Pacific Connections: Phase II
In 2008, our City and University partners hired Seattle-based firm The Berger Partnership to design Phase II of the Pacific Connections Garden, which includes the New Zealand and Cascadia Forests, and the Gateway to Chile. In 2009, the Arboretum Foundation raised funds for the construction of the Gateway to Chile Garden (see below), completed in 2010, and also provided funds for the propagation of the plant material for the New Zealand Forest.
In summer 2012, we launched a major campaign to raise $4.5 million to complete Phase II of Pacific Connections. This total includes $1.7 million to finish construction ($1.2 for New Zealand, $0.5 million for Cascadia) and $2.8 million for endowment to ensure the future care and maintenance of the forest gardens. As of fall 2012, a total of more than $1.1 million has already been raised.
Gateway to Chile
The first garden to be completed in Phase II was the Gateway to Chile, a stunning half-acre display of Chilean trees and shrubs at the southern intersection of Arboretum Drive and Lake Washington Boulevard. By the end of 2009, the Foundation, inspired by the leadership of our Gateway to Chile campaign co-chairs, Lynn Garvey and Kathy Fries, achieved its goal of raising $425,000 for the project. Another $199,000 was provided by the citizens of Seattle through the 2008 Seattle Parks and Green Space Levy.
Site preparation began in April 2010, a groundbreaking ceremony was held in June 2010, and the garden was opened to the public with great fanfare on Sunday, October 17. In the new garden you’ll find 73 new trees, including monkey puzzle (Araucaria aurucana), winter’s bark (Drimys winteri var. andina), Chilean fire bush (Embothrium coccineum), Austrocedrus chilensis (a beautiful conifer that can grow more than 1,500 years old), and Pilgerodendron uviferum. The garden also features the restoration of the historic Holmdahl Rockery. Thanks to all our generous donors for making this spectacular new display possible!!
The New Zealand Forest
In Summer 2010, we began to raise money for the New Zealand Forest portion of Phase II. This allowed us to pay for propagation of the plant material, which is being carried out by Cistus Nursery in Oregon. The larger campaign launched in summer 2012 will help fund the construction, planting, and maintenance of the Forest. The total amount of private funding needed for the construction of the New Zealand Forest is $1.2 million. The City of Seattle will provide an additional $745,000 for this portion of the project through the 2008 Parks and Green Space Levy. As of fall 2012, we have already raised $650,000.
Site preparation for the New Zealand Forest began in summer 2012. Planting is scheduled to begin in June 2013. The new forest will be dedicated and officially opened to the public on September 13 and 15.
The New Zealand Forest will cover two acres and expand on the New Zealand High Country Exhibit, which was dedicated in 1993 and was the Arboretum’s first ecogeographic exhibit. The expanded exhibit’s distinctive features include mountain beech (Nothofagus solandri var. cliffortioides) and silver beech (Nothofagus menziesii) forests and three open areas: the Phormium Fen near the existing historic Overlook Shelter, the Hebe Heath, and the Griselinia Bush. Two tussock grasslands near Arboretum Drive will create and eye-catching display of grasses and flowers and invite visitors to wander through the rest of the exhibit.
The forest will be planted predominantly with plants propagated from wild-collected seed procured by Cistus Nursery and through partnerships with botanic gardens based in New Zealand.
The Cascadia Forest
When the construction of the New Zealand Forest is completed, we will continue with fundraising for the planting of the Cascadia Forest. The grading, pathways, and retaining walls for the forest were completed during Phase I, and some planting has already taken place. Planting the Cascadia Forest will be a gradual process, taking place over the course of several years as plant material propagated from wild-collected seeds matures and becomes ready to be transplanted. We aim to raise a total of $525,000 to complete the planting of Cascadia; $120,000 has already been raised. The City of Seattle will provide an additional $200,000 for this portion of the project through the Parks and Green Space Levy.
The Cascadia Forest will cover nearly two acres and represent the unique vegetation found in the Siskiyou Range on the border between Oregon and California. It includes the highest elevation point in the Arboretum, with a circular rock overlook. The hill below will be planted with species reflecting those found at various elevation levels in the Siskiyous: an alpine meadow, a Brewer’s spruce forest, an oak forest, and an already mature stand of Pacific madronas. A dramatic stone staircase, featuring rock from local state quarries, and a series of pathways are already constructed and will lead visitors through each forest zone. A bog garden featuring wetland plants of the Siskiyou has also been created.
How You Can Help
Learn much more about the plants and design of Phase II of the Pacific Connections Garden in the following articles reprinted from the Washington Park Arboretum Bulletin.
- New Zealand Plants and Their Collectors, by Walt Bubelis
- Hanging Out at the New Bog Garden, by Niall Dunne
- Plants in the Arboretum’s New Gateway to Chile Garden, by Richie Steffen, Daniel J. Hinkley, and Randall Hitchin
- The Pacific Connections of the Monkey Puzzle Tree, by Liisa Wihman
- Cascadia, by Daniel J. Hinkley
- Enriching the Pacific Northwest’s New Zealand Plant Palette, by Scot Medbury