Arboretum Garden Stewards
We will meet from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. on the days—and at the locations—indicated below. Tools, gloves, water, and light refreshments will be provided. All levels of gardening experience are welcome! Discover fun facts about our beloved park, learn to tell a weed from a collection plant, and enjoy the company of other Arboretum enthusiasts.
For more information, email Pamela Givens or call her at 206-963-0008.
|OCT 1, Pacific Connections Garden|
|OCT 6, Azalea Way||OCT 8, NO SESSION|
|OCT 13, S Azalea Way||OCT 15, New Zealand Forest|
|OCT 20, S Azalea Way||OCT 22, New Zealand Forest|
|OCT 27, NO SESSION||OCT 29, Pacific Connections Garden|
Would you like to help us keep Washington Park Arboretum looking beautiful? Come join us for a Garden Stewards gardening party. Garden Stewards assist the staff gardeners in the monumental task of maintaining the Arboretum. Weekday and weekend gardening parties take place from March through November. Sessions run from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., and you are welcome to join us and help for as long as you can—an hour, two hours, or the entire three-hour session.
What we do: Most of our time, from March to October, we spend weeding in the beds along Azalea Way, and in the Cascadia and New Zealand sections of the Pacific Connections Garden. We work with very knowledgeable gardeners who appreciate our assistance in helping to keep the Arboretum looking and feeling great.
There are also opportunities for mulching and other gardening activities, if that is where your interests lie. Please email Pamela Givens for more information.
Who should join: Everyone!
- No gardening experience? Not a problem. Staff gardeners from UW Botanic Gardens and Seattle Parks and Recreation guide our activities, and you will receive sufficient instruction to feel knowledgeable and successful on your very first session.
- An experienced gardener? Your expertise will be enhanced by working with the Arboretum’s very knowledgeable horticulture staff. Current Stewards really value the time they have to interact with the gardeners and learn about the plants in the Arboretum.
- No garden of your own, but love working with plants? Perfect—our garden becomes your garden. Several stewards (some retirees who have given up their garden, some younger people who don’t have their own gardens yet) come to experience the joy of gardening through our Garden Steward sessions.
- Love the Arboretum and want to give something back? There are many ways to give back to the Arboretum, and many of our volunteers do give in multiple ways. If you love gardening, pitching in with the Stewards is a great way to give back—and one that you can see the results of each time you walk past an area that you’ve helped maintain! It is a lovely way to create a deeper connection to the Arboretum and learn interesting facts about the historic displays you’ll be helping to care for.
- A student taking environmental, landscape, plant ID or other horticulture classes? Working with the Garden Stewards is a great way to develop hands-on field skills in your chosen area of study. Arboretum staff gardeners have a wealth of knowledge to share (many of them may have even taken the very same classes you are taking), and volunteering with the Garden Stewards program will give you valuable work-related experience as you build your CV and start your career.
Benefits of volunteering: New Stewards receive training from staff gardeners in the use of tools and the identification of both weed plants and plants in the Arboretum collections. Stewards also benefit from other enrichment activities—including fascinating lectures about the history and collections in the Arboretum, as well as instructional talks from the many plant experts in the Arboretum’s extended family. Each year, we also participate in the Arboretum’s Volunteer Appreciation Party, a relaxing event celebrating the Stewards and other Arboretum volunteers for all of their hard work.
Earning your vest: After you participate in 24 hours of stewarding—just eight three-hour sessions—you will receive a very useful Garden Stewards vest, to help you hold your personal items during your gardening sessions.
Signing up: To learn more about the Stewards initiative or to sign up to become a Steward, please email Pamela Givens or call her at 206-963-0008. Before attending your first session, please fill out an application for by doing one of the following:
- Fill out our online application form.
- Or download a volunteer application form, fill it out, and either fax it to Pamela at 206-325-8893 or mail it to her c/o the Arboretum Foundation, 2300 Arboretum Drive East, Seattle, WA 98112.
Short History of the Stewards
In fall 2011, in response to budget crises affecting the University of Washington and Seattle Parks and Recreation, the Arboretum Foundation and UW Botanic Gardens created a special volunteer program dedicated to the care and maintenance of the Pacific Connections Garden at the south end of the Arboretum. Our goal was to recruit and train a dedicated cadre of volunteers—the Pacific Connections Garden Stewards—who would, under the supervision of the Arboretum and UWBG horticultural staff, assist the small paid crew in caring for this new garden.
The program was a great success, and it inspired the Foundation and Seattle Parks and Recreation to create the Azalea Way Garden Stewards in summer 2012. This program has also been very successful in providing assistance to City staff in maintaining Azalea Way, an historic, Olmsted-designed display. In 2014, both programs were merged into one and renamed, simply, the Garden Stewards program. More than 70 volunteers participated in the program in 2014.