Friday, November 25, 2011

Seward Park

Seward Park June 2011

Philadelphus lewisii (Mock Orange) in Seward Park June 2011

Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas Fir) in Seward Park April 2011 

 Rubus spectabilis (Salmon Berry) in Seward Park May 2011

Andrews Bay, Lake Washington, Seward Park April 2011

Seward Park, Lake Washington, Mercer Island March 2011

A hidden valley filled with Polystichum munitum (Western Sword Fern) in Seward Park June 2011

Click here for more photos of Seward Park.

Seward Park is one of the largest, oldest & most impressive parks in Seattle. Bailey Peninsula's potential as a park was recognized in the early 1890s. It was a key element in the plan proposed for Seattle's park system by the famed Olmsted Brothers in 1903. After the city acquired the land in 1911, the Olmsted firm designed Seward Park as the anchor of a scenic boulevard system that runs north for miles along Lake Washington.  Native forest covers about 120 acres on the northern 2/3rds of the peninsula.  It is the largest stand of old trees in the city, including trees of  more than 250 years in a layered canopy with standing snags & large down logs. Friends of Seward Park maintains a list of the many native plants on the peninsula.  Seward park also contains eagles' nests, a 2.4 mile bike & walking path along the shore with excellent views across the lake, an abandoned fish hatchery, miles of forest hiking trails, an amphitheater, rustic picnic shelters & a swimming beach with lifeguards. Seward Park Clay Studio occupies the old bath house at the beach.  The park is also home to the Seward Park Environmental & Audubon Center, a partnership between National Audubon Society and Seattle Parks & Recreation.  Click here to read about more parks along Lake Washington Boulevard.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Madrona in Seward Park

 Arbutus menziesii in Seward Park May 2011

 Arbutus menziesii in Seward Park March 2011

 Arbutus menziesii in Seward Park March 2011

  Arbutus menziesii in Seward Park March 2011

 Arbutus menziesii in Seward Park October 2011

 Arbutus menziesii in Seward Park October 2011

 Arbutus menziesii in Seward Park October 2011

There are many places in Seattle to see Arbutus menziesii (Madrona).  Seward Park is one of the best sites.  The largest number congregate on the south slope of the peninsula.  Arbutus menziesii is found on the west coast of North America, from British Columbia to California.  In California it is know as Madrone.  Madrona & Madrone are derived from the Spanish word madroño, which is the common name for Arbutus unedo (Strawberry Tree) in that country.  Arbutus menziesii was named for the Scottish naturalist Archibald Menzies, who took note of it while sailing in the area with Captain George Vancouver from 1792 to 1795.  They circumnavigated Vancouver Island & explored Puget Sound, where the tree is widely distributed.  It is restricted to dry & well-drained sites, usually south or west-facing slopes.  It is a major component of Douglas Fir /Tanoak/Madrona (Pseudotsuga menziesii/Lithocarpus densiflorus/Arbutus menziesii) forests characterized by an overstory of Douglas Fir with Tanoak & Madrona sharing the secondary canopy in varying proportions. Madrona also mixes with Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) & Garry Oak (Quercus garryana).  It surrounds the grove of Garry Oak in Seward ParkArbutus menziesii is a broad-leaved, evergreen tree of up to 130 feet in height. Single or multiple curved trunks support a broad, spreading crown composed of heavy, irregularly-shaped limbs. The bark peels off in tightly curled strips. Once the outer bark is shed, the remaining bark has a smooth, polished appearance. The color of the new bark is pale green but darkens to orange with age. Older portions of the bark become brown & fissured. The urn-shaped flowers are borne in showy, terminal clusters. The fruit is a pea-sized berry consisting of mealy pulp and numerous seeds.  Madrona is a member of the family Ericaceae.  The bark & flowers are similar to Arctostaphylos (Manzanita) another Ericaceae family member.

Friday, November 11, 2011

October Garden Pictures & Bloom Times

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi October 2011

Crocosmia 'Emberglow' October 2011

Mahonia pinnata 'Ken Hartman' October 2011

Pinus kwangtungensis October 2011

 Zauschneria californica October 2011

Below is a short list of plants that began to bloom in my garden in Seattle in October 2011. I recorded the date when the 1st flower opened, not when they were in bud. I think this information is helpful in planning your garden. But I have decided to stop keeping track of this in the future.  It is too difficult for me to be so vigilant.  You can refer to past bloom times posts for 4 years this information. October 2011 was somewhat cooler & very slightly drier than normal.  The average monthly maximum temperature was 58F/14.4C.  The normal average monthly maximum temperature is 59.7F/15.4C.  The highest temperature was 67F/19.4C, the lowest 37F/2.7C.  We had 3.45 inches of rain, 0.03 less than normal.  It rained on 17 days.  There were 20 cloudy days, 10 partly cloudy days & 1 clear day.

10-08-11 Crocus kotschyanus 9-27-10, 10-05-08
10-18-11 Hirpicium armerioides 8-03-10
10-18-11 Mahonia gracilipes 9-14-10

Friday, November 4, 2011

Garry Oak in Seward Park

Quercus garryana in Seward Park June 2011

Quercus garryana in Seward Park June 2011  

Quercus garryana in Seward Park May 2011

 Quercus garryana in Seward Park March 2011

 Quercus garryana in Seward Park October 2011

Quercus garryana in Seward Park October 2011

Seward Park contains the remnants of an oak prairie that grew along the shore of Lake Washington, a small grove of Quercus garryana (Garry Oak) which includes 2 very large trees.  Garry Oak can also be found in nearby Martha Washington Park.  These trees may have been planted by the Duwamish people as a source of acorns for food.  In Seward Park, the grove can be found on the south shore of the peninsula, not far from the eastern end of the parking lot.  Garry Oak occurs from Vancouver Island to southern California. It is found mostly west of the Cascade Range but a few populations are scattered to the east. Garry Oak habitat loss is extensive. Garry Oak woodlands and savannahs in the Willamette Valley have declined to less than 15% of their extent before European settlement. In British Columbia habitat loss exceeds 95%. Habitat loss is a result of fire suppression, altered land use, introduced non-native species & heavy grazing. Quercus garryana can reach 100 feet tall with a single trunk, or 20 feet tall with many trunks. The trunks have thick, furrowed, scaly bark. Leaves are moderately to deeply lobed and measure up to 6 inches long with 3 to 7 pinnate lobes. Garry Oak produces large acorns that measure 0.8 to 1.2 inches (2-3 cm) long and mature in a single growing season. Five hundred years is the estimated lifespan. Quercus garryana is also known at Oregon White Oak.