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The Mighty Gunnera

By Bellevue Botanical Garden, Botany, Gardening, History, Nature One Comment

The Mighty Gunnera By Cecilia Ayres   The Bellevue Botanical Garden is home to several Gunnera tinctoria plants. With their giant, serrated green leaves, thick, spiky stalks, and vibrant red flower spikes, they are easy to spot. The leaves can grow to be four feet across and stand at eight feet tall in the right conditions. These unique features are not only stunning, but characteristics that date back to the Cretaceous Period—yes, gunneras were around in the time of dinosaurs!…

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The Oldest Tree in My Neighborhood

By Bellevue Botanical Garden, History, Nature One Comment

By guest writer McKenzie Toomey I sat down in the shade of the towering White Oak, and I watched the branches sway above me. The leaves rustled against each other in the wind, almost whispering to me. I rested my hands on the outcropping roots that grew nearly six feet out from the tree’s base, and I felt the energy that flowed through the tree, the energy that had created this mammoth of nature, the energy that sustained this ancient…

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Plant Awareness Disparity & Our Snap-It Challenge!

By Bellevue Botanical Garden, Botany, Nature, Youth Education No Comments

By Kate Sorensen What is “Plant Awareness Disparity”? Plant Awareness Disparity (PAD) is a term proposed by Kathryn Parsley to replace an older term: “plant blindness.” To summarize her proposal, there is a disparity between how Euro-centric people notice plants in their environment versus how they notice animals. This disparity is based on attention, attitude, knowledge, and relative interest towards plants. She wrote: “The disparity between how often people notice plants compared to how often people notice animals is what…

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Intro to Botanical Names Part Two: Pronunciation

By Adult Education, Botany, Nature, Resources No Comments

Intro to Botanical Names Part Two: Pronunciation By Cynthia Welte  In the first blog article on botanical names, we looked at how plant names are constructed. Now … time to get brave and say them out loud!  A note on my phonetic spellings: the Æ or æ symbol is an “a” as it is pronounced in cat or Seattle. Accented syllables are in all caps. This isn’t in any way official but is how it makes sense to me. Plant…

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Intro to Botanical Names Part One: Understanding Names

By Adult Education, Botany, Nature, Resources No Comments

Intro to Botanical Names Part One: Understanding Names By Cynthia Welte  Those of us who work closely with plants are frequently asked why we use the long, hard-to-remember scientific names instead of simpler common names. To illustrate why, what comes to mind when I ask you to picture a cedar tree? You might be thinking of any of a dozen conifers. But if I’m talking about Thuja plicata, there is only plant I could mean: the Western red cedar (also…

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Leaf Diamonds

By Nature, Youth Education No Comments

Leaf Diamonds By Barb Williams You may have noticed that here in the Pacific Northwest it rains often, which is one reason we have such a variety of healthy plants in the Bellevue Botanical Garden. When it rains, or when watery dew drops collect on the leaves, you may notice the sparkle of water droplets shimmering like diamonds on surfaces. Or they may be precariously hanging from “drip tips” at the leaf’s end. Many leaves end in a sharp point….

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Plant Heroes

By Nature, Resources, Youth Education No Comments

Are you curious about plants and animals? Are you always asking questions about the natural world? Do you like being outdoors and having fun? Then check out the American Public Garden Association’s “Plant Heroes” website. On the website you will find: Videos to learn more about moths, beetles, and fungi and explore each species like a scientist! Read comics about insects and plants Activity books with word puzzles, coloring pages, and other activities related to the comic books Lesson plans…

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Leaf Magic

By Bellevue Botanical Garden, Crafts, Nature, Youth Education No Comments

Leaf Magic  by Barb Williams At every season of the year there is Leaf Magic to be found at the Bellevue Botanical Garden. You will find leaves of different colors, shapes and sounds. Treat yourself by sitting in the leaf chair opposite the Ground Cover Garden waterfall (this chair is actually an art piece titled “The Nature of Sitting” by artist Pam Beyette). As you sit, notice the colorful leaves as they whirl, dance and float to the ground during…

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One Corner: Past and Present

By Bellevue Botanical Garden, Gardening, History, Nature No Comments

One Corner: Past and Present By Cynthia Welte Cal and Harriet Shorts’ home was built in 1957. As avid gardeners, they planted many trees and shrubs all around their home, including a Pacific silver fir (Abies amabilis) on the southwest corner of the patio. Sadly, this tree struggled as it aged, and had to be removed in 2002. The tree we planted in its place, Sorbus aria ‘Lutescens’, is a deciduous tree with large silvery leaves. It bears little resemblance…

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Ethnobotany at the Garden

By Adult Education, Botany, Nature, Youth Education 2 Comments

Ethnobotany at the Garden By Barb Williams Ethnobotany is the study of how people of a particular culture and region make use of indigenous (native) plants.  The native plants sprinkled throughout the Bellevue Botanical Garden remind us that us that the Coast Salish people lived in this area for thousands of years and skillfully developed a plant technology to support their daily needs. Containers were necessary to hold and carry a multitude of items. Native Americans discovered that the inner…

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