonstrations for all ages.
Specialized school tours and Saplings (K-5th graders).
Cooperative programs with area museums and community programs.
Buildings and grounds used for meetings, seminars, and other
public and private events.
- Usage Fee
- No general admission fee. Rental fee for non-academic
building and grounds use. Course and tour fees vary. Japanese
Garden, mangaged by the City, has fee.
- Collections began in 1934 as the Arboretum opened. James
Dawson, of Olmsted Brother firm, Brookline, MA drew first plan.
Most of the early construction carried out by CCC and WPA work
forces during depression times. An updated Master Plan adopted
in 1978. After 7 years of debate, an comprehensive strategic
Master Plan, "Renewing the Aroboretum" was adopted by both the
City Council and UW Board of Regents in May 2001. This calls
for $45 million worth of improvements, renovations, and
attention to public accessibiltiy issues. Many of the
collections are aging and modern landscape designs need to be
- Telephone: 206-543-8800, 206-543-8801
- By automobile, bus (tour or school), bicycle, or city
- Unique Environment
- Contains over 4400 different taxa totaling nearly 10,000
accessions. In addtion, it is estimated that over 10,000 native
trees exist on the grounds. It is the largest collection of
temperate woody plants in the Northern Hemisphere. The
colletions are displayed in taxonomic, eco-geographic, diplay
and natural arrangements. Azalea Way is the historic spine of
- Arboretum Director David J. Mabberley; Staff: Grounds and Buildings
Supervisor, Lead Supervisor of Grounds, Plant Technicians (1
1/2), Arborist, Gardeners (3 1/2), Education Specialists (1
1/2), Collections Manager and Assistant, Facilities Supervisors
(1 1/2), Seasonal Gardeners (4-8) and Weekend Managers Active
Volunteers in all areas of work. 3000 member Arboretum
Foundation support for volunteers and funding. Active intern
and student project involvement. CUH faculty associated with
Arboretum include: CUH Director Tom Hinckley: Faculty: Linda
Chalke-Scott, Sarah Reichad, Kern Ewing, Al Wagar, Kathy Wolf.
Landscape architecture: Iain Robertson. Botany: Tsuka.
Arboretum Foundation has 6 1/2 staff. City of Seattle has 4
grounds staff and 1-3 seasonals.